Motorcycle armor choices. Lots of them!

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by breaksalltherules, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. I am currently researching motorcycle/motocross armor for use when ridding into bigger cities and wanted to post what I have found so far and get some feedback. Hopefully, everybody can add enough experience and input to make this thing pretty comprehensive.

    Here are the basics,

    Considerations are impact resistance, abrasion resistance, comfort, cost, look (only important to me because I like to remain lo-key and avoid attention when traveling long distance, plus looking like a body armored military personnel in other countries can certainly be a disadvantage) Also, if it's worn on the outside or as a base layer.

    The official rating system for impact resistance is CE level 1 and CE level 2. CE level 2 offers a greater degree of protection. Basically, at least look for at least CE level 1. CE level 2 will cost more but considering health care cost, it could very easily pay for itself many times over.

    ABS plastic
    typically used on "wear on top" variety
    Pros: inexpensive
    good abrasion resistance
    decent impact resistance
    most widely used/available material

    does not breathe
    likely to break after one time impact
    can be uncomfortable

    Carbon Fiber
    best pound for pound impact resistance
    failure is almost always complete
    poor abrasion resistance

    Some other potential materials:
    Memory foam

    Things to protect in (probably) order of importance
    1. Head (don't want this to become a thread about helmets but head injuries are the most common cause of death)
    2. back (thoracic injury's rank as the most common injury in motorcycle crashes)
    3. neck and clavicle
    3. ribs (compression injury can easily lead to internal bleeding and organ damage)
    4. hips (still leaves you vulnerable for lumbar spinal injury)
    5. knees and elbows
    6. feet and hands

    What would you add to this? Do you have experience with a specific set of armor that has good protection for good value?

    I am in NO WAY endorsing this amour but wanted to put it up as the low price point at about $25

    If it's all you can really afford, it is probably better than nothing.

  2. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    Seven years ago, I rode a girlie cruiser w/electric hub to work. Top speed 27mph. My protection was a bike helmet, boots and leather gloves. My backpack also served as back protection. Once I fell off my bike and my left forearm broke the fall. The impact left me a bump that looked like a second elbow (ok now).The need for more protection was a no-brainer. Now I wear a red Fox chest protector, full shin/kneeguards, elbow/forearm protectors, dirtbike gloves and boots. My full backpack provides excellent back protection. I bought a neck guard but never used it.

    Everything feels light and comfortable except my heavy backpack. I commute from suburbs to city, so I wear all my gear on every ride. When I ride to work, my chest protector hangs in my cubicle, my helmet, forearm guards and gloves fit into my backpack. I either wear my boots, Crocs or flip-flops @ the Child Protective Services. My coworkers call me "Transformers". I feel like "The Terminator" walking down the office hallway, lol. Everything fits comfortably. I could wear my gear all day long. The only negative is that it smells like football protective gear, lol.

    If you wanna be seen, buy your protective gear in red. EVERYONE stares, which is what you be noticed in city traffic. If low-key, buy gear in black. If worried about looking military, wear a large shirt over it (might be warm then). For rib protection, use a neoprene back brace, but it'll get even warmer. The chest protector should also offer rib protection.

    Besides the motorcycle helmet, the chest protector, full shin/knee guards, forearm/elbow guards and dirt bike gloves are the best safety equipment I could buy. I didn't buy the m/c boots 'cause my old Red Wings work boots work well enough.

    The biggest negative is that the gear stinks from perspiration. The biggest positives are that it's comfortable, light, and you KNOW it's gonna help with that sudden impact of falling or getting hit by a car.
  3. Thanks 5-7, I knew you would have some good input.

    haha it sounds like you're a super hero working an office job!

    How does your armor feel in 100f + heat? I would imagine better than the base layer/next to skin type armor.

    On somewhat of a side note about getting people to stare, when I cracked my head cylinder on my Tanaka and still had to ride it a few more days, EVERYBODY noticed me! I felt like a **** with that little screaming monster behind me. But it is why my DB snorkel for my exhaust is removable. Sometimes louder is better (safer)
  4. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    Lol, the protective gear makes me feel like an action hero.
    High 80s is prolly the hottest I've ridden with it on.
    It feels MUCH cooler than a sweatshirt, more like an oversized (not heavy) tanktop with the open sides and vents.
    I've NEVER felt the urge to remove it because the weather was too hot. And that's walking around with it.
    When you're on a moving bike at any speed, it's all cool, literally.

    I know you had trouble with your Robin/Subaru engine. How'd you crack the Tanaka.

    Here's an idea for a DB snorkel. Drill a hole in the muffler and braze a large brass fitting onto it.
    Plug it with a solid brass plug. When you want it loud, remove the plug.
    breaksalltherules likes this.
  5. Cool. Once I depart Lake Charles, my impeccable timing will leave me crossing Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada for this wonderfully hot summer we are having. Pretty sure I'm going with "sit on top" armor.

    I have actually never had any trouble with my Robin/Subarus except not enough power. Once I realized how much my documentary gear, solar panels, spare parts where going to weigh plus the need to be able to carry supplies for up to 500 miles in a couple of part of my route, I went with the Tanaka 4000. The Stalker high performance muffler really added a lot of low end punch where I needed it but it didn't have a mounting bracket and 800 or so miles of some pretty rough roads ended up being too much for the exhaust mount to hold by itself. I was super sick of getting stuck at gas stations for longer than necessary mixing oil plus worried there would be a point where I could only find gasoline but no 2 stroke oil, I went with the Super Titan.

    I love that snorkel idea! That will make it super easy to add the safety of a louder exhaust when I'm in traffic. You are the man 5-7!
  6. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    Yes, I've cracked the expansion pipes without good support too.

    I love Tanaka and Mitsubishi engines. Install the engine, mix gas and go, then change sparkplug once a year.
    Then forget about the engine and worry about the rest of the bike.

    With the snorkel, you could add a simple brass valve, like a water faucet . That way you can adjust the exhaust volume, or turn it off and on by reaching behind.....

    on the fly!