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1/30/2018 7:33 PM

Can anybody share their knowledge about the best body armor? I am 65 and can't spend much more time in hospital because of my addiction to riding fast on my bicycle. I must admit I have never hurt myself riding fast. But when I fall I have spent a couple of weekends in intensive care and at my age this is going to be much harder to heal. So any help is appreciated.


1/30/2018 7:52 PM

Hey Rainwalker, welcome to to Vital and thanks for posting the question. The type of riding you do most often may help fellow riders give you advice on specific products.

In the meantime a lot of research can be done in our product guide with plenty of protective parts reviewed and rated.,50


1/30/2018 8:40 PM

You will find that the most important pieces of armour for any and all types of riding are:
1) Helmet (duh)
2) Knee pads (rocks shatter kneecaps, pads help with this)
3) Elbow pads (same reason as kneepads, but on your elbows)
4) Gloves (arguable, but I like gloves because they keep my hands in pretty decent condition after I eat dirt)

For a helmet, simply look for something that offers a lot of head coverage. If you ride more aggressive trails, consider a full face (or if you prioritize safety over looks, a convertible helmet). Definitely consider technologies such as MIPS that reduce rotational forces, and risk of concussion. 6D has the safest helmets, but they're expensive.

Knee pads can vary from trail to trail; if you ride wild rocky trails often, go for a super chunky knee/shinpad, usually with plastic armour. If you are mostly into xc or just have smoother trails, you can go for a pad that uses D30 material (soft and comfortable, hardens on impact)

Elbow pads are much less commonly worn than kneepads, but they go by the same rules. Something big and chunky for big and chunky terrain, something lighter and more comfortable for smoother easier trails. You do however, have the option of a full upper-body suit. I'd only recommend these for shuttle or lift riding, as they are typically extremely hot and uncomfortable.

Gloves are a matter of personal preference; the trend of 'second skin' gloves is on the rise, but there are still a variety of options from a carbon-knuckled Fox Bomber to a gossamer-thin 100% Celium.

Another thing to consider (given your advanced age) is braces for potentially bad joints. I have a bad wrist that can get very bad after a long day of braking bumps and drops, I can only imagine how awful a blow-out knee could get.


1/31/2018 12:38 AM

My recommendation would be get yourself a convertible helmet with MIPS like the Giro Switchblade or Bell Super 3R MIPS/Super DH, than get a light but effective Body armour vest or jacket like the ones from Bliss and some great knee pads (Bliss, 661 Evo's or something like that) that provides protection and yet lets you pedal long uphills without overheating!
In case of gloves i would go for some with at least a bit of protection like the Troy Lee Ruckus!


1/31/2018 2:34 AM

I've tried 661 an hated it,my belly poked out of the high cut on the front an It didn't allow for neck brace straps so the brace would constantly hit me in the chin.Next was Leatte which while it meshed very well with a neck brace still felt like a plank of wood strapped to my back.Now I got the 7idp body armor which is fantastic!! the back protector isn't too huge. also it's in 3 layers that you can fine tune to work with a brace an your preferred feel.
I'd highly recommend it


Callous Hands an Bloody Shins since 1979

1/31/2018 8:09 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/31/2018 8:10 AM

I wear light pads on almost every ride I do. I've been doing it for years, and visiting the ER for years...

I've found that pads are really good for protecting skin from cuts and abrasions, and perhaps a busted kneecap or elbow.

But pads and armor don't protect bigger injury issues like a broken wrist, collar bone, separated shoulder, etc.

Speed is usually the vector that causes skeletal injuries, dialing down the speed, I've found, is the best way to prevent injury. I try to keep my speed no more than 80% of my skill level, and when riding with buddies, be more conscious of not chasing the rabbit, taking the bait, or getting in any "race" type situation that makes me ride beyond my skill level.

The benefit to slowing down, for me, is that I see the trail more, and can flow and pop off more trail nuggets, than when at higher speed. I've found I prefer the flow over the Ratfink speed. If you have a BMX background, you will appreciate the flow type of riding.

Ride on!



1/31/2018 1:05 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/31/2018 1:07 PM

First thing, there are injuries you can't really avoid (like collar bones or wrist, there is pretty much no way to prevent a fall from breaking them).

Personally I always ride with protections, but I only pick "comfortable" protections, ie D3O and likes. Otherwise I know I won't wear them.
I have a Racer pro top vest with a big D3O plate to protect my spine (and also a bluegrass vest with shoulder protection for park/freeriding)
I have a 661 evo short to protect my thigh from bruises.
I have Poc VPD air knee pads for regular riding and pedaling, and scott grenade pro for park riding or freeriding
I don't wear elbow pads 'cause I never injured myself there and don't like the feel (but eventually I'll ride with some when I'll grow older).

I have a leat dbx open face helmet for regular riding, a met parachute for enduro racing and likes and a giro cipher for park riding and freeriding.
And I always wear gloves, they can really save your skin.

On very hot days I might left the short home, but otherwise with new materials you can get a very good level of protection without bulk or inconvenience.


1/31/2018 5:12 PM

If you ride DH, I always find that people overlook hip/tail bone padding. It helps to take the edge off of big impacts, particularly to the hips when you wash out in a turn or off camber.


1/31/2018 6:57 PM

Not only when riding DH. While riding regular trail/enduro I crashed at pretty high speed and bruised my thigh so badly I couldn't ride for like a month twice this year. So now I always wear a protector short.


2/1/2018 4:07 PM

Dainese jackets offer good protection and comfort even if they aren't as trendy these days.
You can also look at the RXR body Armor (, it's lighter than the regular armor and it's filled with air so it absorbs shocks instead of dispersing it.


2/2/2018 9:46 AM

I presume a half dome helmet will suffice.. POC Tectal, or Tribec are good, many others like it.. Cali Maya, TLD A1. If you want a lot of airflow, Specialized ambush is best. but if you're bombing, maybe a convertible full face would work better? Fox ProFrame is SUPER open, so it would make breathing a lot easier than a regular full face.

For Knee pads: POC VPD 2.0 are amazing, but could be more than you need for your area.. I use them for DH, they offer a TON of protection for a 'foam' pad.. They almost feel hard.. If you want a lighter weigh knee pad the Leatt Airflex Pro are amazing. they offer a good deal of protection, but not as robust as POC.. I'm not a fan of G-Form, which are a lot like the Leatt, the foam is too thin and soft for any real protection.. Leatt is by far better.

Elbow pads are a pain.. they slip down a lot. Leatt Airflex has an elbow pad too, they look good, but I have not tried them on. I use the old style POC VPD 2.0 with a single elastic on the forearm. they are cheaper than the new style VPD 2.0 (straps top and bottom) and I think you can still get them on .. oh, yep. here they are.. I may get another set..

Happy shredding!


2/3/2018 12:12 PM

If you’re planning on riding DH and want the best protection, and don’t care as much about cost, I would suggest buying a dedicated half shell, and a dedicated full face. I have broken 3 super 2r’s, 1 super 3r, and 1 switchblade. Dedicated full face helmets offer much more protection and are much stronger.