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I only have the opportunity to visit Whistler/Vancouver once a year, but at 36 years old married, child-a little extra protection goes a long way in staying healthy and keeping out of "light duty" ie secretary (torture) work. What provides the best upper body protection, comfort, breathable etc.. thanks
 

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a Roost protector (MX Style) will more or less only protect u from debre flying up and at u from another rider, which really doesnt happen, and from sticks or somthin from puncturing(sp?) through ur body. it will breath better, and i guess is better than nothing. a Pressure Suit type will offer more pading when u crash, and i feel it protects u better over all. but they can get kinda hot and some of them do not breath well, although 661 makes one that is lighter than most and breathes pritty good cause it uses a mesh where pads r not.
 

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kona-tize me captain
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pressure suites are much better, they give more confidence to me hah
 

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noMAD man
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This topic always brings out the same response from many, and as usual many are wrong. Wilbur, the answer is that all Moto body armor is not the same. A lot of moto armor is indeed nothing more than roost or abrasion protection, but some of the quality stuff does indeed have impact absorption material very much like bike DH armor. The big area of difference in quality moto armor and quality bike armor is in the spinal protection. The bike armor usually has a high degree of spinal protection while the quality moto stuff has a small degree of protection.

This is where the divergence of real world use comes into play. If you're actually DH racing or the sessions of shuttle runs allow you to not need water or a Camelback between runs, then definitely go for the bike armor. If you're doing a type of riding in moderate to warm weather where you have to pedal a good deal or the distance and time elements require you to wear a Camelback, then the type of moto armor I'm recommending will work fine. The Camelback will provide very competent spinal protection...unless you're carrying rocks or a ginsu knife set.

You can attach your elbow/forearm armor to the bicep cups of the moto armor which works just like the bike armor. If you do shop around for some moto armor, look for impact absorbing points of contact in the shoulder cups, chest, and back panels...not unlike lots of the bike armor...except in the spine area as I mentioned.

I took my Answer Apex moto armor into Moab Cyclery this past year to compare to the Dainese, 661, and other units that were on display there just to satisfy my curiosity on this issue. I think it's all the fabric in the bike units that gives the impression of extreme coverage over the moto armor. However, most of the fabric I saw was thin mesh material, which is understandable. A full padded suit would cause a heat stroke in all but the shortest DH runs or very cool weather.

Here are a few pics of some decent moto armor. You can see the padded areas with a very resilient type of foam. Those points also hold the armor off your body a bit to allow better ventilation and distribute impact. I think there's an understandable myth that moto armor has no impact absorption qualities, and that's just not true. Desert racers and many other moto racers want a decent level of protection just like bikers. The bike stuff is good equipment, but if you'll look closely at some high end moto armor, you'll see some good protection also...and it will be something you can wear in more varied weather conditions and for longer periods.
 

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Rockgardn for sure...

I have ridden moto for many years and the MX chest protector/roost guards are great but do not provide the all around protection of the pressure suit. In fact, many guys I ride moto with are now wearing pressure suits for the added protection. I ride with the Rockgardn; very comfortable, well made and tons of protection for less than $200.00. Just my $.02.
 

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UNDEAD
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Guess I will be different here,

IMO I go with the chest armor..THOR makes a good one
Wear both on a ride and see for yourself...

Straight Jackets (preasure suits) are very restricting in IMO
Chest armor protects form broken ribs....VERY painful
wear some FOX arm armor and leg and your ready to go
I have a straight jacket in the garage...it does better there than on me
HOT and restricting is all I can say
Get some THOR or whatever chest armor (hard plate) and your set
 

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Bum Buzzer
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Silly to compromise; For helmets HOORAY for MX stuff; for body armor, stay the hell away from those roost guards; Any of that style of 'armor' is effectively a roost guard and the best cannot offer the level of impact protection that a cheap padded/armored jacket will.

Companies like Dainese (and plenty of others) make padded/armored jackets just like their MTB models, but meant for MX, Snowmobiling, etc... ( I am considering an MX safety jacket)

Aside from which, (IMO) they look really silly on cyclists.
 

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Huck Banzai said:
Silly to compromise; For helmets HOORAY for MX stuff; for body armor, stay the hell away from those roost guards; Any of that style of 'armor' is effectively a roost guard and the best cannot offer the level of impact protection that a cheap padded/armored jacket will.

Companies like Dainese (and plenty of others) make padded/armored jackets just like their MTB models, but meant for MX, Snowmobiling, etc... ( I am considering an MX safety jacket)

Aside from which, (IMO) they look really silly on cyclists.
Have you crash tested both? I have, and the mx stuff does protect you - do you really think mx racers wear it just to protect against roost? They crash too, and at generally higher speeds with 220lb bikes running over them.
This isn't to say that the pressure suit doesn't offer more or better protection for dh racing. I switched last year. The differences I noticed are that the pressure suit does not breathe as well but it gives greater range of motion. It also protects the shoulder/ upper arm better from scrapes/ abrasions. But for some impacts, I think the mx roost protector does a better job of dispersing the impact.
Also, before you start making assumptions based on the name, do a little research - roost protectors were originally just padded chest protectors. They evolved through a lot more years of use than mountainbikes have been around. Check out Roger Decoster back in the 60's.
 

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N* Bomber Crew
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I run a Pressure Suit and it provides a good range of motion and provides excellent protection against a variety of tracks. I highly reccomend the 661 Models, they're very good. They also allow you to zipoff the sleeves if you wanna roll it risky style.

Never tried the hard plastic types, I've always guessed those were for Moto X.
 

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Ricky DH
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I actually ran a fox MX chest protector for several years and had some very sever crashes in it. It protected me through all of them. One time I went over the bars in a rock garden and the bike came over and slammed me like a 50 lb sledge hammer in the back. The hard armor and my water back pack protected me very well.

As far as them only being for "flack", I've heard that too. But I never put a dent or crack in that armor. It seemed pretty bullet proof to me.

I finally upgraded to a Dainese this past season. It is a lot hotter than the Fox but all and all it feels pretty comfortable. Not to mention it looks a lot better.

Pros: Non restrictive, ventalated, light, Protects shoulders and colarbones better

Cons: Shoulder caps don't alow wearing of jersys, a bit goofy looking.

I've attached a race pic of me wearing the armor. You can see how big the shoulder caps are.
 

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I have used both and crashed on both. The jacket type of armor seems to move less in a crash and is more comfortable for me to ride while wearing.
 

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noMAD man
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rep1969, I think a lot of folks just have tunnel vision when it comes to looking outside-the-box at options. As I said earlier, the bike pressure suit style equipment is obviously very good. And for true DH runs or shorter shuttled service venues when temps aren't high, it does have a slight margin of overall superiority. But the padded moto armor can be worn on a trail ride or for longer epic "big hit" venues without producing heat stroke. I've ridden with mine in temps as high as 92 degrees. Try a 20+ mile ride in up-and-down conditions in a full pressure suit. Bike pressure suits are very good and most do what they claim, but to dismiss quality padded moto armor as ineffective is just thinking small and shorting yourself from an excellent warm weather/long ride option.

It's more about options than superiority/inferiority. Many bike people are some of the most anal people I know of when it comes to being fashion conscious...yeah, even some DH/FR riders. It's very evident that some won't wear or use an item because it's not designed and made for bikes...Oh the humanity...LOL!
 

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MTBR member since 1998
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I have been using a Fox MX Roost system for several years now. I find it's fairly comfortable, and light weight. When on my 10th run in July in Whistler, you do appreciate the extra ventalation and breathability. As for inpact protection, I crashed on Goat's pretty bad and cracked the houlder pad. I was glad the big pad stuck out like it di, as it saved me from a (probably) broken shoulder/collar bone. I wear a light jersey over it (NSMBA.com oversized), Fox plastic elbow pads and Mace hard plastic leg armor (Mace leg armor ROCKS!!!!). I also wear a hydro pack with no problem at all.
On the topic of hydro packs, Deuter makes a series of cycling and ski packs that are TUV/CE certified back protector systems. A good option if you are spending a lot of time shuttling and would like some spine protection. The bike pack is called the Attack, or you could also use their small ski pack the Edge and Razor.
I guess the most important thing is to ensure it's comfortable to wear, and gives you plenty of range of movement and not to constrictive. Try on several styles, and get the one you like best. After all, if you don't like the fit, you won't wear it, and it does a whole lot of good sitting in your car/truck while you are on your bike.
Just MHO.
Tim...should really get new armor, the dogs even shy away from it now.
 

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noMAD man
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Looks good, and you can see some fairly extensive padding even in this ad pic. You know...I wonder if many have a diminished assessment of all moto armor based on some of the earlier hard plastic bike models? I remember the first time someone ordered a set of that 661 hard plastic armor through the shop. Man, that was some cheezy stuff...just some plastic panels tied together with fabric straps...no padding or foam panels. I've always bought my moto armor through a motorcycle shop, but maybe some companies and retailers are seeing the option that this type of amor gives you.
 
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