Little known in the US, Knox has been leading motorcycle safety innovations from the UK for over a decade now. For 2012, this new Meta-Sys back protector promises to boost protection, comfort, convenience and area of coverage while the firm’s innovative Scaphoid Protection System and Boa lacing technology make their way to dirt bike gloves, items that typically offer barely any protection at all.
In white and pale blue, the Knox Meta-Sys looks more like something you’d find in a dentist’s office than a traditional back protector. A six-part plastic outer shell dissipates impacts and provides protection against penetration, while a soft foam inner material provides energy absorption. Overal protection is said to exceed the safest CE2 standard, but by what percentage is unclear. All those articulated section are there to facilitate natural body movement — standing, bending, leaning, twisting — without sacrificing coverage. As you bend into a crouch, the protector can “grow” 1.5 inches to fully envelope your now-lengthened back while all the plates are able to slide around each other, facilitating twisting, as you may do while hanging off a sportsbike. Scapula protectors cover the shoulder blades and the liner detaches so you can wash it.
Bringing scaphoid protection to dirt bike gloves is a good idea. A tiny bone at the base of your thumb, it lacks bloodflow, meaning healing can be a real bitch if you break it. Knox first brought schaphoid armor with its crazy Hand Armor range of sportsbike gloves, now these new Oren, Oryx and Orsa gloves expand that protection to dirt.
It’s the Orsa’s we’re most interested in, also offering gel honeycomb knuckle guards and the Boa lace system you may be familiar with from fancy tennis shoes. That’s basically a ratchet that tightens or loosens a steel cable to “dial in” a perfect fit. With impact protection in the knuckles and now scaphoid, plus that extra retention, these should actually be capable of protecting your hands when you invariably eat shit off-road.