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Rider Protection... uh oh

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So earlier this morning I was reading an overview of all the stuff that went on in the pits at Daytona, and I noticed there were a lot of backup riders, not only due to red death but in other tents as well. Seems to me like this season there were a lot of injury’s so far. Just brought up some ideas that I still need some rider protection myself. When doing a little research I did not find a whole lot of positive information... for example looking at neck braces, it seems everyone has an mixed opinion on them, they work great for protecting your neck/back but at the cost of turning your head into a shovel... I’m not exactly excited to purchase one now. Also Same with body armor, For example Jessy Nelson’s crash at unidilla was a pretty big deal and may have been a one in a million but this sport seems to have a lot of those... my main concern is, in this sport are there any recent innovations in the protection industry to keep up with the sport? Obviously most riders aren’t top level supercross guys but rider protection is becoming more appealing to me as it seems more of my local riders are adding onto the injury list. For example I recently had a neighbor break his neck trail riding, and last week my buddy broke both his ankles on a moto cross style jump.

 

I’m curious to see what people run and their opinions on protective equipment

 

 

Thanks ,Lucas

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So earlier this morning I was reading an overview of all the stuff that went on in the pits at Daytona, and I noticed there were a lot of backup riders, not only due to red death but in other tents as well. Seems to me like this season there were a lot of injury’s so far. Just brought up some ideas that I still need some rider protection myself. When doing a little research I did not find a whole lot of positive information... for example looking at neck braces, it seems everyone has an mixed opinion on them, they work great for protecting your neck/back but at the cost of turning your head into a shovel... I’m not exactly excited to purchase one now. Also Same with body armor, For example Jessy Nelson’s crash at unidilla was a pretty big deal and may have been a one in a million but this sport seems to have a lot of those... my main concern is, in this sport are there any recent innovations in the protection industry to keep up with the sport? Obviously most riders aren’t top level supercross guys but rider protection is becoming more appealing to me as it seems more of my local riders are adding onto the injury list. For example I recently had a neighbor break his neck trail riding, and last week my buddy broke both his ankles on a moto cross style jump.
 
I’m curious to see what people run and their opinions on protective equipment
 
 
Thanks ,Lucas


As for pros....they are pushing the envelope harder then most gear would be able to help. As for amateur vet riders breaking ankles and such.....riding skill is more important then gear in most situations. Lots of over head riding leads to injury, usually by people who don't actually practice turns over and over or jumps over and over. Being setup on your machine right and staying in touch with riding mechanics will go far. Combined with a great helmet that is dot, Snell certified, a pair of high quality riding boots and knee pads, as well as goggles with resilient lexan lenses....falls become bloopers, not life changers. Know your limits, expand your skills and don't cheap out on the big 2 (helmet/boots).
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When you put a helmet on to sit on top of a can of gas and build a fire under it, and it has not become apparent this might be dangerous, your best rider protection is to sell your bike and watch it on TV. Risk vs reward and common sense.....

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My opinion ... The "Gear Curve" is U-shaped. 

As a new rider, you're dumping the bike/sled a lot as you're learning control and handling of the vehicle.  The crashes are generally low-consequence - tip-overs, little bit of road rash as you slide down a rock, etc.  Protective gear here helps keep your skin together.  Boots, elbow pads, knee pads, gloves.

As you gain confidence and build skills, you need the gear less.  You're not making the newbie mistakes, able to ride without dumping the bike all the time.  Some people are happy staying in the bottom of that U - riding with kids, or occasional casual rides.  Maybe you leave the elbow and knee pads in the gearbag. 

When you start riding harder - challenging yourself and pushing into more consequential terrain - bigger jumps, faster races, harder corners - you're using the gear less, but when you do use it, it tends to do more to save your body.  Chest protection, neck brace, knee braces, elbow/forearm pads, armored shorts, etc.  At this point it's largely up to you as a rider how much risk you're willing to accept - a chest protector won't save you from broken ribs if you smash into a tree at 60m/h, but it may prevent internal bleeding or additional injuries that may prolong recovery (infection from scrapes/wounds, for example).

 

I'm not riding without it. :prof:  Two weeks ago:

i-PXfZhHF-L.jpg

 

i-Fg7GpJb-L.jpg

 

Finished the race on one ski.  Upper A-arm had ripped completely off the sled, lower A-arm was badly bent, shock shaft had sheared off the body from the impact, and the tie rod bent. 

i-qZvd84P-L.jpg

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Riders who know their skill levels and ride within them is the best protection from injury. The other obvious forms of protection such as decent helmets, boots, knee and elbow guards, bandaids, decent insurance policies and understanding wives will be the the secondary factor in preventing injuries.

 

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Buy the best gear you can afford, and wear it ALL THE TIME!!  Most guys I know that get injured decided it was too hot for their chest protector, as an example.  The rest just have ego issues, and ride over their head.  

 

A lever to the chest at 5mph, this guy decided to not wear his chest protector since we were just going on an easy ride.  Not a noob rider either.  

2B8FDD88-CC9D-4174-8E2D-909E84EA04CA.jpeg

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My 2 greatest fears are getting impaled and breaking my neck.  I wear protection for both those things along with the rest.

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I agree with the others.  Buy the very best you can afford...helmet, boots, chest protector, neck brace, elbow/knee pads/braces.  Don't worry about what anyone else is wearing, ESPECIALLY pro riders, they gear up for performance first, comfort second and safety last OR whatever their sponsors tell them to wear. 

I don't get paid for what I do on my bike, I have to be able to go to work the next day for that...so that's how I choose what to wear when I ride.

 

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3 hours ago, poldies4 said:

Buy the best gear you can afford, and wear it ALL THE TIME!!  Most guys I know that get injured decided it was too hot for their chest protector, as an example.  The rest just have ego issues, and ride over their head.  

 

A lever to the chest at 5mph, this guy decided to not wear his chest protector since we were just going on an easy ride.  Not a noob rider either.  

 

I literally said that to myself last year when I also decided not to wear my chest protector; I'm just going to take it easy.  20 minutes later I found a stump in a bush, and it result in cracked/broken ribs.  

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Posted (edited)

I wear my gear all the time now, I learned this the hard way.

10 years ago, I went for a short ride in sneakers and practiced some wheelies on my front lawn with my big KLR, I spent 3 months with a cast on my crushed foot. A little over a year ago we went for a trail ride on a very cold day, I skipped the chest protector for and extra layer of warm clothing, I high sided in a rut and broke a few ribs. I wouldn't have broke any bones of I was wearing proper gear in both of these crashes.

Edited by biglake

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I disagree with the fact that cost automatically equates to better safety and you should always buy the most expensive you can afford.  I've heard that the super light and very expensive Airoh helmets have less protection than a cheap Fox V1.  There are plenty of companies out there willing to pray on mother and wife's fear and sell you a helmet that protects no better than a cheap helmet for 5x the cost.

Without exhaustive destructive testing it's impossible to know. I think you are pretty safe going with a mid-range helmet with MIPS.

I won't wear a neck brace until there is definitive independent testing.  I guarantee you if I designed s neck brace it would be more likely to injure you than to protect you from injury.  There are a bunch of companies out there looking to cash in on selling neck braces.  Maybe some are good, some are bad and some are dangerous.  Without some type of standard testing and certification you might as well be buying a neck brace I designed.  

Doc

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12 minutes ago, Doc_d said:

I disagree with the fact that cost automatically equates to better safety and you should always buy the most expensive you can afford.  I've heard that the super light and very expensive Airoh helmets have less protection than a cheap Fox V1.  There are plenty of companies out there willing to pray on mother and wife's fear and sell you a helmet that protects no better than a cheap helmet for 5x the cost.

Without exhaustive destructive testing it's impossible to know. I think you are pretty safe going with a mid-range helmet with MIPS.

I won't wear a neck brace until there is definitive independent testing.  I guarantee you if I designed s neck brace it would be more likely to injure you than to protect you from injury.  There are a bunch of companies out there looking to cash in on selling neck braces.  Maybe some are good, some are bad and some are dangerous.  Without some type of standard testing and certification you might as well be buying a neck brace I designed.  

Doc

Do some research on neck braces.  The R&D involved with companies like Leatt and Atlas is very impressive.  I've seen what a good neck brace can do first hand.  The only ones that can be called dangerous anymore are those that rest on the clavicles, the good ones don't.  And just throwing it over your head and not attaching it to anything will be a problem, too, its like wearing your helmet without fastening the chin strap.

I promised a while back to not preach about neck braces, so that's it from me on a very well argued topic.

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I have always gone with a blend of mobility and protection in my gear choices, and when it comes to neck braces I have always been on the fence.

Like in my case, I don't have a particularly long neck, and my shoulders are fairly broad for my overall size, so already with my chest protector my shoulder pads are very close to the bottom of the helmet. The few full size neck braces I have tried on made me understand how a dog or cat would feel with one of those cones around their head.

With the Fox airframe my helmet already stops against it when I lean my head too far in any direction. So I think there is already some level protection from over extension. I don't know for sure of course, but I think there is alot to be said for balance instinct, natural reflexes, and staying loose. I have had crashes in BMX, snowboarding, skateboarding, motocross where I have landed on my head fully inverted and whatnot. Never a serious neck injury, but nearly every time I just go loose and thoughtless and let whatever my natural reflexes try to do during the chaos. It usually works out well enough lol.

Knee braces though. I do want to find some of those that work and allow as much feel as possible. I think I may give tbe Leatt C frames a shot. No real knee injuries, but with how much your legs come out while riding, other bikes, and just the general weight of a dirt bike they seem like a good idea.

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16 minutes ago, cjjeepercreeper said:

I've seen what a good neck brace can do first hand. 

No offense, but as an engineer, everytime someone says something like this it's just anecdotal nonsense.  To predict if any safety device would improve or diminish the outcome of a crash would take extremely rigorous and repeatable conditions and testing with a massive amount of instrumentation.

People who say, "I crashed and I only broke my collar bone.  Had I not been wearing my neck brace ai would be dead" are speaking emotionally.  It's impossible to say whether the outcome would have been better or worse with or without the neck brace.

That's why we need to remove the emotion.  We need independent third party testing and certification for these devices.

If you don't believe me, then you should buy my neck brace.  I can show you white paper after white paper and study after study I've done showing it's amazingly effective.  The chin spike help to slow the head down during rapid deceleration.  It only costs $1,500.  Surely your neck is worth it.  Just ask you wife or Mother if you should buy it.

Doc

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I should also mention thst being in the Detroit area I know a ton of automotive engineers.  In the 80s when they started working on air bags their first attempts were much more dangerous to the occupants than the crash was.  Only through very rigorous testing and certification did they make airbags safe.  They kept blowing the heads off the crash test dummies in certain conditions early on.  If it wasn't for third party testing and certification those airbags might have made it to market in a dangerous state.

Even with third party testing and certification there are still some instances where airbag deployment causes more injury than it prevents.  However , in the current state of development, they overwhelmingly reduce the chance of injury more than increase it. Msi it's well worth the trade off.

Doc 

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Just now, Doc_d said:

I should also mention thst being in the Detroit area I know a ton of automotive engineers.  In the 80s when they started working on air bags their first attempts were much more dangerous to the occupants than the crash was.  Only through very rigorous testing and certification did they make airbags safe.  They kept blowing the heads off the crash test dummies in certain conditions early on.  If it wasn't for third party testing and certification those airbags might have made it to market in a dangerous state.

Even with third party testing and certification there are still some instances where airbag deployment causes more injury than it prevents.  However , in the current state of development, they overwhelmingly reduce the chance of injury more than increase it. Msi it's well worth the trade off.

Doc 

I repeat, do the research, the companies that make them have.  I really don't care if you are an engineer or a rocket scientist, sometimes first hand anecdotal evidence can be more convincing than a thousand pages of white papers.

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7 minutes ago, cjjeepercreeper said:

I repeat, do the research, the companies that make them have.  I really don't care if you are an engineer or a rocket scientist, sometimes first hand anecdotal evidence can be more convincing than a thousand pages of white papers.

You are thinking emotionally instead of critically.  What you call research I call marketing, and Leatt's marketing has been wonderfully effective in the case of a lot of guys like you.

I'm actually excited about neck braces.  I hope they go through independent testing and certification with flying colors.  I hope the results of that testing are a massive reduction in the chances of a neck injury with zero increase in chances of head, back, shoulder and chest injury.  I'll be the first one in line to buy one.

Doc

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I never understand why pro riders wear practically no protection. I rarely see any rider in supercross wearing a chest protector. I think with them it might be a vanity issue. Look at the riders in the 70s and they always had plenty of protection. A lot of the clothing manufacturers make stuff that can protect you in a fall that you won't notice you're wearing after a few rides. I always gear up. When I got my Fox boots a couple of years ago I was coming around a corner when my shin made full contact with a tree stump. I tend to think because I was wearing top of the line boots and knee/shin guards too all it did was knock my foot off the peg and I continued riding the rest of the day injury free.  

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5 hours ago, biglake said:

I wear my gear all the time now, I learned this the hard way.

10 years ago, I went for a short ride in sneakers and practiced some wheelies on my front lawn with my big KLR, I spent 3 months with a cast on my crushed foot. A little over a year ago we went for a trail ride on a very cold day, I skipped the chest protector for and extra layer of warm clothing, I high sided in a rut and broke a few ribs. I wouldn't have broke any bones of I was wearing proper gear in both of these crashes.

I can’t believe you could wheelie a KLR. That is legendary. 

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