Armor- What I learned after the crash

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by motoinmoab, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. CGFS

    CGFS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    57
    So I'm sold on the armor idea even fr my slab riding commuter life. Hopefully will be getting an off road bike at a later date. My question is I will be living in the Monterey bay area and need a full suit that I can throw over the armor I will be buying. Right now I'm thinking Leatt 5.5 HD PRO with separate elbow and knee shin guards. I won't have the time in the AM to mess with the armor and pants and a jacket I need a one zip solution for moderate to warm weather. Any ideas?
  2. gen

    gen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Oddometer:
    808
    Location:
    Asia
    One zip solution = Aerostich Roadcrafter or one of their one-piece suits.
  3. CGFS

    CGFS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    57
    I would go that route but don't care/ would prefer if it's not waterproof lined and thus don't want to pay the premium price for the stitch suit. Would also like something that has the ability to stretch a bit farther into the warmer weather.
  4. motoinmoab

    motoinmoab Questioning Reality Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Carefree, AZ
  5. NYTrainer

    NYTrainer Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    229
    Location:
    Geneseo, NY
    I have several jackets/pants/boots combos that I select from, depending upon the weather or type of riding I am doing.
    I also have a FOX Pressure suit that I wear during warmer weather.

    Last May, on a pretty chilly day,I went down hard after hitting a washout on a seasonal road wearing my Olympia Jacket & gloves, Klim Dakar Pants, Axo Dart Boots & an AFX DS Helmet.
    Hard armor under everything.

    The result was only a sprained ankle & knee. I can only imagine what it would have been like, if I was not wearing the gear.

    Except for the broken visor & face shield on the helmet, none of the gear had so much as a mark on it.
    Quality gear works!
  6. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    23,612
    Location:
    I LIVE IN A GIANT BUCKET
    Spent some time (okay, most of last week) in the Crossover tekvest.
    Early in the week I went snowmobiling, then wore it most of the time in Jackson for the races (wandering around, onnamountain, takin pictures).

    Wore it one day on the sled... Nice, but it's not a snowmobile vest (for me anyways). Needs shoulder pads, and I like the warmth of my race vest. For someone who isn't such a gear nerd or if you're new to snowmobiling it's good protection.
    The chest protection/coverage is slightly less than my race vest, but much better than the Freestyle. I like the solid panel, vs. the two-halves zipper on the freestyle.

    The back panel is just a 1/8" sheet of UHMW with numerous holes in it. There's about a 3/8" strip of foam on the inside on either side of that panel so the panel sits off your spine a bit. Took a little getting used to compared to my other armor, but after 10 minutes it didn't bother me. The additional ventilation/airspace was nice, my back didn't sweat much in the vest.

    The one disconnectable shoulder is ... cool, I guess. I don't wear a neck brace, so it's hard to say how well that works for getting into and out of the vest with a brace on. I just pull the vest over my head and leave the shoulder connected.

    Ventilation. Yes. Wow.
    Snugged it down when it was chilly out and still needed a jacket or windbreaker over it. With my race vest I'd have been comfortable without another layer. I'm looking forward to spending some time in it on the bike this summer. During the "heat" of the day (low to mid 40s, guessing) I was comfortable in just a tshirt and vest.

    Size. As with most Tekvests, their sizes run small. I usually wear XL tshirts, large jackets/jerseys (6ft/180lbs), and the Medium size tekvest fits me well. Granted, I prefer my gear a little on the snug side.
    It's tall, about 2" taller than my other vests. Feels like the chest plate is just moved down a bit rather than 2" taller overall, but after getting used to it I found it comfortable. The waist strap on my sled pack rides right on the bottom of the crossover (by the D-ring on the front), where with my race vest and freestyle the vest sits over that strap.
    The only time I found the vest awkwardly tall was when I was sitting down (truck or camp chair). Not a big deal. On a sled (and probably a bike), it wasn't an issue, and with a pack on it'll keep the vest from riding up.

    tl;dr: Chest/side protection like my race vest (awesome). Needs shoulder pads (I need shoulder pads). Very well ventilated on the back. Recommend for taller riders.

    Need to get better pics. :lol3
    [​IMG]

    I put in for a snocross/hillcross race this weekend... I'll talk to tech and see if they'll let me wear it on the hillcross course; it's not an "approved" snowmobile racing vest but if I wear a pack I should be good to go. I'll try and rope someone into taking pictures. Be rockin' my race vest on the snocross course since that's what its made for.
  7. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    23,612
    Location:
    I LIVE IN A GIANT BUCKET
    Yes, tekvests work. :eek1 :lol3
    [​IMG]
  8. 2Stamp

    2Stamp Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    458
    Location:
    Lehi, UT
    I spent last weekend in Moab riding with the Leatt 5.5HD. I have to say, I really like this thing. Lightweight, non-restrictive, hardly noticed it was there! :1drinkI wore my Ogio flight vest over the top, so I got a little warm but that is not the Leatt’s fault. Mostly sweaty on the back. Next time out I’ll ride without the flight vest to see how the ventilation feels.
    For the knees, I’ve been wearing Leatt 3DF knee guards for the last year. I hardly notice them as well and with my height, I don’t have a gap between the bottom of the guard and top of boot like some experience. For the elbows I picked up the Fox Titan Pro Elbow Guard. This was my first time wearing dedicated/separate elbow guards since I’ve been mostly wearing a Juggarnaut previously. I found myself forgetting they were there after about 5 min of riding. Next purchase will be a neck brace, likely the Leatt Trail. I'm interested to see how it integrates with the 5.5HD.
  9. rallykazoo

    rallykazoo Dummy

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    33
    I just replaced the backpad that came with my firat gear kilimanjaro jacket with a CE lvl 2 d30 backpad from klim. I also replaced the foam hip pads in my pants with d30. Makes me feel a little better about the gear.
  10. pne

    pne Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,327
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I like this thread, I used to be really interested in this kind of stuff. Having road raced for a few years we always had the best gear we could afford. I want to touch on a different POV which I've developed over the years. I used to be the ATGATT guy, full leathers on the street, when dirtbiking I wore the velocity gear pressure suit.

    The biggest problem that ATGATT fanatics don't address is fatigue. You will all agree that the most critical part of motorcycle safety is your brain, after all you are the nut behind the handle bars twisting the throttle. I want to put out the opposing view point that too much unnecessary gear wears the rider down with heat, restriction of movement, and general fatigue. This will undoubtedly affect your riding ability, reaction time, and judgement.

    What I found repeatedly, was that wearing the pressure suit was hot and exhausting. In our trail rides that involved frequent stops, tight single track, pulling out stuck bikes, etc, I was getting way to hot despite gulping down water at every stop from a camel pack. Not surprising considering how the pressure suit is basically insulating your body with a bunch of pads and restricting your movement.

    The effects are obvious. I'm a semi-athletic guy, I'm not out of shape but I can't run 5 miles or anything like that. My friend is a firefighter, great shape, works out regularly, used to wearing the extreme safety gear. We rode single track together one afternoon. I wore a jersey, mx pants, kneepads, boots, and gloves. No upper body protection. He wore a pressure suit with jersey over top as well as padded shorts and knee braces. A couple hours into the woods with regular breaks, not extremely difficult trails or anything, he had to stop. I could tell he was overheating from the gear and he had to sit down because he was about to puke. I on the other hand was absolutely fine, wondering what was the matter. What's even more interesting? He is a more advanced rider than me, yet crashed much more frequently. Whereas I had only a couple light tipovers.

    So take from this what you will. I know there is no convincing some people about wearing less gear. But the reality is there is a price to pay for strapping all that padding on yourself, which we overlook. Personally I dress for the conditions. If you put on a neck brace, pressure suit, padded shorts, knee braces, and you go for a single track ride on a 100 degree day, you are more likely to get heat stroke.

    Also I think it bears mentioning the purpose of the gear we wear. Is it designed to prevent serious injury, such as a helmet? Or is it to prevent wear and tear on ourselves, like gloves? Or superficial injury, like elbow pads?

    From my years of riding in the dirt, personally I rate these as the most common serious injuries.

    -impaling vital organs on branches/sticks at speed. (kidney/chest plate)
    -head injury from crashing, striking branches (helmet)
    -broken bones from falls, most seriously ribs, femur, hip (debatable whether gear can help some of these, but kidney belt and impact shorts)

    You have to consider, are injuries like skinned elbows, sprained wrists, rash, collarbones, etc really worth wearing the extra gear? Is the extra gear likely to wear you out and cause you to crash more? What are the types of injuries you're most likely to have in the terrain/weather you're riding in?

    For the record, I've been riding street for 10 years, dirt for 5, racing and track days for 3 years. I own a full gamut of gear from one piece leathers, 5-10 helmets, a pressure suit, one of those PBR vests, impact shorts, knee pads, shin guards, etc.
    Jproaster, c_b1 and Blakduk like this.
  11. OKDQ

    OKDQ Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    998
    Location:
    OK
    Dude, I disagree with you in every aspect of your logic, so much so that I'm not even going to address your points individually. To each his own and good luck with your own self, you will likely need it!

  12. pne

    pne Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,327
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Try me. Rather than a knee jerk response and a joke about how I am an accident waiting to happen. I'm an engineer and I consider myself pragmatic in my reasoning. I use different types of safety gear for all my hobbies and have probably hit the ground more than most of you. I dirt bike, do track days, downhill mountain bike, and snowboard. I have a lot of real world experience on the subject.
  13. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    23,612
    Location:
    I LIVE IN A GIANT BUCKET
    I'll agree with you on a lot of that. My biggest thing is the pack I wear - over 20lbs of shit in there. THAT will wear you out, more than the gear will.

    I too have a lot of gear i've tried with varying degrees of success over the years on snow and dirt. There is a balance between protection and comfort (physical as well as endurance).

    Me? I'll take the good protection over the lightweight thing. When I wreck, I wreck hard.
  14. pne

    pne Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,327
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    That's one lesson I learned the hard way as well. Wore a heavy backpack perhaps 30lb with straps done up tight. Went down and fell on my side, unable to tuck and roll, the strap dislocated my shoulder. I'll only ride with a small camel pack now.

    To clarify, i'm not saying ditch all your gear. But think about what you consider to be a debilitating injury, and what the likelihood is of that. Choose your gear accordingly. There is a reason why policemens vests only cover the vital organs/center of mass
  15. pne

    pne Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,327
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    oh and one more thing before I get lynched out of here for my crazy talk. Hugely important but also not often discussed is how to fall. Some people think crashes are involuntary and there is nothing you can do once you are flying through the air. Sure... and countersteering is a myth too :wink:

    Until I learned to fall properly, I got hurt a lot. Especially when I first started downhill biking, I completely trashed a pressure suit. Falls must be practiced and your brains instincts unlearned. Falling forwards, arms must be relaxed, elbows tucked usually hands against the chest, not crossed. Head and neck also relaxed, chin against chest, dropping one shoulder to prepare to roll. Similarly, falling backwards the arms need to be at your side, elbows tucked and not back. Shoulders spread to take impact off your head, feet forward and transferring your falling energy to a sliding out motion.

    Those pressure suits have a half inch of foam and will not prevent you from injury if you crash, tense up stiffly, reach out your hands to catch yourself, and transfer all that energy directly into your joints and bones. Without any type of armor, free runners are able to leap from 2nd story buildings without injury with a simple roll.

  16. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    23,612
    Location:
    I LIVE IN A GIANT BUCKET
    I rode buckin' bulls in the rodeo. You figure out how to fall pretty quick doing that. :deal
    The vest is there to keep your insides inside when you get hooked or kicked. It does nothing to soften the landing.

    Won't ride a bull (or get near them without a fence between them and me) without a vest... won't ride a sled without one either. Usually pull my vest on even if i'm around them.

    All it takes is one rider fucking up a jump, and when you're standing inches outside the markers, carbides and studs and tracks hurt. :yikes
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Edit: Regarding that crash pic, I was pretty much ejected from my sled. Kind of a funky step-down double, short-track guys could clear it pretty easily before the turn, longtrack guys (what I was riding) had some issues because there was virtually no runout before the turn into the hairpin. A LOT of riders ate shit in that stepdown, the medics were busy there most of the day.
    Landed on my shoulder, which is sore but otherwise fine. Didn't land with my arm outstretched as it appears in that photo. Hit hard enough to knock me out for a bit though. :umph
    The whole orange-helmet-orange-jersey thing is required in sno-x so other riders have a chance of seeing you on the track when you eat it.
  17. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,568
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Gen,
    How do you like the forcefield pro? How does it fit and feel compared to the Leatt 3DF? Is it easier or harder to get into or out of? I feel like I'm trying to get out of a straight jacket with the Leatt!
  18. motoinmoab

    motoinmoab Questioning Reality Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Carefree, AZ
    Thanks for posting your opinions. A thread like this is a lot more valuable when many differing points of view are shared. I know there are a lot of guys who think like you, "dress for the ride not for the crash".

    I disagree with you on what you consider valuable armor, or valuable body parts that may or may not need protection. Elbow pads can prevent a broken elbow. I busted mine once and it was hell, 6 months in physical therapy before I could touch my shoulder again. When I had my crash that prompted me to start this thread, if I hadn't been wearing elbow pads that day I'm certain I would have broken my elbow again. On the other hand, I might not have broken several ribs and punctured my lung because the big ridge on the elbow guard is what smashed into my body.

    My take away from all this is simple: Good armor is good, bad armor is bad. There's plenty of both to be found out there on the market. Often it's just a matter of what you hit or what hit you. But I want more than just luck on my side when I fall off my bike. :freaky
  19. gen

    gen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Oddometer:
    808
    Location:
    Asia
    I tried a few and this one was the most comfortable for me. Great quality protectors as well. However, no protection of my ribs, which sort of worries me. I also may end up getting a chest protector, mainly as a roost guard.

    I think it's one of the best pieces out there as far as pressure suits go, but it doesn't come with hard armor so if you want that you need to supplement it.
  20. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,341
    Location:
    Lost in the jungles of Thailand
    PNE - You bring up a valid point. If we overheat it leads to exhaustion which then results in the body making mistakes causing crashes. My offroad riding is in South East Asia where the temps are often 100F, the humidity high, and often the speeds low and therefore no airflow in the tight jungle.

    I rode with a pressure suit for years, no jersey and just a Tshirt underneath. I would suggest your fireman friend try the suit w/out the jersey as a first step in running cooler.

    [​IMG]


    It was hot as hell but I persevered as i wanted protection from falls.

    A few years later I went a different option looking for cooler riding gear. I chose a Troy Lee Design 8500 HW.

    [​IMG]

    However i chose the short sleeve version and separate elbow pads to open up my arms a bit for airflow.

    [​IMG]

    I then installed a zipper in the front of it to allow easy on/off in the sweltering heat and additional venting. This had pretty decent protection over the vital areas and was definitely a lot cooler than the pressure suit. I wore nothing underneath the protection and it flowed a decent amount air and I felt a lot fresher riding with it. This is the point you were bringing up. I could ride for longer and felt cooler which was a huge benefit.

    The above TLD piece covers all the vital areas but does not use hard armor but instead a HD high density foam. During easy low sides and tip overs it was fine. However on a failed log crossing I crashed and the handlebars impacted my sternum/chest. This resulted in a broken sternum and two broken ribs. I believe if i had a hard plastic chest protection it would have protected me better and not resulted in broken ribs. Later i broke the ulna a radii bone in my forearm from a crash. Whilst enjoying the cool running with the new gear I felt a need for some hard armor.

    I have since gone back to a traditional chest protector w/rib protection ( the Alpinestars A8 and elbow guards) and have ridden with this set-up for the past year. In terms of heat it fits somewhere between the pressure suit and my Troy Lee Design piece. On day rides in the heat I'll simply wear a T-shirt underneath. On my multi week off road rides I'll use a jersey because of sunburn.

    [​IMG]



    In the very beginning when I first moved here years ago I rode simply in elbow guards. No doubt it was so nice with the freedom to move on the bike, etc. However the downside was when I fell and broke something I was not riding for six weeks.

    [​IMG]

    For me it was worth the bother of some extra protection if it kept me from injuring myself and be off the bike healing.

    Now most of my accidents are not life threatening or serious. I've broken collar bones, arms, legs, ribs, sternum etc. riding and none of those were critical injuries. However if the armor keeps me from damaging or lessens the damage then it means more bike riding time for me. Believe me if I could be assured most of my falls would simply result in scuffed elbows I'd be running around in a jersey only. However I've proved to myself over the years that I fall hard at times. This is not to say lots of protection would have avoided all my breaks, but in regards to sternum/ribs I think it goes a long way in that regard.

    I love your counterpoint and always appreciate a different angle when looking at a situation. Have you broken any bones since wearing a jersey only? In 2 months of riding how many times will you properly crash? I ask as a couple of my friends are soooo smooth and consistent it's rare they crash.