Hard or soft armor for off road.

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by dazler, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. dazler

    dazler Been here awhile

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    Hi now that soft armor is been out for a while what are the pro cons of using it off road.
    Im not a pro so I wont be flying over gnarly stuff. Mostly I go slow.

    My terrain desert rocks, small big you name it. Sharp edges flat etc.

    What would protect better on a slow fall with bike on top and hard semi big rocks under.
    Jump over handlebar land on the gnarly terrain.
    etc..

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. motoinmoab

    motoinmoab Questioning Reality

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    What armor to wear is a really tough call. The more you have on the better protected you will be, that seems obvious. But too much and you'll just quit riding: you'll be slow and hot and it will take 1/2 hour to get ready to ride and your buddies will be long gone down the trail. Wear too little and you run the risk of ending up like me, in the hospital my whole vacation. I had a great first hour or riding but it ended there.

    You question of whether to go with soft or hard is personal choice, usually based on experience. I like the hard shell stuff like a chest protector from Leatt, the 5.5 Pro HD, or the Alpinestars A-8. I find them comfortable and they will take a big hit before you have to. Two other pieces of armor that will fit more like the hard shell stuff are the bull riders vest and TekVest for snowmobile racers.

    The new technology soft armor that hardens up on impact, D3O is one brand and Leatt has something similar, is good stuff too. It is soft and comfortable and cool but it won't protect you nearly as well as the hard shell in certain kinds of crashes. There have been tests posted on U-tube of guys smacking each other with a cast iron frying pan, with a D3O pad on one elbow and a hard shell w/ liner guard on the other. They have all rated the hard shelled pad better, less painful. I haven't tried that test personally, but I have the Fox Launch hard pad and 661 D3O elbow pads and I've smacked them into door frames hard, ouch hard, and the shelled Fox pad hurts less. I take that to mean it protects better. But the soft pads are more comfortable to wear. I'm going in circles?

    And how you land, and what lands on you, is going to have everything to do with how you come out of it. Soft pads generally don't have strong abrasion resistance fabric coverings, they are made to be lightweight for max comfort. So I can see my 661 pads being good for one hard sliding crash and then they're shredded. A hard shell will have some really kool looking scratch marks in it, the kind that make great story telling around the camp fire.

    I like the hard shell stuff better. I'd rather be hot than hospitalized. YMMV

    Have you looked at this post on ARMOR ? It's gotten long but I think the quality of input for so many guys is really valuable.
    #2
  3. Yooper_Bob

    Yooper_Bob Long timer

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    Tekvest for body core protection!
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  4. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    :nod :stupid

    Tekrider's got some new dualsport-oriented gear coming out. Rather than the "360-degreee" protection, they've scaled back the armor on the back and ventilated the shit out of the chest/sides/back. So you've got great airflow, 270°-coverage for wearing a pack, and they're cut taller for standing-up riding.

    I've got one of these new vests enroute to me and will do a review when I get some time in it.

    For dualsport riding, this may be the ticket; it may even replace my freestyle. :eek1

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. James Adams

    James Adams ɹǝsn uʍop ǝpᴉsdn Administrator

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    Hard/sharp surfaces -> hard armor
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  6. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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  7. dazler

    dazler Been here awhile

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    thanks.
    That tekvest does look nice so it feel more like a body armor? police type.
    I wonder when it be for sale, and how would look their new dual sport model. and $ how much

    I need armor now

    Would this ones be okay. I was looking at this type of armor one piece have almost all the protection.

    troy lee design shock doctor 7855-HW
    http://www.btosports.com/p/TLDBP785...=http://www.btosports.com/cs/search?q=7855-HW

    Leatt 3df Air fit
    http://www.btosports.com/p/leatt-3d...rts.com/cs/search?q=Leatt%203DF%20AirfitLeatt

    Leatt Adventure Body Protector
    http://www.btosports.com/p/LEATT-ADVENTURE-BODY-PROTECTOR?utm_expid=10313653-9.zUptYZhWQoCem67ipykHEA.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.btosports.com%2Fcs%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dleatt%2520body%2520armo

    But then would this type have to be wash everyday? or just air out?
    #7
  8. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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  9. wakewop

    wakewop Hucker

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    I tried on the leatt airfit last week and it was the most comfortable armor have ever worn. Also the reviews say its a LOT less hot in warm weather.
    #9
  10. Zander

    Zander Been here awhile

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    I use a Tekvest Rally max. :thumb

    The crossover looks pretty good.

    SnowMule, thanks for the link. Tekrider web site does not list the Crossover.

    Does the current model shoulder protection fit with the new crossover? YES IT DOES (I just read it in the description ...)
    #10
  11. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    All their detachable shoulder pads will work with various vests of the same size. May even be able to go ±1 size with them and still make them work. Colors/patterns might not match though, if that's of any importance to you.

    The crossover is their newest vest. Not a lot of publicity on them yet.

    Rather than a "one size fits most" approach, tekrider makes their gear in multiple sizes so you get something that fits.
    #11
  12. dazler

    dazler Been here awhile

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    wow now im more interested in those tekvest. even that I do like the TLD shock armor looks.

    So what models would be a no go on hot summers 95* F plus
    http://www.tekrider.com/rs_01.html
    http://www.tekrider.com/fs_megasport.html
    http://www.tekrider.com/fs_offroadlite.html
    http://www.tekrider.com/fs_offroadmax.html
    http://tekrider.com/rm_1.html
    http://www.tekrider.com/ps_or_05.html
    https://www.xtremesledparts.com/crossover-tekvest.html I assume this one already goes to the second round with all the airflow they mention on that page

    at least that would eliminate some from the list.
    Also do all of them have UHMW, is that attached to all the foams or only in some areas?
    their page dont specify.
    #12
  13. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    They're all UHMW with closed-cell foam on either side. Kinda what makes a Tekvest a Tekvest.
    [​IMG]

    Some gear, like my race vest, have that internal armor with an additional UHMW layer on front/back.
    While it adds protection, it also adds heat. On snowmobiles it's a lot less of an issue, and I'd rather have the protection there.
    I upgraded to the race vest from my Freestyle on the snow because the chest plate is solid. Under the freestyle's zipper, there's a gap in armor about 2" along the center of your chest. Got a lot of bruises there.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    For warm-weather summer riding, I'd go with the freestyle or crossover. Those have the most ventilation of what they offer, where the rally sport vests are designed more for protection than ventilation.

    Like I said, I've got the Crossover on its way to me, so we'll see how that does after I get some time in it. Having had my Freestyle for ~7yrs now, my race vest for ~5, and an assortment of other gear/vests of theirs through the years... the crossover looks like the best-features of what they offer for summer riding.

    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. Zander

    Zander Been here awhile

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    Not sure, but it seems that the crossover does not have back protection as it is intended to wear with a backpack. Am I wrong ?

    Quote from product description:

    • Rear armor foam panel removed to increase air flow while wearing a back pack
    #14
  15. motoinmoab

    motoinmoab Questioning Reality

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    I wondered the same thing and looking at the pic it looks like the back is just a piece of plastic with some holes in it. TekVest have always been really protective so this seems like a big change of direction for them. I guess we need to wait for SnowMule's review when he gets his. I'm really interested in the Crossover also.
    #15
  16. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    They've divided their products into two categories, "4D" and "3D" coverage.
    4D is everything they've made up till recently, covering 4 quadrants (front, sides, back).
    Their only "3D" offerings are the Crossover and Outback, providing coverage for front and sides with only a lightweight/ventilated structure on the back to hold its shape.

    Personally I don't think the "outback" line is going to take off. Combining pack into armor works in some situations, but greatly limits flexibility and ventilation. WARY makes an avalanche airbag pack with a vest/armor built-in, and while it's a cool idea, -nobody- wears one.
    That, and anything in the chest pouches is going to get destroyed if I wear it, so that just cut a lot of useable storage volume off that setup.

    [​IMG]

    ISR is the snocross racing sanctioning body; they lay out in their rulebook minimum coverage which most Tekvests provide (or can be made to provide; shoulder pads are a requirement and can be added to make vests like the Freestyle race-legal for coverage area). The race vests provide the required 144"-orange area, while a vest like the freestyle or trail pro would require a jersey over the vest to be "legal". These two vests cannot be made ISR-legal, this is the first time Tekrider's gone away from those regulations in their equipment.

    [​IMG]
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  17. Zander

    Zander Been here awhile

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    SnoMule, Thank you for the detailed information.

    I don't like the idea of having no protection pad on the back. A backpack is not protection and depending what you put in, could cause injury.

    I ride with a Rally Tekvest and love it. More ventilation would be welcome and the crossover sure seems to address the issue.

    I hope Tekrider will provide the option of adding a "back pad protector" to the crossover.

    In reality, it should come with the vest so the user can decide to use it or not.
    #17
  18. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    I don't think it's a "no protection" thing, it's just that it doesn't match what the rest of the vest offers.

    Without having seen it yet, I'm guessing that back panel is just the 1/8" UHMW panel like I have on the back of my race vest pictured above.

    So while it's not "protection" like the rest of the vest has to offer, it'll still be fairly puncture- and abrasion-resistant.

    If you're concerned about not having armor there, go with the Freestyle or other "4D" vest. With all their other offerings, I don't think they have much interest in a removable/detachable back panel. And with the pack I carry, I'm pretty sure it offers me more protection on the back/spine than even my race vest does.

    The original Tekvest design was for snowmobile snocross racing. Intent was to be pulled on before the race, worn during the race, and removed after the checkered flag. As time went on they realized there was a market for trail snowmobilers, and they added some features for that style of riding. Mountain riders wanted a lighter/cooler vest, and the Freestyle was born. Since they've got a solid hold in the snowmobile world and many dualsport moto riders realized this gear works well, they've started to shift some of their designs to a summer- and dirt-friendly product.

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. dazler

    dazler Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the details.

    Do you think the end user would be able to add a foam protector to the inside of the back like a D30 or similar to absorb any possible impact on the crossover?
    #19
  20. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    I really doubt it.
    The goal of the design is lightweight/breatheable.
    The more stuff you put on it, like pockets and armor, the less lightweight/breatheable it is.

    If you're looking for armor with 360° protection, take a look at the Freestyle or one of the heavier/more protective vests they offer.

    [​IMG]
    #20