January 11, 2011
Benji tests a suit of upper body armour that aims to protect without being prohibitive
From: MMA Sports
Tested: 3 months
Up until racing the Fort William 6hr Endurance Downhill Marathon a few months ago I had never worn body armour like this. I’m not averse to armour but the most that I wear typically is knee pads and a full face helmet. Truth be told, if upper body armour wasn’t compulsory as part of the rules of the Downhill Marathon I wouldn’t have got on the phone to 661’s UK importers, MMA Sports. But it is compulsory.
So come the day of the race I clambered into the Vapor Pressure Suit. I was pleasantly surprised with how unrestrictive it felt. Normally I hate wearing elbow pads as they’re forever slipping down or spinning around, but as part of integrated suit they were much better. Because any armoured sections are part of a whole upper body “stocking” they stayed in place and didn’t have to have their straps overly tight.
When off the bike I was always aware that I was wearing body armour but when I was actually riding I genuinely didn’t notice it. Not even when I crashed (several times) did I notice I was wearing a Pressure Suit. It definitely did the job of protecting me during my tumbles but any impacts where so muted that I didn’t feel them. Yes, I realise that is the whole point but it was noticeable how unnoticeable the armour did its job of protection.
The suit didn’t seem to give me any false (over) confidence but it did prevent me from getting more nervous or hesitant after I did crash. I felt fine getting back on my bike and getting on with it.
Overall: I was surprised by how unrestrictive the Vapor Pressure Suit felt whilst riding. And it did its job of protecting me during my brief but numerous ignoble moments off the bike.