Budget bike Park pad set up- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Budget bike Park pad set up

    I'm looking advice on park/downhill protection on a budget.

    I'm a trail rider who recently spent my first day at a bike park (Thunder Mountain in MA) and had a great time. I took advantage of a rental/ticket/instructor deal that came with protective gear so I was decked out in full Storm trooper garb.

    I'm planning on going back (probably with my 150mm all mountain bike) and want to put together a set of pads/protection. I won't be making it that often though so I won't be shelling out for top of the line downhill specific pads. I'll give up a bit of lightness or all day comfort for price.

    I'll be riding the upper middle level tech stuff and the medium jump stuff.

    I have already ordered a Giro Switchblade as a helmet. As the vast majority of my days will still be out of the park, I chose it as it will get some non park use. I own G Form knee pads and some elbow pads that are basically rash guards and certainly won't be using the latter.

    So what would people start out with for building a downhill protection set on a budget?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    @njcshreds
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    I guess the first question would be how much protection are you looking for?

    When I ride Thunder I'm in a FF, goggles, gloves and knee pads. I don't bother with any pads or protection beyond that.

    I've been a fan of 661 products for a while. I've also worn Demon United knee pads, too. For goggles Smith has some that you can find for a decent price online but recently moved to VibeOptic and haven't looked back.
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  3. #3
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    Knee and elbow pads for sure. I like the gform knee pads that I have, but I understand that they aren't good for sliding, so I could see upgrading them to something with a harder outer.

    Based on people's thoughts on them, I could also be convinced either way with chest/back/shoulder protectors. I'm not inclined to wear them, but I am getting older so if there were some that weren't too expensive/bulky I might pick them up as insurance.

    I'm basically thinking I might spend another $100 or so on protection, ride the stuff I'm reasonably comfortable with and decide whether I want to go even further as I progress. So I was hoping for advice on how to allocate that budget to maximize upgrading from trail protection.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    @njcshreds
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    At the end of the day, the amount of padding that is 'right' is going to vary by each person.

    Personally, I'd spend the $100 on good knee pads and goggles if you already have the helmet and gloves.

    Don't overlook footwear, either. Even skate shoes will probably be better than running shoes.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks, I may do that. Do you find that goggles give noticeable benefits over riding sunglasses (assuming that the glasses fit comfortably with the helmet)? I ski and grew up dirt biking and have more warm weather fogging problems with goggles than glasses. I could certainly be convinced though.

    I'll prioritize the knee pads. I like my G Forms, but will reserve them for trail riding.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    ^^Dust and debris, goggles better protect you from that especially when you are following behind someone.

  7. #7
    @njcshreds
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    I prefer goggles over sunglasses for two reasons. First, no wind, rocks, mud, water, etc get around them. Second, in a crash I think they offer more protection against debris and don't have to worry about any of it cutting me or anything (which may be just hogwash as I wear glasses while trail riding and have crashed plenty of times wearing them).

    I think Thunder gets a fair amount of mud, so the goggles are super helpful with that - especially if you have tear offs.

    When I first started riding DH I used old ski goggles and those would fog up. I switched to mtb specific goggles and I don't notice it unless I pull off a trail to wait for a friend or my fiancee. Then I have to pull them off (or take my helmet off) or they'll fog up.

    I really like my Vibe Optic goggles. https://vibeopticusa.com/ It's a local company as well which is always nice to support.

    Again, if you feel you need more protection then by all means. The last time I went down Trillium it was so muddy and greasy I sort of wish I had more than just knee pads on. However for bombing down Gronk I just don't see the need personally.

    Feel free to shoot me a DM here or on Instagram (see sig) if you have more questions about Thunder.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks, GoingNowhere. I will send you a message if I have any more Thunder questions. I had a blast going up the other day so plan to get up again as soon as I have a bit of time.

    Trillium was a bit trickier than I expected. Not really bad, but the rocks, roots, washouts were a bit above the the other blue trails I rode. It. I was glad to be wearing full pads for a few moments - though I came out upright and unharmed. And that was when it was mostly dry. I think I'll benefit from knowing the lines when I ride it again. I made the wrong choice a couple of times.

  9. #9
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    Grabbed some Fox Launch Pro Knee/Elbow pads for $75. I'll keep my eyes open for Goggles once my helmet shows up.

    I decided to go for the knee pads over the knee/shin version despite an inconsequential price difference after reading about complaints of slippage on the knee/shin version. We'll see if I regret that... ha

  10. #10
    @njcshreds
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    Trillium was a bit trickier than I expected. Not really bad, but the rocks, roots, washouts were a bit above the the other blue trails I rode. It. I was glad to be wearing full pads for a few moments - though I came out upright and unharmed. And that was when it was mostly dry. I think I'll benefit from knowing the lines when I ride it again. I made the wrong choice a couple of times.
    Yes, Trillium is always an adventure. It's one of my favorite trails there. Thunder's rating system is tricky - it rates 'Sugar and Spice' and 'Trillium' both as blues when they are drastically different trails.
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