Thor Sentinel Review – Effective off-road body protection
Wearing proper protection when riding a motorcycle is essential – if things go wrong you need to know what you are wearing will prevent or at least reduce the severity of injuries. And if you ride off-road on trail or adventure bikes then the same is true – that’s why there’s been a Thor Sentinel in our kitbag for over ten years …
The Thor Sentinel is made from injection mounted hard plastic panels attached to a bio foam interior. It goes over your head and two shoulder straps hold it in place at the top, while there are two adjustable quick release straps that go from the back and engage into the quick release click clasps at the front.
Although termed body armour, what the Thor Sentinel is actually protecting is the chest both back and front as it comes down to just below the bottom of your rib cage, the sides of the front sections going just under the arms.
The profile of the Sentinel is very slim, so will fit under a riding shirt or riding jacket , or in hot conditions can be worn on the outside as above.
Although designed for motocross, the Thor Sentinel is far mor multi-pupose than the manufacturers might have given it credit for. Because of the lightweight and slim profile, it’s ideal for use when tail riding and with no shoulder pads attached, can also be worn with an adventure jackets that tend to have integral shoulder pads.
When trail riding we team it up with a Knox padded shirt which provides excellent protection for elbows and shoulders, and when combined with the Sentinel offers comfortable but effective upper body protection. Having hard protection across your chest and upper spine comes in invaluable in even small crashes, and as the Sentinel fit so well, you hardly notice you are wearing it.
In addition, we find that when racing, the Thor works really well with a Leatt neck brace, the brace fitting into the neck aperture of the Sentinel and negating the need to any securing straps on the brace.
All day comfortable
We’ve used the Thor Sentinel all over the world, from dusty tracks in California to jungle trails in Cambodia. We’ve also worn it adventure riding in the South African Wilderness and the Italian Alps and can confirm that it can genuinely be worn all day and, in the case of the Alps, all day and all night for 36 hours.
An additional advantage of the shoulder straps and back section for long distance rides is the fact that the Sentinel also distributes the weight of your backpack or drink reservoir.
One slight disadvantage is that as an older design model Thor no longer stock the adult version, listing only the youth version on their own website. Online retailers still have stock of the adult size, but most only appear to have the small medium size, but we find that fits well.
The Sentinel looks super-cool any way you look at it – there’s a bit of a Stormtrooper feel about it and that can’t be a bad thing. As an older model, it’s been upgraded but we prefer the original design – top marks Thor
Again we cannot fault the Thor in this category, Our first one lasted a good eight years of constant use on just about every ride, and was only replaced when small cracks appeared in the sides of the shoulder straps. 5 stars
Whether you wear the Thor inside or outside a race shirt or under a jacket or gilet, it’s comfortable from the moment you put it on till the moment you take it off. It also takes the weight of backpacks away from the shoulders.
The Sentinel is well priced, with online sites selling them at around £50 to £60. As they last quite so well that’s a bargain for lightweight but effective chest protection that works for many off road riding disciplines.
RIDE EXPEDITIONS RATING - THOR SENTINEL CHEST PROTECTOR
The Thor Sentinel is the most popular chest protector in the world apparently, and on our experience we can see why. It’s well made, comfortable and lightweight and offers good protection from impacts and crashes. The lack of sizes might be an issue for larger riders, in which case the newer model the Sentinel GP will work just as well.