armor

Replacement Knee Armor Revised

seeflex-family.jpg

Awhile back, I had a post about replacement knee armor options. And at the time, Forcefield still made an option that is now discontinued. 

dainese_new_drake_air_womens.jpg

So here are some new recommendations, no matter what brand of pants you wear. A lot of knee replacement armor options also double as elbows, it just depends on the size/length/shape you're looking for. 

Above is the Seeflex family from REV'IT ($39-$44/pair). I like the RV14 and RV12 options on the far right for pants with really long armor pockets. A good example of this is Dainese. 

Their stock knee protector pockets are long, for their older knee guards. I find them to be too stiff, and lacking in shock absorption. The awesome thing about Seeflex is the entire piece of a shock absorber. This is far more comfortable to crash on and they're more ventilated as well. Additionally, they're CE Level 2, not Level 1 like the Dainese knee guards.  More flexibility, protection, ventilation and comfort. Well worth the upgrade.

Keep in mind the shape of Seeflex is deeper, so the space in your pant needs to accommodate a deeper knee space. They also wrap around your knees more which is great for me because I have skinny knees. 

Rukka D3O Air Knee

Rukka D3O Air Knee

What's challenging about Seeflex is the width, if you're a woman and you're looking for replacement knee armor your pants may need a narrower piece of armor. RV10 may be too wide, depending on the brand. Keep in mind that RV12 is for exceptionally long knee armor pockets and won't work in most pants. 

Another option for Dainese pants that I also recommend is the Rukka D3O Air Knee Protectors ($39/pair). Thee are also CE Level 2, but it's a flatter piece so if you need a wider piece over your knee vs a more cupped/fitted piece (for smaller knees/pants) then you'll love this option from Rukka. 

Also great to match the length of Dainese knee pockets, super soft, flexible and ventilated. 

Here are a couple other options to consider; I like these because they're softer to begin with. They don't need time to warm up to your body. And, they're great options if you have smaller pockets: 

Armor should always fit so comfortably that you don't know it's there. If it's bugging you, it's usually because the gear isn't fitting you right (incorrect size/fitment/etc.) or it's cheap/fake armor that isn't molecular in nature (soft like these that harden on impact). 

If you need help figuring thiings out for your body/gear, please send me a message. 

 

 

Replacement Knee Armor

forcefield_net_replacement_armor-e1458261284553.jpg

UPDATE: This Forcefield armor is discontinued. 

The other day I posted about Dainese Knee Armor that I think works well as hip armor. This time around I want to show you some killer knee protectors that you might want to upgrade with asap.

The yellow armor above is made by Forcefield. The "Net Replacement Armor" as it's called is soft, pliable and molded. It also meets the CE Level 2 Standard, which is more than most of the back/shoulder/elbow armor that comes with your gear. I've upgraded the knee armor in my Revit pants to make riding in them more comfortable.I love Forcefield because it's not as vulnerable to cold and it offers Repeat Performance Technology; which means you can use it again even if you crash on it. The Net Armor is also vented and super smushy. It hardens on impact much like a competing technology called d3o. As much as I like d3o, I prefer the shapes that Forcefield has to offer since it molds better to my petite frame.

dainese_newdrake_womens_used 4 (1)
dainese_newdrake_womens_used 4 (1)

Many of you might have Dainese riding pants, either textiles or leathers. I want to recommend this form of d3o armor from a company called Rukka (Finland). The d3o Air Knee Pads are about the same height as Dainese knee protectors but offer a full length shock absorption which the hard shell Dainese does not. The width is about the same as well.

I've recommended these to many of my customers and highly highly recommend them to upgrade any of your Dainese pants (mens and ladies). Also, these would work really well in dirt / adventure pants that might have really long pockets in the knees. The coverage is longer than the other knee armor options as well!

rukka_replacement_d3o_knee_armor
rukka_replacement_d3o_knee_armor

Idea for thin, lightweight hip armor

dainese_proshape_knee.png

I prefer having knee AND hip armor in my riding pants, always. Most hip protectors are rather thick and uncomfortable. But Dainese created 2 products that I think work really well as hip protectors.  One of which is clearly designed by Dainese as a Hip Protector (pictured above). They're smaller, about 3in wide by 5in tall and designed to fit specifically into their riding jean models that offer hip protector pockets.

But the other armor they make with the same lightweight, strong material are Dainese Pro Shape Knee Protectors for their riding jeans:

dainese_proshape_knee

Both of these protectors are CE Certified and are Level 1. I put the knee protectors in my Gear 2's hip armor pockets! They're comfortable, light and I don't even know they're there.  Each pair costs less than $40, definitely a worthy investment.

 

Back Protector Issue

Reader Emily wrote me recently about a back protector issue she's having while riding 2-up. Check out what she had to say along with my reply:

Hi there, I live in Berkeley (I know you've decamped to Philly) and my b/f and I ride a BMW 1200GS Adventure with me on the back. We recently upsized from an 800GS. Because I found it hard on my lower back to not have no backrest, when he got the new bike he had a box put on the back with the backrest cushioning installed.

Now I am getting a bruise mid-spine from the top of the box (even though it is cushioned as well). I have a FirstGear Kilimanjaro Air jacket that I've liked but the back armor goes down just to the place where the top of the box hits. I went into the BMW dealer in SF yesterday to try their jackets and found they have the same problem. I am 5'8" and long waisted and BMW jackets for women don't come in long sizes, though their men's apparel does. Kent in the BMW store suggested I try Rev'it because they make better apparel for women then BMW (actually he suggested I start my own company making women's motorcycling appa rel).

However, I note in looking at the Rev'it website that the women's gear also does not come in long sizes. Do you know how long the back armor is in the women's jacket (I wear an 8 in the BMW GS Dry) or do you have any other suggestions? We're taking a two week trip in Montana in September and I've got to have this figured out by then or I will be be super uncomfortable.

-April

I have a couple ideas for you:

 

1) Rev'it Levante Jacket + Seesoft Back Protector

This combination gives you two things including a longer cut in the torso and sleeves as well as a back protector that's fairly long. It shouldn't be taller than your shoulder blades but I think it'll alleviate the issues you're having with the top box. This jacket is one of the only ones that work well for women who are looking for a jacket that's multi season (removable thermal layer with a mesh shell) and have a longer torso fit as well a sleeve length. Unfortunately you have to use Seesoft with the Levante because the pocket is specifically cut out for Seesoft. Alternatively, you could also use D3O instead, you'll just have to trim the sides to fit. To find out more about this jacket, check out my tall co-host's review here.

Keep in mind that all back protector inserts will never be higher than the shoulder blades because it's just too uncomfortable in riding position and the jacket just won't fit right. It would really restrict the driver's ability to fully turn their head from side to side.

revit_womens_levante_jacket_detail revzilla revit_seesoft_back_protector_insert

 

2) External Back Protector

If the previous combination doesn't work, try wearing an external back protector underneath like this one by Spidi. I like this one because it's pretty long but really thin. You can also adjust the waist belt to your height via velcro. I think this would fit perfectly underneath the Levante as well.

spidi_warrior_light_backprotector

 

What Kind of Petite Riding Jacket, Boots and Pants?

My name is Melissa and I live in London. I found your site on Google. I' m looking for some motorcycle gear as my boyfriend has a motorbike and I will be riding as a passenger pretty soon. We're planning a trip at Easter to ride from Portland to LA, which is super exciting, only thing is, I'm tiny. It's proving really difficult to find stuff that's actually "small". I guess I'm just under 5ft tall and about a US size 0-2 (UK size 4-6). I'm looking for some pants (possibly armoured jeans?) that are as skinny a fit as possible (partly for vain reasons, partly for fit!). Or do you know if it's possible to buy leg armour ie. wear my own jeans underneath (as I can imagine that trousers that are possibly a bit too big would be slightly uncomfortable)? As we're going to be travelling really light- one pannier each for 3 weeks (!) I'd like my gear to look as much like regular clothes as possible so I don't have to pack too much else..

I'm sure finding a jacket won't be as difficult. but would any leather jacket suffice or does it have to be armoured.

I already own some steel toe cap Doctor Marten boots- I imagine these would be ok.. correct me if I'm wrong!

I'm completely clueless basically!! Help!

Melissa

Hi Melissa,

For pants, the only ones I can think of that will fit you are the Vikas in 38. However, depending on your measurements and how small you are, even those may be slightly loose. I have a review of them here.

alpinestars_vika

The smallest riding jeans I know of are the Dainese D19s in 25. I would recommend buying one of these knee guards to wear over the jeans:

http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/dainese-knee-v-guard

or

http://www.revzilla.com/product/alpinestars-bionic-mx-knee-protectors

As far as jackets, I'm afraid it's going to be difficult as well. And yes, you definitely want something armored. Casual leather has absolutely nothing designed in the event of a crash, things like seam strength and abrasion resistance are non existent. And if you plan on riding up when the weather is chilly, you may want to think about an insulated textile instead of leather. Especially if it's going to be wet or rainy.

revit_indigo_womens_jacket_silver

I'm also guessing that you have a very narrow torso and bust. If your measurements are small as I think they are, your best off the rack options are the Vika in 38, Indigo in 34, Sand in 34 and Tornado in 34. If your bust measurement is under 34" (over the bust), I haven't found anything that will fit below that size. :-(

As far as boots, Dr Martens are ok, since they are leather and pretty durable. I actually started out wearing those the first year I rode my motorcycle but quickly realized that real riding boots were far more beneficial for me as a rider. Ideally, you also more ankle protection, from a boot like these:

http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/dainese-womens-svelta-gore-tex-boots 

They're extremely comfortable, 100% waterproof, and very slender up the calf/leg.

dainese_svelta_gtx

The soles, toes, ankles and heels are reinforced in the event of a crash. Everything is designed to keep your feet from getting crushed and absorbing a tremendous impact.

Riding a motorcycle requires a lot of functional riding gear. Anything that looks more fashionable more often than not, lacks either protection or features that are going to make your ride a less comfortable and safe one.

A side note for any women reading this who are tall, slender and/or very petite. Generally speaking, these brands are going to take the best care of you when it comes to gear:

alpinestars-1024x214 logo_revit dainese logo spidi_logo

 

The reason is that these brands are European. As such, they offer the smallest off the rack sizes and everything about them is a better fit for leaner body types; narrower torso, shoulders, arms, elbows, legs, etc. 

There is one exception with American brands and that is the Klim Altitude for Dual Sport / Adventure riders. This suit has a very long / lean fit. 

Women’s Race Gloves and Boots

Ladies, my friend Todd from Heroic Racing is dedicated to making the best 1-piece and 2-piece suits, as well as race gloves and boots for women who live to race or ride motorcycles. Todd designs suits and gloves for many women who race professionally in the US and all over the world. I've seen his work and it's quite amazing. He's selling boots and gloves on closeout at some of the best prices you'll see for comparable race boots/gloves. Or if you're simply looking for a stronger boot and/or glove for road riding, you'll want to consider a pair of Heroics. A comparable glove would be the Held Phantoms. And a comparable boot would be the Sidi Vertigo Lei without the pink. :) And for my environmentally friendly friends, both the Vertigos and the HRAs are made of Lorica, so you can be happy wearing them knowing that no cows were harmed in the creation of your boots.

Boots

Model: Heroic HRA/180 Price: Retail $220, Sale $180 Colors: black or white Sizes: 36-42 (roughly US Womens 6 - 10) Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to try them on, but Todd told me they run small with a very Euro fit, so you want to order a size larger than you normally would. I'm a 37 and a US7 so I'd order a 38. - Non slip sole - Comfortable foot bed - Forward flexing ankle chassis - Shifter guard - Heel slider protection - Removable toe slider - TPU surround for upper boot protection - Air injection ports - Fully perforated Lorica (synthetic leather, fully vegan!)

Gloves

Model: Heroic SP-R Gloves Price: Msrp $265, Sale $160! Colors: black or white Sizes: 7 - 9 (small - large). I fit a 7 perfectly and I'm generally a small in women's gloves, as well as a 6.5 in Held. -Full kangaroo hide -Stingray fish buckles, hand sliders, palm sliders -GP Pinkie - finger protection during crash -TPU Knuckles -TPU Sliders -HEROIC Articulated Fingers - Keeps fingers in Racecurl -Kangaroo Thumb deflector - keeps hand buckle from getting damaged in wreck -Fully stitched with Kevlar and bonded Nylon - ultimate threading -HEROIC Logo with shock protection memory foam. -Extra inch of gauntlet from predecessor -These gloves received 2WheelTuner Editors Choice in their 2009 Glove Guide.

Featuring Kangaroo leather and Stingray hyde. Stingray is supposedly stronger than leather. I say supposedly because I haven't crashed in a pair. But, based on what I"ve seen of post crash leathers, it's one of the best options available. I've tried these on and they're very different from similar race gloves in that the seams on the palms are sewn so that it feels extra articulated for riding position. As soon as you put your hand in, your fingers have nowhere to go except down around your handgrip. Generally speaking, any real protective glove should fit the best around the handgrip and it should be really really uncomfortable do make a high five or a fist.

The wrist protection is fully covered and you can be sure that your hands are going to be safe and sound, surrounded by the heavenly feel of kangaroo leather and stingray hide. Oooo. Aaaa. Ohhhh.

How to Buy: If you're interested in ordering either of these you can only get this price by emailing sales at heroicracing dot com and telling them I sent you. :-)

SideStandUp Jan 5, 2010

4pm PT/7pm ET http://www.sidestandup.com

Tonight's show is going to be an update from the Int'l Motorcycle Shows 2009-2010, as well as what I'm doing at the shows through the end of February. I'll also be reporting on what I've seen so far and what I think is worth checking out as the shows make it to your city.

http://www.motorcycleshows.com

I'll also be talking a little bit about the new Snell 2010 helmets that are coming out and what it might mean to you.

http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-helmets/snell-2010-standard.htm

And I hope to touch on the subject of body armor and why you need it, some options to consider when purchasing gear.

I hope you have time to tune in!