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Troy Lee Designs / Shock Doctor gear review (ride and crash tested)

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10/20/2010 3:33 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:19 AM

I recently was lucky enough to test some of the new Troy Lee Designs / Shock Doctor gear and I was really impressed to say the least. I tested all of the gear in some pretty poor conditions (wet/muddy). I also crashed pretty hard on one of my runs wearing the gear too.


I tested the following gear:


-Elbow Guards EG 5500

-Elbow/Forearm Guards EG 5550

-Knee Guard KG 5400

-Shirt BP 5850-HW

-New chest protector (not in online catalog yet)


So first on the review is the EG 5500 Elbow Guards. The fit on them is pretty standard compared to other elbow guards in that they are a snug fit to help keep them in place (I usually do not ride with elbow guards because I usually find elbow guards to be too uncomfortable). When I first put them on they felt different then other elbow pads I have used in the past. They were a thinner profile, lightweight, and for sure more comfortable than any other elbow pads I have used before.


[LINK TO IMAGE]

I rode all day with this set on and was pretty impressed that they stayed in place without being totally uncomfortable. For me that was a huge improvement to other pads I have tried in the past (661, rockgardn, etc). Another cool thing that all of these pads have is some sticky 'no-slip zones' to keep the pads in place. All of the knee and elbow pads use the X-Fit technology to keep the pads snug, but comfortable. Below are some more photos of the fit.


Inside of the pad, this is one of the 'no-slip zones':

[LINK TO IMAGE]

From the front:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

Side:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

Next up are the EG 5550 Elbow/Forearm Guards. These are basically the same as the just elbow guards, but provide a lot more forearm protection. They breath great and stayed in place just as well as the elbow only guards. They were nice and comfortable and provide that extra protection for those of us who tend to scrape up their forearms when they stack. They also have the 'no-slip zones' that keep them in place.


[LINK TO IMAGE]

Front view:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

Side:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

Now onto the KG 5400 Knee Guards. These things are badass first off. BY FAR the lightest knee pads I have ever used. After riding with them all day I really didn't notice them. And when I took a pretty good digger, they did their job great. The pads on the knee split at the right area to where they do not restrict movement when your knee is bending to pedal. They stayed in place perfectly (even while crashing). These are super minimal (but still very protective) and are perfect race knee pads.


[LINK TO IMAGE]

From the front (you can see where the pad on the knee splits right under the TLD logo):

[LINK TO IMAGE]

From the back:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

Next up is the BP 5850-HW under shirt. Ok, I am going to say this and be 100% serious, I think that everyone who rides and races downhill should own one of these. This shirt provides amazing coverage, breathes great, and is so comfortable, you totally forget you are wearing it. It has removable pads on the chest and back (for those who run Leatt braces), also removable pads on the shoulders in case you didn't want to run them for some reason. Seriously, I cannot even explain how rad this thing was. It didn't restrict movement at all. If you have any questions about it, please ask. Again, I honestly think anyone who rides/races DH should have one.


[LINK TO IMAGE]

From the front:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

From the back:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

From the side:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

Under a jersey:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

And finally, the chest protector for those of you who like to have a little more protection for riding gnarly stuff. The chest protector is lightweight and totally does not restrict movement at all. It also breathes REALLY well for being a full on chest protector. One of the cool features for this is it has removable pieces to accommodate for a Leatt brace. It also has a slot in the back for the brace to fit into. This slot also helps keep the brace in place (so you don't need to run the straps). To give you an idea on how I tested this, I did a 30 minute climb on my DH bike just to get to the trail with the chest protector on and it wasn't too hot. Another cool thing is that it is very form fitting, so you can easily run it under a jersey too.


Full gear from the back (with Leatt):

[LINK TO IMAGE]

From the front (with the extra piece removed to fit the Leatt):

[LINK TO IMAGE]

From the back (with the extra piece removed to fit the Leatt):

[LINK TO IMAGE]

Under jersey:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

I hope this review is helpful to you on picking your next pads. I honestly recommend all of these new products I tested. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask.

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10/20/2010 11:54 PM

I'm really interested in these new TLD armor products. Do you have an idea for the sizing for all the items you reviewed? Thanks!

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10/21/2010 11:19 AM

Hey John, I am looking into your question now. I will post up any info as soon as I find it!

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10/21/2010 1:59 PM

Here are the fitments for the under shirt:

Sm 34"-35"
Med 36-38"
Lg 40-42"
XL 44-46"

(chest circumference)

As for the other pads, things were running a little big on sizing, so you might want to go a size smaller than you would normally run. I wear a large t-bone knee pad and a xl/xxl Lopes knee/shin guards. I was running Large 5400 knee pads.

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10/22/2010 9:23 AM

So how hot is this undershirt?

It's called "Hot Weather Base Protection", but on the other hand it looks like a whole lot of insulating foam on a body-tight shirt.

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10/22/2010 9:35 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/22/2010 9:36 AM

It wasn't like wearing body armor thats is for sure. It was noticeable but honestly not bad. As soon as I was moving, I the thing cooled down significantly. The venting / breathing on it is killer.

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10/22/2010 10:12 PM

Thanks the review, like this BP 5850-HW under shirt review, and tend to agree with you. look forward to more review of TLD protection equipment

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10/25/2010 7:31 AM

Thanks Aryo, I will for sure be posting up more reviews! I am working on a more in depth review of the new chest protector. It has dozens of different configurations and I only touched on a couple. I am also really looking forward to what else TLD has in the works!

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10/27/2010 10:19 PM

Thanks Josh. Didn't know you had replied to my question until I checked my spam mail. So I guess if I'm a small I should go for an XS. Don't they give out sizing for the pads as well?

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10/29/2010 2:14 PM

What are your thoughts on under shirt vs. chest protector, advantages/disadvantages of one over the other? Is it simply the under shirt is better coverage, but less mobility type of thing?

Also, is there a hard plastic bit on the elbow pads, not something like those 661 evo pads?

Thanks in advance!

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11/3/2010 10:47 AM

Sorry for my delayed responses. I have been moving the last 2 weeks.

JohnD,

Since they are all new products, they are still working on getting the sizing up online. I think a small or XS should be good.

Total Gnar,

I like the under shirt better personally. They both move great and don't restrict your movement while riding which is awesome. But the under shirt is just a little more low profile and fits my style a little more. Both work great. The chest protector is a hard plastic material (probably more protective under extreme crashes because of this). But I personally prefer the under shirt.

I will find out about the elbow pads soon. I don't have them with me at work.

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11/3/2010 8:55 PM

Just saw a complete line of TLD Line of protection equipment all are awesome. Josh, will you be reviewing some of them?

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12/6/2010 12:40 PM

Hello Aryo, sorry for the delayed response.

I am not sure if I will be or not. But if I get my hands on them, I will be putting reviews up! I am working on a more in depth review of the chest protector. Keep an eye out for it sometime this week.

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12/6/2010 9:28 PM

I've been wearing the undershirt HW model for about 2 weeks now and its rad as far as the movement goes. I like the added protection in the lower gut area and kidneys. Even used it dirt jumping the other day.

I'm coming from an EVS body armor for DH padding so its a huge improvement in feel and I agree with the breathability comments although it hasnt been super hot here as of late. Compatibility w Leatt is great but I may trim a little, not sure yet.

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12/9/2010 6:37 AM

How is the spine protection? Is it like a regular spine protection? Or is it just soft pads?

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12/14/2010 1:43 PM

Here is a little more information on fitting for the pads. I hope this helps:
[LINK TO IMAGE]

Max_Nordström, the spine protection is a harder foam material. It is not plastic.

The chest protector review should be up anytime now...

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12/15/2010 9:35 PM

Josh,

Your sizing chart couldn't come at a better time. I was about to order the pads today. Thanks a lot!!

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4/7/2011 4:42 PM

Josh,
Do you remove the pads if you wear a neck brace?
Will this be a good fit for females (as chest protectors are not !!) Pads in or out??
Thanks so much for the past info!
cw

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5/2/2011 12:57 AM

Josh,
Great review mate, convinced me to give this new stuff a go. With the BP 5850-HW under shirt (I am looking at getting the short sleeve version) do you know what the compatibility is like when used with a Alpinestars BNS. Obviously you would wear the Neck Brace outside the shirt, but would there be any interference at all?
Cheers, Hayden.

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5/13/2011 11:21 AM

Josh,
Any more reviews on the hard CP? I ride motocross and downhill, and want something I can use for both. Great reviews man, thanks!
Tucker

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5/13/2011 2:47 PM

Crystal_Windholz wrote:

Josh,
Do you remove the pads if you wear a neck brace?
Will this be a good fit for females (as chest protectors are not !!) ...more

Yes, I do remove the pads when using my Leatt for a better fit. By doing this, it allows the Leatt to sit slightly lower giving your helmet more clearance.

As for female fitting, it should fit pretty well. The material is pretty stretchy so it should fit the ladies pretty well compared to a hard plastic chest protector.

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5/13/2011 2:50 PM

Hayden_Wright wrote:

Josh,
Great review mate, convinced me to give this new stuff a go. With the BP 5850-HW under shirt (I am looking at getting ...more

Thanks again everyone.

I would imagine it would be pretty similar to using a Leatt, but I don't know for sure. I know the shape is somewhat different and I am not sure where the AS one sits. I really cant imagine very much interference. I don't experience any when I run it with my Leatt.

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5/13/2011 2:52 PM

tookstar154 wrote:

Josh,
Any more reviews on the hard CP? I ride motocross and downhill, and want something I can use for both. Great reviews ...more

Absolutely. I actually did a more in depth review of it on its own because of how many configurations it has. SO many different ways to run it. Check out the review here:

http://www.vitalmtb.com/product/feature/Tested-TLD-Shock-Doctor-Chest-Protector,30

Hope this helps!

Thanks again everyone.

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5/18/2011 11:34 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/18/2011 11:37 AM

Thanks for the Josh. I am thinking about the Troy Lee helmet. Can you tell me more about the impact on the helmet. Did you crush the foam inside or did it hold up.

Was the elbows the sames one like here?
Troy Lee Knee Pads And Helmet

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5/18/2011 11:56 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/18/2011 11:58 AM

moto_geek wrote:

Thanks for the Josh. I am thinking about the Troy Lee helmet. Can you tell me more about the impact on the helmet. Did you ...more

moto_geek,

I sure can tell you more about the D3 helmet. I have been running it since November 2009 and it has taken some pretty serious impacts over that time. The crash in this review was pretty minor compared to the impact I had in December 2010. I ended up going over the bars and falling 6ft-8ft onto a rock garden with my head/shoulder/wrist (breaking my wrist). The foam stayed totally in tact and the shell only had some scrapes. My friend who saw me crash said he thought I was going to die. Thank god for my Leatt and this helmet. Besides surviving some pretty serious crashes, the helmet has some killer features. The venting on it is awesome compared to its predecessor (the D2), the back is angled to work with a Leatt brace to maximize your movement, I think 1/4 inch more EPS padding through the whole helmet, quick emergency cheek pad removal, etc.

By far the best MTB specific helmet I have used to date. Let me know if you have anymore specific questions. I would be happy to answer them.

I also didn't find the elbow guards you linked to.

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5/20/2011 2:19 PM

Josh,

Would you be able to shed some light on the difference between the BP-5850 and the 7850?
From what I can tell theres extra padding under the chest but I was wondering if its anything necessary.

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5/20/2011 2:28 PM

AaronofGROOVE wrote:

Josh,

Would you be able to shed some light on the difference between the BP-5850 and the 7850?
From what I can tell theres ...more

Hey AaronofGROOVE,

The 7850 has thicker and denser pads. It also has more pads on the lower abs and lower ribs.

I hope this helps!

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6/20/2011 12:57 PM

Hey Josh,

Great review. I bought the BP3800 but had to return it, as the protection level it offers is very low (very thin foam on the front and no back back protection at all).

Now I am looking at the CP5900 and the CP5955. Do you have any experiences with these armours? To me the CP5900 looks just like a CP5955 without the shoulder and upper arm protectors......are the foam densities, distribution and thicknesses the
same in these two models?

How do these armours work with the Alpinestars Bionic neckbraces?

Any help will be greatly appreciated smile

Thanks!

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7/8/2011 12:02 PM

I bought a TLD 5955 armor yesterday. I haven't had a chance to test it out on the trail yet. But it works really nicely with a Leatt and ventilates well. Much more comfortable than the short (and long) sleeve soft armor like 5850. Will report back once I had some time on it.

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8/2/2011 2:34 AM
Edited Date/Time: 8/2/2011 3:40 AM

Hej Josh

Great review
Im all new in the downhill action, been riding XC for the last 3 years in Denmark but it is rather flat and the need for protection isent that high.

But now im ready to step up the game and run DH tracks and i need som good gear. smile
Im interested in all the gear you have testet it looks good and seams like the fit is great, but is the protection as good as plastic parts?

And what about the chest protector vs. BP 5850-HW under shirt are you supose to run both or just one off them?
Becous It doesnt look like there is any back protection in the BP 5850-HW, so my thoughts is that a newbie like me need more then the undershirt and should go for the Chest protector either CP-5955 or CP-5900.

Best Regards
Me wink

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