Body armour, so much choice

Hattori-Hanzo

Active member
Apr 10, 2023
256
268
UK
I'm slowly starting to progress at bike parks and more advanced trails, I'm also not getting any younger and don't bounce as well as I used to. To keep the better half happy I think some protection would be a good idea.
So I'm after some body armour for bike park use and want a decent level of protection that's still reasonably comfy.

I've narrowed it down to a few choices but I'm not fully decided just yet so any input would be greatly received.

Alpinestars bionic action v2

Hard plastic armour (which I'm learning towards) in a spill may hold up better than the composite armour/fabric. I could also wear it with a short sleeve jersey to increase air flow. Good protection without being massively bulky.
Down side is its heavier and probably least comfortable.

Leatt 3DF AirFit Body Protector

large Composite armour with some flank protection, chest plate is smaller, though is c2 as is the back. Air flow is meant to be okay. possibly more comfortable but could be hot.

Leatt Body Protector 3DF AirFit Lite

Same as above but a lighter version. chest and back are c1 rated. Should be more comfortable but is the protection enough?

Leatt 3.5 GRAPHENE body Protector

Currently at the top of my list. Has hard plastic armour with a detachable chest/back protector. So I could wear the vest under a jersey and the chest/back protector over the top, more comfortable and easy to take off should I need to. Chest protector is larger but back protector is slightly smaller, possibly more comfortable for riding? c2 rated. airflow on the under layer should be decent but obviously the chest/back protector will limit this. current favourite.


Fox Racing Baseframe Pro D3O Jacket

composite armour again, light weight and breathable. chest plate is tiny but does offer some flank protection. should be comfortable. protection is okay, only the back being level 2. Expensive!

Troy Lee Designs UPS 7855

I've read Zimmers beaming review but currently this is last on the list just down to the lower level of protection, being only dense foam (though is this enough) Has the most protective pads of all and is light weight and breathable. Supposed to be super comfy.
I see this as more of an every day trail use protector and not a heavy duty bike park crash protector or am I missing something?
I will probably pick one up for general use in the future.

These are the current top picks but I'm open to suggestions and appreciate any thoughts. I've been looking at so many different rigs over the last few weeks my brain is starting to resemble scrambled eggs!
 

brentonb

Member
May 12, 2022
55
29
Aus
I have this and am happy with it

also have these
Dirtbikexpress™ | UK Motocross Shop Helmets, Boots, Kit | FREE UK Delivery

I also have normal elbow and knee pads. I almost never use the shoulder pads with the 6.5
I put the knee and elbow under jersey / pants and then just throw this over the top if I am wearing it. Yes it gets a bit hot but rode in 28 degrees on the weekend and no problem, shuttled up to 33 degrees with it.

I did a 58km 1440m elevation with it all on and no problems, was a bit cold actually
 

Hattori-Hanzo

Active member
Apr 10, 2023
256
268
UK
Thanks for your reply Brenton.
I had looked at the leatt 5.5 as it offers great protection but discounted it in the end as I thought it would be to heavy and restrictive.

Can I ask what body size you are?
I'm 6 foot and pretty lean, around 11 stone so anything to heavy I may find tiring.

How is movement with the 6.5, do you find it stiff and restricts movement at all?
 

Eduardoramundo

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2019
381
290
Glasgow
It’s all too hot and sweaty and hard to wash and difficult to get off. You will end up not wearing it.

shoulder pads generally do bugger all as well. Buy separate elbow pads if you need them.

A back protector and elbow pads should cover most hits.

 
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brentonb

Member
May 12, 2022
55
29
Aus
Thanks for your reply Brenton.
I had looked at the leatt 5.5 as it offers great protection but discounted it in the end as I thought it would be to heavy and restrictive.

Can I ask what body size you are?
I'm 6 foot and pretty lean, around 11 stone so anything to heavy I may find tiring.

How is movement with the 6.5, do you find it stiff and restricts movement at all?
The 5.5 is bulkier and less protective than the 6.5.
It feels heavy in your hand but once on its not even noticeable other than some extra warmth.
When on my levo I normally have a back pack with a first aid kit and water, this makes the back pack more comfortable and the only extra heat is a bit on the front as the back pack gives the rear heat.
I put jersey then 6.5 and if cold or wet I put jacket over the top of everything. makes it easy to take jacket on and off during the day

I have the L/XL, I am a same height but a bit mot padding than you and it fits fine and I think it would be your sizing also. my 13 year old son has the size under and it would be to small with your height.

I actually find it odd and uncomfortable to not have it on now. I don't enjoy the riding as much as I tend to worry about crashing instead of just riding.

I did a lot of research and then had my bike shop bring in a few different protectors in both my sons and my sizes and then we went in and tried them all on selected what we wanted and they then sent back what we didn't want. From what I though I want to what I got was different. My son went in before and separately and we both picked the same thing.

I have not seen anything that I would change it to

My mate has the

LEATT 3DF AIRFIT BODY PROTECTOR - BLACK​

and I sometime think I want that as it has everything all in one but then you can only have it all on or all off.
It has to be easy to put on and off. I had a

Fox Baseframe Pro Ss​

but found it very difficult to get on and off so ended up wearing 2 jerseys one under and one on top so it was just as hot as my 6.5 and didn't offer a huge amount of protection, still managed to do my ribs while wearing it so not overly impressed with it.
 

Hattori-Hanzo

Active member
Apr 10, 2023
256
268
UK
Thanks for the replies chaps 👍 and the sizing info Brenton.

I have elbow and knee pads and a full face helmet which has already saved me a trip to the dentist from an OTB.

I see that any armour is going to be a compromise in protection versus comfort/heat, but also personal preference plays a part. What is far too hot for one, another could tolerate.
Not forgetting it will mostly be used at bike parks with uplift.

I've read others say shoulder protection doesn't help much, but does this not depend on how you fall? What are the negatives of shoulder pads?

I like the idea of an all in one suit but having the ability to remove parts would be better I think, why I was leaning towards the Leatt 3.5. Not quite the protection of the 5.5/6.5 but less weight.

Agree that the composite all in one armours, while comfortable could be a pain to get off when sweaty, but that goes for pretty much every thing.

I'm not in a rush to buy so welcome any more thoughts and opinions 👍
 
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Anssi

New Member
Jul 1, 2023
27
26
Helsinki
All of these are mega hot. I have the Leatt Airfit Lite and the Airflex Stealth. I run the Stealth most of the summer. A bit less protective but has definitely taken the edge off some sliding hits to the elbows and shoulders. My biggest reason to run these jacket type protectors instead of a more traditional protector are the built-in elbow guards that stay in place better than separate ones. I'm 193 cm, 93 kg and have the XXL size.
 

rzr

Active member
Sep 26, 2022
344
217
bcn
I can recommend Alpinestars Vector Tech


it's not the toughtest/heaviest, but it's very comfortable
 
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Dax

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 25, 2018
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For pedally days I wear the leatt airflex stealth, which offers some protection but isn't too hot. For uplift days I wear an old hard shell dianese.

Whatever you buy, make sure it has a zip.
 

Sinkrate

Member
Jan 27, 2020
23
5
Uk
I use the TL 7855, its a pain to get on and off but it is pretty good. I put up with the heat for the protection. It's good to have it all in one shirt and once its on you don't have to mess around with it.
tbh, I've found myself wearing it around the local trails as well and not just centres, so it must be pretty comfortable
Sizing I wear a large, 5ft 10, 79kg, 42" chest
 

Bummers

Active member
Mar 12, 2022
526
481
UK
A mate swears by this:

He wears it in all weathers, we recently went bpw when it was high 20's, scorching hot and he just wore it with a base layer underneath and no Jersey over the top, was fine, no overheating despite riding there both Saturday and Sunday.
Protection seems good, I've seen him take a nasty fall at stiniog which is very rocky. Despite going otb and landing face down his chest and ribs were fine.
 

Zimmerframe

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A mate swears by this:

He wears it in all weathers, we recently went bpw when it was high 20's, scorching hot and he just wore it with a base layer underneath and no Jersey over the top, was fine, no overheating despite riding there both Saturday and Sunday.
Protection seems good, I've seen him take a nasty fall at stiniog which is very rocky. Despite going otb and landing face down his chest and ribs were fine.
That looks so much better than the previous versions. They've actually opened up all the vent areas so you don't sauna to death. Shame it doesn't have built in Elbows. Personally I hate separate elbows. I have some Leatt 5.0's but it always feels like I have enormously fat arms when you hit the rough, they feel like they're wobbling all over the place and sliding down your arms.
 

Mcharza

E*POWAH BOSS
Aug 10, 2018
2,510
4,788
Helsinki, Finland
What I have learned from several years of bike park days, the entire upper body protections are too hot.
The most important thing is to protect the chest area, ribs and back. In addition, separate elbow pads.
Here is an example of protection.

Choose elbow pads that fit you and stay in place. The Fox Launch D30 has suited me


PS. And you can wear that directly over your shirt
 

Swiss Roll

Member
Jul 28, 2021
114
87
Switzerland
You might consider the Knox Urbane pro, I got one based on a suggestion from Zim, it's pretty comfy and well made, lots of venting, and not quite so robo cop styling as the other jackets.
I never crashed in it, so I have no comment to make on its protection. I did ask Zim to crash in it, but he stubbornly refused to buy one, and crash in it, so that's on him.
It's a motorbike jacket, if that's better, I don't know. I can say that the service is excellent.

 

cozzy

Well-known member
Aug 11, 2019
786
849
Hampshire UK
Having a plated shoulder that sticks out at a funny angle I won't ride without shoulder protection. The leatt airfit lite suits me well currently after replacing my 10+ year old tld 7850.
 

brentonb

Member
May 12, 2022
55
29
Aus
I don't think the 3.5 will be any cooler than the 6.5 and there is no rib protection on the 3.5.

The weight is no issue what so ever, I thought it would but once in a riding position the weight isn't noticeable.
My 2 sons complain about theirs a bit but that is the heat not the weight. Also the longer back protection on the 6.5 that has no negative effect is a positive.
 

Hattori-Hanzo

Active member
Apr 10, 2023
256
268
UK
Spent the evening watching a lot of reviews on all of the suggested armours.
Other than the Knox which appears to have the best abrasion resistance the Leatt 6.5 offers the most protection. It's slightly lighter and less bulky than the 5.5 with supposedly better air flow.
It's dual layer design which I like the sound of, so I could wear just the base layer or if it gets very hot just the chest and back protector.
Down side other than heat is it's the most expensive armour so far.

I'll likely pick up a tld 7855 for general trail riding at some point but think I'd prefer something with a bit more protection for bike parks.
 

Zimmerframe

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@Hamina was running a 6.5 :


And a couple of weeks later :


You could always go for something like a TLD7855 and then wear a FOX Raceframe Roost Chest Guard over the top on park days for more core protection.

Heat is always going to be the thing which potentially puts you off wearing armour. If you're not wearing it, you might as well not own it.

The TLD is still my main grab and go choice. It's certainly not the most protective like the hard shells, but it's the coolest so I think nothing of throwing it on. I haven't tried anything new for about a year and keep meaning to try one of the Fox Raceframes.

The last one I tried was the RXR, which I really like, but still find it too warm most of the time.

 

Dax

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 25, 2018
1,462
1,834
FoD
The TLD is still my main grab and go choice. It's certainly not the most protective like the hard shells, but it's the coolest so I think nothing of throwing it on. I haven't tried anything new for about a year and keep meaning to try one of the Fox Raceframes.

Have you tried the airflex stealth? I found the TLD a pita to get off when sweaty and think the airflex breaths better
 

Dax

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 25, 2018
1,462
1,834
FoD
A mate swears by this:

He wears it in all weathers, we recently went bpw when it was high 20's, scorching hot and he just wore it with a base layer underneath and no Jersey over the top, was fine, no overheating despite riding there both Saturday and Sunday.
Protection seems good, I've seen him take a nasty fall at stiniog which is very rocky. Despite going otb and landing face down his chest and ribs were fine.


That alpinestars looks ideal for park laps - basically any time when you don't have to pedal. I want a hard shell with padding under it, not bothered about heat, worn my dianese in +30 days in the alps and it's fine.

I'm going to order that and the leatt 6.5 chest protector Pro to try for size:

IMG_2868.jpeg
 

Bndit

Active member
Jul 14, 2022
154
198
Finland
I've been running two season Leatt Airflex Stealth leatt on bike parks. It would be good to have more rib protection, but this is so comfy so it's hard to replace. Specialy because it would mean more heat and I don´t need that :D Really good design and easy to clean.
 
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Mikerb

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 16, 2019
6,135
4,668
Weymouth
The most critical parts to protect are head neck and spine. So priority should be helmet , back protector and neck brace. After that, realise that no soft armour provides any real protection if it is not on a part of the body with strong bone structure......so for example rib protection will not prevent broken ribs! Chest/sternum protection (roost protector) is largely aimed at MX riders and would need to be hard armour to mitigate OTB type accidents.
Whilst not life threatening injury to arm and leg joints can be life changing so the next priority after head neck and back is knee and shoulder pads.
The best protection of all is to ride within your skill limits.......which few of us do!!
 

Zimmerframe

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Have you tried the airflex stealth? I found the TLD a pita to get off when sweaty and think the airflex breaths better
I normally wear the TLD over a really light top, or yes it does weld itself to you and in my case chaffes nipples - I think I needed to size up really on it. It can be nearly impossible to remove if you've broken a collar bone or ribs though - but then I find that similar with the Zip ones too in that situation.

The Stealth always looks like a good choice compared to it's bigger siblings. I've had the others but not that one. After a collar bone, rotator cuff and ribs in the TLD one day (high speed triple impact with the first one being chest first into two tree stumps before rag doll pin balling into more things ) I decided I wanted MORE and that time went for the Airfit Hybrid - was really disappointed ! The chest protection was small and crap, shoulders were too small, back too short, side pads were pointless. They also score it 23 on their protection score (the 6.5 is 25 because of better flank protection, yet they're incomparable) Haven't tried a Leatt Top since then.

I did almost buy the Body Protector 6.5 as I liked the idea of running it with and without the shell, but you couldn't buy the compression suit separately to have two (one to lob in the wash) and that part was also most likely to get torn up and need replacing.

I also wear the Racer quite a bit, but the Leatt Stealth looks like it would breath better with the Predator type mesh (Think the film) and has better elbows (the Racer ones are pants).

Then sometimes I throw the TLD5955 over the top of the Racer or the 7855 if I'm going to be really stupid - but I think there's more breathable options now with better (longer) backs like the Fox mentioned earlier - the 5955 back is lacking length even with it's add on floating flap.

I always wear the Leatt 5.0 and 3.0 impact shorts though.

If I was buying from scratch now. I'd probably go with something like the Stealth and a Fox Raceframe for over the top when needed (but when do you know :) ) Or the TLD7855 still .. with a Raceframe over the top - possibly with all the duplicate areas on the 7855 removed. I did do this at one point with the 7855 and the 5955 but found when it was really hot I couldn't be bothered putting the 5955 on at the same time so put the armour back in the 7855. You also start to feel a bit robocop when you double armour too as it bulks out.

The 7855 always wins in the amount of body area covered without getting disproportionately hot. The foam is light and doesn't insulate. Anything D3O is heavy - so you can't cover much area or it will weigh 20kg's and it insulates really well - so gets hot and you'd just die. Several people then just upgrade 7855's with extra armour sections, but without a plastic chest and back it's always going to have it's limitations in big off's at unfortunate angles.

I should really ride more with the RXR Predator (bra top thingy - shoulders/elbows) mixed with the 5955 or a Fox Raceframe - always seems like a great idea, but then you have to wear it with a top under or over - so you're then at three layers through the chest/upper back. Layers trap air, which cause heat - hence ..... I don't !

For out and out protection, the RXR R-Pro was/is really good I just get too hot in it as I like to go fast on climbs as well as going down. I also dislike the "wine box" valves and need to buy the air bags without the valves on, but as I rarely reach for it, I've not bothered. Likewise, the original Fox Titan gave excellent protection with a full length back (most things are shorter back these days as the MX guys prefer a shorter back when riding). Mine has some nice gouges in where it's done an excellent job ! That just feels a bit bulky and heavy compared to some of the other options though.
 
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Bummers

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Mar 12, 2022
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Just to throw one more out there...
This is what I wear😂
Only on uplift days - antur stiniog, revs, bpw, Llangollen etc. It's saved me several times. Everything is the highest spec CE2 or better and the coverage is immense.
I use my own elbow pads though.
It fits under a jersey as well, doesn't look too bulky believe it or not😂


Screenshot_20230920_162953_Photos.jpg Screenshot_20230920_162944_Photos.jpg Screenshot_20230920_162936_Photos.jpg Screenshot_20230920_162926_Photos.jpg
 

Zimmerframe

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Just to throw one more out there...
This is what I wear😂
Only on uplift days - antur stiniog, revs, bpw, Llangollen etc. It's saved me several times. Everything is the highest spec CE2 or better and the coverage is immense.
I use my own elbow pads though.
It fits under a jersey as well, doesn't look too bulky believe it or not😂


View attachment 125180 View attachment 125181 View attachment 125182 View attachment 125183

I know it's wrong to say, but you're a lot more attractive than I imagined ;-)

@High Rock Ruti is/was a big user/abuser of that Forcefield setup (I did try another Forcefield setup, but it was bulky, hot and crap for MTB - but their communication was great).


I can't remember why I never bought one.. weight .. heat ? I know I didn't like the central chest zip. That reduced the chest effectiveness (having fractured the Sternum a few weeks back .. unarmoured .. that would have been ineffective there) but there is not perfect, only compromises.
 

Zimmerframe

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I bought this for my occasional bike park days which I figured was better than nothing and at under £60 it's been great the 4 or 5 times I've worn it so far but thankfully haven't had an off to really test it

Looks like good coverage for the money !!

I'd cut the kidney strap off, won't do anything other than create heat. It's surprising how much can generate around there which just makes the whole experience far less pleasant. I think they put them on because they cost nothing and it makes it appear far more "serious" !
 

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