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Should Bike Racers Wear Body Armor?

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Should Bike Racers Wear Body Armor?

Old 05-16-15, 11:11 AM
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jyl
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Should Bike Racers Wear Body Armor?

In many sports where athletes regularly endure violent crashes and significant injury, they wear protective body armor. Motocross, BMX, downhill mountain biking, MotoGP, NFL football, NHL hockey, maybe more I'm not thinking of right now.

A sport where skinny men are routinely hurled in the air and buried under a pile of bodies and bikes at 45 mph would seem to qualify. They break their collarbones, injure their elbows and knees, lose teeth and lacerate their faces, leave big swathes of skin on the road.

Are there types of body armor that professional road race cyclists could wear, maybe not on every stage but on particularly dangerous ones, or perhaps could don and doff like they do with rain capes? Knee and elbow pads, maybe?

There are road race helmets, aero helmets, and time trial helmets. How about sprint finish full face helmets?

Or improve the abrasion resistance of cycling shorts and jerseys at strategic places, the hips and buttocks and shoulders, where riders usually get big swaths of road rash? Patches of kevlar, maybe backed with impact absorbing pads.

Last edited by jyl; 05-16-15 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 05-16-15, 11:37 AM
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The sports you mention aren't apples-to-apples comparisons. The instance of contact is higher in hockey or football. The speeds are waaaay higher in motor sports. BMX and downhilling and NFL are short-burst events where the weight of body armour isn't a significant penalty (and I could get into why NFL body armour is a safety negative, but won't right now).

Rugby players don't wear body armour because even though they have to collide with each other violently on a regular basis, they have to do it while constantly running for 80 minutes (usually 40-50 mins of ball-in-play time). Cyclists have nothing like that level of contact, and are cycling for a lot longer before they get to that sprint finish.

Besides which, body armour would not prevent shoulder dislocations like Contador's or broken arms like Colli, which happen when a joint or limb gets bent in ways it's not supposed to. The most you can realistically hope for is to limit the road rash. Helmets are a different story because they go on top of the head and they protect the brain, but to cover the whole body is logistically unrealistic until someone can develop breathable, lightweight, aerodynamic, padded clothing.
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Old 05-16-15, 11:53 AM
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^^Yup.

The high speed crashes tend to be less injurious in severity than low speed ones most of the time when out on the open road. You go down at 30-45 MPH you bleed off your momentum sliding across the road, getting some road rash....you go down at 10MPH you bleed off your momentum by breaking bones falling into the road namely your collarbone and wrists. And the road rash due to sliding tends to be in areas that you couldn't armor anyway. And you can't wear wrist braces and still shift a bicycle (I suppose maybe with Di2 you might be able to now...).

Also cyclists are out riding on days where even next-to-naked they risk heat stroke for 4-8 hours (Stage 7 of Giro this year was 7'30" of pedalling). American football players with all their body armor-spend at most 10 seconds running around, followed by a 1-5 minutes of standing around, and spend hours in front of cooling fans on the sidelines.
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Old 05-16-15, 12:05 PM
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Maybe Amateurs , since they have to be able to go to work again Monday to keep their Job.

The Pros , thats just what happens in racing , which Is Their Job.
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Old 05-16-15, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Maybe Amateurs , since they have to be able to go to work again Monday to keep their Job.

The Pros , thats just what happens in racing , which Is Their Job.
Not even amateurs. You could break your leg in a bike race, or break it falling off a bar stool. I broke my right hand playing rugby, and went into work and picked up a drill with my left and got on with it. Rule #5 does not elapse when you get off the bike.
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Old 05-18-15, 12:50 PM
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Yea, I can really see spending a fortune to trim grams from the bike only to put on several pounds of body armor.
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Old 05-18-15, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
Yea, I can really see spending a fortune to trim grams from the bike only to put on several pounds of body armor.
They've been adding weight to bikes for years now. Gonna keep on doing that 'til the low weight limit is abolished. I dunno if it should be, though.
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Old 05-18-15, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
They've been adding weight to bikes for years now. Gonna keep on doing that 'til the low weight limit is abolished. I dunno if it should be, though.
You want to let them trim bike weight if they add body armour? "I swear I'll keep the 200g of shoulder and knee pads on if you let me use the carbon bars and stem." I can't see that working out, tbh.
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Old 05-18-15, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
You want to let them trim bike weight if they add body armour? "I swear I'll keep the 200g of shoulder and knee pads on if you let me use the carbon bars and stem." I can't see that working out, tbh.
Nope. I think more armor would just make the races more crashy.
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Old 05-18-15, 02:09 PM
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Don't even need the Bikes.. Roller Derby !!! Roller derby - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 05-18-15, 02:18 PM
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i suppose when not having it impacts the bottom line, the UCI will take action. but it's hard to make a convincing argument that some sort of body protection won't prevent injuries.
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