[*]Light Weight (2.51 lbs, not including sweat)
[*]Does not restrict mobility
[*]Well made, thick material, thick stitching
[*]Clip on hydration pack - awesome!
[*]Easy on and off
[*]Not too hot
[*]Bite Valve could be better
Model: Rockgardn TrailStar
Manufacturer Link: www.rockgardn.com
Rockgardn TrailStar Chest Protector
The Trailstar is a perfect half suit, protecting the upper chest, shoulders and upper back, offered to rider by Rockgardn, a premium body armor designer from southern California. The TrailStar was designed with the intention of being a light-weight yet fully armored upper body suit that is easy to take on and off as well as being vented. Yet even at being a scant 2.51lbs offers the beefy and legit protection that is synonymous with Rockgardn's name.
The base material in the TrailStar is a thick porous foam that has fairly soft fabric on the inside and a tough mesh nit on the outside. On the chest, shoulders and back is a re-enforced ABS plastic armor. The back plates are now wider than the older version, vented for better heat loss (can get hot if wearing on a long pedal up), and semi-flexible along one axis to allow the riders back to bend over forward, but not backwards or side to side. There are numerous adjustments so the one size fits all should really fit all with-in reason. There are adjustments for the side, the shoulders and arms. As well the shoulder and arm adjustment straps have some slight stretch which allows the suit to stay in place without being too tight.
The build quality of this suit is far better than the first Rockgardn Flak Jacket I wore for a season in '05. That one had stitching coming undone all over the place with-in a month. New Rockgardn gear seems to have over come that QC problem. I'm not sure when that change happened, or if I just got a lemon, but I am very happy not see this problem in the TrailStar.
Probably the best thing about this body armor besides it's mobility is the fact you can strap a Rockgardn TrailStar Hydration Pack to the back and you've got hydro pack and body suit sweet heaven. The hydration pack is small compared to some, but it is perfect for shuttle runs or lift assist rides. A 1.5 liter bladder was enough for me and four hours of riding. The pack also has enough room for a multi-tool, energy bars, and a spare tube. Or, two or three cans of beer.
Also note that Rockgardn website states the TrailStar is compatible with a Leatt brace. I've not tried them together, but having tried both individually I don't see it being a problem.
Ride and Abuse
So how well does it work? It works very well. The TrailStar fits very easily over the top or under your jersey and once you've got your adjustments settled it almost seems to disappear. One number one main issue with body armor is mobility. For some reason, the way I ride, I really need to be able to bend, dip, and move and body suits tend to compromise mobility for safety. Which is fair, that is just the way they are. With the TrailStar though I didn't have any problems with bending from side to side in berms or hipping or tabling a jump. Because the sides are so open, with only a strap to keep the front and back part of the suit snug, as well, because the TrailStar is only a 1/2 suit, no kidney belt and the back protection ends about 3/4 way down the back, there is almost nothing to get in the way of mobility. I love it! Granted the suit doesn't fully disappear while wearing it as the POC Spine protector does, but the TrailStar offers so much more in way of protection.
My first time with the suit I ended up stuffing the Hydration Pack with a lot more weight than is ideal, as well my fit adjustments weren't perfect. So one thing I noticed was that they front of the suit would slide up and into the bottom of my neck while I was riding. After talking to Mark and playing with the adjustments, and not packing the ride group's beer (what was I thinking anyways, carry your own damn beer) and just filling the bladder and pack with a multi-tool and some energy bars, I haven't had that issue again.
It is hard to find something wrong with the TrailStar. Gregg here at MTBR is famous for saying, there is always at least one thing wrong with everything. Well, in this case I can't really figure out what the one thing is. Sure the TrailStar gets hot if you are pedaling up to the trail head, and the hydration pack isn't anything you'd take on an all day ride. But that isn't what the suit is made to do. Ok, there is one thing. I agree with mtbhead that the bite value on the bladder could be better. It is a 90 degree bite valve with flow shut-off, but most of the time I just took the whole thing off to access my water faster and with more flow. mtbhead said his sometimes the bite valve would get caught on things, but I never had that issue. Just tuck it away and your good. So for $119.95 this is absolutely a great product. It does what it supposed to do, doesn't hinder mobility, has an attachable hydration pack, and Rockgardn has over come QC issues to put out an outstanding product.
5 out of 5 Stars
5 out of 5 Stars
|A word from Rockgardn:|
Hardcore, lightweight (2.51 pounds), over-jersey protection that can be put on or taken off in a matter of seconds. Can also be worn beneath a jersey.
Other Rockgardn Gear