Ultimate Kids Protection Setup- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ultimate Kids Protection Setup

    My 5yr old (52lbs, 48in, 19in inseam) rides hard but nothing extreme yet. He isn't clearing 15ft table tops but definitely rides adult downhill/uphill trails with a lot of up and down, single track jump runs with very steep sides, drops, small gaps, rooty, fast steeps etc. I wanted to invest in some solid protection but nothing massive like the hard suit downhill stuff. It was important to get complete coverage to keep the pain low and confidence high. For every big crash we have on a jump run, we also have the small crashes just dinking around not paying attention where the bike tips sideways and lands on his leg. When he is padded up, it seems like so few crashes ever end up in tears. Here is what we've come up with and so far its been awesome:


    • Bell Super 2R Full Face Helmet - size small
      • These are expensive but we found one for 90$ on a big sale. Its awesome and really light and very breathable. We never have taken off the face guard and its saved us a few times, even on the little stuff.
      • Fox ProFrame Youth is a better helmet I think but you won't find it on sale.

    • Fox Racing Youth Gloves
      • The hands are always first to hit it seems. These have been great.

    • Demon Pro Flex Youth Armor - Combo Set - Small Jacket and Small Shorts
      • SUPER dope. Full on zip on armor jacket that allows you to remove the hard pads if you want (we leave them in). Perfect blend between light weight and full protection. Covers the spine, ribs, collar bones, shoulders, elbows, sides, thighs, hips, and tailbone. Only 80$ at AllSportsProtection. Best thing is, the jacket just zips on (thumb holds too). No messing with it. The shorts are great too. Love them. They save us pain daily.

    • Knee Pads - - IXS Carve Evo+ These are super legit. You have to go up in a size (we probably measured for a S but purchased a medium after seeing a buddies Smalls and they were ultra tiny). Once you get the right size, they are awesome. Double straps, lots of their XMatter padding up and down the knee for plenty of extra vertical coverage. Padding on the sides. Very, very nice fit. The padding is really firm too even when warm. Apparently its pretty significantly protective. Night and day over GForms and better than my cheap Alpinestar Paragons (protective wise). Not cheap tho. We'll see how they hold up to some hard crashes but I'm guessing they'll be excellent.
    • Stromboli Youth Shin Guards - amazing product. Soccer full leg and angle guards with light padding all around the ankle (very clean and ergonomic) and also padding on the sides of the leg. They don't come with the actual shin guard insert, you are supposed to buy the hard insert from Nike or where ever but we don't need a hard pad and they are clunky/heavy. Also the hard pads dont cover everything and leave gaps. So I found a giant, 5mm thick mouse pad (black) and traced the shape and cut out the neoprene pad. It just slips into the Stromboli guard pouch on the front and gives us complete coverage now. Full ankle guards from pedals, chainstays etc. Plus the sides of the legs and all around the shins too. Its fantastic. I can't say enough how much pain these have prevented from all over his legs, not just the shins.
    • Shoes - 510 Freeriders (velco) - awesome shoes. holding up good to the thrashing and they are just well made.
    • Shorts - TLD Sprint Youth These are awesome and cover further down his knees much better than his Fox Ranger shorts. They are also a burlier material and handle the abrasion protection well. The adjustable waist is nice as we can move it in or out to account for armor underneath. Really nice and about the only option for legit DH shorts. Note the sizing is spot on. My kids waist is about 24" or so and we bought the Y24 size and there is room to spare.


    EDITS: Removed the Van's shoes, which were fine but not perfect. Also removed G-Form pads. Ours ended just not protecting the kids knees. Too many tears on semi-minor crashes. Replaced with IXS Carve Evo+.

    Also to note, the Fox gloves have saved my kid a lot of times and just held up to so much abuse. That being said, I do wish they had padding on the outter edge of the glove like the Giro Remedy X2. The kid whacked a tree with his handlebars/hands the other day and it really jacked up his outter hand. Would have been nice to have some padding there.
    Last edited by svinyard; 07-11-2018 at 05:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    Good insight. Thanks for sharing. I like the idea of the soccer shin guard. Might use that for local bike parks. Good protection from pedal bites.

    I just ordered 2 Bell Super 3r Joy Ride (womens S) for my girls yesterday. They were NOT $90.....

    My girls are using Vans and DC shoes. Best bang for the buck and I could see a difference vs regular tennis shoes right away. I'll buy some Five Ten Freeriders for them next spring.

  3. #3
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    Sounds similar to what we use.
    One upgrade you could try is IXS Carver knee pads instead of the G Forms. More coverage and just as comfortable and come in small youth sizes.
    We also found that once we went for 5 Ten Freeride shoes and good pedals we ditched the shin protection for all but park riding as he no longer slips pedals.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by silvascape View Post
    Sounds similar to what we use.
    One upgrade you could try is IXS Carver knee pads instead of the G Forms. More coverage and just as comfortable and come in small youth sizes.
    We also found that once we went for 5 Ten Freeride shoes and good pedals we ditched the shin protection for all but park riding as he no longer slips pedals.
    I like those knee pads! The better coverage is money. There is no downside to the shin guards. Often when he crashes on a drop/jump, the bike lands on his lower leg. The shin guards we got have coverage around the entire lower leg and ankle not just the shin and save us all the time. We don't have many pedal slips anymore with the Van's but I'd love to get into the 510's for sure.

    Was it you that turned me on to the Demon Armor? Someone on here did...its half price now too. So awesome.

  5. #5
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    Yep, it was me that recommended the Demon Armor. It is half price at the moment as they are bringing out a new version. I am tempted to buy the next size up in the current model as the new model does not have the thumb holes so might slide up.
    The downside of the shin guards here in Australia is just being too hot. We are already having 32oC days (90 oF) and summer is still 2 months away.

  6. #6
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    I like this thread! We ride a lot of street, all-mountain (AM), and bike park (downhill) so this is very helpful.

    Helmet: I had also come across super deals on the Bell Super 2R a couple years ago and I've got myself, my 6yo, and my 4yo all wearing one. Biggest benefit to us is that it's not hot and uncomfortable so my kids wear it all the time. We used to debate between whether or not to bring the FF helmet... now it's a given.

    Body: We use Fox Peewee Titan chest/shoulders for AM riding and Leatt Youth Fusion 2.0 Vest for bike park riding. I'll check out the Demon Pro Flex when they grow.

    GForm pads: We use these too for elbows and knees. We've sewn a line along the length of each to reduce the size to fit my kids' skinny arms/legs. Later, we'll stitch-rip and resew them as they grow. Downside is they don't stay in place as well as we'd like so occasionally I have to help pull them back up.

    Shin guards: We also use soccer shin guards for added coverage (esp for pedal slap) during big rides or bike park days.

    Shoes: Five-ten Freerider work awesome for us.. but I wish they had velcro instead of shoelaces!

  7. #7
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    Good job! Somewhat Thrifty Gear Setup

    First of all, thanks for the great input on young kids riding more advanced trails. I thought I would add my experience for future readers looking for younger kid gear, since I used this thread as a jumping off point for getting my six-year-old son (48" tall, 47 LBS, 21 inch inseam) equipped. He has progressed so fast after moving up to a 20" Yama Jama and adult-level trails that I had to quickly invest in gear to cope with the pretty much daily crashes. He is one of those kids who is sensitive to the way clothes and gear feel, so the initial suggestions for this thread were really helpful in narrowing down lightweight protection with good coverage. We live in the Northeast, so heat isn't as much of a problem. Although, I haven't had a lot of complaints even on hot days around the full-face helmet or long sleeve Demon armor. Long sleeves have definitely reduced the number of mosquito bites or ticks found after rides! I tried to be as thrifty as possible to keep the prices down.

    • Helmet: Loving the Bell Super 3R. The cheapest I could find this was at REI with a 20% promo. After a trip to the oral surgeon from a skate park wreck when he smashed his face into a skateboard steel grind edge I bought one of these the next day, size small. The Fox Proframe and MET Parachute were also on my list, but the smallest sizes were still too big.


    • Armor: Went with the Demon Armor combo as suggested. Great setup that is easy for him to put on by himself and provides nice coverage. He wears it like a uniform and it looks cool too. No complaints from him on comfortability while riding. As a hack to get the jacket discounted, I ordered the top/bottom deal from allsportprotection.com, and since they were out of the shorts they actually called and gave me the top only for $50, which is half of the price of it anywhere else. I had to order the size small shorts from Absolute Snow at 40% off. The only spot I've noticed that could use more coverage is on the hip bones where he has taken hits a few times. I may sew in some pads there, like the mouse-pad idea above. Also, the thumb holsters are great to keep the pads down, but they almost pull the shoulder and elbow pads too far down so that they sit just below where they should. He has long arms though, and when he grows I will probably have to cut them to keep the pads in the right spots. Love it overall.


    • Gloves: He hasn't had too many issues with the hurting his hands, but we use some cutoff Pearl Izumi padded gloves that I found for $5 at a consignment store. He insists on wearing them, and I think it is part style and part grip or hand fatigue reduction for him.


    • Knees/Shins: Ended up going with the G-Form Knee/Shin guard combo. His legs are constantly covered in scratches, bruises, and grease, so I was going to get some separate knee pads and shin guards. Then I found the G-Form Sale page that has all of the adult and youth stuff half off. The knee pads were sold out in his size so I picked up the knee/shin guards in small for half off. They don't have as good of knee coverage as the IXS pads ($80-$100), but at half off ($50) they do a pretty good job covering both the knee and shin and fit my son great. The extra length of the padded areas helps to keep them in place with little adjustment on trail.


    • Shoes: Lucked out and found a pair of barely used velcro kids 510 Freeriders for $20 on my local Facebook Marketplace! It's subtle at first, but I have been amazed at how much the pedal slips have decreased, which also means less scratching up the legs! The 3 velcro straps are easy and work great. [I'm selling a barely used pair of blue kids size 12 lace-up freeriders if anyone here wants them for $20].

    All this gear is easy enough for him to put on by himself at 6 years old, which is also a bonus. Now he's asking about a neck brace ever since our last trip to the local lift-assist park where he saw other kids wearing them. Anyone have thoughts on neck braces for younger kids? At what point is it really necessary?
    Last edited by Rooty; 06-23-2018 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Spacing

  8. #8
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    I also wonder about neck braces.

    Fwiw definitely wear some full. Finger gloves with a little padding. Those are required wear for us. Just the other day Jr. was riding a berm run and half way down he was drifting the turn a bit and it skinny'd up real quick because of a tree. He clipped his hand and handlebars on it, whipped him around and tossed him down the mountain a bit. All of his demon armor etc left him fine (the spine padding is legit and needed) BUT I thought he broke his hand. Thankfully he rode out one handed and it was just badly bruised. The gloves really helped and I was happy to have them. They were regular fox gloves.

    Also we've found the limit of the GForm stuff. It's fine for smoother trails but uplift days and Rocky stuff they just don't cut it anymore. I do think their newer stuff has better padding but still for kids going real hard, the IXS kind of stuff is the way to go. Glad this helped someone else out. Cheers guys.

  9. #9
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    In case anyone is looking for a full face helmet, Universal Cycles has the Bell Super 3R MIPS 2017 on sale 30% OFF for $160, available on all sizes, I bought 3 of them, parents included . The small size fits my 5 year old perfectly with room to grow, love the protection and seems to be a high quality helmet. Includes Go Pro mount!

    https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...s.php?id=83063

    For shoes I got a pair of Five Ten Freeriders Velcro from Chain Reaction Cycles for $65 with free shipping from across the pond. A little spendy but I got a 1/2 size larger so it will last at least 'til next year. No more pedal slipping.

    Five Ten Freerider Kids MTB Shoe 2018 | Chain Reaction Cycles

  10. #10
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    Just came across the G-Form youth L/XL knee pads on Amazon warehouse deals, like new condition, for under $17 https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-list...&condition=all

  11. #11
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    Just went through the gauntlet of finding some new knee pads for large 6yro with about a 10.5in upper knee measurement.

    - The Leatt kids (one size only) are stupid big for a young guy. Like huge and bulgy. Avoid. Their sizing chart was way off on the big side.

    - Fox Launch Pro - size S/M fit great and comfy material (tho warm) but just have a hard pad I think there is something to the science of the new padded materials that are just better (aside from deflection). Material covers the hard plastic so no difference in skid protection. They didn't have a lot of vertical coverage either.

    - GForms just don't have much protection at all. Avoid these imo. No CE 1621 compliance either unsurprisingly. My kid has been left crying multiple times after a rather boring knee strike to flat ground (not sharp rock).

    - IXS Carve Evo+ These are super legit. You have to go up in a size (we probably measured for a S but purchased a medium after seeing a buddies Smalls and they were ultra tiny). Once you get the right size, they are awesome. Double straps, lots of their XMatter padding up and down the knee for plenty of extra vertical coverage. Padding on the sides. Very, very nice fit. The padding is really firm too even when warm. Apparently its pretty significantly protective. Night and day over GForms and better than my cheap Alpinestar Paragons (protective wise). Not cheap tho. We'll see how they hold up to some hard crashes but I'm guessing they'll be excellent.

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