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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't been riding long, a coule of years now on somewhat single track trials with a little down hill rock and roots here and thier. I have Knee/Shine guards and elbow pads and recently purchased a fullface helmet with the intention of riding a little more agressive.

Looking at pics throughout the treads here in mtbr it looks like a lot of people aren't wearing them... as well as knee and elbow pads.

Should I also be wearing a chest protector or am I going overboard?


Thanks
 

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How aggressive are you? I ride XC primarily, longer distances over fast, smooth singletrack. Sometimes I'll ride rockier stuff but generally no rock gardens and the like. The only protective gear I wear is gloves and a standard helmet.
 

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Answer the following three questions and then you decide.

  1. What is the annual deductible on my health insurance policy? Or, another way of looking at this is, how much does armor, FF helmet, and a good pair of gloves cost vs. my annual deductible?
  2. Do I want to ride tomorrow? The thrill of going huge off that first big air launch is only matched by the agony of that first big smackdown and the ripping, tearing, breaking of skin, ligaments, and/or bones..........when you weren't wearing any of the above named protective gear.
  3. What is the downside to wearing this stuff vs. recovering from an injury? Usually, the only downside is you will be a little hotter and you will get stupid questions or remarks from other bikers who haven't thought of the first two questions above. As to recovering from an injury, that can take weeks to months to years. In essence, any time I spend away from my bike and riding I consider a downside.

Is that enough to convince you or should I send you copies of my medical bills from when I wasn't wearing armor? :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not very aggressive, no drops or things like that. mainly rocky single tracks...
Just looking to hit rocky singles at a faster pase. I also ride HT IRON HORSE so I have no give on the bike. Have taken a few very minor spills but nothing I can't brush off and get back to riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reply Steve47co1

I have read a few other threads with the same type comments you posted, I also seen a few of the pic from their injuries... scary suff.

That's what kind of holding me back as well, the fear of injury
 

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Loser
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I ride aggressive XC or whatever you want to call that, rocks, roots etc. I don't really do much FR type stuff, but I go fast and hit jumps on the descents. I wear helmet, gloves and knee/shin pads. Some of the guys I ride with also wear elbow pads. One guy I ride with uses a chest protector (this is a guy who lacerated his spleen in a bad crash). I've seen a few people try to wear a FF helmet for XC, but they never wear them long due to how hot they get.

Some good advice above, but I think getting into a FF helmet and chest protector starts to get a bit over the line with regards to comfort while doing truly XC riding.

John
 

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Focus is the key

Thanks for reading my rather blunt epistle on this subject.

Two more points come to mind:

1. If you are focused on fear, the downside, getting hurt, etc., you will be scared, get hurt, etc.
2. The beauty of protective gear is that it helps you move through that fear stage to the where/when you have skills stage so you can focus less on fear and more on learning. At a minimum it will give you some grace during the learning curve so you can get back up and try it again right away, the next day or next week when gravity moves you toward terra firma in an abrupt manner.

For example, in 2006, I hit a tree and part of the tree went through my arm and severed three tendons. Cost - $30,000 in medical bills; $2,000 out of my pocket; off the bike for 8 weeks. No armor.
By contrast, in 2008, I went off a jump and hit the ground on my right side, cracking the knee armor, breaking a full face helmet, and having the shoulder pads leave a nasty bruise where they dug into my skin on my back and chest. Got back up and walked off the trail. Cost - $300 for a new helmet, $49 for new handlebars, $95 for new leg/shin armor; off the bike for a week.

I think at the end of solving geometry problems they state QED (Quod Erat Demonstratum) or "that which was to be demonstrated" - I think I just did that!
 

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Wear as much safety equipment as YOU are comfortable in. If your comfortable wearing a full face, knee/shin/elbow guards and a chest protector, go for it! It can't hurt! I ride XC, and anything more than a regular helmet and gloves gets in the way and gets too hot. BUT, on the rare occasion I do downhill, I put on whatever protective equipment I can get my hands on.
 

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THEKIDS said:
Thanks for the reply Steve47co1

I have read a few other threads with the same type comments you posted, I also seen a few of the pic from their injuries... scary suff.

That's what kind of holding me back as well, the fear of injury
IMO, pad up brotha. Eventually, one of two things will happen. Either you will get good enough that the overkill protection annoys you and you will discard it in favor of freedom of movement and heat dissipation, or you will get good enough that the additional protection becomes necessary. Either way, you will get better, and a few wrecks will help with the fear. It never really goes away, it just becomes respect.
 

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Finally, 4 Rules of Mountain Biking

  1. You will go where you look
  2. You will do what you believe
  3. Keep your wheels rolling
  4. Relax, dammit

Not mine but good wisdom nonetheless. I think these also apply very well to life, business, relationships - just about everything.

Enjoy
 

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No clear answer

There is never a consensus on this issue of safety apparel as people are different, their riding style is different, their terrain is different, etc., etc....but it's always an interesting discussion. From my perspective, I think the MTB world has been behind the curve on wearing safety apparel. I'm not talking about serious DH'ers or freeriders. They know...or will soon know...that such equipment can save your life or at least save a few stitches.

"Regular" riders on trails and such are often under the impression that the riding they do can't really require any serious safety gear...and maybe "require" is too strict a word. Anyway, many MTB'ers feel they are just not riding hard enough or in dangerous enough terrain to need any safety equipment short of a helmet...and yes, some morons even think this about a helmet. I think most reasonable people have come to the conclusion that wearing a helmet on an actual MTB trail is a requirement, but it gets pretty fuzzy after that.

I come from a background of riding dirt motors...still do. Even for general trail riding, most dirt motor folks wouldn't think of going out without a fairly serious amount of equipment...body armor, full coverage helmet, riding pants with knee/shin/hip protection, and more. Yeah, speeds are generally faster on the dirt motor, but oddly I've never broken a helmet in a dirt motor crash in over 30 years of riding. I have broken a full coverage moto-style level helmet while MTB'ing, and it wasn't at Moab or other heinous location...just on a flat section of our local trail where a well placed rock did the job in a getoff. You never know when your crash will exceed your equipment, so I probably wear a little more than is usually necessary. The result?...I can get up, dust myself off, and keep riding. If you pick the right gear, it is not that hot or oppresive to wear. I always wear my full coverage, well ventilated, Specialized Deviant on any trail. I also wear some knee/shin guards. When I go to Moab or an 80+ mile dirt motor ranch to MTB, I wear body armor and hip pads in my baggies. I use hardshell MX body armor that has impact absorbing material at key points. This stuff is still cool and ventilated enough to use in warm weather.

Everyone has to come to grips with their own level of protection. MTB'ing still tries to place a stigma on wearing aggressive body armor and apparel for most MTB riding. I don't know if it's a "he-man" or "macho" thing. I am always amazed to see the sleeveless t-shirt and XC beanie helmet dude riding on Slickrock trail in Moab. The sun alone is bad enough, but the sandpaper massage that he's going to receive in just an easy getoff is going to be painful...for a long time. But one thing I do feel...other than just a helmet, people shouldn't be forced to wear more protection than they want for trail riding. Broken bones, missing hide, and mass quantities of stitches might be a good lesson to find out how much protection a given rider wants or needs.
 

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Hear, hear!

You bring up a good point, TNC; I think there is an evolution going on now in mtb apparel and it is partially driven by the evolutionary change in the sport on the FR/DH side which further fuels the industry to respond with better equipment for all riders.

To look at a parallel, I was teaching skiing in Steamboat in 1994 and we all laughed when one of our brethren marched out to the instructor lineup wearing a Briko ski helmet. It actually made him look like one of the Jetson's and we started calling him George.

The next winter, at the same lineup, fully 50% of the instructors were sporting Boeri helmets and as soon as Giro came out with their ventilated version the year after that, we were all wearing them. This coincided with the birth and proliferation of the AM shaped ski and people going farther and farther afield to find good stashes of powder goods and finding that groomed trails and woods are different underfoot. There is no summer grooming in the woods and after riding all over that mountain in the summer I gained a new appreciation for waiting until there was a 40" base before venturing off piste.

I see the same thing happening in biking and for myself, your points about crashing, skidding, and banging (coupled with some painful and expensive experience) certainly have changed my wardrobe to include padded shorts, knee/shin guards, arm/elbow armor and padded gloves - for an XC ride. When I go big, the FF and the Dainese moto suit also go on and this year I am adding a Leatt neck brace after following TA's trials and tribulations across the short cyber distance between NZ and Colorado.

Good stuff and this forum rules. :thumbsup:
 

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Another perspective is that a person just has to decide what they are comfortable with. When I started riding and skating as a kid, decent gear wasn't available. Once it became available, I tried gearing up a few times, but it felt like I was lugging around a diving suit. Distracting and awkward. I catch alot of crap from the locals for not even sporting a helmet, but it goes back to I just feel awkward with it. It's not just a vanity thing.

That's why I suggested that the OP wear whatever he's comfortable wearing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So for chest protection... what makes, models are good for biking. I have been looking on-line at FOX as well as others. They seam to be geared for motor riding. Are thier any specificly designed for MTB'ing or are they all the same?
 

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Rockgardn Flak Jacket

I have two jackets; one is a full-on Dainese pressure suit; the Wave V, for DH and the other is a Rockgardn Flak Jacket - I like the Rockgardn for XC because it is so modular; remove the lower arms, remove the spine protector, etc., for XC riding and wearing a Camelbak.

$165 retail; find them on eBay for less.
 
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