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  1. #1
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    XC rider dabbling in FR: help me not bust my a$$

    I'm mainly an XC rider, but I recently got a fairly squishy bike (Tallboy LTc) and I've been messing around on the jumps and drops at my local FR parks (Duthie Hill & I-5 Colonnade in Seattle). I've gotten really good as scaring myself, and am loving the thrills. But I think it's time I upgraded from clipless pedals and an ultralight road helmet before I hurt myself.

    So, question: What, in descending order of importance, would you recommend in terms of protective equipment? Knee/shin guards, elbow pads, shorts w/ butt pad, some kind of torso protection? Are dedicated FR/DH shoes that much different from normal outdoor shoes when using flat pedals? Is there an intermediate option between an ultralight road helmet and a full-face? I'd like to find a setup that will allow me to pedal all day and climb as well as descend; specific brand recommendations are welcome!

    Thanks, and sorry for the total-noob question.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewBird View Post
    I'm mainly an XC rider, but I recently got a fairly squishy bike (Tallboy LTc) and I've been messing around on the jumps and drops at my local FR parks (Duthie Hill & I-5 Colonnade in Seattle). I've gotten really good as scaring myself, and am loving the thrills. But I think it's time I upgraded from clipless pedals and an ultralight road helmet before I hurt myself.

    So, question: What, in descending order of importance, would you recommend in terms of protective equipment? Knee/shin guards, elbow pads, shorts w/ butt pad, some kind of torso protection? Are dedicated FR/DH shoes that much different from normal outdoor shoes when using flat pedals? Is there an intermediate option between an ultralight road helmet and a full-face? I'd like to find a setup that will allow me to pedal all day and climb as well as descend; specific brand recommendations are welcome!

    Thanks, and sorry for the total-noob question.
    helmet(get the Gyro Remedy a cross between both, knee/shin, gloves, body armour with elbow too...shoes...I just wear basketball high tops(protects the ankles) make sure the arch of the shoe isn't plastic)
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  3. #3
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    ^ Definitely a FF helmet. Every fall can be different so it is a guessing game as to which portion of you body will receive impact. Wear as much as you feel comfortable wearing w/o hindering your ability to ride. Helmet, gloves, knee / shin & elbow should all be primary. Add upper body armor, padded shorts, wrist and ankle etc. if tolerance permits.

  4. #4
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    The biggest piece of protective equipment is something that you already have: your brain. Know your limits and how far you can push them, or it will only be a matter of time until you get hurt. There is a fine line between hitting features in your comfort zone and outside, and only you know where that line is.

    Buy a good full face helmet, goggles, some knee pads and some elbow pads. If you are used to riding clipped in there isn't necessarily a reason to change to flats unless you are uncomfortable riding with clips. Back protection is also nice to have but I don't necessarily see the need if you are just hitting some jumps at FR parks.

  5. #5
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    Don't forget to put your seat down!

  6. #6
    RideDirt
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    FF is #1 , it saved my face/head from a bad crash that ended my season early this year. Remember , you will get hurt at times. Only time a wear body armor is when im ripping the crazy rock gardens, otherwise i dress light . Elbow and Knee/shin pads and light padded shorts.

  7. #7
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    Be sure to try on helmets. I think there's even more variability in full face fit than in half shell helmets. The Giro Remedy didn't fit me at all. I ended up with a POC, and I've been happy with it.

    I'm not much rowdier than the OP; mostly an AM rider, with no pretense to FR/DH. But I've started wearing a FF on our big alpine descents, and I wear knees/shins on every ride now. Elbows are my next step up in protection, but I don't wear them all that often. I'd think seriously about impact shorts if I didn't have a big ass already, but I can testify that landing on your hip hurts. Sucks for a side sleeper. If I start doing much lift-served, I'll pony up for a neck brace.
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  8. #8
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    I would buy good pedals before anything. Good pedals grip any flat soled shoe pretty well but cheap pedals won't hold even the fancy bike shoes that well.

    -Good pedals
    -Knee/shins and elbow pads
    -FF
    -Neck brace

    Or at least that's how I did things.
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  9. #9
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    You sound suspiciously like the guy we talked to in the clearing in Duthie on Saturday that was then headed out of the park for a ride on Grand Ridge or something... I was on a red Nomad

    Anyway. Knee and elbow protection, then just keep going to that park and getting comfortable with the progression it has. Don't scare yourself and keep at it. I don't think there is a really good solution for gear that allows full protection and is xc friendly also. So, for the days you need more protection because you plan on "wheels up", wear more.

  10. #10
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    I'm somewhat like you, mostly more XC/trail type stuff, not really comfortable in the air, but starting to experiment now I have a Prime. I don't wear any protection yet other than a new Bell Variant helmet which covers a bit more of the back of the head. What I'd suggest from your description is follow the advice given and just pack the pads etc into your pack for the long climbs/flats, then just put them on when you're ready to point it DH. I've got some knee pads and that'll be the plan when I start pushing it more closer to my limits and want them.
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  11. #11
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    good helmet, such as a fox flux, 661 recon or a fullface, Knee/shin pads, flat pedals with replaceable pins, A dropper seatpost and a short stem 50-60mm.

  12. #12
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    Agree with most of the comments here. In my case, however (started doing this last year), switching from clipless to flats helped out a lot. I had really bad riding habits when I was clipped in (tugging on the pedals with my clips) and that resulted in horrendous consequences. So if you think your technique could use some work, go flats. Find a nice set of wide, flat pedals and definitely think about a pair of Five-Ten shoes... I initially went cheap with those skate shoes but nothing grips the pedal pins like 5-10s.

  13. #13
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    All good advise. The FF is the first investment. I always wear camelback and it has saved my back several times on crashes. It's not to the level of my DH armor but when full of water and other gear it will add a layer along your spine in the event you go over the bars and roll. Just something to think about.

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