How kidney belts protect the biker
Kidney belts are among the most frequently bought items of clothing for bikers. So there must be something about the “biker’s corset” that makes it so popular. But there are a few different theories about what exactly the purpose of the kidney belt actually is. Reason enough to separate the fact from the fiction.
What kidney belts can and cannot do
The idea that you should wear a kidney belt to protect your kidneys against jolts and vibrations is a fairytale. Similarly, your kidneys are not going to suffer from wind chill if you don’t wear one. A kidney belt certainly is an effective way of protecting against cold and wind, but it’s mainly your back muscles that will benefit. In addition, a kidney belt provides support. Both of these factors help to prevent strain, aching muscles and fatigue, thus making long journeys a lot more comfortable.
So a kidney belt is certainly a worthwhile investment. The question is, which one should you choose? The answer to that question depends greatly on the conditions in which you will be wearing your kidney belt.
Which is the right kidney belt for you?
On hot summer days, the belt should protect the critical part of your back, e.g. between your (motorcycle) jeans and leather jacket, against the wind. But ideally it should also be breathable. A good belt for the summer months is shown on the left.
On cold days, a multi-layer kidney belt is highly recommended. An outer shell made of neoprene-type elastic foams should be combined with fleece on the inside or a thermal liner, which could also be detachable. For days when the weather gets seriously chilly, there are also belts with pockets for gel heat packs – a godsend when the thermometer is dropping closer to zero.
The following basic rule applies to all models: The kidney belt should be worn over your base layer and under your motorcycle jacket. That way it can do its job most efficiently.