Review of Motocross Protective Gear
2MV - Motocross Vest
Every year there are new products being introduced providing a wider selection of solutions for rider safety. The goal of this article is to provide an overview of the various products that are available and insight into their unique characteristics. This article, however, is not the result of scientific testing and in many instances expresses opinions rather than facts. So now, let's see what available in the way of gear.
- 2ndMoto - Gear Sales
We sell new and used motocross gear including the bull riding vest. We also carry select high quality sprockets and chains.
The main categories of gear that we will discuss here are:
- Core protectors, chest protectors, roost guards, rodeo/riding vest
- Kneck Braces and Rolls
- Kidney belts/support
- Elbow guards
- Long sleeve jerseys
- Riding pants
- Kneed guards, shin guards and braces
2MV Vest by 2ndMoto LLC and EVS In Action
Core protection is often overlooked in it's importance. Many riders feel they need to be flexible and able to twist and overlook the importance of protecting their core. Most the vital organs in the body are located in the core, and easily susceptible to injury such as the kidneys, liver, and spleen, just to name a few. Just ask a fighter, and they'll tell you that if you want to inflict damage, pound the core.
Originally, core protection was intended to protect against rocks being kicked up and was provided by a roost guard, or chest protector. While traditional chest protectors provide decent protection, they lack any protection in the rib area, and can easily shift around while the rider is bouncing off the ground. Recently, many manufactures have developed products intended to stay in place while providing more flexibility; however, most of these lack the hard plastic barrier that provides solid protection.
The 2MV, by 2ndMoto LLC,is an excellent solution to providing complete core protection while staying in place. The 2MV vest is similar to a traditional chest protector as it contains a plastic that is backed with a high quality foam to provide protection against a puncture, and to disperse the force of impact over a larger area. The added benefit is that the 2MV provides solid protection over a larger area of the riders body, most importantly the rib cage and back, and stays in place during a crash. Rib protection is impossible to find, without searching for yet another device to wear in addition to the core protection. Additionally, traditional chest protectors don't really distribute the force over a large area and usually the force is distributed to the rivets that hold the foam on the little edge. Just look at what part of a chest protector is in contact with your body....that's where the force is distributed to.
The 2MV vest, from 2nd Moto LLC, is available in 4 sizes, XS, S, M, and L. The XS actually fits kids as young as 4 years old. The vest are adjustable with velcro straps over the shoulder to adjust for length, and velcro straps on the back for the mid section. The front is simply opened or closed with velcro also. The 2MV works excellent with both the Leatt and the EVS RC Evolution neck braces, and helps hold them in place. When the 2MV is fitted properly, the straps provided with the neck braces are not usually required; This is a nice benefit.
The 2MV vest provides motocross riders with solid, complete core protection in an adjustable package that stays in place. 2MV vest can be purchased directly from www.2ndmoto.biz .
Several manufactures make armor that can be worn under a jersey, advertised as under deflector (EVS), subframe deflector (Fox), undercover (FLY), Bionic (Alpinestar), Quandrant SE Deflector (Thor), Core Saver (SixSixOne), stone spray shield (Answer), and various others. Most of these stay in place fairly well, but lack the hard plastic that distributes the force and can prevent punctures from foot pegs, handlebars, and roots and rocks. There are several that stand out in this category and provide a hard plastic protector. These are the EVS RV5 Under Deflector, Fox Titan Race Subframe Deflector, and the Thor Impact Rig.
Traditional chest protectors have made very little improvement over the years. Additionally, most riders tend to wear them loose which keeps the rider flexible, but allows the protection to be shifted during a crash exposing the assumed protected areas of the rider to impact.
Choosing A Helmet
A helmet is probably the most important component of a riders gear. When choosing a helmet, it's important that you don't get in a hurry as you may need to try on several brands before you find one that fits comfortably .Each brand of helmet has a unique fit and you may find that a given brand doesn't fit regardless of the size that you choose.
Most manufacturers websites provide sizing charts for adults and youth sizes and instructions on how to take the measurements. The sizing charts don't always get it right though, and nothing beats being able to try a helmet on. I've found that the salesmen in the bike shops like to fit you into a helmet that squishes your cheeks so hard you look like a kissing fish. Granted, the helmet needs to fig snuggly on the cheeks, and remain snugg after the padding breaks in a little, but don't go so far that it's just outright uncomfortable. In addition to the fit on the cheeks, the top of the head will fit uniquely with each brand of helmet. You may have to try on several brands of similar sizes until you find the one that fits you just right.
For older youth riders, you have to decide between the smaller adult sizes, and the larger youth sizes. The youth sizes are generally a little light, but not because the materials choice is any different. Rather, it's because there is less material used. If you compare a youth and adult helmet of the same brand, you'll find that the adult helmet is wider by about 3/4" due to a thicker cheek pad. Additionally, the helmet will be a little longer in the front, likely to allow for thicker shell padding.
Helmet DOT and Snell Rating, Plus Others
Any helmet that you are considering purchasing should have a DOT rating at a minimum, and I reccoemend a Snell rating also. For adults, your helmet should possess both a DOT and Snell rating, while youth helmets should at least posess a DOT rating. Many youth helmets also meet the requirements of the Snell certification test. For information on the Snell testing standards, reference the correct link for your riding application on the following page:
Keep in mind that a helmet possesing a DOT and Snell rating does not make it any safer than a helmet that only has a DOT rating. The participation in the Snell certification is purely voluntary; therefore, it does not mean that a helmet with only DOT certifications could not meet the Snell testing standards.
Note: The DOT standard describes the testing that must be conducted and met for a helmet to possess a DOT rating, but does not mean that DOT conducted any testing. It is up to manufactures to provide proof that their helmet models were tested.
There are other testing standards worthy of mentioning here too:
Here is a great article that discusses helmet testing and standards. There is lots of good reading here.
Neck Braces and Rolls
Neck protection is as important as a helmet or core protector and often overlooked. Whether a rider is a youth rider or adult rider, riding at home or on a track racing, neck protection is crucial to safety. There are three general types of neck protectors, the simple kneck roll, the restrained neck roll, and the neck brace. The goal of all the neck supports is to reduce the amount of forward and back travel that the head can make during an accident and reduce the affects of whiplash. Additionaly, they reduce the compression that can take place from a force on top of the helmet.
Most neck rolls wrap around the neck and join together in the front under the chin of the rider. Not all of them continued the padding all the way and don't work as well in reducing the forward travel of the head. The one drawback of these rolls is there tendency to rotate around and not stay in place well. Although better than nothing a restrained neck roll like the EVS RC3 race collar is a better option.
Restrained neck rolls are often referred to as a race collar. The EVS RC3 is an excellent choice in race collars and does an extraordinary job at staying in place. Many riders who don't wear a neck brace find the EVS RC3 to be the perfect solution.
Neck braces have been one of the newest pieces of equipment to become previlant with riders. Leatt being the first provider of a rigid structured neck brace has become the common name referenced when talking about neck braces; however, as the usage increased it has become criticized for contributing to collar bone fractures due to concentrated forces applied to the collar bone by the brace during an accident. Leatt was also criticized for the high price, costing as much as 2 to 3 times that of a top quality helmet.
The EVS RC EVO or Evolution is another neck brace that has been introduced and gained a tremendous amount of popularity. The release of the EVS RC Evolution was fanatically anticipated as an affordable solution that looked to be safer than the Leatt. The EVS design is different in many aspects and especially in how the force is distributed across the shoulder area. And the price of the EVS, well, about half the cost of a Leatt.
Alpinestar has released their version called the Bionic Neck Support, but it looks similar to the Leatt design at a much steeper price.
2MV Vest and EVS RC Evolution
There are several brands, and many different models, of goggles that are popular for motocross riders, each having their unique lens, frame, and disposable protective film design. 3 factors should be considered when picking out a pair of goggles:
- Anti-Fog performance
- Availability of replacement lenses, and protective film
It may be a good idea when shopping for goggles, to first look at how available spare lenses and tear-offs or roll-off films are, for each brand and model, in your area. Also, these are good items to have plenty of spares available regardless of the supply at the local gear shop. So when you buy your goggles, consider picking up a tinted lens, extra lens, or tear-offs at the same time.
All goggle manufacturers advertise their goggles anti-fog performance, but not all work equally. Make sure that the design provides plenty of ventilation and note that each brand and model may use a different method for routing air across the lens. A lack of air flow will contribute to condensation. While a coating on the inside of the lens will reduce fogging, don't rely solely on the coating, and neglect adequate air flow.
Keeping a spray bottle of diluted soap and water and a soft cloth, or paper towel is a good idea also. Many times, they just need washed and without the cleaner you can scratch the lens, or tear-off. Yes, tear-offs are meant to be torn off; however, if you're in between motos and the tear off isn't scratched, why not just clean it and save the money for racing.
If you are considering using a film roll-off system, consider whether the google you are considering is compatible with the kits or not. Some kits attach to the standard tear-off post in the lens.
For the smaller riders ( 7 - 14 for example), consider the adult size rather than the youth sizing. Have the young rider try them on with there helmet and see which size they prefer. the adult sizes tend to have a larger viewing area and fit the smaller riders fairly well. It may also be easier to get tear-offs or replacement lenses for the adult sizes.
Updates Coming Soon
Stay tuned for an update that will complete the topics listed above.
More by this Author
What does your kid need to start racing? Here's all the information to help you get started in motocross or arenacross.
How to determine a good bike choice for your young rider. Don't buy a bike now and then learn later that you should have chosen a different model.