I haven't been on the chest/roost protector bandwagon since I was 18 years old. My dad used to make me wear one when I was young, but once I turned 18 and I started paying my own way to race, I thought I would try not wearing one at the track. Well.... That turned into not ever wearing a chest protector because I got used to all the freedom I had on the bike by not wearing one. Throughout my professional career I didn't wear any chest protection and luckily for me the difference of not having one on never came into play. I would occasionally wear something under my jersey to protect my chest from roost when I raced, but if the dirt was soft enough, I would just raw dog it for the most part. Fast forward to 2018 where my own son now sits and asks me, “Dad, how come you don’t wear a chest protector and I always have to when I ride”? Crap, that little sucker got me! I really had no answer for him. So in order set an example for my kid and try to promote better safety, I went searching to get back on the chest protector bandwagon and now I find myself here.
I can tell you that I have tested a lot of chest/roost protectors over the course of 15 years with Dirt Rider, but I recently only came across a couple that I could actually live/ride with. The Thor Sentinel GP Roost Deflector comes in six different colors, three size options and will cost you $129.95. The Thor Sentinel is a lightweight certified stone shield that is constructed with energy dispersing molded panels and is a level 1 back protector constructed to reduce impact energy transmission. The Sentinel has an adjustable elastic torso strap with a ratcheting buckle closure that comes with strategically placed ventilation ports for maximum cooling. Its chassis has a soft liner molded for maximum comfort and also supports a back strap kit (just in case you want to remove the back panel) and ID panel that is sold separately. The Sentinel stone shield is tested and certified according to European Standard and the back protector is also tested and certified according to the European Standard.
Note: Stand by for the AMA to step in at some point and require all AMA sanctioned events to have some sort of standardized chest/back protection rule in place soon.
Sizing is true to form as I wear a size medium/large in the Sentinel, which is normal for my 170 pound 6’0 frame. I wasn't all that excited (on the inside) about setting a good safety example for my kid, but once I slipped the Sentinel on over my jersey, I started to re-think my fatherly decision. The Sentinel hugs your body and wraps around just enough to where it feels like it’s a part of your body. I was also impressed by the lightweight feel of the Sentinel and that it had enough ventilation for me not to bake out in the desert heat. I love that it has a ratchet style closure system and not a clip on style system as well. With the ratchet style system I can really feel the closure system start to hug around my torso and the Sentinel doesn't flop around on my body while riding. The soft shoulder pads don't do much for protection, but in this case for me, I do not mind the lack of plastic protection up on the tops of my shoulders. The downside to the soft shoulder foam padding is that it can rub the skin around your neck a little raw. If the collar of your jersey doesn't go up far enough around the neck area it can be bothersome. Although I didn’t have this problem on my Sentinel, my chest protection, pot-stirring son Aden did get a little chafing around the neck (from the foam padding moving across his skin). The Thor protector also is neck brace friendly as it accepts the Leatt and Atlas braces that I had on hand to test with the Sentinel.
There are only two things that can get me to wear a chest protector. One is my son telling me he wants me to be safer and the other is the chest protector has to be very, very comfortable. It can’t hinder my movement on the bike and must be cool enough to where I am not hot as hell when riding. The Sentinel checked all those boxes for me, but it took me a while to find a chest protector that fit my way of moving around on the bike. I figured I would pass on the information to all of you about how comfortable the Thor Sentinel GP Roost Protector is and how I have come to really enjoy wearing this when I ride. Yes, even when I wear other sets of gear besides Thor, you will now know that there could be a Thor Sentinel GP Roost Deflector under my jersey. Yes, it can be worn under the jersey as well so you don't have to worry about mix matching while riding. You’re safe! You can buy some Thor gear (Prime Fit is my favorite out of what Thor offers) and wear the Sentinel over the jersey like me or if you’re wearing another brand of gear you can wear it under.
Thanks Aden for bugging me enough to wear some protection. Your dad is getting up there in years and I guess I need to start dressing for the crash and not the ride. Thanks Thor for making a nice chest protector that isn't bulky and protects me well. You can check the Sentinel out at www.thormx.com.
If you have any questions about this test feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org