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Protective Gear Really Works!

6350 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  SezaGeoff
First Post! (maybe). Amen Brother. I went for a short trip to the liquior store sans gear and deeply regretted it. Nevermore. I had a backback with a 24oz. bottle of Becks which of course broke, so the first thing I noticed after dragging my broken body to the side of the road, was I reeked of beer!
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What was on your legs? Did you have knee protection? What kind? How exactly did you go down, and how did you travel along the road? I'm always interested in details since I've STILL never been down on the road. Great to hear your gear worked and that you still do! Im typically lazy about spending cash for protective gear below the waist. I completely dumb. Inspire me.

Been feeling the same way lately, ordered a Bohn back protector for my roadcrafter yesterday.
I've got Bohn body armor for my legs. Never had the displeasure of using it on asphalt, but it seems like it would offer some good pretection. I like the fact that I can still wear jeans with it.
My experience about a month ago, stopped in traffic on 101 in a merge zone (where lane splitting isn't always practical due to people changing lanes) & the car behind the one behind me didn't stop....

I literally got catapulted off the bike into a front somersault & smashed into the pickup truck in front of me while flying upside down and backwards, then fell to the pavement on my head/right shoulder/elbow

only injury was being speared through the back of the thigh by a plastic PVC pipe that was sticking out of the bed of the truck. My helmet took a heck of a ding on the truck bumper and most the rest of the hit was pretty evenly distributed

the upgraded CE armor in my First Gear mesh jacket did a really good job, I didn't even have a bruise on my upper body and I was up and walking within a minute. I'd definitely have been seriously messed up w/o the gear.

After that experience I've been shopping for back protectors too, probably leaning towards the Bohn also.
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No Gear + Head Injury = Morte!

Even if you're wearing a $800 helmet. Read the Motorcyclist story on DOT v Snell standards here:

and pay attention to the section "How Hurt is Hurt?".

Having multiple moderate-to-severe injuries all over your body, like broken legs, ankles, roadrash, busted collarbones, etc can multiply the effects of even a moderate head injury, decreasing your chances of survival. Wearing jeans and a t-shirt out riding, no matter how hot it is outside, is really unacceptable.

Now we have inexpensive, comfortable and practical hot-weather riding gear that is very protective at the speeds most crashes occur at. Joe Rocket sells a jacket/pant combo that's pretty good at protecting you from roadrash and impacts (although not as good as they say it is!) for under $200.

It's worth it! Think about the fact that most crashes happen within a few miles of the victim's house the next time you select riding gear for a short ride.
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Re: No Gear + Head Injury = Morte!

Gabe, I only have a $350 head.
I commute every day in New Jersey, mostly back roads, and no route takes me more than 10 miles.

I had one early roadrash experience, when the sleeve of a non-riding leather jacket slid up on my and left me with enough rash to seriously consider ATGATT.

So, every day I suit up in my Joe Rocket Meteor jacket, JR Ballistic pants, Nolan N100E, JR Phoenix gloves, and Oxtar Matrix boots. Yes, I look like an astronaut, but I'm dressed for an unexpected date with the pavement.

Sure enough, in late July I had a woman on a cell phone not see me, and pull out from a stop sign (in an SUV, no less), right into my path. It's amazing how you can miss a bright yellow rider on an ugly bike (700 pounds of fat and ugly, as my wife puts it). I was travelling 25-30 and scrubbed down to about 10-15 before I T-boned her driver's door. Upon impact, the bike came around and I smacked her driver's side rear door, and continued to the ground while she passed.

The bike landed on my right leg, the armor of my boots protecting my ankle from the imapact, and the exhaust melted some serious holes in my nylon pants, but didn't get my khaki's or my legs. A smashed pinkie, from either the lever or the ground, and a bruised kneecap were the damage I suffered.

I only lost one day of work, spent primarily to rescue my bike from the lot it was towed to. The tow truck driver that picked it up informed me that I had done $10,000 in damage to the truck, effectively sealing both doors with the bike and my body.

I can't imagine the rash, scrapes, bruises, burns, or breaks that I might have experienced otherwise. I knew I sweated my 'nads off for a reason.

The bike is a total loss, but I walked away to ride another day, and that's what counts.
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Just had a get off myself at a little over 50mph because I was having a little too much fun on a twisty road that I know well. Unfortunately, my local knowledge of the road was not equivalent to the vast psychic power that was needed to forsee a parked cargo van at a the exit to a blind curve. Bottom line: my bad for letting my enthusiam overwhelm my judgement and going too fast, and the jerk's bad for parking a cargo van at the exit of a blind curve on a tight, twisty two lane road. FWIW, I did manage to not actually hit the van.

  • Myself: Nothing broken, but a slightly twisted ankle. The bike slid on top of my left leg for about 20 feet with my left foot being twisted in at a 90 degree angle. How I ended up in that position I will never know, but the boot armor prevented damage to the bones from the weight of the bike. Road rash on my left index finger, left knee, and right back part of the hip, most serious on the index finger and knee, but no serious bleeding and no damage to bones, joints or muscles. A little stiffness the next day in the left leg and right hip, but again, nothing serious.
  • Helmet - Arai Astral X: No major indentations. I slid about 40-50 feet, mostly on my face, but the inital impact was to the top right part of my head. There are no major indentations in the shell, though it's been ground down a good 1/4 inch. The visor stayed in tact through the whole slide, but is ground down to an opaque, sand paper like consistancy. The plastic puck type device Arai places over the hinging mechanism is somewhere back on the road and the mechanism itself is in several peices. Will replace with the same.
  • Jacket - Rukka Air Power 2: The peice of gear I will miss most as they are wonderful jackets and nearly impossible to find in the US. Even if you find one, they're usually around $800-900, and I had found this one gently used for $300. The armor is all completely undamaged and I have salvaged it to place in my new jacket. The more substantial portions of cordura on the shoulder, back and elbow are scuffed, but did not rip. No seams ripped. There are a few holes in the lighter weight matierial on the hip area that corresponds to the road rash. I'd love to replace it with the same, but I seem to have misplaced my Swiss bank account number, and a deal that good doesn't come along often.
  • Gloves - Olympia Summer Gel: Completely and totally destroyed. Several seams broken, the fabric tore, and they provided almost no protected, accounting for the large, deep patch of road rash running most of the length of my left index finger. They were comfortable, but I will never wear a glove without leather on the fingers again. Live and learn.
  • Pants - Levi's 545: About as much protection as you would expect, accounting for the large and deep patch of road rash on my left knee. I still won't wear riding pants though - far too much hassle for commuting. I might consider some Draggin Jeans though.
  • Boots - Oxtar Matrix Gore-tex: Completely destroyed. Several holes straight through the leather on the left boot. Toe shifter melted (who knew it would melt!?). Stitches all held together, and I credit them for preventing a broken ankle and shin from the bike literally sitting on top of my leg through the better part of the slide. Replacing with the revamped for 2005 Alpinestars Effex Gore Tex due to mild comfort issues with the Oxtars and a slightly better fit to the shape of my foot on the Alpinestars.
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Glad you are not in worse shape. Thank you for the testing report on the boots, pants, jacket and gloves. There probably should be a thread with email names etc removed preserving anonymity but listing brand names of the protective gear and the experience. MO would need to guarantee confidentiality to get real honest reports. Mercedes and Volvo have analagous destructive testing reports (they have the right to independently investigate crashes with their products in certain geography and the accounts are shielded from legal access) which clearly has lead to better safety products on their part. MO - you might want to apply to the NIH for a certificate of confidentiality to gather such reports -

The reports really have improved safety.

I don't want any MOFO's to crash, but if you crash it is better to report that all the stitches pulled out of brand z gloves than for another 100 MOFo's to purchase brand z because they are reinforced with ___________ fill in the blank. ALSO - please don't assume the armor is still good. Like helmets - some armour is a one time real use only item.
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But let's hear from those that didn't wear the proper gear

Anybody......anybody......okay, I heard some whirring, clicking, and grunts. Somebody push the armless, jawless paraplegic in the corner with the drool bucket up to the mic. I wanna hear their thoughts on protective equipment.

I'll give you $275 in food stamps for it.
But... but... but you couldn't feel the wind through your hair, man! Or the concrete through your skull...
Something I have started doing is stopping in a position AS THOUGH I were lane splitting. You can still get hit from behind, but won't squashed between vehicles. It takes a little focus to remember doing it, but you're in the middle of what teachers call a "teachable moment" and can cultivate a habit that might save your life one day.
Slightly off topic, but still dealing with protective gear: most of us put on the right stuff when we leave home for a ride, but how many of us hire a scooter or trailbike when on vacation on some sunny Mediterranean or Caribbean island and then ride it around in shorts and a t-shirt? If you have a get-off at about 20 mph, the chances are you'll put your hands out to break your fall - and lose flesh in the process. The answer is to take a pair of ventilated moto-X gloves on vacation, too, and wear them every time you ride your rental moped. They don't take up much room in your luggage, and you'll be glad you did it when they save your skin.
Doesn't matter! With the medical care in those kind of places, you are going to die anyway!
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