Here is are what i think are the top products for riding off road :

I will be doing a very detailed up date of this feature very soon but until it is ready here is an old post to give you some pointers. Remember this one thing before you pay for anything: money will mean nothing if you are really hurt and great protective gear will make all the difference. Do not worry about cost in this area, it is a false economy if ever there was one.

Boots

Garene sg12 (£415new) are the best boots in the world, they are just 200% better than anything out there. Quite new though so you would struggle to get them SH just yet if the price was a mountain too far. Still so many people stump up the cash you can see, they all must think they know they are worth the difference. I think they are just about perfect, the do not feel like you are wearing big stiff boots, they last for ever and they protect you in a big way.

Sidi crossfire (£245new) boots are very very good as are the slightly older, they are of the same generation as the excellect Garene SG10 (my own boots).

These 3 are all made of top quality italian leather so they will never smell bad (if you dry them) after a ride. Do not buy fully artificial-leather boots, in my opinion you will hate them, your feet will get wet and stay wet, and then the skin will get soft and blister or split. I would like to think that all boots with a CE label should protect the same but once again just try some Garene on, and then pick up sum £100 boots and feel the difference. The cheaper boots will either be very flimsy or basically solid as a block of plastic for at least 10 rides.

 

Body Armour

I have just revised this article:

Body Armour Review- Dainese Hardshell v Forcefield Flexible – which is best?

2010 text: Dainese wave 2 (£235 with neck protect) is the best protector suit bar none… but some say it is a little compact for hard dirt-bike falls and does not have adequate roost protection as it is built for road use also, so many off roaders go for the alpine stars (£195 new) as the next best, these two makes protect very well but the quality shows in they are not hot to wear and have antibacterial silver impregnation so they do not smell. They other good makes are just as protective for falls give or take but tend to be very hot and too heavy, also the back protector in the latest Dainese is much better than all the others, it stops your back bending the wrong way and has a aluminium honeycomb that can save your spine from enormous impacts, it is very expensive to make (so i feel it is worth the money) they all regardless of make need to be well (tight/cose) fitting to work.

 

socks

sealskins ((£30) are a type of gortex waterproof but breathable sock with a wool liner, these are worth thier wieght in gold…the army make a very good one without the wool which you can get from army suplus (£12)

 

Gloves

Alpinestars make the best MX gloves, but for a wet enduro the best are the neopreen by Acerbis as protection in mud is less about impact, it has a rubberised Kangaroo palm and good knuckle fingertip protection and they seem to last and last. My others all seemed to last 4-6 rides before i see finger tips or the palm of my right hand. Maybe I was gripping the bars too tight back then?

 

Knees

Knee brace is the best way to go, you should wear them for prevention as when you mess up your knee you will regret ever seeing a bike, i like the Asterisk Cell but they are about £600 new!.

I just wear pads my self as I can’t aford the braces just yet, MXers use BIG pads as they have to deal with knee smashing roosted rocks going at 150mph towards them, and the other bikes hitting you at all angles in the first corner, but for green lanes and the odd enduro I like the dianese ones as I can just about still grip the bike with my knees (very important when standing up in the slippery stuff.) but I can’t when wearing the huge MX type and almost go over the bars when i hit a big root.

 

Helmets

If they have the gold thingy they are going to be as strong as you will ever need, I like light ones, i.e. around 1000 grams, as they give less neck bother as you wack around on whoops etc, a 1000 gram helmet feels a lot nicer after 3 hours ride that a 1800 gram one, trust me. But fit is the most important thing, a perfect fitting £100 lid is 10 times better than a £490 carbon one that is too loose! Go to the shops and try them on, do not buy a helmet from the net untried. But of all the helmets i have tried this year, I like Airoh Revenge right now it is the lightest thing on the market at only 950 gems and a very well designed helmet by any standard.

 

Neck

The Leatt brace looks cool, they will save your neck in some situations no doubt, but  no one has really tested them all the way, i.e. on dead people etc, they have a habit of breaking the collarbone of the wearer in some types of small falls, BBBut they are £400 new (if they were £100 I might get one in a second as they look like they might help). Alpine stars now make a full rigid neck brace, one which may be a little better than the leatt, but it costs even more! Leatt now do a cheaper fixed size one for about £175 but it feels very cheaply put together to me and has the same problems plus your can’t get a perfect fit as it does not adjust.

Most of the time people fall off and they hurt there neck from the whiplash of having your body hit the earth and you head sharply snapping to a halt, for this they make the neck roll or donut, I wear one of these and they are great for these very common lesser falls (and may even help save your neck in some types of bigger fall). The best neck roll or soft collars I have an alpine stars one (and the EVS) i got new for £25 and i came off down a long slope in the first 130 seconds of the april eduroland, i should have really done my neck in but that roll took the snap out of my head movement and I was fine to just jump back on. Strange after hitting my shoulder down that hard! But I straighten my bike out for ten mins and waited for the stars to clear before riding the rest of the day with no pain at all (and the next morning) I guess that roll did it’s job OK.

I got my self an Omega neck brace and think it has some advantages over the leatt, for most real life incidents.

 

Hip protection

I have some padded shorts from my snowboard jumping/mountain bike days and I wear that since i got a bruise the size of a melon on my hip a few weeks back, i have not looked into it much, but I bet the makes I mentioned will be good starting place. My wife says i look like i have a huge fat ass when i put it on under my stuff, but when i think of the pain from my 10-mph hip whack i know the ghetto mama look is well worth it

 

On top of this lot I would recommend an all weather jacket with gortex lining and big vents, as you get damn sweaty, even in at – temps! Some people like that Travis pastrana sponsored MX racer look (£160-£250), I think I am too balding to pull it off so i just wear my old gortex rain jacket and good quality snowboard pants when the weather is pants.

That is what i have gleaned thus far, 98% of green laning falls are trivial. My gloves, Knee pads and googles do the most of the protecting so spend money there, MX boots and MX helmets seem like over protection in most falls, till that day you really need them, then you will thank God you had the smarts to got the best stuff in the expensive areas too.

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