Bluegrass Armour Lite
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Bluegrass has updated its Armour Lite vest-style back protector for 2020. Gone is the D30 back panel, replaced with a three-layer EVA foam number.
The new back panel is broad across the top and manages to extend down to the small of the back, offering a decent level of coverage.
Bluegrass offers the Armour Lite vest in four sizes, so be sure to suss out its size guide before buying.
My small test sample sized up as expected and fitted securely, thanks in part to the panelled vest construction, which uses a stretchy fabric in key areas, along with open mesh panels elsewhere in a bid to prevent it from overheating when you do get working hard.
There’s enough give to allow for a thin baselayer under it should the weather require it, though.
Putting on the Armour Lite is easy thanks to the full-length zip at the front, and I really appreciated that Bluegrass includes a small zip garage to keep the puller from irritating your chest or snagging your jersey.
In use, I was really impressed by how stable the Armour Lite felt. Even over really rough ground, it’s secure fit, shaping and low weight meant I couldn’t feel it shift around as I rode.
The back panel flexes easily enough too, and doesn’t feel restrictive in any way when you’re moving around on the bike. In fact, the Armour Lite largely goes unnoticed, even if the top of the back panel does stand proud of your back somewhat (which can make getting jerseys on a little trickier than normal).
It doesn’t feel quite as discrete as Fox’s Baseframe Pro Sleeveless protector, though.
There are three pockets at the back, the middle of which is zipped for stowing essentials. The two side pockets don’t close so are limited to housing snacks or non-valuables.
You can also fit a 1-litre bladder in place and there are loops to guide a hydration hose securely over your shoulder if you do fit one.
On warmer days the Armour Lite can get pretty sticky, but it’s no worse than any other back protector I’ve tried.
It’s not exactly cheap at £120, but more or less on par with Fox’s Baseframe offering, although it’s not quite as sleek or comfortable. Still, there’s a lot to like about the new Armour Lite back protector.