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Riding in company
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A month ago I arranged a day off work....tomorrow...to go to Vanson in MA for my first set of leathers. This involves driving up the coast from NJ to Newport, RI, staying the night, and nipping up to Fall River first thing on Monday morning. So after the mildest winter in memory in NJ what do I get? A friggin official blizzard with whiteout conditions. NOT FAIR! There was another blizzard not quite a year ago, through which I wound up driving. It was very nearly fun but I don't know if I'd do it again on purpose.

Since I can't get the leathers tomorrow, let me ask your advice on the choice of armor. What I want to know is whether a rigid shell is the way to go on the shoulders, elbows, back, and knees. Vanson's CE armor is the usual single-impact crushable material, and their GP Armor has a hard shell which, I guess, spreads the force of impact to a larger area of foam. I'm wearing Olympia gear with rigid elements and I feel quite secure but I don't know whether to stay hard (so to speak) or go soft for this 2 piece perf suit. What do you think?
 

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I have the soft armor but I think the hard stuff would ,as you say, spread the force of impact. I do have a hard shell in the back of my Vanson jacket. If you are ok with the hard stuff then I say go with it. You also might slide further without going through to YOUR soft stuff with the hard plastic. Just my 2 cents.
 

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I'll share my experience for what it's worth. My primary riding outfit is a Darien textile jacket and pants combo. The knee/elbow armor consists of a hard shell cup bonded to a rubber foam backing that stiffens on impact but is otherwise soft and flexible (unless the air temp is very cold, but that's another story).

I decided to buy a Vanson combo for, well, just because I wanted something different, I guess. I opted for the fully-perfed jacket and pants, and figured I'd go for max protection in case I ever attended a track day.

I bought the jacket direct from Vanson. It came standard with "street" armor, which is simply soft foam pads. Since this would provide less impact protection than my Aerostich armor, I purchased replacement "GP armor" from my local dealer (they were having a clearance).

Later I ordered the pants from New Enough. They strongly recommended the street armor, saying that the GP armor was for track use and would probably be uncomfortable. Since I already had the GP armor in the jacket, I went with the hard armor for the knees. I went with the street foam armor for the hips since there was no GP option.

The GP armor is definitely more rigid, as you would expect. I only wear the Vanson outfit when I plan to ride, as opposed to riding to a location to hang out, so it's not uncomfortable, but the armor is noticeable. The Darien is less noticeable.

The only comfort issue I experienced was when I accompanied a friend on a mountain ride that lasted about 7 hours, with only a short fuel break. During the last couple of hours of the ride, my knees really began to ache. I had the seat on my KLT in the low position, which pressed my knees firmly into the armor. I raised the seat, which relaxed the bend in my knees a little, but I was glad to get out of the pants at the end of the day. Since then I have left the seat in the upper position and have not had a problem. If I were riding a bike with higher pegs I think long rides might be out of the question on longer rides.

I forgot to mention the back armor. I bought the Vanson back protector. It seems like it would provide good protection, and I am barely aware of it. My only complaint is that it does impede ventilation a little, but hey, if we weren't willing to trade some level of comfort for protection, we wouldn't be wearing protection gear, right?

The CE armor may be a good compromise, but I don't have any experience with it. I found the information on the New Enough Motorcycle Leathers website, www.newenough.com to be very helpful.
 

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soft is best

I have rather soft armour in my clothing, because stiff or hard armour may cause injuries that are not necessary. My back protector is semi rigid, but of a foam material that does not cut in to skin or bones when you fall off. It is the same as with helmets: if you go for the hardest material you do not have optimal protection with an impact. Remember: the purpose is to soak up the impact, not to spread it. BTW: in Europe there is a CE label, all good armour has this. There must be something like this in the US.

Frits van Straten.

Afterthought: Kushitani (in my opinion the best) goes for soft protection as well.
 

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I use full Vanson GP in my Vanson leathers and core-comp in my Kilimanjaro textile jacket. I prefer the core-comp technology but believe that how well the armor fits is vital so I usually look at armor solutions as part of the overall leather/textile purchase. In your case I would go with the full Vanson GP armor, Vanson back protector and foam hip pads.

Find out more about different armor here:
http://www.newenough.com/faq_armor_types.htm
 

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no power in the 'verse can stop me
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It's not snowing in Duluth,Mn.

I think that's a sign from God that you need an Aerostich :D
 
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