Taking a step back from Leatt’s recent ventures into everything from clothing to footwear, some may almost forget that their first product was a protective item. The Leatt neck brace was a unique piece when it first came out and was followed up with body armor designed to work well with or without neck braces. Over the years body armor and protection has evolved greatly and Leatt has always been near the front of the pack with those evolutions. The Body Protector Airflex Stealth top is a slim Level One, CE Certified piece and is one we’ve been happy to test, while thankfully not really needing to test all of its impact protection capabilities. Over the last few months it has become a go-to piece of kit for days in the bike park or when we’re e-biking some of the gnarliest DH trails on the west coast.
Leatt’s Airflex Stealth Body Protector is closer to a 3/4 sleeve top that fits snugly and doesn’t trap as much heat as bulkier, heavier protectors do. Obviously the downside to that is, there is less material cushioning your carcass as it smacks the ground, or trees, or rocks, or anything else you can chuck your meat at. The upside is we wear it a lot more because it’s not as hot or restrictive or “dorky” looking, after all we’re suckers for fashion.
This piece is CE-certified for Level One back, shoulder and elbow protection and also has a large chest pad to keep you fully covered. One area it doesn’t offer much protection is the upper hip bones, which Leatt’s heavier duty Body Protector 3DF Airfit and Airfit Lite both offer. These units offer a bit more protection but are also slightly thicker and while they won’t make you look like a linebacker on two wheels, they aren’t as stealthy as the Airflex Stealth. Go figure…
Leatt designed the Body Protector Airflex Stealth with ventilated soft impact gel pads located at high-risk areas and they help offer some protection while letting heat escape and cooler moving air circulate in. This protector is not FIM Certified, however it does hold an FFM (French Federation) certification. A certification standard we’re more than comfortable with. As with almost all Leatt products, the Airflex Stealth Body Protector has been optimized for use with a Leatt neck brace thanks to their BraceOn neck brace fitting system.
Leatt uses a 3D design to help ensure a dialed fit that maintains comfortability in addition to utilizing a zip-up compression sock design to maximize evaporation. The Airflex Stealth Body Protector employs anti-odor “MoistureCool” and “AirMesh” wicking fabrics in its construction. The Airflex Stealth is able to be washed, however, it is handwash only. Leatt offers the AirFlex Stealth Body Protector in sizes small through double-X, all offering are a unisex fit. If a long-sleeve body protector isn’t up your alley, Leatt does offer a Body Tee version for 40-dollars less but with the same amount of protection above the elbows.
Over the years we’ve worn a lot of body armor and many of those items have come from Leatt. In fact two years ago they supplied us with gear for a pretty epic dual sport adventure where we rode dirt bikes and bike parks in northern Idaho and wore the same Body Protector on the motos and MTBs. While the Airfit Lite is a great protector and what I still wear on my dirt bike, it was a little bit warm and bulky for hot days in the park and certainly isn’t something I’d want to pedal in. I loved it in rocky parks like Mammoth and Northstar at Tahoe, but for more parks, I wanted something a little slimmer and lighter. The Body Protector Airflex Stealth fit the bill perfectly.
The piece is as comfortable as it gets for a full coverage upper body armor layer. It fits snugly and covers the vital spots if sized properly. Check the sizing chart and be truthful, as a baggy top won’t keep the pads where they’re supposed to be.
Beyond some minor low-sides and shoulder slams into trees, I was lucky during the testing period on the Stealth. No spectacular front flips or back flops to test the spine protector, but I’m confident that it will perform if/when it’s needed. On my lower speed crashes the elbow pads handled the impact fine and only on the sharpest rocks did I wish for a little thicker padding. The shoulder pads offered sufficient padding for when I’d take those inside lines just a little too hot and bust my shoulder on a tree, something that I’m cursed with doing at bike parks for some reason. Luckily the Airflex Stealth took the sting out and I didn’t drive home with my typical shoulder bruises.
While it may seem cool to ride in a t-shirt and rock the scars to match, I’ve been on the ground enough over the years to know that carrying stuck sheets into the shower to peel skin off the bedding isn’t cool anymore. Nevertheless, I’m still pretty vain so if I can find a piece of kit that protects me from the more frequently encountered tumbles and shoulder bumps without looking like a kook, I’m all about it. If I was going to be racing all out down a super rocky track, I may opt for the heavier duty 3DF Airfit Lite, but for everything else, I’ll be wearing the Airflex Stealth.
The Body Protector Airflex Stealth offers just enough protection to make me feel better than wearing nothing without the bulk and heat of heavier protectors, although I do wish the shoulder protection caps were just a little bigger all around. No, it is not as comfortable as wearing nothing, but it’s a whole lot more comfortable than scrubbing rocks out of your forearm or having to end the day to go spend a few hundred bucks on stitches ‘cuz a sharp rock split you open. With the Airflex Stealth you can simply dust yourself off, straighten your bars and keep on riding.
Disclosure: Our team selects all of the products we review and do so with honesty and objectivity in mind. Some of the products we receive come directly from Competitive Cyclist, who also value our readers and have offered them a 15% discount on their first purchase by using LOAMWOLF15 (Some exclusions apply). Through this program we may also receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support, TLW.