*Best front and rear coverage vest

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

100% Tarka Protection Vest


  • Chest and back protection panels, great ventilation, long and short sleeve versions also available, secure fit, great value, low profile


  • Back panel doesn’t cover coccyx


100% Tarka Protection Vest


Price as reviewed:


The 100% Tarka Protection Vest has thick flexible protection panels on both front and rear sides and is available in three different versions, including more expensive short and long-sleeve versions alongside the vest we’ve tested here. It offers an impressive level of protection and performance which, combined with it’s excellent value for money, makes it some of the best body armour for mountain biking that we’ve tested. 

100%’s design sees the removable protection panels sandwiched together in three layers on both the spine and the chest, with protection ratings on the back panel segment rated CE 1621-2, which means it passes motorbike certification. All padding is seriously chunky and sturdy (17mm thick) with large holes to let cool air in and hot air out. The panel layers are made from a dense, closed-cell, foam-type material that are easy to remove to stick the vest in the washing machine – the anti-bacterial fabric only goes so far! The back panel doesn’t extend all the way to the coccyx, but there’s an extra two-layer pad section stitched into the vest that sits just on top of the tailbone. 

Tarka’s full length zipper is located off to the side with a padded material flap where it joins the nape of the neck. An elastic waistband with silicone grippers helps stop the Tarka from riding up. Internally, there’s soft meshed fabric everywhere and it feels and performs very similarly to ION’s Scrub Amp protection vest i.e., it’s comfortable and effective at wicking moisture without getting too heavy and or wetting out when sweating a lot. The fabric is billed as ‘compression fit’, but it’s actually just snug, with a comfortable and close fit, rather than a squeezed-in, tight compression sensation like 661’s EVO jacket.

With the padding sliding out easily, there’s the option to remove the chest plate and use the Tarka as a back protector on days you don’t need full coverage, but, seeing as the front protection here is worth having and brings minimal intrusion, we left it in place all the time.

Want maximum protection? Consider the Leatt 3DF AirFit Body Vest.


Despite what feels like serious 360º cover, 100%’s vest is unrestrictive when riding and never felt too bulky. The gap in the back panel above the tailbone helps with articulation and it stays put when bouncing around and twisting. Another bonus is that it hides its thickness well if you happen to catch yourself in the mirror and half expect to see the Hulk after a hard gym session. Overall, this is a totally sorted comfortable vest that comes at a great price for the finish quality and protection offered.


Sizes:S - XXL
Women's version:No