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Body Armour
Crashing isn't an essential part of riding, you may go out tens of times wearing body armour without an incident but the time you do come off you'll be glad you were wearing it. Body armour is a sensible precaution if you are pushing the limits of your riding. Body armour is designed for different kinds of riding and comes in a variety of hard-shell and soft options.

Knees & Elbows

Knee and shin guards are the easiest to wear and everyone from XC riders to downhill riders can benefit. These are particularly useful if you are riding flat pedals as a pedal to the shinbone can really hurt and do some damage. Shin and knee guards are available as one item or separately in either a hard plastic shell for ultimate protection or thick neoprene.

Elbows are another vulnerable area as are fore arms if you do come off. As with kneepads neoprene or hard shell versions are available.

All Day Comfort

Even the most innocuous of falls on a cross-country ride can result in cuts or bruises, particularly if the terrain is rocky. Whilst you certainly don't want to ride all day in full armour light weight neoprene pads for elbows and knees or light weight plastic and mesh guards are now becoming acceptable for longer trail rides. Make sure the fit is spot on as anything tight will be restrictive and too loose and it will slip as you pedal.

Pressure Suits

Pressure suits are worn primarily for down hill riding, they feature a chest plate, shoulder guards and spine protector in a mesh suit with a broad Velcro band around your hips to hold it in place. This is the ultimate in protection but can feel hot and cumbersome so aren't suitable for trail riding.

Wrists & Ankles

If you are riding BMX or dirt jump your ankles are particularly vulnerable. Neoprene ankle supports can help stabilise the ankle from rolling over and protect from knocks.

Wrists can also benefit from extra support, bending your wrist back is a common way of sustaining injury in a crash. Lightweight neoprene wrist supports can help lessen the chance of this happening.

This Buying Guide gives our customers general advice on Body Armour. It is a guide only and we always recommend visiting one of our stores or contacting one of the experts in our sales team on +44(0)1293 574 905 if in doubt about your needs.
This story was last updated on 16/01/2012