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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I am new to everything. My biggest concern is safety. I have been trying to research what the safest gear is and I would love to hear from experts.

I should mention that I don't care how the gear looks or if I look ridiculous wearing it. I just want the safest options. I am a 5 foot 1 inch female, will it be more difficult to find gear for someone of that size?

I read that some materials for riding include leather, kangaroo skin, and cordura 1000D. I searched on Dainese's website but I would love to know about other recommendations or if there is anything safer.

I also am curious about how back protectors work. I read that CE2 is the safest. Is the same certification system used for hip armor? What other types of armor are there? Should I buy a jacket after I buy a back protector or are there jackets that come with them? I read it is safer to buy one separately but I want to get more opinions.

I also read a really good review for Icon Airmada helmets, does anyone have any other recommendations?

I am looking for the safest gear available but I am having a hard time finding information. Thank you everyone in advance!
 

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Welcome, skymall007!

You have a lot of good questions. Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to any of them. Much of what you've read is really marketing spin.

Leather is probably the safest in terms of abrasion resistance. But armor provides the cushion for impact. You'll find that the MotoGP and other high end racers wear a combination of the two. But it is extremely hot.

Cordura is definitely more marketing than actual science (despite what anyone will tell you). It certainly does have protective qualities, but the numbers don't mean much. A friend of mine sells fabric for commercial grade furniture. I asked him the some of the questions you posed. I wanted to know how abrasion resistance is measured. He explained that fabric is stretched between two poles and a pendulum swings back and forth while rubbing the fabric. An abrasion resistance number (1000, 660, 600, etc) is assigned based on the number of rubs it takes to wear through the fabric. The problem is, there is no industry standard that dictates the type of pendulum, speed, or any other factors. So there's no consistency across tests.

The bottom line is you should find a jacket/pants combination that is thick (abrasion resistance), has padding or can fit over padding, allows air flow (you don't want to get overheated), allows movement, and is comfortable to wear.

You should be able to find gear for your size. If there's a Cycle Gear store near you, that's a good place to try things on to see what fits.

You might stick with well-known name brands. Look at what racers are wearing (Dainese, Alpinestar) to get an idea of what is good. There are others that are just as good. Revzilla has some decent reviews.

A couple tips that seem to get ignored in reviews. 1. Make sure the pants and jacket attach to one another. If you're sliding across pavement, you don't want the jacket riding up and exposing skin. 2. Make sure the pants either have a strap to hold them down on your boots or somehow attach to the boot.

Hope this helps.
 

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Welcome :)

I recently crashed my bike, went highside at 35-40 mph. I damaged my shoulder extensively, but was otherwise uninjured. Just to be clear, l landed on my elbow, which went upward very violently. There is no piece of equipment that would have lessened the shoulder injury.

I was wearing a Joe Rocket armored mesh jacked, and sustained a few minor scrapes to the elbows, and one spot on my back where the jacket rode high and my skin was exposed. Minor road rash that only required cleaning, no dressings or stitches.

I was wearing Draggin Jeans Kevlar lined riding pants, and had one tiny spot where the slide wore through and knicked up my knee. Again, just a minor scrape.

I was wearing Dainese Ducato Corse armored gloves and not only did my hands sustain no injuries, but it didn't even break a stitch in them.

I was wearing Sidi zip-up riding boots, and they came out unscathed.

And my helmet came out without a scratch, which was good news, as it means l didn't hit my head. Still, it will be retired to the top shelf in the garage. FWIW, it was an Arai Vector II Schwantz replica and l paid high dollar for it :(

So that is what worked for me. As far as gearing up...what l did was went out looking and tried stuff on, then bought it online. Just because stuff is highly rated does not mean you will like it, or that it will fit you well. Especially with helmets. For instance, my friend Soupy wears a Bell helmet, and they come highly rated, with DOT and Snell stamps and everything. Probably among the safest helmets out there, and A LOT of hat for the money. Unfortunately, l have never found a Bell helmet that fit my head. But a few of the Arai and Shoei models fit me really well, so that is what l went with.

Also, the weather in your area will speak volumes as far as what kind of gear you get. I can wear a medium-heavy jacket from October-April, and mesh from May to September. But in Florida they say it is too hot to wear gear in the Summer at all. Finding the best gear for yourself in your climate will serve you well. You may think that mesh does not offer enough protection, but being overheated in the Summer creates more of an unsafe situation, so sometimes you must weigh out your options and get the best overall combination.
 

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Oh, and as far as being a smaller rider...l see great deals on Ebay all the time for really small and really large gear, so if you learn to shop around you can save lots of $$$
 

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Don't forget good gloves, leather or good textile, full fingers, padded knuckles, etc, you can even get off road or racing style with armor in the joints but that's probably a bit more than you need.

Full face helmet that fits well for sure.

Leather or textile for pants and jacket is your choice, probably leather is a bit better but both will get the job done. I wear textile now but I may get some leather for the colder weather.

I see GREAT deals on closeouts of small sizes all the time, shop the sales and you'll see what I mean. It's the average 5' 9" overweight male gear that fit's me that's always sold out. :)
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Oh! That is fantastic that there is knuckle protection too! I will def look into both kinds of gloves since our summers get pretty hot and the winters get super cold. (Thankfully very little snow).

I know that in the introduction classes bikes are provided, but do they provide gear to borrow?
 

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Oh! That is fantastic that there is knuckle protection too! I will def look into both kinds of gloves since our summers get pretty hot and the winters get super cold. (Thankfully very little snow).

I know that in the introduction classes bikes are provided, but do they provide gear to borrow?
Unless things have changed recently, the MSF classes do not loan safety gear. You're required to bring your own, but it doesn't have to be the really high-end stuff for the class, just a jacket, gloves, long pants and over-the-ankle boots. If you want to flip your faceshield up at any time during the course, you'll have to have impact-resistant sunglasses on.
 

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Yeah, l went to Cycle Gear and bought a cheap helmet and gloves. I had an old pair of work boots and a leather jacket. You never get above 25 mph, and most of the class is slow speed maneuvers, so the risk of injury is minimal.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
That is good to know. Thank you everyone. I am learning so much from this board. I am really glad I asked.
 

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The safest gear is what the professional racers use. Full leathers with armor and very protective gloves and boots. That isn't always practical for a street rider.
 

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Drum roll please
 

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The safest gear is the kind on your body when you crash. Having it hanging at home because it isn't comfortable won't help. So don't settle for mediocre fitting gear. Make it right.
 

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The same holds true for mesh gear vs. textile vs. leather. If the gear you have is too hot (or at the other extreme, not warm enough) and you end up not using it, it is useless. I wear mesh gear all summer where I'm at, and it isn't ideal, but it offers much more protection than a t-shirt!!

The safest gear is the kind on your body when you crash. Having it hanging at home because it isn't comfortable won't help. So don't settle for mediocre fitting gear. Make it right.
 

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But ANYTHING is better than NOTHING in the end.:) Although some here like going naked:D
 

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The safest gear is the kind on your body when you crash. Having it hanging at home because it isn't comfortable won't help. So don't settle for mediocre fitting gear. Make it right.
I absolutely agree with this. The first pair of gloves l bought were decent as far as protection, but the fit was kind of sloppy, and l didn't feel like l had great control over the bike, so l went big and bought expensive gloves, at a nice discount on Ebay, but still paid over $100. Every time l put them on, l was like, "Yeah...these are great!"
 
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