Bluegrass recently added all-new back and shoulder protection vests to their lineup of body armor; the Bluegrass Seamless Lite D3O and the Seamless B&S D3O. Both are said to be a lightweight, comfortable option, designed to feel like a second skin. In essence, these features should encourage riders to wear additional protection more often, which can be no bad thing. We got both of these Seamless Back Protection Vests in for review.
All photos by Finlay Anderson
Review: Bluegrass Seamless Back Protectors
First off, the new Bluegrass Seamless Back Protection Vests do not replace the Bluegrass Armor line we tested last year. The Armor Lite and Armor B&S are both able to accommodate hydration bladders, a feature they carry off very well. They also have a very different jacket-like design with a zip running up the front.
So, what’s new, different and better with the Bluegrass Seamless Back Protection Vests? The Seamless options drop the water carrying capacity in favor of a more comfortable, minimalist design. They have a pullover vest design, hence the seamless. They are also much longer than other offerings from the brand.
You’ll also note the fishnet design, said to wick sweat rapidly away from the skin, helping to keep riders cool in the heat of summer.
Bluegrass set out to create their most wearable protection yet, and we’re pleased to say they absolutely nailed it. For me, the fit is nothing short of perfect. The Dryarn microfiber based fabric is elasticated, allowing the vest to fit comfortably over my chest (32C, ladies). I really like the extra length these vests have, allowing me to tuck the bottom into my riding pants; this prevents the vest riding up my torso as I pedal. I’m happy to report the complete absence of chaffing while wearing the Seamless Lite D3O option.
The D3O back protector itself is quite stiff when cold. We shot these photos on a very cold morning, this is why the back protector is sticking up slightly rather than molding its shape to fit the curvature of my upper back. However, when I wore the Bluegrass Seamless B&S Protection Vest for a day of shuttling the DH tracks at One Giant Leap, the D3O warmed up and became a lot more flexible, taking on the shape of my spine.
Speaking of One Giant Leap (a Bike Park in North Wales)… I had a fairly large OTB on a track popular with British DH Pros, known as the Ride Portugal track. I came down hard on my right shoulder into a rocky gully. Thanks to the Seamless B&S Vest, I got off lightly with only a small tear to my right trapezius muscle. I try not to think how bad it may have been had I not been wearing any shoulder protection that day.
This was a long day of riding, from 10 AM until 4 PM. I wore the back protector vest all day very comfortably, almost to the point where I forgot I was even wearing it. That said, I think the B&S version is a little too bulky for long days in the saddle, and would definitely favor the more minimalist Seamless D3O Lite option for racing enduro.
Pricing & Availability
Both back protection vests get two sizing options; S/M and L/XL, for torso lengths of 38-48cm, and 48-58cm, respectively.
The Bluegrass Seamless Lite D3O retails at 190€, £170, 225 US$, 300 CAD, and 300 AUD. Meanwhile, the Seamless B&S D3O is a little pricier, in line with the extra protection you get at the shoulders. It will set you back 250€, £230, 300 US$, 350 CAD, 400 AUD.