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Thread: Protective Gear Help Please

  1. #1
    Member Mystic Explorer's Avatar
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    Protective Gear Help Please

    I have been off riding 3 years due to my wifes cancer - just bought a 2019 and excited to ride again. I am 73 and concerned about injuring myself. I have to take care of my wife and our great granddaughter plus I know at my age crashing breaks things.

    I also ride in hot areas so would love to hear what others wear - body armor - boots -pants

    Thanks for taking time to respond
    Ken, Tweaker, Mel and 1 others like this.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BUMBLESPECIMOODA's Avatar
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    Knee braces are the first thing on my list, followed by propper off-road boots. Knee and ankle support is what I recammend.

    Also, whenever you go for ride, schedule in slow speed ballance practice using the clutch to go or slow.
    Find a grassy incline (so there's lots of traction), and ride it on all directions, to practice your cone of ballance.
    Ken and Darth like this.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    I'm three years younger than you, but I still don't seem to be able to avoid low speed tip overs or uphill spin-outs. For me, the single most important piece of gear after a good full face helmet is calf length moto boots. They have prevented foot and ankle injuries at least a dozen times in the last 10 years. I need boots that I can walk about a mile in, so MX boots, although offering the best protection, are not for me. I settled on Sidi Adventure Rains, now called Discovery Rains:

    https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/...ery-rain-boots I'm now on my second pair.

    Another popular boot is Gaerne's All Terrain GTX: https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/...rain-gtx-boots

    Yes, they are clumsy, hot, and not particularly comfortable for walking until well broken in, but they have also probably saved me $10,000 in medical bills. All of my crashes occurred under 5 mph (sometimes stopped!), and 75% of them would have resulted in foot injury without those boots.....sometimes as silly as stubbing your toe on a rock you didn't see. I won't ride the TW past the outhouse in camp without them.


    The best thing you can do to the bike to reduce the chance of crashing at any speed is chuck the OEM DeathWing and get a Shinko 241. The Bridgestone is a horrible tire in the dirt and front end washouts even at low speeds are no fun at all. I didn't even take my 2018 out of the showroom before swapping.

    Then bigger foot pegs and brush guards.

    I use internal CE pads in my Olympia Jacket and pants and ride slowly and conservatively enough that they are likely to give me adequate protection. It's my feet and ankles that I buy the best protection for and so far haven't had so much as a bruise anywhere else.
    Rocky
    2018 TW200
    2014 BMW R1200GS LC

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Darth's Avatar
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    Hey Mystic, you ain't so old...I'm 75, still riding and doing it pretty well!

    Gear:
    I see you're an ex-shrink. If my experience with my shrink(s) is any indicator, you should have bucks enough to get really top flight gear!
    Go on, you know you want to...

    Plan to spend at least $250-600+ for a very good helmet. I am very pleased with my Arai dual-sport helmet. I even used it racing at Bonneville!
    My life has literally been saved once by a Shoei, once by an Arai. A $100 DOT approved helmet is borderline junk. Better than a $50 one. Never a used one.
    Back in the 60's, Bell had a great helmet ad: "Got a $10 head? Put it in a $10 helmet." Wisdom!
    Face-shields are good to deflect tree branches, etc.
    Great deals are available on "Closeout" helmets. Get one with a good vent system.

    Armored off-road boots. I like my FirstGear's, lots of good brands. Armor-quality-comfort.

    Armored jacket. For hot weather, get quality mesh with full armor system: elbows, forearms, shoulders & spine.
    Again, I love my FirstGear but there are many good ones.

    Armored pants. Again, mesh for hot weather. Armor for shins, knees, hips & tailbone.
    I love my FirstGear but shop around.

    Armored gloves. Mesh, knuckle armor, palm padding.

    Top quality armor...not just padding. Rigid & semi-rigid, even articulated. Good plastic or CF/Kevlar if you want to go all out!
    If you find gear you really like but it has only B-grade armor, you can always up-armor.

    Misc:
    Earplugs, I like plain old foam plugs. I'm sure the custom molded are better.
    Hydration: Think CamelBack system, especially in your hot weather!
    First aid kit.
    Safety: Spot device or other electronics, especially if riding alone.
    Ride with buddies.
    Elastic "Kidney Belt". Lower spine & abominable support . Especially on longer rides, prevents tiring. Great for us old farts!
    Evaporative cooling neck bandannas.

    I like how you are going about this, Doc!
    Keep us posted...and have fun!
    "Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death."
    - Hunter S. Thompson

    “It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow”.

    "The less horsepower a motorcycle has, the more it can teach you.” - Ben Bostrom

    And though a mountain may rise up and smack the livin' shit outta me,
    and wad up my bike somethin' awful...
    Still, I rise!
    (With apologies to Maya Angelou)


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  6. #5
    Senior Member Sthrnromr's Avatar
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    There has already been some great advice given. I can only add that I never skimp on real riding boots or helmets. Hope that helps. As for anything else, I just use gloves and sometimes a roost guard / chest protector. I ride in a hot climate most of the time as well, and that’s about all I can handle in temps.
    Ken and Darth like this.
    2010 TW200 - The Goat
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  7. #6
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Make sure everything you buy is CE approved (Snell/DOT for helmet). There is some scary knock-off gear being sold out there that is basically just cheap plastic and won't even do anything for you.

    I had a very good setup that I used for many years. I am very meticulous when researching purchases to always ensure that I am getting the absolute most possible for my money, and my gear was certainly no exception. It's been a while, but I will try to remember everything:

    Wear one of these ( https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/...-rib-protector ) inside one of these ( ).

    Also these for boots:

    I think this is what I wore for knee/shin guards (fits inside the motocross boot at the top-front and straps around your knee/calf: https://www.chapmoto.com/leatt-ext-3...-3007501600040

    I don't remember the gloves but the dirt ones were pretty straightforward. It's good if you can find ones with some extra palm-area padding and a hard "pad" on the back of the hand, and some hard pieces on the backs of the fingers.

    Last but definitely something you need: neck brace. I went with the basic pad design because it was so affordable compared to other options, and definitely better than nothing. I don't remember for sure if it was this exact model, but very close if not: https://www.amazon.com/EVS-Sports-11.../dp/B007NVQ17A .


    Get a setup like this and obviously (again) a good DOT/Snell approved helmet, and you will be well protected in a setup that will last several years. Speaking of helmets, please make sure you get one that is a pretty sung fit: not super tight, but definitely pretty snug. If it doesn't smush your face in a little, it's probably a bit too lose, as it will loosen up over time. A helmet that is even slightly loose on your head is basically garbage. I learned that the hard way...



    Those rib protectors really work, too, and most guys have probably never even heard of it. Unquestionably saved me from a few sets of broken ribs over the years. I know because I had the same types of crashes with and without, and the first of them were what prompted me to find some rib protection. All of these other pieces are also very solid, durable, and well designed. This setup was also quite comfortable and not too hot.
    Last edited by kj7687; 01-01-2019 at 10:12 PM.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
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    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  8. #7
    Senior Member RaZed1's Avatar
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    For hot weather riding, heavy armored adventure jackets and pants will absolutely bake you. In 100* Texas weather I'd absolutely die if I wore half the stuff mentioned here. The best protection isn't any good if you leave it in the closet since it's too uncomfortable.

    As said, good boots are a must. MX/Enduro boots are the most supportive but as said not designed really for walking, and for casual trail riding can be overkill. Some of the ADV style boots are a bit of a compromise. Still good support but much more comfortable to wear all day or walk around in. Another thing to note, MX style boots almost always have very smooth soles (so as not to snag on pegs doing tricks or moving around). This also means step off the bike on a muddy hill and you'll be straight on your butt. Some MX boots are available with an "Enduro" sole, which is like a regular work boot and provides better grip. I'd also suggest some knee pads. I use Troy Lee 5450's. Soft, comfortable, and easily slip into the top of the boot.

    Helmet, fit is much more critical than the brand. Stay away from the super cheap no-name brands, but once you're spending $100 or so you're going to get something of acceptable quality. This is a trail bike that tops out at 60, not a MotoGP bike doing 180 with a knee on the ground. Higher end helmets are often more comfortable and lighter (and quieter at speed, but not so much of an issue for the TW), so if you're willing to shell out the cash fine (I have a Shoei for touring and think it's worth every penny). I've owned Fox, Fly, Oneal, and other dirt helmets over the years, all in the 100-200$ price range, and have had no complaints with any of them. They all got crashed in quite a bit and held up fine. Goggles I never spend much money on. Usually just buy the $20 ones and replace them each year when they get all scratched up. For cold weather I'd buy the better ones that fit tighter to keep wind out, but down here not much of an issue.

    For an upper body protector, there's again loads of choices. Leatt makes pretty good stuff across the board, and a few of their armor suits also have rib protection, something that most others do not and something I do feel is valuable. I've used a Thor "Impact Rig" for many years and it's held up surprisingly well but there are much more modern designs out there now. These are nice since you get everything in one piece- chest, back, shoulder, elbow, and a kidney belt all in one. What can be tough is finding one that fits. If you have a short torso, or long arms, or narrow shoulders, the armor can droop and really not fit well, in which case it's less effective. Sites like Revzilla and MotorcycleGear.com give pretty detailed reviews about fitment, but try on if at all possible.

    Circling back to hot weather gear, when it's 105* out here in Texas I'll often forego the riding jeans and use dirt bike pants that zip off into shorts, and then some Leatt knee/shin guards to "make up the difference". It's loads cooler and a compromise I'm willing to make. For the jacket I'll usually take my mesh Joe Rocket Phoenix for any sort of longer ride, but for a quick hop somewhere I'll just use the body armor over a t-shirt. Still cooler than the jacket and while I realize there isn't much for abrasion resistance (the whole thing is made of pretty thin stretchy fabric), for lower speed hops or trails I'm fine with it. Plus it makes you look like a badass. Lol.

    I'd also armor the bike against tip-overs. Handguards are practically a must, even still the stock handlebar is made of cheese and will bend the first time the bike goes over, likely snapping off a clutch or brake handle with it. A real skid plate is a decent idea if you're getting into more gnarly stuff, the stock one is a token at best and breaks pretty easily.

    And yes, as mentioned putting the stock front tire in the bin is job #1. It's hilariously awful off road. The Shinko 241 in 4.0x18 is a very popular tire- cheap, easy to mount, long life, quiet, mostly corrects the stock speedo error, and works well in a wide variety of terrain. It's halfway between a knobby and a trials tire, a pretty classic dual sport tread pattern.
    Darth, Xracer and Sthrnromr like this.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Cerberus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Explorer View Post
    I have been off riding 3 years due to my wifes cancer - just bought a 2019 and excited to ride again. I am 73 and concerned about injuring myself. I have to take care of my wife and our great granddaughter plus I know at my age crashing breaks things.

    I also ride in hot areas so would love to hear what others wear - body armor - boots -pants

    Thanks for taking time to respond
    I’m also 73 and very inexperienced so I understand your fears. When it’s warm I wear back armor and arm and legs protection. In cooler weather a regular motorcycle jacket and same leg protection.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Leisure Time Larry's Avatar
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    I'll add my latest video again here, where I go over all of my riding gear. Maybe it will help some.

    admiral likes this.
    - Leisure Time Larry -
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    2004 TW200, 13-55 gearing, Shinko 241, Race Tech Emulators, Procycle front springs, Works Performance rear shock, Emgo handguards, Luckybike mirror risers, Ken Sean DS foldable mirrors, 30mm Tusk bar risers, Seat Concepts, Kick Starter kit, Plasti-dip camo coat, Cycle Pumps, Ricochet Skid Plate, flood and spot LED pod lights, Sena, Garmin etrex 20 GPS, IMS 313114 folding shifter

  11. #10
    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    For hot weather, I have an Olympic mesh motorcycle jacket and pants. If it is really hot out wear a wet technical t-shirt under the jacket. You will need to re wet the t-shirt within an hour of Hwy riding.
    I normally wear the full Forma adventure boots, full face helmet and gloves (mesh in the summer).
    Fred likes this.
    2001 TW200 sporting a MT43 up front. Duro has gone to a good home. 2015 VStrom XT, 1996 DT 200, Broken 2010 Xingue 400 XY. 2009 WR250r now shared with my son.

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