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Old 04-29-2010, 08:15 AM   #1
JMcDonald
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Default Elbow / Knee / ....Butt? Pads?

Would it be a good idea to get actual strap-on plastic pads (knee, elbow, and perhaps something for my tailbone or even thighs) for a beginner? I ask because I don't think I'd be able to afford any of of the jackets or pants with armor, and I worry a bit about a lack of impact protection and the slide-inducing smoothness of plastic.

Is it true that external plastic armor will have less friction on pavement than strait leather or textile materials? I've seen motorcycle wreck videos where they just slide and slide and slide, but it looks like the guy is lying on the couch until he finally stops. I had always assumed it was due to the plastic armor. I would definitely want it to go like that, rather than rolling and tumbling and crumpling up!

I grew up on dirtbikes and have occasionally / briefly ridden street bikes and have been riding a bicycle to school and sometimes work for the last few years (not to mention the bagillions of hours I spent on bicycles growng up), so I am starting with at least a basic understanding of motorcycle mechanics and a little bit of the attitude necessary to remain vigilant, especially from the bike. Especially in "daily driving" a bicycle, I've had people turn in front of me, I've learned to watch for obstacles that require the "strait, slow, and smooth" method to cross that would otherwise not affect a 4-wheeled vehicle, and I've learned a bit how to bundle up with it's cold or rainy :P . One bad habit I've learned is to casually roll through stop signs (after standing up and looking to make sure nobody is coming), because it obviously takes a bit of effort to get back up to speed. But, I have already acknowledged that and will not let myself do that on a motorcycle.

But, I'm still a little terrified (though definitely excited) about actually riding the streets!

One concern I had about having well-armored pants and jacket, instead of separate pads (though strapped over normal riding pants / jacket, not just jeans and a shirt), is that it would be such a pain to wear and store everything that I would not wear the pads every day. I will be daily driving this bike (on my whopping 4-mile round trip commute to work), and I am set on wearing boots, helmet, jacket, pants, and gloves (and any applicable insulating or rain material). Adding knee, elbow, and perhaps hip / tailbone pads to that I feel would be a pain to robe and disrobe twice a day (I wear dress attire to work, so this would go over my work clothes and be taken off when I arrive).

Do you guys think you point me to some budget-minded jackets and pants with built-in hard armor, if it exists? Or, at least convince me that the soft armor is adequate?

Thanks!

*edit*

And by budget-minded, currently I was looking at some $40 pants and an $80 jacket. I can stretch that budget if you guys show me a product and tell me I just have to have it, but I don't know enough about any of this stuff to know which products are actually better (within this budget range) or in which cases I am just paying for a logo or flashy design.

Here are the pants I am considering:
Power Trip Dakota Overpant - Street Bike - Motorcycle Superstore

And here is the jacket (in Red):
Fieldsheer High Flow II Mesh Jacket - Street Bike - Motorcycle Superstore

Last edited by JMcDonald : 04-29-2010 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:04 AM   #2
A Star Ride
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$40 pants & $80 jacket is likely the best you'll find, even used. Check Craigslist under motorcycles and under apparel (you can then keyword search (motorcycle in clothing, or gear under motorcycles).
Separate pads (BMW/skateboard style) would likely shift if you did fall, and yes quite burdensome to gear up & down 2X a day.
The sliding you see is on a less abrasive surface then you'll be riding and they are wearing $2000.00 suits made of kangaroo leather with full armor, kevlar reinforcements & slide pads on contact points. Not lilely something you can obtain on the cheap, also your not going 240 MPH on a 4 mile commute.
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:53 AM   #3
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JMcD - you could put on some external pads, but frankly I think they'll be distracting. Personally, I'm less interested in trying to pad myself and more interested in avoiding having my skin ground off. So I go for abrasion resistant pants and jacket. They aren't cheap; about $100 for the pants, about $150 for a jacket if you shop around. My jacket has shoulder and elbow pads. It had a thin foam back pad, but that was too hot and didn't seem useful to me, so I pulled it out.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:25 AM   #4
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Star, sorry, I just meant that I was looking at those because they seem to get good reviews and have good features for the money spent. It was not to say that was the most I was wanting to spend. I just did not want to pay twice as much and get nothing more than a logo or good marketing.

And thanks for that explanation about how they slide better. Makes sense!
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMcDonald View Post
Star, sorry, I just meant that I was looking at those because they seem to get good reviews and have good features for the money spent. It was not to say that was the most I was wanting to spend. I just did not want to pay twice as much and get nothing more than a logo or good marketing.

And thanks for that explanation about how they slide better. Makes sense!
Like anything you get what you pay for. In my experience Tour Master and Joe Rocket have decent stuff for a reasonable price. Shop around and haunt some m/c boards for user feedback.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:16 AM   #6
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Aerostich offers draggin jeans which have kevlar sown into the knees and butt. They also sell a version of tree climber jeans that are thicker denim and have a pocket to slide pads into the knees that are affordable. But $40 pants? I cant buy Levis for that.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:42 AM   #7
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Hmm. Ok here is my dilemma.

At all times, I will need a jacket and overpants that will protect me.
Some times, I will need at least the jacket to flow air.
Other times, I will need good rain protection.


Would you guys recommend getting one set that can do all of those things? I haven't found them for sure, but I'd imagine there are waterproof jacket / overpant sets that will zip together at the waist (both for physical protection and water tightness), that also have optional vents to help keep cool in warmer weather. If a jacket / overpants set could be had for maybe $300-$400 that fit all those requirements, I would likely go that route because it would insure I basically have every type of riding gear I need at all times. If it rains on the way to work, I zip / snap closed the vents, perhaps attach the liner, and will arrive with a dry tie. If its 95* on the way home, I can open the vents and survive the ride.

Do you guys know of any of these for perhaps a few hundred dollars?

On the other hand, often when you try to get one thing that does everything, it ends up doing nothing great and everything decently. For that money, I could probably afford a pretty good 1-piece rainsuit, a decent set of overpants, and either a good meshed / linered jacket or two separate jackets for warm and cooler weather. I like that idea because I can get better rain performance, better summer performance, and probably better cold-weather performance than trying to make one set do it all (for the money and convenience, at least).

What do you guys think?
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:04 PM   #8
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Frog Togs are cheap & great breathable rain gear, get em big enough to wear over winter gear & they flap on summer gear, its a catch 22. On a 4 mile commute, you're (I'm assuming) also in stop & go traffic & you'll actually "warm up" sitting still, but your not really out there long enough to get any colder then you would walking the dog or getting the mail. The high end coats & overpants do exactly what you have said, having removable insulating liners for cold weather, rain barriers & vents for air flow. You cant ride a bike with an unziped coat. They do have 2 piece separates that connect, also bibs with enough overlap to make connecting them a non issue, and 1 piece suits. I have a 1 piece waterproof suit with armor, etc (thanks Buzz) I wore it on a couple trips this winter ranging from 35 degrees to 70, and was neither too hot or cold, until I stop at 70+degrees for fuel. My suit (Spidi) is great but it don't have vents, the entire suit seems to know when to breathe when your moving, so even if it had them, I wouldnt've bothered opening them I was comfortable the whole time.
Myself like Ken said, removed some of the armor to make the suit more comfortable, I hope I don't regret that. Maybe if I lose 10 lbs or so I can get the hip, knee, shin guards back in it, also the elbow/forearm guards made my elbows chafe inside the suits lining (when 70 degrees wearing short sleeves under it), so the back plate is actually the only piece left in it. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:33 PM   #9
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If you can buy a used aerostich roadcrafter or darien setup, do it and your done. May be spendy but will save you money and time. I bought several jackets and what not before buying my stich, 8 years and 50k miles later I'm still happy with it. Ive rode in 18f and 113f in my stich along with sheets of rain and 70mph winds. They go over your street clothes and are fast on off, gortex with all the pads and abrasion resistance and vented.

I see them on craigslist quite often

Last edited by 12er : 04-29-2010 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:57 PM   #10
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Yeah, half of my commute is through a neighborhood and university campus so my average speed will be like 15MPH (many stops, up to 25-30 mph between), and then the second mile typically involves speeds of around 35-40mph. Since I swear slacks / shirt / tie to work, my main concern would be arriving covered in sweat when it is hot out (though again, I do have a very high tolerance for heat, or any temp variations for that matter), or soaking wet if it rains. And, of course, the general comfort of not being super sweaty or wet when already having to concentrate on driving one of these Death Machines is a nice benefit .


One thing I do understand, is a lot of jackets I see say "100% waterproof [and sometimes "breathable"] liner." That means the jacket is NOT waterproof without the liner, correct?


*edit*
Teknic Hurricane Waterproof Jacket - Street Bike - Motorcycle Superstore

This jacket is waterproof on the outside, and just has an optional liner on the inside for additional warmth, right? I am just trying to understand how the jacket / liner combos typically work, or key words to find in order to determine how exactly the jacket is designed to work.

Fieldsheer Aqua Tour Jacket - Street Bike - Motorcycle Superstore
Here is another one that, if the shell of the jacket is waterproof, might would be a good starter option for me.

Last edited by JMcDonald : 04-29-2010 at 01:11 PM.
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