What body armor do you wear for DH??

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3/3/2011 9:51 AM

It seems like since I started riding DH I have always been trying new combos/different types of body armor to wear when I ride. I have quite a collection of body armor now but I STILL don't know what is right for me. I know that there is no way to protect EVERYTHING while riding and it is really important to me that I am able to move somewhat freely when I ride. I see that pros usually don't wear much in the way of armor, so is there anyone that can help me decide what needs to be covered and what I could skip?

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3/3/2011 5:17 PM

Well, what body parts can you do without? Haha.

Armor is a personal preference thing for most. I rock a 661 Core Suit which allows me to move freely but still have some protection. It covers my kidneys, my chest, and spine pretty well. My elbows occasionally get scratched up but for the most part I feel protected enough.

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3/3/2011 5:18 PM

Dainese also has a new upper suit for 2011 called the Dynamo Armor Jacket that looks really nice. It should prevent major road rash and still allow me to move well.

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3/3/2011 5:47 PM

bturman, do you know if that new dianese armor will work with an alpine stars neck brace by chance??

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3/4/2011 12:04 AM

astrizzle wrote:

bturman, do you know if that new dianese armor will work with an alpine stars neck brace by chance??

Maybe. I don't think there is any padding in the front, so that won't affect it. The rear support would likely have to go over the spine guard, though. It's pretty thin, so it might work.

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3/4/2011 7:41 AM

that suit looks pretty cool. i haven't worn upper armor in a while, but something like that looks comfy.

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3/7/2011 8:23 AM

rocking the Dainese Evolution jacket for dh. Funny there was a great article in the latest Revolution mag, about how did we start going armor-less, going back to Hill being the first one and how come we all followed the fashion and are still going with less at times when we are going faster thanks to more efficient bikes, how we are getting bigger injuries but still don't see the relationship with the lack of armor.
On the other end, since we're all fashion victims, everyone is jumping on the most unproven safety product of all, the neck braces.
The French Motoccycling Federation just released the results of a 2 years investigation/survey they had on the use of neck braces in MX/off-road. The survey used various independent labs, involved various doctors, used all different methods of testing, from computerized to mechanical to cadavers, etc and the results was pretty interesting. I'm sure not so many want to translate this here in the US, this is too big of a business now that most companies are getting one in their catalogs.

Safety is a funny thing in our sport.

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3/8/2011 7:27 PM

Shenzi, do you not think neck braces work?? I haven't had a chance to read the french motorcycling survery lol.

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3/8/2011 8:02 PM

I have always been worried about the Leatt's back piece. Was more keen on the A-Stars, got really excited by the Ortema and after seeing it, I am really pumped about the fact that some brands are moving forward from having a piece of hard stuff deflect the impact further down the spine and rather go for safer areas like the scapula/shoulders area.

The FFM (French Moto Federation) handed over the investigation to independent biometric labs. It last 1 year and a half, used soft protection (the old doughnuts), semi-rigid/soft (like the EVS) and hard shells like the Leatt.

Results shows that of the 3 type the only 1 that has some kind of positive effect, in some very rare cases, is the hard shell (Leatt, Astars, Ortema, etc). It shows that the positive effect is so small that the FFM has decided not to impose it in racing (after such investigations/survey they imposed helmets, boots, back-protection).
The survey showed that in cases where it was possible that the neck-brace deflected impact from C1-C2 to C3-C4. It showed too that the risk of injury to C3-C4 is still very important even with a rigid neck-brace (Leatt).

Their conclusion is that it is not the miracle product it was fashioned in 2007, that it could in a very small percentage of potential injury help in a very limited way but not to justify the investment for riders. They say important improvement are still needed, and that the perfect product will be a combo of helmet/neck-brace/body-armor.

The most important neck injury comes from compression, rather than hyperflexion, and none of the existing product remedy to that. It showed A-stars is still working on theirs, going more in that direction. Showing other serious investigation like this one are on the way in more European countries and that most come to the same conclusions.

I would be surprised any American magazine would ever investigate that way and publish that kind of results, advertising dollar is too strong here where publication sales pay less than ad sales.

What do I think? I'm in between, I'm old and heavy and I know I can get hurt easily (because I crash easily), I want to wear something for my neck but I am worried for my back. Right now, I'd be keen on something like the Ortema. Even if now Leatt and A-Stars says that the back piece is supposed to break under a certain load.

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3/8/2011 8:03 PM

astrizzle wrote:

bturman, do you know if that new dianese armor will work with an alpine stars neck brace by chance??

I believe u can used it with an A-stars or Leatt.

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3/8/2011 9:02 PM

yea, I'll try and give that dainese armor a look. The only problem is that they are hard to find in bike shops and I'd need to try it on before I buy it...

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3/25/2011 9:02 AM

Shenzi wrote:

I have always been worried about the Leatt's back piece. Was more keen on the A-Stars, got really excited by the Ortema and after seeing it, I am really pumped about the fact that some brands are moving forward from having a piece of hard stuff deflect the impact further down the spine and rather go for safer areas like the scapula/shoulders area.

The FFM (French Moto Federation) handed over the investigation to independent biometric labs. It last 1 year and a half, used soft protection (the old doughnuts), semi-rigid/soft (like the EVS) and hard shells like the Leatt.

Results shows that of the 3 type the only 1 that has some kind of positive effect, in some very rare cases, is the hard shell (Leatt, Astars, Ortema, etc). It shows that the positive effect is so small that the FFM has decided not to impose it in racing (after such investigations/survey they imposed helmets, boots, back-protection).
The survey showed that in cases where it was possible that the neck-brace deflected impact from C1-C2 to C3-C4. It showed too that the risk of injury to C3-C4 is still very important even with a rigid neck-brace (Leatt).

Their conclusion is that it is not the miracle product it was fashioned in 2007, that it could in a very small percentage of potential injury help in a very limited way but not to justify the investment for riders. They say important improvement are still needed, and that the perfect product will be a combo of helmet/neck-brace/body-armor.

The most important neck injury comes from compression, rather than hyperflexion, and none of the existing product remedy to that. It showed A-stars is still working on theirs, going more in that direction. Showing other serious investigation like this one are on the way in more European countries and that most come to the same conclusions.

I would be surprised any American magazine would ever investigate that way and publish that kind of results, advertising dollar is too strong here where publication sales pay less than ad sales.

What do I think? I'm in between, I'm old and heavy and I know I can get hurt easily (because I crash easily), I want to wear something for my neck but I am worried for my back. Right now, I'd be keen on something like the Ortema. Even if now Leatt and A-Stars says that the back piece is supposed to break under a certain load.

Just looking at the ORTEMA, it just seems to make more sense. Still crazy expensive for some plastic (349 euros or $493), though I do like how they don't BS and actually call it plastic!

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3/25/2011 10:56 AM

I wear dainese impact race jacket. Compare to 661 pressure suit I had for 2 years, this is a lot more comfy and the fabric is also better. Had 2 big crashes and so far it's been saving me good. Got a bruised ribs and no broken bone. It's also very comfy to use with leatt. I wear it for a long ride on my enduro trips (dirt bike) too... It doesn't make you look bulky like a hulk

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3/25/2011 10:58 AM

ive been riding DH since 2 years. and now racing a few races in my state.
at the beggining i got a 661 pressure suit (Spine, chest, shoulder and arm protection).
I went riding with it a cuple of times in a local bike park. and i tended to crash alot.
then i decided to take it off for one run and immediatly felt alot better and stopped crashing. most people call me stupid for not wearing it, but the truth is i feel so much better without it and ride better. i dont know if its because i can move more, because of the weight and the pressure of the suit or if its just mentaly that i ride better without it (more concentrated and aware of not crashing). i am planning to buy a leatt brace this spring because i feel its sumthing important for me to have. appart from that i wear a full face helmet, gloves, knee pads and high shoes (protect the ankle).
i think in the future i will ride with neckbrace and maybe ill try a back guard.
does anyone else feel they can ride alot better without body armor?

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3/25/2011 11:13 AM

I actually just got a 661 coresaver to pair with my alpinestars BNS. I usually wear elbow pads with it for motocross but for DH I think I am going to just skip elbow protection all together for a while. This is my second core saver and I must say that it is much improved from the first, although the shoulder protection isn't too good, I guess you can't protect EVERYTHING right??

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3/25/2011 12:01 PM
Edited Date/Time: 3/25/2011 12:03 PM

I just started wearing a 661 Evo Pressure Suit. The small 2010 version was on sale at extreme sports protection for $135 after $100 off and a 10% off returning customer code. Fits well under all my jerseys, breaths well, and gives a decent amount of protection. It tries to absorb impact, instead of deflecting like a hardshell would, but doesn't absorb much--just enough to save you in most cases if you know how to crash properly and roll it out. I'm not bothered by it all until the temps get up to 70+, though with it being around 50F right now, riding conditions are perfect for going out all day.

I had a 661 Vapor short sleeve before this and thought the shoulder and chest armor were way too bulky.

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3/25/2011 12:03 PM

those Ortema neck braces look very very interesting. Do they have a US distributor or are we basically SOL?

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3/25/2011 12:37 PM

I wear Fox launch Pro knee guards, gloves, goggles (of course), and occasionally elbow guards, but i ride better without them.

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3/25/2011 12:45 PM

661 Kyle straight knees / SHadow BMX knees, Giro Remedy, Leatt, goggles only in the mud, gloves, 661 evo elbows 50% of the time, and when things get squirly an old pressure suit.

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3/25/2011 1:01 PM

I always just wore the kyle strait knee pads with a Fly Convertible Chest / Back / Shoulder Armor. They provide really good protection while breathing really well (over the jersey armor pretty much always does) and it doesn't hinder movement!

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3/25/2011 1:39 PM

@Shenzi "Even if now Leatt and A-Stars says that the back piece is supposed to break under a certain load."

I can vouch for that little carbon bit on the Leatts breaking under a certain load as I did mine in a couple months ago. It's hard to say what would have happened during the crash had I not had my Leatt on...but I'm not really looking to find out.

I'm not looking to sway anyone's opinions for or against, but even if the benefit of wearing one is pretty minimal on only in certain situations, I'd much rather have that benefit than not. Especially for a piece of equipment that, if fitted correctly, virtually disappears while riding as compared to some other protection equipment.

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3/25/2011 2:09 PM

evancd wrote:

@Shenzi "Even if now Leatt and A-Stars says that the back piece is supposed to break under a certain load."

I can vouch for that little carbon bit on the Leatts breaking under a certain load as I did mine in a couple months ago. It's hard to say what would have happened during the crash had I not had my Leatt on...but I'm not really looking to find out.

I'm not looking to sway anyone's opinions for or against, but even if the benefit of wearing one is pretty minimal on only in certain situations, I'd much rather have that benefit than not. Especially for a piece of equipment that, if fitted correctly, virtually disappears while riding as compared to some other protection equipment.

Not sure, My german isn't the best yet. I'm going to have my wife take a look and see if she can find anything out. I live in Germany so not too big of a deal, but I can ask around the LBS if they know anything if you like. About the second point, I have just recently been considering a neck brace. In all honesty, not for my own well being whatsoever. I just recently had a beautiful baby boy, and want to set the right example I suppose because he WILL be wearing one should he take an interest in DH no matter the minimal advantage of doing so. (the wife will feel better and that is worth $400 to me!)
I just figure if he sees daddy wearing one, he will adopt it at an early age with no problems. I started MX at the ripe old age of 4 and have landed on my head in every concievable way possible with no damage to my neck or spine and never felt the need for one until Feb. 9 2011.

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3/25/2011 2:32 PM

My gear depends on what I ride. For the odd evening ride down the local trail I just wear some Oneal knee protectors and the obvious fullface. More gear is a) too heavy and b) overkill on that particular trail. On the other hand, if I get me and my bike to a local bikepark I´m wearing a Oneal safety jacket (bought in 08 or thereabouts). I zipped the elbow pieces off once and feel much more comfortable now. Freedom of motion is a key thing in enjoying the ride I think. Which is only one of a few reasons why I don´t wear a leatt or anything similar. I would lose caution and, over time, might feel "bulletproof". Ignoring (or not knowing) limits is much more dangerous than occasionally and conciously pushing them I think. And since various surveys (such as shenzi pointed out) tend to not favor braces as well, I´ll keep off them for now. Bett slow than sorry

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3/26/2011 7:25 AM

i wear an old grossman bikes body armour

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3/28/2011 5:32 PM
Edited Date/Time: 3/28/2011 5:33 PM

I use the Dainese Commando which they don't make, but they re-issued a newer style which is called the ARMOUR PRO.
Of all the Dainese jackets whether its the street or MTB stuff I like this the best due to the fact that when I started racing downhill I always used my moto chest/back roost protection which thats all it does protects you from roost ( I've cracked everyone I used.) and lets face it the Dianese stuff is "MADE FOR IMPACT" .
The back is rated at lev #1 and the chest is rated at lev # 2



This also has jointed shoulder arm protection and if you notice the shoulder it wraps around the shoulder to give you some shoulder blade protection. Their is also a lateral rib protection plates.
The back protection has Dainese patented wave polypropylene plates with aluminium honeycomb core frame for impact. The chest is made of the material, but has thermoformed polyethylene foam.

Now I have not had the chance to try this out and it is built better then my Commando with extra features.

All other protection is Dainese 3x elbow and knee, MTB Impact shorts, Atrax and Techno Air4 gloves, and for the head AGV MTX (dot) / AX-8 helmets .
And for some of you that asked about the neck braces I tested the Leatt and it fit my Commando no problem.

Well for me hands down DAINESE is the best fit, function, and best made.

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jumpmaster

3/31/2011 12:02 PM

That suit looks awesome, I wish my core save had shoulder pads like that!! Is that suit made for mtb or is more for moto?

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4/12/2011 8:24 AM

any upper body armor recommendations for under a short sleeve jersey?

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