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  1. #1
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    Protective gear for beginner

    Hi everyone, I am a beginner to mountain biking, and I guess you could say that what I plan on doing is just XC stuff. My boyfriend and I split the cost of a Trek 3700 so I could begin riding with him. So far we have only ridden two trails together (both in southern New Mexico when he was visiting his home on leave) and one was extremely rocky and I was so terrified I walked half the trail. The second ride while we were out there was much better but there were still lots of bushes and cactus I was scared of falling in. We normally live in southern California (I'm near the north county area of San Diego and he is now stationed in 29 Palms, we we are back and forth between desert and chaparral landscapes) so we will be going through lots of sharp and prickly dry bushes haha.

    I already fell once while in NM and I'm still scared of falling while I'm learning. I'm so used to being fully padded when I play ice hockey so I feel really exposed without anything but gloves and my helmet on the bike. Does anyone have any suggestions for some protective shin/elbow/chest/shoulder protection for a beginner like myself? I'm also pretty tall for a girl 5'9". Any advice would be helpful!!

    Also, would certain types of riding pants be beneficial? I saw TLD and Fox had some pants and shorts for mountain biking but I don't know if that would look funny for a XC rider

  2. #2
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    I just bought my wife some knee/shin guards because we’re starting to ride more technical trails and I wanted her to be better protected.

    I’d start out with knee/shin guards and elbow pads. As a beginner, you are going to beat up your shins and it’s also nice to have your elbows protected, since you sometimes use them to break your fall. You won’t always need to wear them, but when you know you’re going to ride a gnarlier trail you can pack them in with you.

    My wife normally prefers spandex shorts, but she didn’t like the way she looked wearing them with her knee pads so she just bought some Fox baggies. All we ride together are XC trails too, so you won’t look funny wearing shorts. Most baggies come with some kind of removable chamois. Fox and TLD both make great shorts and make padded under garments (that have more protection around your butt and thighs) that can be used in place of a chamois.

    One thing to consider when riding in pads is that if they’re not comfortable, you’re not going to want to wear them. The best thing to do is go to a bike shop and try them all on to find out which fits you best. You can even try on the shorts with the pads to find the combo thats works. My wife played hockey too when she was younger, but instead of a heavy strap on pad, she opted for a more comfortable pull on knee/shin combo that fit easier under slimmer women’s shorts. You said you’re in the north county of SD (so are we). Check out Bike Bling in Escondido. They have a large selection that you can choose from and try on.

    These are the ones we bought:

    Troy Lee Designs Knee/Shin Guard KG 5450 from BikeBling.com

    Sorry for being a dude posting in the woman’s forum, but I just went though this with my wife and just felt I needed to reply. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the suggestions!! I have 2 bike shops closest to me but one doesn't offer any type of clothing and the other has the padded shorts but no other types of padding at all. I'm in escondido almost every weekend for hockey so I'll definitely try to check out Bike Bling!

  4. #4
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    When I'm riding technical stuff, I wear knee pads and a very light pad on my shins. I don't wear padding on my elbows. It's tough to find knee and elbow pads in stores, but it's best to try them on if you can. Some aren't comfortable to pedal in. Also, I find that they get more comfortable as they get worn in.

    Don't limit your search to bike stores. Pads from other sports will work too. I used volleyball knee pads for a while. They aren't the best (but better than nothing and cheap) because they don't protect the top of your knee as well and that's where I tend to hit my knee when I hit the frame with my knee. My friend used soccer shin guards for her shins. I use McDavid hex elbow pads on my shins. They don't give as much protection as a soccer shin guard, but all I want is something to protect my shins from my pedals and they are so light, I don't notice them. Rollerblading knee and elbow pads work too and they are relatively inexpensive compared to biking-specific pads.

    The knee pads that Terminator Z linked to look like nice pads. I have some 661 pads that aren't available any more. At first, they were too tight and uncomfortable, but now they don't bother me unless it's super hot and sticky, then they chafe.

  5. #5
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    I've seen plenty of people using old hockey knee and elbow pads. You sure you don't have some in a closet somewhere?

  6. #6
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    I have a whole extra set of hockey gear at home in addition to the "good" gear I usually play in (I keep the spare stuff around to dress my boyfriend up in and take him out on the ice with me haha, a girl teaching a guy how to play ice hockey, it's funny). But the reason I give the other gear out as loners is because it's not as good. The elbow pads ALWAYS end up down at my wrists and my shin guards only have one strap so they tend to slide if I don't tape them under my knee.

  7. #7
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    For my newbie riding GF

    Six Six One Veggie shin guards (also wrap and protect the back of the calf which is good if you ride flats with pins. I use these also)
    TLD 5400 knee and elbow pads. Good reviews on the web and all day comfort for pedaling
    2013 Banshee Spitfire V2 650b

  8. #8
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    If I'm nervous about the technical aspect of a trail, I wear Six Six One Veggie knee pads.

    My friend wears shin guards because often she catches a pedal on her shin when wearing flats. She got inexpensive soccer shin guards at Dick's Sporting goods.

  9. #9
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    G-Form. Most of the rest is hot &/or uncomfortable, & if it doesn't feel right you're not likely to wear it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkychick View Post
    G-Form. Most of the rest is hot &/or uncomfortable, & if it doesn't feel right you're not likely to wear it.
    Another vote for G-Form. Love their kneepads. I wear my knee and elbow pads on recreational rides at technical places because I don't want fear of falling to limit my progress. I always rock the elbow pads at races, sometimes the knee too.

    I like these TLD elbow pads, but they slide down my arm when descending rocky, fast, jackhammery stuff. Even the super tight (but comfortable) G-Form knee pads slide down a little.

    Rocks are really scary at first, they were for me anyway. But it's such an amazing feeling to work through it and ride things that used to scare you. You might enjoy my last race report, I raced and did well at the place my boyfriend first took me to (where I also had a panic attack and cried because the terrain was so scary to me): Revenge on Annadel

    Get the gear, keep at it!

  11. #11
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    Just so you know- not all trails are as rocky as southern New Mexico. I'm stationed in El Paso and the trails around here and southern NM are some of the rockiest and most technical trails I've ridden! I don't typically wear any gear, but I take plenty of rocks to the shins. I'd say shin/knee guards to start with plus a good pair of riding shorts.

    Have fun!

  12. #12
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    I've been using flats again and bought some soccer shin guards to use. They are the stirrup kind with built-in ankle protection, too. They work great, are not cumbersome and really comfortable. And CHEAP!

  13. #13
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    i'm getting some Rockgardn knee/shin pads for when i go to really technical places. i heard they are good from a friend of mine. they are a little pricey, but apparently more lightweight than than the DH stuff you see.

    Also, sixsixone had something called "veggie elbow guards". they are a soft version of the heavy duty elbow pads. They have been discontinued, but i was able to still find some on bike websites. they DO run small, i had to return a pair. i have little noodle arms and somehow the small was too tight, go figure!
    fap

  14. #14
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    Just noticed Race Face now offers women specific pads. They offer up a soft and hard shell choice.

    Race Face 2012

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