Questions on riding gear

Anyone have some suggestions on what riding gear has held up the best?

I started out riding when I was 8, wearing t-shirts, jeans, and shoes. Now that I'm older and have humans besides myself to care for, I'd rather be safe.

What pants have held up and worked the best? I like the idea of ventable pants, so I can control the temp better. Do they offer more protection than a good pair of jeans?

Would you recommend knee protectors, and if so, are there any that don't quite fit in a pair of riding boots? (I have an old pair of Fox Forma boots).

What about chest protectors? Most of the manufacturers market them as roost deflectors - are they worth anything in a crash, or are they just good at keeping rear wheel spray off of ya?

Any other suggestions? I see kidney belts, elbow pads, kneck braces (EVS), pressure suits, etc. in the magazines. Right now I own a helmet, boots, and goggles. Much safer than when I was 8, but I'd like the opinion of others on the forum of what is worth it, and what isn't.

Thanks a lot!,


Synthetic riding pants will be VERY welcome after running through water or mud. Jeans get wet and STAY wet... you'll end up chafed, wet, and cold.

As far as protection? I don't think riding pants actually protect you... just a comfort thing.

Same with a jersey. You want long sleeves to keep branches and other "abrasives" off of your skin, and a cotton t-shirt is more likely to get snagged and tear, or grab and maybe even pull you off of the bike. Same problem (though not as bad) as with jeans if it gets wet.

I think chest protectors are marketed as "roost guards" because of liability. If it is sold as a chest protector, there are probably all kinds of government testing standards that they would have to meet, and the first time one breaks and someone gets hurt, they'd have a lawsuit on their hands.

They WILL protect you though. Like a helmet, they'll spread the impact over a larger area, and will prevent sticks and (most likely) pointed rocks from penetrating your skin.

The first time you go over the bars and slide 10ft on your back through gravel you'll be glad you had some armor.

I haven't done any homework on knee guards/braces/protectors, so I can't comment there... though after taking something (footpeg? handlebar? front tire? freight train? I really don't know WHAT it was) to the kneecap 3 weeks ago and it's still sore, I should maybe consider it.

I have Thor Phase pants and jerseys, they have been great. I also have a Thor Force chest protector. I have two good crashes in it, one I 'supermanned" over my bike and landed directly on my chest and never felt a thing, Awesome. The other I stuck a front tire in a rut on a track and flew off to the side and landed right on my shoulder. I really believe the suspended shoulder straps saved me from injury. I wear a Thor Force kidney belt, seems to help with next day back pain. My O'neal boots are great for me and I have no troubles with them. I like both the Fox dirtpaw gloves for warm weather and the new Thor phase gloves for cooler weather. I wouldnt ride without gloves. I have a cheap Vega helmet but am looking at more expensive better ones. My brother just got a nice new helmet, around 250 bucks and man is it light and comfy. I dont wear elbow/forearm pads but I can think of one crash I wish I had so they may be coming soon. Hope this helps, good luck.

I have one word for tough gear:

Moose! :)

Fantastic quality and durability. :)

For knee pads, look more for rollerblading or skateboarding products, they dont have the bits that go down your boot.

For total upper body protection, my dainese safety jacket is pretty hard to beat. It has chest, back, shoulder, elbow, forearm etc and is really breathable. It does make you look like some sort of S&M ninja turtle though.

I would suggest knee guards. I am using Fox Racing Extreme Knee guards. I took a fairly minor spill and augured my knee into some rocks trail riding. My knee hurt pretty good when it happened but I didn't think much about it after I had a chance to walk it off. When we returned to the truck my knee had almost locked up and by the time I got home it had swollen to the size of a grapefruit. It took me a month to recover from that. Had I not been wearing knee guards I would still be in rehab and probably not have my knee cap. That was a very minor spill. Protect your self. Gear is cheap when compaired to medical bills.

Riding Gear- The Thor line is really well made and holds up. I've got some gear that's five years old and it has held up really well. The Shift gear is nice and the Troy Lee gear is also really good stuff. I tried some No Fear stuff this season because they have pants that are really big in the knees and I wear Asterisk knee braces. The pants look like baggy shorts with legs sewn in them. They fit really well with big knee braces. The Moose gear is awesome but is hard to find. My brothers used to wear Fox but don't anymore; they complained that the stuff just doesn't last that long

Boots- Spend some money on 'em. I wear the Tech 8's and have no complaints. The Tech 6's are very nice and I've heard good things about the Vectors.

Helmet- Spend some money here also. I wear an Arai helmet and found last years model for $275 on the internet.

Chest protector- Acerbis makes real nice ones but can be hard to find. I also like the Thor protectors.

I also wear elbow pads and padded riding shorts. I used to wear a neck brace but heard they act as a fulcrum and can actually cause more harn than good. Some people say the same thing about kidney braces but I like to wear one just for back support.

At a minimum you should be wearing boots, helmet, chest protector, knee pads/ braces, gloves, riding pants, and a long sleeve shirt. It may seem bulky at first but the more protection you wear the safer you'll be. Spend a little bit and it'll pay off on your first big get off :)

Most of my gear is Thor, the chest protector is MXFox (it fit my size better), Alpinstar boots, and Shoe helmet. If you're jumping a lot or just on real rough terrain a kidney belt can be kinda nice. It adds some lower back support as well.

RockGardn is a great way to go. I have the Flak jacket and the knee/shin protection. Good protection. You put the stuff on and you almost believe it's bullet proof. There is a price to pay for all that piece of mind, though. They get quite hot in the summer time. I'm willing to sacrifice a little coolness for extra protection.

As for whether or not to use knee guards: the first time I rode my WR450, I left the knee protection in the car. Later in the day I slid in some mud and hit my knee on a rock. It took months for that pain to go away. That was the last time I rode without knee guards, I promise you!

I use Fox pants and jersey, but many brands will work. Remember, you get what you pay for, but look for closeouts at years end, you can get great gear for a great price. I use Acerbis boots, and my trade/job requires me to have working joints, fingers etc. So I also use knee/shin guards, elbow guards. I "had" a WR426 with MX suspension that was stiff and found a kidney belt helped a lot. I use a Moose M1 chest protector, it had the most body coverage front and back. I even have a neck brace, ie EVS R1 or something like that. I can not afford to get hurt, if I cant work, I dont have income, well, I have triple coverage insurace, ie my employer, wifes plus I have loaded up on that AFFLAC supplemental. But knee, elbow guards and chest protector IMHO are a must, in addition to the normal stuff, ie boots, jersey, goggles, gloves, helmet etc. As for brand, get what looks good, feels comfy and looks like it will work the best. I go for looks, colors first, then it must meet the rest of my requirments.

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who took the time to share their experience.

I do have another question though - where do you put your keys? Most of the pants don't have pockets. :)

Get a fender bag. has a great bag for around $25. Get the KDX size, it's perfect for behind the seat above the taillight. If you want to spend a little more, get the Ballistic Nylon for $42. I can put my keys, cellphone, wallet, and tool kit in it.

As far protective gear, I got a Thor Phase package on Ebay for $114 which included the pants, jersey and gloves. I have an EVS Ballistic Jersey for upper body protection and EVS Option knee guards. Lastly, I have some Alpinstars Tech 5 boots, still going strong after 7 years. If I get new boots though, I'd probably get the new Gaerne SG-10's. I'm very happy with this setup. I think EVS makes some good quality gear. Thankfully, I haven't had a dramatic get-off yet. Both me and my bike still look pretty...SC

I do have another question though - where do you put your keys? Most of the pants don't have pockets. :) makes a cool "dogtag". Room for ID, a key, and a $20 for gas. Goes around your neck and tucks into your jersey.

I do have another question though - where do you put your keys? Most of the pants don't have pockets.

This one will pizz most of you off I am sure. I leave my keys in my truck :) The only time I dont is if I have to leave my truck by a major roadway where 'outsiders ' may be around. In the mountians or at the club, no worries. :)

RMC in renton washington had a close out sale on '04's 20 percent off thor and 50 percent of other brands picked up new pants for my 6 year old daugter for 25 bucks

hey whats your truck look like ..... heheh backpacks... if your trail riding your gonna want watter and a couple of canybars aka snickers or something... just make sure when you get a back pack make sure it fits you and aslo it has straps that hook

one across your cheast and one across your belly you will not feal those packs as much and they dont bounce around on you when your goin trough the woops.... also you can get a bladder (camel back tipe) for you back pack to haul some water....

I wear Moose stuff with AXO chest protector and Thor Knee guards and I really like the 661 elbow guards they come down my forearm almost to my wrist and are very comfy. I like to be protected but not restricted so I probably give up a little protection for a little more movement, maybe not the wise choice but at least I'm covered, I also use Vector boots and they are super comfortable, although I did recently try on a pair of Tech 10s and they seem to have excellent movement for an upper level boot, very nice. I'm sure all the equipment out there is good, not to many bad choices, have fun! Dress for the crash.

I always use my Kelty hidration camel back thingy and it has a nice pocket for keys, cell phone and wallet, not to mention the water. I live in Montana as well (have my whole life) but I don't leave my key's in my truck. I have seen way to many guns and other items stolen to do that any longer :) but I still love it here and don't want to live anywhere else. :)

Never skimp on safety!! With that in mind, try on a bunch of different gear to see which fits/feels the best. Don't worry about "what everybody else is wearing". Find what you like at a reasonable price and load it up. Get it all too - chest protector, knee guards, kidney belt won't regret it. It'll make those long days in the saddle feel not quite as long. Advil before the ride works good too!!

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