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Body armour for road bikers

Robi45Robi45 Posts: 49

Ok don't laugh...i have a question re torso body armour when cycling on road. The reason is i'm sitting here with a badly fractured shoulder having lost the front end of the bike on a slippery section of cycle path....3 days in hospital, emergency op to get it fixed, 6 weeks in a sling (im on my third week) and then 6 more weeks physio. 4-6 months full recovery/movement.

Ive done my shoulder twice now, so more than a bit of a dent in the confidence and concern if it happens again. I was only doing around 16mph at the time...and not descending at 35mph.

Has anyone got some advice on how to proect the upper body, in particular the shoulders? I thought about soft armour as used in rugby but really don't know if this would work on rather harder tarmac! And some of the mountain biker stuff looks very bulky.


  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Body armour won't do owt for the shoulder / collar bone...
  • dealdeal Posts: 857
    You dont have decend at 35mph if your really concerned, although most people on this forum seem to like boasting about breaking 50mph :)


  • Is that it?

    Ok I'll try elsewhere.....
  • You have to take this piddletaking with a pinch of salt.

    The truth is that you don't have much option with armour. You could try rugby stuff as you suggest, you need the armour for shock absorbtion, so it may work.

    I was hit by a BMW while on my motorbike 5 weeks ago, and even with top of the range hemet and jacket, I was still off work for a month. And I was only doing about 15mph. No matter how much armour you wear, you can still hurt yourself badly.

    Get well soon

    jedster wrote:
    Just off to contemplate my own mortality and inevitable descent into decrepedness.
    FCN 3 or 4 on road depending on clothing
    FCN 8 off road because I'm too old to go racing around.
  • maybe it's your tyre selection? or something you're doing in your riding style? (sorry don't take offence)

    There are lots of qualified cycle trainers right across the country - try the CTC website.

    Sorry can't offer any other help re: body armour - hope your recovery is speedy. :D
  • mrc1mrc1 Posts: 852
    Having had a similar injury after being hit by a car while cyling I am not so sure that armour would really help.

    My rugby armour is 1 cm thick foam which would do nothing to stop an impact severe enough to fracture a bone. The other problem is that in my case I damaged my shoulder by landing on my elbow (not on my shoulder), which transferred the impact along the upper arm and into the shoulder joint. I therefore dont think that padding on my shoulder would have helped at all.

    Obviously your case might be different but having spoken to my physio etc at the time, it seems that a large proportion of shoulder problems happen this way - eg sticking your hands out as an impulsive reaction to break your fall and as the shoulder joint/collar bone area is fairly weak that is what tends to dislocate/fracture etc.

    The best thing to do is rest up, then take it steady and gradually build up your confidence on the bike by putting the miles in. Getting injured is awful but it is one of those things that can happen.

    Le Domestique Tours - Bespoke cycling experiences with unrivalled supported riding, knowledge and expertise.

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  • body armour wont really save you, the hard cups will just transfer the impact over a larger area, you'll probably still be off work and severly bruised, but broken bones are much less likely.

    However you will look like a power-ranger if you get anything that'll actually help.
  • turnerjohnturnerjohn Posts: 1,069
    what about a full motor bike suit ? tho recon your going to get just a little hot !
    Crashing sucks man, all the best with the recovery !
  • Im sorry to say but (from my experience of crashing, falling and general idiocy) armour on a road bike is not gooing to stop bones being broken. The stuff you see down-hillers wearing is more to stop impalement on rocks and branches than blunt trauma. Even motorcycle armour is more about resisting abraision from the tarmac although back protectors do offer some cussioning to the spine - this is a special case.

    Unfortunately no matter how padded your body is, if you bend it the wrong way with enough force bit will break.

    Thats not to say a little bit of padding wont stop you gaining a nice collection of pink patches on your shins and forearms. Padding may also give you a mental advantage so you are less tense on the bike so if you do crash, because of diesel or whatever, you are more likely to roll than take the full impact of the floor comming to meet you.

    Hope recover to good health quickly with no ill efects and are back terrorising the lanes soon enough.
    God made the Earth. The Dutch made The Netherlands

    FCN 11/12 - Ocasional beardy
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    He's a very different suggestion: learn to fall. It might not always work but if you are relaxed when falling and can handle the impact with relaxed muscles rather than being locked-stiff with fear, then your chances of injury are smaller. So try riding on soft grass or in mud and take a tumble or two if it happens, I even know someone who swears his martial arts training helps him learn to fall better when crashing. Sorry if this is pointless but it's meant as genuine advice since there's not much kit out there to help.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    So we are saying that body armour will not stop a potential broken bone but yet we all wear a bit of polystyrene(sp?) to protect our heads?

    I'm just not sure about helmets, I wear one, but when I read comments like the ones above, I can't help but wonder if helmets like body armour provide little real protection and it's all just a big con. started by the helmet companies.

    I'm going to hide now, I don't want to start a helmet debate.
  • the hardened armour plates in DH armour will spread the impact allowing more muscle to take the impact.

    learning to fall is also an excellent suggestion. Try riding your road bike off-road, you'll soon learn.
  • bobpzerobobpzero Posts: 1,431
    i wouldnt bother with any body armour. unless you decide to change from road to mtb. seriously hows the bike? anything specific about the section of the cycle path where you crashed? in my opinion i think you need to be careful on cycle paths because of the amount of hazards on them.
  • chrisw12 wrote:
    So we are saying that body armour will not stop a potential broken bone but yet we all wear a bit of polystyrene(sp?) to protect our heads?

    But the helmet breaks upon impact which causes energy to be dispersed more efficiently. I doubt the body armour is designed to work like that!

    I wouldn't bother with body armour tbh. Can't see how it would protect your bones and if you were to have an accident again then it would mean you'd have to take the armour off! Can't imagine that would be much fun with broken bones!! :?

    Hope you get well and are back on the bike soon :)
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    'But the helmet breaks upon impact which causes energy to be dispersed more efficiently. I doubt the body armour is designed to work like that!'

    So what if someone designs some body armour that is designed to work like that, then gets a few pros to ride and win with the body armour then gets some 'independent' studies to show that brand x body armour saves bones. Then gets the uci to make body armour compulsory then the general public see some people wearing body armour and decide, that's a good idea. 'why are those (other) foolish cyclists not wearing body armour' and before long everyone's wearing the stuff and debating its uses on the net.

    I'm being silly now, that will never happen. :)
  • Thanks for all the advice / replies.

    To Salsarider, ironically I had exactly the same accident on my motorbike as on my road bike (lost the front end on a greasy road/righthander) about 10 years ago at speed but with leathers/body armour just walked away. ~I guess I should learn....but win some lose some, I guess.

    I take heed about cycles paths too - this one is not very well maintained and narrow in places and I may have clipped the the edge where there is less grip. Can I sue...?

    Any advice on tyres also gratefully received. I was running on a Conti UltraSport but I do have Gatorskins for winter which will come out as soon as I get back on the bike!
  • bobpzerobobpzero Posts: 1,431
    edited October 2009
    michelin krylion carbons
  • CraigHCraigH Posts: 321
    HI there,

    I had a bad crash a few years ago and ended up with two skin grafts on my elbow/ arm.
    through the winter, when the roads are gritty and wet i wear a hard shelled mountain bike forearm/elbow guard just in case i come a cropper again.

    it fits under a winter shirt, but i admit its very uncomfortable..
    full body armour would be a nightmare...

    the only tip i have is always wear gloves...( hands get torn up easily)
    and always wear two shirts as the layers can slide against each other..

    Hope you are on the mend ..

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