Friday, 12 September 2014

Accessorize This! Trying Out D3O Impact Protectors

Fashion and I have an uncomfortable relationship; actually, we barely even speak at the best of times. My greatest concern when it comes to clothing comes down to the simple question of "how will this perform and feel under my motorcycle gear?". Therefore, my wardrobe is a mix of functional layers of various brands where black is the predominant colour. Yet something changed recently and I have had this strange need to partake in what is referred to as 'accessorizing', now I am not going to go too crazy here with the bling, but I decided to take the plunge and mod my gear with some D3O armour. I had heard about these new impact protectors some time ago, essentially it is motorcycle armour that is flexible but when impacted it firms up and absorbs the impact, performing just like any other CE 1 and 2 category motorcycle armour. My reason for upgrading is just to add a bit of flexibility and comfort to my motorcycling, both on and off the bike, maybe I am getting soft in my old age but those are the main reasons. For more about how D3O works you can pop over to the official website and read here.
After a bit of Googling, reading of reviews and the usual bit of care taken before investing my very limited funds I popped onto GetGeared and ordered a set of armour. All the armour seems to be of standard sizing, it is just the back protector you need to choose a size, in my case, the suggested armour size for my size jacket was accurate and it fits perfectly. After placing the order I had the box full of goodies to be slipped into my gear 3 days later. At the bottom of this are pictures of the new D3O armour (orange) and how they compare to their equivalent 'standard' motorcycle armour (black).
My kind of bling
As is apparent from the pictures below all this armour is shaped for the locations they are supposed to be protecting, and all of it slipped easily into the pockets in my existing gear. To the touch, the D3O armour is soft, bendy and lighter than what it was replacing. Once fitted in the gear the only armour that was noticeable was the back protector, but even that was much more comfortable and easier to live with. I then slipped some into my Bull-it Jeans to see how they would look and feel, again the armour was much less noticeable and the jeans felt as close as a fashion jean as you are going to get. Overall, I was very impressed, but obviously needed to take out onto the road.
The Full Set
This is when the D3O came into its own because you forgot it was there. Again, there is no getting away from the back protector, but the D3O made movement on the motorcycle much easier and fluid. The rest of the armour was unobtrusive and you could easily forget it was even there. I have ridden for 17 years now with ATGATT and have grown accustomed to the relatively stiff and bulky feeling that comes from wearing motorcycle armour. However, this relatively simple modification to my gear has made a significant improvement in my motorcycling enjoyment because it has made the experience a nudge more comfortable. Anything that makes your life in the saddle that bit better is a farkle worth making, at the end of the day the best mods are those that keep the rider in their 'comfort zone', the stuff that helps us focus on the ride. Or to use Dave Preston's mantra; When the helmet drops, the bullshit stops. To that end, I am happy to recommend this gear. That said I do hope never to fully test it!

Peace and keep the rubber side down.
Back Protector
Shoulder Protector
Elbow Protector
Hip Protector
Knee Protector