I like Knox products very much. They are always well made and invariably add a clever twist to existing thought and practice.
First, why a Track Vest? For road riders, the answer is that the vest can be worn under a textile jacket and so raise the standard of back protection to racing levels.
The vest’s use for racing is rather more subtle. Ironically the better leathers fit, the more a separate back protector is a nuisance. A back protector needs to be accurately placed so that it protects as much of the rider’s spine as possible and I can’t remember how many times I would wriggle my protector into the correct place – only to have the thing move as I zipped up my leathers.
The problem is exacerbated because my wife, Carol, is there warming up the bike, and giving me the: “Get a move on – can’t you see your race is going to the collecting box?” eye and I can’t get my leathers off to move the protector to where it should be – and all of this is just not a good place to be mentally, five minutes before a race.
The Track Vest solves all of these problems in one complete fix. After the initial 10 minutes of moving the Velcro adjusters around, the first time the Track Vest is worn so that the fit is perfect, I have not needed to alter the adjustment all season. It’s simply a matter of closing the zip in the certain knowledge that everything will remain perfectly in place.
The actual protector is Knox’s Aegis Level Two (EN1621-2:2014) and is as good as back protectors come in terms of safety. The Aegis is made up of small, hard, plastic rectangles which move freely in every direction. These sit on a padded foam back.
I don’t know whether Knox intend this to happen but the Aegis appears to have a memory. In use, a new protector always feels slightly odd until it learns the shape of your body. After this, it completely disappears from the consciousness.
In the case of the Track Vest, the back protector zips into the vest body, with top quality YKK zips, so that it can be removed and the vest can be washed.
The vest itself is constructed of the new, British made, wonder fabric Meryl Lycra which is claimed to have unequaled wicking qualities. I don’t know how this is established but certainly the Track Vest is wonderfully comfortable in use.
At the front is some very nominal padding – better than nothing but only just.
The cut is absolutely on the money with generous cutaways for the arms. Once more, in use it is impossible to know that one is wearing the Track Vest. The vest comes in a wide range of sizes all the way from small to XXL – which is seriously generously proportioned.
Finally, I am pleased to say that the Track Vest is made in England, actually not too far from my old sponsor at Crooks-Suzuki, so there are no doubts about the quality.