Forcefield are a British firm making excellent body armour and technical clothing, their latest equipment really impresses...

Mid Layer

Forcefield Tornado Advance Shirt & Pants

Now we’re getting fancy. This Forcefield stuff is new to me, but after just two days wearing and riding I’m impressed. Again, I try not to be too fancy. I like each layer to have a specific function. So the top outer keeps the rain out and takes the hits. This layer keeps the wind out and keeps me warm.

The Tornado Advance does this by combing a layer of windproof Defender fabric, which is also water resistant to 8000mm (apparently – if I knew what that meant I’d tell you, but nearly waterproof is the gist), with a second layer called Thermolite which, as you might guess, has thermal qualities. These fabrics are also quick drying, so if you do get wet hopefully you’ll not stay sopping wet for too long.

The detailing on this kit is top notch and both fabrics are soft to the touch – always nice. But as well as comfort in that sense, it’s the breathability that helps here. It got a bit warm from time to time, when the going got real tricky, and while I could feel the temperature rise under the layers, it never got sweaty, or if it did the layers were wicking the moisture away nicely. None of that saturated cotton T-shirt here.

Armour layer

Forcefield Pro-Shirt X-V

More new kit for me. Gotta say I’ve not been a fan of full body armour shirts – they’re typically too heavy and too hot. I need the protection (especially at my age) but I’d sooner have a cool bod, and a cool head, so have picked simple lightweight plastic scatter guards in the past, with no shoulder or elbow protection – that has worked better for me than a suit of boil-in-the-bag armour.

Instantly, though, this Pro-Shirt X-V is different. It’s much, much lighter that the shirts I’ve tried in the past, while the BeCool base layer fabric is exactly that – both cool and comfortable (again, soft!). The armour pads are full-strength CE Level 2 kit, which moulds to your body as your body temp warms the material. As well, the sleeves, while a close fit, don’t constrict your arms, so they don’t induce arm pump – another factor I’ve not enjoyed with this kind of product. But I also like that this shirt is pretty discreet, it’s not ‘grid iron’ big and slips easily under the usual mx shirt.

In all, an excellent product. It worked so well over the two days of riding in Wales that I’m a big convert. Can’t wait to see how well it works on warmer days.

Base layer

Forcefield Base Layer Shirt & Pants

Call me a wuss, but I had a base layer under a base layer! In this case the Forcefield, er, Base Layer (does what it says on the tin…). It’s BeCool again, a breathable fabric that keep you cool, fresh even, and with flat seams it’s supremely comfortable and, as Forcefield say, ‘silky’ even. As ever, this stuff wins hands-down over a cotton T-shirt and is as important on a winter’s day as it is in summer in keeping your body temperature properly regulated, especially in terms of removing the sweat from your skin’s surface.

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