Body armor and pads
Body armor and pads, often referred to simply as armor, protect limbs and trunk in the event of a crash. While initially made for and marketed at downhillers, freeriders and jump/street riders, body armor has trickled into other areas of mountain biking as trails have become faster and more technical. Armor ranges from simple neoprene sleeves for knees and elbows to complex, articulated combinations of hard plastic shells and padding that cover a whole limb or the entire body. Some companies market body armor jackets and even full body suits designed to provide greater protection through greater coverage of the body and more secure pad retention. Most upper body protectors also include a spine protector that comprises plastic or metal reinforced plastic plates, over foam padding, which are joined together so that they articulate and move with the back. Some mountain bikers also use BMX style body armor, such as chest plates, abdomen protectors, and spine plates. New technology has seen an influx of integrated neck protectors that fit securely with full face helmets. There is a general correlation between increased protection and increased weight/decreased mobility, although different styles balance these factors differently. Different levels of protection are deemed necessary/desirable by different riders in different circumstances. Backpack hydration systems such asCamelbakswhere a water filled bladder is held close to the spine used by some riders for their perceived protective value. However, there is only anecdotal evidence of protection and with the exception of one specific product by the company Deuter, they are never sold as spine protection.