The great Armor debate- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    I think I need to Upgrade
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    Pads are cheaper than an ER visit, and they can make falling or going over the bars fun sometimes!

    Get the armor!! your body will appreciate it later in life. Your wife will appreciate it also when you don't come home broken.

  2. #2
    zul
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    The great Armor debate

    Over the past 6-months, I have been riding harder lines and more difficult trails. As with any issue, every riding partner I have has a different opinion: To get pads or not to get pads?

    A good friend and riding partner from Flag has been giving me the buisness about my next purchase of some good armor: "I saw a TOOL on Thumper last week who rode up Raptor with his armor strapped to his Camelback, and then he put the pads on for the
    Thumper/Lime Kiln drop back to Deadhorse. The TOOL had a 6" travel
    Kona. Don't be "that guy"."

    And of course, my wife says, "Exactly what kind of trails are you now riding that you would need this armor?"

    Then there is another riding partner from Sedona: "Dude, I can't believe that you don't already have armor!!"

    I've always riden technical trails and done some decent hucking/step downs, calculated and clean. Never really missed having the extra exo-skin. Now that I am stepping it up, I feel that the armor would give me a boost of confidence. It's been many years since I've pushed the envelope, so the question goes, keep on riding clean and perfect or bust out some armor?

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  3. #3
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    "I saw a TOOL on Thumper last week who rode up Raptor with his armor strapped to his Camelback, and then he put the pads on for the
    Thumper/Lime Kiln drop back to Deadhorse. The TOOL had a 6" travel
    Kona. Don't be "that guy"."

    TOOL.

    get pads. it sucks taking your buddies to the er for stitches. pads are cheap.

  4. #4
    parenting for gnarness
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    get armor!

    i was in the same boat as you, rode National 50 times without armor, but once i got my 6inch bike and started going harder, i feel naked without it. I probably fall less, but the consequences are higher.

    Try them on, realize that anything will feel bulky and hot in the shop. You can go expensive with the 661 Evos at about $100/pair, or look for deals. You can always sell or trade used ones and recoup some money if you don't like em. I found some Rockgarden shorties for $15 online from BlueSky, hated em, but they saved me from 2 falls which was worth the price. I have been using some Roach Rally full knee\shins for 1.5 yrs that are just too bulky for long enduro days, so i bought some 661 Tomcats as a complement for trails I dont expect to fall on -- my gawd i have armor upgraditis! Falls aside, my most common injuries are banging my knees into the top tube climbing rocks, or smacking myself carrying my bike up hike-a-bikes -- pads take a lot of the bruising out of that. Shop smart and you will be out for less than $100 knees and elbows.

    The last bad fall I had was on Hawes on an "easy" section I've ridden hundreds of times, small bike, no armor, 3 stitches. Its enough to make you wear your stuff all the time.

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  5. #5
    PMP,TAN,LAUNDRY
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    Rode Bootleg last week with just elbow pads and knee pads. Ended up taking a shot to the back by my seat. Where was my full armor.....in the car of course!

    I would at least pick up some 661 kyle straight knee guards, they have saved me numerous times.
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  6. #6
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    If you're consciously choosing to "step it up" then pads are a good idea. As previously stated, just to avoid the stitches and other things that can be annoying.

  7. #7
    I love bike!
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    Quote Originally Posted by azdog
    I would at least pick up some 661 kyle straight knee guards, they have saved me numerous times.
    +1

    Much more comfortable than I expected too.

  8. #8
    dirt visionary
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    Armor can be replaced . Skin and body parts can't.

  9. #9
    Not a Barry supporter.
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    I'm in the minority. I can see the need for armor but I don't own it and probably never will. I've ridden Goat Camp, National and any other trail w/o it. I've had my falls so maybe I'm lucky so far...or maybe I know how to fall...I have no idea. But armor just isn't my thing.
    Why would I need more than one gear?
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  10. #10
    zul
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    6 for 6

    OK, so it's like a 6 out of 6 votes for armor. Much like Chollaball, my last bad wreck was xc, light bike and resulted in cracked ribs. Not going for chest protection or full face at this time, especially when riding xc . I guess mountain biking is a contact sport, no matter how you look at it.

    Leaning toward TLD Combat knee/shin protection, still wondering about elbow vs full forearm protection ... Too many choices. I really just want something that will stay put without moving.

    Cholla - Nice rash shot. I'll have to send that to my buddy in Flag.
    If lovin you is wrong, I don't wanna be right

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash_FLMB
    I'm in the minority. I can see the need for armor but I don't own it and probably never will. I've ridden Goat Camp, National and any other trail w/o it. I've had my falls so maybe I'm lucky so far...or maybe I know how to fall...I have no idea. But armor just isn't my thing.
    Yeah, but you weigh like 105lbs. Have you ever seen a feather hit the ground hard?
    .....

  12. #12
    pedaller
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    I can't wait until Durtgurl posts on this thread!

    How do you protect your scapula anyway?

    I don't own any armor but I should.

    I would never ride without a helmet, right? Are my limbs not equally as valuable?

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zul
    A good friend and riding partner from Flag has been giving me the buisness about my next purchase of some good armor: "I saw a TOOL on Thumper last week who rode up Raptor with his armor strapped to his Camelback, and then he put the pads on for the
    Thumper/Lime Kiln drop back to Deadhorse. The TOOL had a 6" travel
    Kona. Don't be "that guy"."

    I'm wondering what's so "tool'ish" about that?

  14. #14
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    Armor. Wear it, love it.

    When I started DH'ing, I wore all the armor I could find, got a little nutty actually.

    Then stopped wearing any, except for knee pads.

    Now, I'm back to a pressure suit and knee/shin guards and a DOT helmet. Getting a leatt soon too. I'm going faster than I was and taking more risks = serious potential for injury. I'd rather save my money than have to pay for stitches when I could have just worn pads.

    Most important point - find armor that's comfortable and stays in place. Everyone is different. I used a RockGardn jacket - great product, but did not fit me right. Bought a 661 pressure suit - awesome fit. Same thing with my knee/shins, bought a set of AXO TMKP guards - best guard I've ever worn, they didn't move even after a whole day of shuttling and a crash. So try on all you can and find the armor that works for you.

  15. #15
    PMP,TAN,LAUNDRY
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    I'm toolish
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZDesertRat
    I'm wondering what's so "tool'ish" about that?
    I think it had something to do with the type of armor. But yea, I was wondering the same thing...
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  17. #17
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    Armor gooooood-shattered kneecaps baaaaad

    I have used knee guards and elbow guards for many years when riding rockier terrain. Years ago I used some roller blade knee guards. Now there are lots of choices.

    I prefer armor you can use the entire ride. Seems like you fall in stupid places where you don't expect it. You plan on putting on the armor at the top of the climb, and do a small downhill in the middle of the climb, and next thing you know you're on your face.

    I am using the Dainese 3X guards now, and they fit really well with good protection, are relatively cool, and don't interfere with pedaling at all.

  18. #18
    "Yabut"
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    Yes, I prefer saving my skin, over a little discomfort. Armor has saved me from many oozy, drippy, stinging raspberries.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball
    I found some Rockgarden shorties for $15 online from BlueSky, hated em, but...

    No Zul, you can't have 'em. They are mine, all mine!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kendogg
    Yeah, but you weigh like 105lbs. Have you ever seen a feather hit the ground hard?
    HA! Good on Ken, but you're 43 lbs. off my friend....actually, I've been kind of lazy lately and haven't been working out as much as I should so I'm up to a whopping 152!

    Still riding the Redline?
    Why would I need more than one gear?
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    EPA = crooks!

  21. #21
    Professional Bad Ass
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    How does riding up with body armor strapped to your Camelback make you a tool? The tools are the people who either wuss out and shuttle up, or wuss out and take the easy way down. Yeah, you might be a tool for rocking body armor on desert classic or fantasy island, but if you're killing the steep stuff on the way up and hitting the gnarly stuff on the way down, you're not a tool.

  22. #22

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    Have you ever done it though?

    Shattered kneecaps indeed.
    I have actually done that. Not mtn biking btw, but in Moab, jumping into a stream.
    Crushing you patella against solid terra firma sucks. I had four surgeries, 32 stitches each, and it still hurts everyday if I put weight on it while bent too far. The battering I took was 13 years ago, and I wish I had never done it.

    I wear pads religiously. Hell, I've done Mt. Lemmon top-to-bottom in Fox launch leg pads. I love those things: ride well, stay put, EASY on and off, covers ankle as well for villainous plants...

    Sure I feel over dressed sometimes, but I don't mind. I quote Braveheart at those times "I didn't get drrrrressed up fer nuthin." I ride a 6x7 bike and feel that even on tame stuff, I can get up to serious speeds with a lil gravity. Plus, that much more trail is now "tame."

  23. #23
    dirt visionary
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    The launch are my next set ..My buddy uses them and never has to adjust them . The only thing I don't like is the super open back .

  24. #24
    Just Joshin' ya!
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    My worst spills seem to come when I am riding my hardtail on easier trails like Hawes or Papago. I will be going way to fast and wash out through a turn. Usually I am wearing spandex and a racing jersey so I bleed pretty good. However, wearing pads on these trails seems weird.

    On National, I will sometimes wear pads for the way down, but since I tend to be more conservative, my crashes are usually not so bad. So I guess I should wear pads when I am doing easy trails and no pads when I am on hard trails?
    Getting a dropper post is like getting a bidet. I didn't know I needed one until I get one and boy, does my ass thank me.

  25. #25
    Pivotal figure
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    I'd much rather wear the pads and be able to ride the week AFTER a crash instead of sitting on the couch popping ibuprofen and wine coolers
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  26. #26
    A Huckin' Hypocrite
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    Tools are Cool

    In my first few years of riding I remember scoffing at seeing someone wearing armor, guess I thought I was a better rider or something cause I didn't fall down. As I progressed and met people who were more advanced I quickly learned the value of armor. I had a hard OTB on the old drops at the top of Mormon/National and I would have walked away clean if the arm guards strapped to my camelback were actually on my arms. Next crash was similiar, decided not to wear them for the "easy" ride down Shultz Creek cause they were stinky... sliding on your arms on Shultz at speed feels like sliding on sand paper. Earlier this year at White Tanks I decided to ditch the armor since I was just gonna ride my Hardtail Dirt Jumper so wouldn't be trying anything crazy. Spent over $600 to find out I had partially ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament... my shin guards looked nice and pretty sitting in my truck when I limped back to it.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by zul
    To get pads or not to get pads?

    Well, now that we're jumping into the "Fight Club", we'll be getting some knee/shin guards.

    I've been riding with elbow/forearm guards for the last ~18 years. Tracey has been wearing
    them for the last 8 years. This was primarily for protection from grazing trees and branches
    in the tight woods.

    The GC ride in Nov made me realize the need for crash protection. I got out of shape after a
    front wheel sucker and did a tripod that ended with my right leg and knee up against a
    cheese-grater rock wall. Didn't lose too much skin, but saw "the light".

    Armor is also a better way to deal with brushing against desert foliage.

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  28. #28
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    I recommend the fox launch series. I have also ridden up and down with them and they don't slip. Light and comfy as well. As a future ER doc I would say that you're a tool if you don't wear armor! I get to see all the tools who come in and weren't wearing armor and it's worth the few extra bucks.

  29. #29
    Kathleen in AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noelg
    I can't wait until Durtgurl posts on this thread!

    How do you protect your scapula anyway?
    Armor. What can I say? I'm a believer and a user. Shoulder pads might have saved my scapula on Goat Camp, or not. Armor doesn't save all but it sure has helped me out many a time. Falling anywhere in AZ usually means landing on jagged rocks and/or pointy vegetation. It just makes sense to protect yourself from the inevitable fall. Question is not IF you fall, but WHEN you fall. And because I'm almost always in elbow and knee pads, I've finally learned to fall right - tuck and roll has become a natural reflex. Before I'd fling out my hands in protection (broken fingers, wrists). Now I roll on my knees and elbows and then I get up, unscathed (usually). Last year I think I was the only one to wear armor on FOTP. But I took one knee dive on National that probably would have ended my ride. Armor kept me smiling and moving.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noelg
    I don't own any armor but I should.

    I would never ride without a helmet, right? Are my limbs not equally as valuable?

    Something else to add to my Xmas list!
    It takes some a little longer.... welcome to the armor club!

  30. #30

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    Pads, pads, pads....

    I've found Roach arms and lets to be ultra comfortable.

    Roach legs - $45 at Price Point
    Race Face arms - $32 at JensonUSA

    I rode for years without. It's a no brainer

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kymmster
    In my first few years of riding I remember scoffing at seeing someone wearing armor, guess I thought I was a better rider or something cause I didn't fall down. As I progressed and met people who were more advanced I quickly learned the value of armor. I had a hard OTB on the old drops at the top of Mormon/National and I would have walked away clean if the arm guards strapped to my camelback were actually on my arms. Next crash was similiar, decided not to wear them for the "easy" ride down Shultz Creek cause they were stinky... sliding on your arms on Shultz at speed feels like sliding on sand paper. Earlier this year at White Tanks I decided to ditch the armor since I was just gonna ride my Hardtail Dirt Jumper so wouldn't be trying anything crazy. Spent over $600 to find out I had partially ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament... my shin guards looked nice and pretty sitting in my truck when I limped back to it.
    i am not so sure it would have helped this so don't beat yourself up over it

    mx

  32. #32
    Sup?
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    kyle strait knee/shins

    super comfy, not for hard core DH'ing but enough protection to 'take the edge off'

    biffed it on Javelina at SoMo and ended up with 9 stitches in my forearm even *with* armor on! (the rock found the one gap in the pads between elbow/forearm) Without them, probably would have broken my arm!

    had a friend wash out towards the end of Hawes and break his hip! no amount of body armor could have prevented that, but still, shows how easy it is to get seriously f'ed up mtb'ing!

    did the full pressure suit, full face thing the last time I shuttled six shooter. It was a blast, definitely felt a bit 'safer' than without the padding.

    Actually looking into a pair or two of these..? They look useful.. Kind of like those hip pads I used to wear while playing H.S. football?

    http://www.xsportsprotective.com/cp2500.html

  33. #33
    mtbr member
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    [QUOTE=zul] Now that I am stepping it up, I feel that the armor would give me a boost of confidence. [QUOTE]

    You answered your own question. If you start pushing yourself and riding more technical terrain faster, you will fall eventually. IMO that is where the fun is at, scaring yourself a little bit feels good. Riding on the edge of your limits is fun, but being hurt isn't, so unless your trying to prove something to someone pads are the logical choice.

  34. #34
    suvlako
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    I read through each and every post on the topic and agree..... and disagree. Nothing better than a friendly debate!! First I would like to make the point that it IS mountain biking and with that comes some inherent risk. That risk includes and is not limited to, scrapes, scratches, gouges, punctures, Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapples(?), contusions, bruises, pulls, strains, tears and last but not least breaks. If these things were not included in mtbing, they would call it road riding. I don't think it is necessary or even comfortable for that matter to go on a 10+ mile xc ride with protection on. In my opinion that is a little excessive and kind of like having a life insurance plan at the age of 13. Yeah, you could die, but highly unlikely.

    There are very few trails in Az that "require" pads(imo). Maybe if you are at NRA, Wasabi, Geronimo, and secret Dh/FR trails. Even then, they may not save you from a catastrophe. I broke three ribs and seperated my shoulder gapping a tree on some FR stuff(wearing full gear) in Tucson and there isn't a suit or pad on the market that could have saved me from that. Not even the one at the top of the page.

    In conclusion, if it makes you feel more confident, then by all means do it. The fear of all the aforementioned produce is what makes riding so fun! As they say, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and join the roadies. I love roadies, I really do,,,

  35. #35
    dirt visionary
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    I have done 30mile xc rides on a freeride bike .I have no issues wearing shin and elbow pads, now I am not going to wear a dot lid and a pressure suit but enough to keep me riding the next day if I do crash . Ever since I cracked a few ribs at NRA I have been wearing my suit when downhilling or freeriding. Those times I didn't for some stupid reason happened to be some of the times I crashed . Everytime I would kick myself in the ass because the injuries sustained so far could have always been prevented if I had my suit on . As far as lightweight shin and elbow guards for all moutain riding its responsible riding IMO. Nothing like that pedal slip into the shins .Which can happen at any speed but worse with flats and pins.

  36. #36
    Over the Hill
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    Dress for the crash, not the ride...

    Dean

  37. #37
    Master Gardener
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    Well, looks like every mountain biker in Arizona agrees, then.

  38. #38
    Shred...it's the new drug
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    armour +1000

    I have the 661 core saver and it goes on every ride, even in the summer. When freeriding, 661 kyle's are great, DHin' I got a set of roach knee/shins and elbows from the bargain bin at cactus for $20 each, but $$$ ever spent. I rock the core saver even while snowboarding, fits great under jacket and I can huck and shred trees with mucho confidence. I sunny bono'd a tree a couple seasons that broke 5 ribs and ruptured a spleen(too close to death for me). ICU Nurse wife wont let me out of house without it. Plan on getting a new one to fit to a leatt soon. Just gotta talk her into it "But honey, It's safer" (my excuse for all bike purchases). Alive > Cool.

  39. #39
    Too many Sedonuts...
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    My 2 cents...do NOT get armor just because you think it will make you braver. Armor alone does not a better rider make. Your mojo can and should work independent of what you're wearing.

    That being said, yeah, there are times that I tone it down because I tell myself I'm not wearing armor, I should be careful. However, don't misinterpret the presence/non-presence of armor. Usually, when I feel skiddish it's because I am just not on my A-game that day. Mojo is down.

    Buy armor and deal with the negatives of it only as a safety buffer so you don't have additional healing/medical expenses. Don't use it as a mojo pill. Doesn't work that way.

    -JB
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  40. #40
    Old Fart at Play
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velokid1
    Well, looks like every mountain biker in Arizona agrees, then.
    Hold on, not so fast! Not all of us strap on pads when going for a ride on the bike. Some of us employ the old-fashioned form of protection, judgement and discretion. Riding within the envelope, as opposed to on the bleeding edge (so to speak). Controlling one's speed and stepping off the bike when the terrain threatens to knock you off it. Are we wusses? Perhaps. Are we sacrificing some of that adrenaline cocktail? No doubt. Are we not having fun? No way! Have I never fallen? Of course I have, but it is an occurrence that I avoid rather than seek out as some badge of courage. It is a very rare occurrence as opposed to a common one. I do not subscribe to the theory that if you don't fall, you're not riding hard enough. I prefer, if you fall you're not riding smart enough. Armor, I think, can give you a false sense of confidence, that can get you in over your head and lead to an accident that may not happen if you had a healthy sense of fear instead of extra padding. A fear that says, "I better get off and walk this section."
    Last edited by Titus Maximus; 12-18-2008 at 09:47 PM.
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  41. #41

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    I wear my armor to bed.

  42. #42
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    Wait...There's a debate about armor? F&*K. Always the last to know.

  43. #43
    I'm Lazy, So I Shuttle
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    Get armor! I have a pressure suit I wear on the big stuff, but for everyday Shredding I wear Roach legs and arms, and a camel bak that saves the spine. and of course my trusty full face! I find that the time I feel I dont need to wear them is the time I loose skin.
    Hospitals suck, pain meds are good, armor is better!
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash.- Julie Furtado

  44. #44
    Master Gardener
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    Cool it down in here, folks. This is quite the heated debate.

  45. #45
    dirt visionary
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    Heated pads now thats an idea

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