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Bike Matron
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245 Posts
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I need to buy some body armour for XC riding (not downhill or free ride). Just good protection for knees, shins & elbow. Have seen a lot of positive reviews for Core Rat & Roach. I'm tall but have relatively skinny arms. Have any of you had particulary positive reports on these brands or have a favorite that you really like? I think I'll need to do the kind with straps, since I live in Texas, where it seems like it is humid all the time. They need to have cush, stay put while pedalling and have a solid plastic shell (as opposed to those that are neoprene).
 
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i recently was looking at getting some armor and tried on the roach stuff, TLD stuff, Fox stuff and several others. i didn't like any of them. a few days later i was at the LBS by us and they had the new Specialized pads. they fit very nicely and are quite flexible while providing good protection. i suggest you at least try them on. i wound up buying the knee/shins. i figured i would never wear the arm/elbow ones. since buying them i found that there was one spot on the top of my kneecap that would get a bit raw after climbing all day. i was able to eliminate this by wearing knee warmers under the armor (the ones that i used were the Campy ones). i have climbed 3600 feet in a day (san juan trail) with them and they are very comfortable. the yellow color (i am pretty sure they are kevlar fibers hence the yellow) is sort of lame but is worth it for the flexibility.
 

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Dirt Diva Little h
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540 Posts
Body armor recommendations

Team Pro Laps said:
I need to buy some body armour for XC riding (not downhill or free ride). Just good protection for knees, shins & elbow. Have seen a lot of positive reviews for Core Rat & Roach. I'm tall but have relatively skinny arms. Have any of you had particulary positive reports on these brands or have a favorite that you really like? I think I'll need to do the kind with straps, since I live in Texas, where it seems like it is humid all the time. They need to have cush, stay put while pedalling and have a solid plastic shell (as opposed to those that are neoprene).
I am 5' 8" 127# with skinny arms and have tried many armors. If you are looking for knee and shin protection go with something that comes separately. I currently have 661 veggie knee and shins, 661 racelite, roach FR, and Core rat burly knee and regular shin. If you have skinny legs like I do go with the core rat. It is by far the best fitting and adjustable ones a have. I have found that if the knee and shin are attached they are not flexible enough for pedalling and tend to leave the knee exposed at the top and slide down. The roaches are great for FR/DH but way to much for XC. The 661 veggies was too hot for summer and restricted the pedaling motion to much ( are nice for warmth for winter rides though), and the race-lites would not stay put even with adding straps. I have the roach FR, 661 racelite and veggie elbow/forearm protection. The Roach fit great but is to hot in the summer and I had to move the velcro to get them to fit, the veggie is only elbow pads, and the race lites in a small still did not fit. My wrist is about a 5.75" inches with skinny arms. I modified the 661 race-lites to fit me by taking out the sleeve completed, removing the velcro strap from the top and sewing it directly to the pads above the elbow protection. I also had to move the velcro on the lower strap so it would get tight enough and I added a strap approx. 2 inches above the forearm strap. They are absolutely awesome now and I wear pads on everyride, with 2 boys (3 & 2) I can't afford to be out of commission with injuries. They are slim enough to fit under jackets and loose jerseys and do not restrict elbow flexion. Also with the modifcations I made they have just three straps acrossed your arm so they are not hot. It is a shame that I need to do all this modication to get stuff to fit but they don't make stuff for my body type. I hope this helps!
 

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L1MEY
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1,487 Posts
I use RockGardn Airframe armour in size 'small', except it isn't really all that small. In fact their sizing is quite silly... my hubby has the same armour in 'large', which is only marginally bigger than 'small', and so my armour is too big for me, and his is too small for him.

The main problem I encounter is with the fabric parts of the armour rather than the protection itself. The straps are too long on every single section except the strap over the thigh, which can be tightened much more than the others. However, the straps would be pretty simple to modify if I could ever get off my arse and do it... I just need to take off the velcro, chop off a lump of elastic and re-sew the velcro without the excess. With all that negative stuff just said, I do really like the RockGardn leg armour pieces... they so comfy to ride in that I forget them once I've fiddled around getting the straps done up. They are also very light weight and breathe well, which is important here in the desert, and I've never had to adjust them for slippage while on a ride. Essentailly, if they'd come from the factory with shorter straps then they'd be perfect. I'd recommend these if you don't mind doing a little handy-dandy strap shortening.

My big problem is with the elbow/arm guards... I really dislike these. Whereas the only real problem with the legs is that the straps are too long, on the arms everything is too big. The stretch fabric section which holds the pads in place on the upper arm is obviously designed for a bodybuilder, because the gripper elastic doesn't hold in place even when I fasten it as tightly as I can. The velcro straps are once again way too long, but crucially this time the armour pads themselves are too big as well... when I tighten the straps the armour wraps around 3/4 of my arm instead of providing a pad on the underside. I would not recommend these at all since there is not a lot I can do to prevent them from slipping down while I ride (very annoying).

- Jen.
 
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