Helmets and Body Armor – What do you use?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Helmets and Body Armor – What do you use?

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  mtbbeta 3 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #241463

    I’m curious about what people have to say about this. Until now, I’ve only used a regular (ie, not full face) helmet. Lately, as I’ve grown more confident and more aggressive, I’m thinking I should probably at least get knee pads.

    What do people here use? Full face helmet? Any body armor? If so, what? If not, why not? (I ask the last question just to see what people say, but I’m also curious to see if there are any good reasons to not wear some of this stuff.)

    PS – I imagine there are other threads about this topic, but I tried to use the search feature and found it a bit clunky. Then again, I’m a little new here, so maybe I’m clunky. Either way, I want to apologize in advance for the redundancy.

    #241464

    I just ride with a open face MIPS helmet.  No pads or armor, and I have the scars to show for it. 🙂  I’ve thought about more protection, but since temps are 80-100+ most of the year,  that thought dissipates pretty quickly.

    #241465

    Yeah, I have the scars to show for it, too. I’m generally okay with the scars, but I’ve had a couple crashes recently where I was lucky I didn’t do real damage to a knee. Heat is also a concern for me, though I’m in the northeast. I pour sweat within 15 minutes of riding and that’s even on a 65-70 degree day.

    I still haven’t replaced my old helmet with an updated MIPS helmet. I’ve been shopping both at a couple LBS’s and REI, but so far, I haven’t found one that fits right and has the ventilation I want up front. That’s scared me away from my original idea of looking at a bunch of reviews and ordering from the seemingly infinite selection online.

    Anyway, thanks for the reply, fredcook!

    #241473

    I think there are several factors to consider in making this kind of decision:  (a) the terrain you ride (techy vs non-tech), (b) your riding style (pushing the edge vs just putting in some miles at a casual pace and (c) your personal preference.  If you’re riding aggressively on technical trails you may want to consider elbow and/or knee pads.  If you’re riding advanced+ downhill trails getting shuttled to the top, you may want to consider a full face helmet and body armor.  But the more gear you wear the less natural it will feel.  Again, it really comes down to personal preference and what you feel most comfortable with.  I typically ride moderate/advanced trails and for me I feel most comfortable with just an open face (MIPs) helmet.  I actually experimented with knee pads and elbow pads a few years ago but it’s a real hassle to clean them and aside from possibly saving me a few scrapes/scratches I can’t think of a time where they would have prevented an injury.

    #241476

    DH- both full face helmet and body armor.  Trails just a regular helmet.  If riding with more protection adds to the enjoyment of your riding do it!

    #241495

    charding: “I still haven’t replaced my old helmet with an updated MIPS helmet. I’ve been shopping both at a couple LBS’s and REI, but so far, I haven’t found one that fits right and has the ventilation I want up front. That’s scared me away from my original idea of looking at a bunch of reviews and ordering from the seemingly infinite selection online.”

    Yeah, finding the right fit is hit or miss.  Even when model x of a particular brand fits right, model z of that same brand may not.  Regarding MIPS… if you haven’t ridden with one yet… I’ve noticed I have a tendency to ratchet down MIPS helmets tighter than non MIPS.  It may just be me, but that extra ‘floating’ layer makes the helmet feel like it has movement (more than I like).  May just be perception on my part since MIPS does just that… allow movement on indirect hits.  So when I fit for MIPS helmets, I take into account I may be tightening it down more.

    #241496

    Just a regular helmet, in the summer short sleeves, in the spring/fall long sleeves.

    #241508

    In rocky Northeast single-track I always wear full finger gloves from Handup. I don’t care how hot it is – you need them more when your hands sweat to keep a good grip on the bars. Same on the road.

    The other important piece are crank boots – small plastic covers that fit over the end of the crank at the pedal eye. These prevent rocks from gouging up your cranks, which can lead to cracks and fractures that can get you really hurt.

    Also eye protection with good coverage is important for branches and thorns.

    #241509

    Thanks to all for the responses. Good food for thought.

    #241519

    I live in a hot climate too.  When I know I’m gong to be on a tight trail that might be overgrown with thorns, I wear a face mask with built in Googles in addition to my helmet.

    I wear the mask a lot more often in the winter as it keeps the wind off my face

    #241520

    Also if I’m riding street (yes, I do that on a mtn bike) or praticing manuals or something on asphalt or concrete,  I wear elbow and knee pads gloves if I can stand the heat too.  Those gloves have saved a lot of skin on my hands when I’m on asphalt.  When I practice tricks, I fall a lot.

    #241626

    Regular helmet, Alpinestars Paragon knee pads and, if it’s not to hot, Paragon elbow pads. A few falls when I first started back riding quickly convinced me the armor was needed.

    #241654

    This past weekend, I stopped debating and got some knee pads. Also finally got myself a MIPS helmet. That was Saturday. Sunday, I went for a ride and had my first crash where I hit my head. The MIPS helmet made it feel like my head hit a pillow and the knee pads saved my already ugly right knee from adding a few more scars. I was a little concerned about the heat, but once I was riding and focused on that, I didn’t notice how hot my legs/knees got until I was trying to get the pads off.

    #241661

    Sounds like you already got your money’s worth…

    #241662

    This past weekend, I stopped debating and got some knee pads. Also finally got myself a MIPS helmet. That was Saturday. Sunday, I went for a ride and had my first crash where I hit my head. The MIPS helmet made it feel like my head hit a pillow and the knee pads saved my already ugly right knee from adding a few more scars. I was a little concerned about the heat, but once I was riding and focused on that, I didn’t notice how hot my legs/knees got until I was trying to get the pads off.

     

    Glad to hear you’re ok.  So here’s the question:  Did you crash because you took more risk knowing that you had the extra protection or would you likely have had the same crash anyway?

    #241668

    Sounds like you already got your money’s worth…

    Yes, definitely.

    Glad to hear you’re ok.  So here’s the question:  Did you crash because you took more risk knowing that you had the extra protection or would you likely have had the same crash anyway?

    It would’ve happened either way. I was riding a fairly technical trail that I’ve only done a few times and it had been a while. Came to a quick turn and slowed down maybe a little too much, right after the turn was a small drop, front wheel dropped, I either accidentally hit the front brake or the front wheel hit a rock, and OTB I went. I did ride a bit more aggressively, but can’t blame the fall on that. You live, you learn…and crash again later. :^)

    #241690

    I use my trail helmet and no pads when going for fitness/ local trail rides. I have a fuller coverage half helmet that I use for everything else and 3 different types of knee guards depending what I’m doing. Bike park gets the burlier guards, the lighter guards when more pedaling is involved and I have a soft version of dirt jump knee pads for my BMX. I have a full face that I don’t like wearing. My experience tells me to purchase the best and most comfortable gear you can afford, that way you’ll actually wear it. And wear gloves; you can scrape up the rest of your body but your bloody hands still have to grip the bars to get you home.

    #241691

    It would’ve happened either way. I was riding a fairly technical trail that I’ve only done a few times and it had been a while. Came to a quick turn and slowed down maybe a little too much, right after the turn was a small drop, front wheel dropped, I either accidentally hit the front brake or the front wheel hit a rock, and OTB I went. I did ride a bit more aggressively, but can’t blame the fall on that.

    Then the timing of your investment in extra protection was ideal!  Dude, if this is how you manage risk and make investments do you have any stock tips you want to share? 😉

    You live, you learn…and crash again later. :^)

    I feel ya!

    #241723

    Dude, if this is how you manage risk and make investments do you have any stock tips you want to share?

    Here’s my advice: if you want to invest in stocks, try to limit the amount you spend on bikes, riding gear, camping gear and hiking gear. I imagine if I took that advice, I might have money to invest! haha

    #241731

    Trail riding, I always have open face helmet, elbow and knee pads. No exceptions.  Bike park Full Face, Elbow, Knee, Neck Brace and soft shell body armor.  If its cold I wear pants with kneepads if its hot I wear shorts with full shin and knee pad.

     

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