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To Pad or not to Pad? - Armor and its benefits


Heli ATP

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  • Heli ATP changed the title to To Pad or not to Pad? - Armor and its benefits
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I just watched this and while I like F9 and their videos, presenting this as an "all or nothing" scenario is weird to me.

There are various degrees of injury; hell, there are varying degrees of fractures too. But Ryan presents this weird argument of "bones break at 4kN of force, so if it doesn't reduce force down to 4kN then it's not doing anything".

The testing method for CE is dropping a 5Kg ball on the armor and measuring the force that gets through. The improvement from CE level 1 to 2 is massive, a 50% reduction in force allowed. That is seriously impressive improvement from 18kN to 9kN, and many pads do claim they go beyond this spec (he does mention this).

There are many of injuries I would not want before a fracture is even in the picture, and even if it won't stop a fracture: if it takes a lethal force and reduces it to a major/minor injury, it's still worth the cost.

He also doesn't talk about materials improvement: many CE level 2 armors these days are using a squishy compressible polyurethane that is non-noticeable in a garment. Or they're using a hard composite with a hex/weave structure so it can change form such as D3O's ghost series. Gone are the days of hard, bulky, uncomfortable foam garbage; I've personally upgraded my 3 main jackets to all CE level 2 pads, and it is a major comfort improvement from the stuff my jackets came with. Two of the jackets I don't feel the armor there at all.

It's just such a weird take from F9. Like I'd still rather have 9kN of force hitting me than whatever the starting value was, even if it results in a fracture on impact area, the force reduction is still doing tons of work to the surrounding body parts. You'll only get a fracture on the impact area rather than also sustaining injuries behind and around the impact. Also, a big benefit of force absorption is stopping you from bouncing after the initial hit, which Ryan F9 does not talk about at all.

EDIT: Was trying to think of the fallacy while writing the above post and it just popped into my head: Survivorship bias or survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on entities that passed a selection process while overlooking those that did not. This can lead to incorrect conclusions because of incomplete data.

Sure, you'll still get a fracture or broken bone, but what about all the other injuries that didn't happen because of your armor that aren't showing up in statistics because well... they didn't happen. Like how the US WW2 helmets were so effective at preventing a fatal headshot that we recalled them due to how many hospitals were overwhelmed by head injuries. It took us a while to realize that it means the helmets were working.

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Jay as usual I agree with you

Back in the day protection was a joke the helmets were made out of compressed Cork and shellacked cotton

My first helmet was a full face showy the first they imported into the United States not my helmet but the model

Today that helmet would also be a joke but it was Miles ahead of anything else at the time a pun

I'm not so sure your analogy about us world war II helmets being totally correct because they weren't worth s*** really as far as stopping a bullet they were good for heating up water to shave in and all the other things they did with them like digging holes but today's standard US helmet is obviously a lot better but still you have to weigh protection versus wearability

that included a pun

I wear everything I can and I'm constantly evaluating my personal protection and also have upgraded all my armor a couple of times

Biggest problem is I can't fit into a lot of my good stuff because I've got to lose just a couple pounds 😭

You're right about bouncing cuz you don't do that well once you get older

I'm evaluating getting an electronic vest rather than my ripcord model

It's all a matter of money and whether you have health insurance or better life insurance for your family

 

 

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Off topic, I was impressed that it was a 'single-take' monologue and he arrived at the spot with the back protection at precisely the right moment.  Very well rehearsed.

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3 hours ago, jthayer09 said:

There are many of injuries I would not want before a fracture is even in the picture, and even if it won't stop a fracture: if it takes a lethal force and reduces it to a major/minor injury, it's still worth the cost.

The entire point of the video was that fractures are a quantifiable number and can be used as a solid data point to further elaborate on the lack of/development of "better" protection from the majority of the textile crowd, then goes to suggest said better protection at the end.

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1 hour ago, kilo3 said:

The entire point of the video was that fractures are a quantifiable number and can be used as a solid data point to further elaborate on the lack of/development of "better" protection from the majority of the textile crowd, then goes to suggest said better protection at the end.

Agreed on trying to find a quantifiable number; but, fractures aren't the only injuries worth avoiding while riding. Sliding is a big part of motorcycle accidents, not everything is an impact or crash with another object. He specifically cherry-picked fractures to make a point... a point that is not founded in any basis as I'll elaborate on below.

If you read the source that Ryan cites in the video, he is lying (or misrepresenting at best) about armor effectiveness:

Quote

Motorcyclists wearing motorcycle protective clothing fitted with body armour, were significantly less likely to sustain injuries to the protected areas compared to those wearing non-motorcycle clothing. Specifically, when body armour was fitted, there was a 23% lower risk of injury associated with motorcycle jackets (RR = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.68–0.86), 45% for motorcycle gloves (RR = 55, 95% CI:0.37–0.81), 39% for motorcycle pants for leg injuries only (RR = 0.61, 95% CI: 0.41–0.91 and 45% by motorcycle boots

And in the conclusion section of the paper:

Quote

The most important result relates to the contribution of body armour, which was associated with substantial reductions in the risk of any injury in crashes when other factors such as speed and type of impact were controlled. This is the first evidence of the effectiveness of body armour from crash studies

The paper he cited says "No association between use of body armour and risk of fracture injuries was detected."? Of course, because fractures are a very rare occurrence on their own already, they do not occur enough to be statistically relevant.

Here's the chart from the study if you didn't want to read it. Notice that the whole fractures column on the right has "NS" for not statistically significant due to lack of data; with leg & back fractures just straight up being "NA".

This has to be an April Fool's joke from F9, it's one thing to be wrong... it's another to directly cite a source and make the opposite conclusion.

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So i just got done watching it (Really didn't get time to adsorb it or let it process a little bit) and I don't think that the message that he was trying to tell was how armor is not protective as it could be, or just remove it because its useless..

Let me see if my tired self can convey what I'm thinking here.

The message is that armor is this way because the manufacturers have no reason to make it better. To quote him:
"European Standard stipulates that any Class A able a AAA rated garment must be sold with these impact pads that's something like a leather jacket or a thick denim pant it's actually illegal in a motorcycle shop in Europe to sell a class a garment without these what that means is that Revit Alpine Stars Dai ixen fan they don't have to compete shelf to Shelf with universal Brands like coach or Levis or Patagonia never mind that the pads do nothing to protect our bones they're very effective at protecting a captive market for the motorcycle industry remember it was the gear manufacturers that lobbied for such a low performance threshold to begin with there's actually a term for this when a regulation meant for our Public Safety gets co-opted by an industry to become a convenient barrier to entry for its own competition the term is regulatory capture that is the quiet part"

To summarize, he is showing that armor put into off the rack clothing has not kept up with other technologies as helmets, tires, abs, etc because they don't have to.

Focusing on F9 numbers about the safety of the armor that comes standard I don't think is the focus point, but its needed to show that it should be years better in protection off the shelf.

Edited by Eventhorizon
editing
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I saw it as a bit of a joke, frankly, and he as much says so in the intro.  Poking fun at virtually meaningless numbers when it comes to the standards of materials, how they're marketed, and comparing them to fractures.

Of the 3 fractures I've had, better or proper gear would have helped 2.  One of them - lower tibia fracture due to my big toe being forced outward - had I been wearing better boots, that twist would have likely transfered up to my knee and blown that out instead.

Whatever, I'm still wearing the best gear possible, I don't care what anyone says.  I upgraded to level 2 pads last year.  Pants have knee, hip and tailbone protection.  Jacket has all the usual padding.  Armour is for the slide, to protect against abrasion.  Good MX boots help prevent crush injuries.

I don't think anyone is under the illusion that gear protects against impact or twist, especially when it comes to the pads.

And yeah that single take was pretty rad.

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Wife was an ER nurse for years, and for me the biggest plus for proper gear is against road rash.......wifey says you don't want that, and she saw some nightmare examples of such. Impact resistance is obviously nice, but overall for me it is about protecting my skin, but the helmet is for impact and faceplant situations. Gear is so damn good now, even the bargain stuff is decent and allows good mobility. 

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24 minutes ago, crosshairs said:

I used to enjoy his content, now I get the feeling he is just another arm of the manufacturers  to push whatever gear or parts they  want to promote. 

His content is pushing even more towards “shock” than fact in recent times.
 

I’ve said it before: not sure why everyone takes what he says as gospel just because he presents up things in a slightly condescending and smirky tone. He’s a shill for a company that sells powersports products, making videos to drive viewers to his channel and therefore the company. His content and info aren’t any more reliable than a Revzilla “review” is and his “facts” are his opinion. 

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25 minutes ago, miweber929 said:

His content is pushing even more towards “shock” than fact in recent times.

Enshittification. His non shill videos USED to be just a side project to fill content when it was just the two of them.
I still wonder how much they got for the T7 video from mother yamaha.

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1 hour ago, miweber929 said:

 

His content is pushing even more towards “shock” than fact in recent times.
 

I’ve said it before: not sure why everyone takes what he says as gospel just because he presents up things in a slightly condescending and smirky tone. He’s a shill for a company that sells powersports products, making videos to drive viewers to his channel and therefore the company. His content and info aren’t any more reliable than a Revzilla “review” is and his “facts” are his opinion. 

Yup, their videos used to be spaced further apart so it wasn't quite as apparent or at least more forgivable.

He took a decent amount of crap for his recent video covering parallel twin 270-degree engines, that's filled with "opinions as fact" as you stated. I don't think he's made a public response yet. I believe years ago he also did a video regarding what the best chain lube is best, and his testing methods were very questionable, and he never revisited; he even showed another Youtuber's tests and showed that he got wildly different results... I remember rolling my eyes at that one.

He tries to present scientific data without actually following the scientific method. Like this video in question, citing a source because one line of the study agrees with his opinion without reading the actual study. It's like he started with his opinion first then searched for sources that would agree with his take and wrote a script around it. Starting with the solution and then finding a question that fits, if you will; and it bit him this time.

The cinematography and production on the videos are still wildly top-tier quality, so people including myself will still watch; the single take is phenomenal. But if you take a look around, we're not the only people starting to raise our eyebrows at what Ryan's saying.
 

1 hour ago, kilo3 said:

Enshittification. His non shill videos USED to be just a side project to fill content when it was just the two of them.
I still wonder how much they got for the T7 video from mother yamaha.

Oh man, I bet Helite has Ryan F9 on payroll at this point.

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Yeah, that one-take was EPIC.

 

The core of this video was expressed in this near-throwaway statement at about 1:09:

"Horse girls get body armor certified to that 4KN threshold, so why is our motorcycle stuff two to four times weaker?"

Start at about :52 for context:

 

He makes an excellent point that there could and should be a far better standard (standards for impact and fit, among others), but no one will spend the money to make anything better than the "legally safe" minimum. And that's probably because they believe that very few will buy and wear bulkier, more expensive armor.

His conclusion that the armor we do have is useless is complete nonsense. It helps, a lot. Yeah, it could and should be better.

The expectation that armor can prevent fractures, is also deeply flawed. Armor can prevent or lessen the severity many types of injuries, and it's possible that better armor could prevent more fractures and things like joint damage.

But short of an Iron Man suit made from exotic metals and force fields, pads would not have prevented my three broken femurs and two broken wrists, all of which happened while wearing full armored gear. 

That said, the gear and armor did a fantastic job of keeping everything else intact; my undamaged knees, for example, and my entirely undamaged torso and arms, were a source of near-constant wonder to passing ER personnel. Here in Indiana, land of the black t-shirt and hanky in lieu of helmet, most had never seen an accident where the victim was wearing gear.

So yeah, those accidents were terrible... but they would have been far worse without the armor. And better armor could not have done anything to keep my femur and wrist from snapping.

Anecdotes aren't data, of course, but "preventing all fractures" is not a realistic expectation. "Preventing some fractures and reducing joint damage" is a lot more realistic.

There is somewhat better armor out there -- I have a Klim jacket that came with D30, for example, and I've purchased D30 armor pieces for some other gear. The stuff is legit, and after a vicious off-road biff in my Klim jacket, I directly nailed a good-size rock with my shoulder and came away with an ugly bruise but no fracture and fairly light joint damage. 

Overall, advocating for better armor is a good thing, and pointing out that the standard is way too light and a little silly is also good. But expecting armor to prevent a lot of long bone fractures just isn't realistic.

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6 hours ago, bwringer said:

Yeah, that one-take was EPIC.

 

The core of this video was expressed in this near-throwaway statement at about 1:09:

"Horse girls get body armor certified to that 4KN threshold, so why is our motorcycle stuff two to four times weaker?"

Start at about :52 for context:

But his core statement is also disingenuous - and I think intentionally so, because he's shilling to sell more Helite airbags. The <4kN rating for equestrian gear he mentions is specifically for chest and body protectors; Ryan conveniently doesn't mention that. He's intentionally comparing motorcycle shoulder armor (most amount of force allowed) to equestrian body protector (least amount of force allowed). He also doesn't mention that Equestrian gear is certified under EN13158 which has different testing methods than what motorcycle gear is certified under: EN1621.

If you compare the same body zones to each other, the narrative changes:
Motorcycle: CE EN1621 level 2 (Limbs, Hips, Shoulders): <9 kN
Equestrian: BETA level 3 shoulders (follows CE EN13158 standards) : <25 kN (60J)

If you're curious to EN13158 testing and methods (it's very different than testing motorcycle gear) I'll leave it up the reader to find a PDF online. But here's a table of the forces allowed by EN13158 to back up my number above:
image.png.066e4981711c87d53f4582d9c1be9a0b.png
image.png.b76843a4902b6b7d12468412190d6b41.png


Level 2 motorcycle shoulder armor is objectively better than equestrian shoulder armor, huh. What gives Ryan?

Equestrian gear is designed bulky and thick because it's supposed to be worn as outerwear over top of your clothing. If he compared external motorcycle armor worn over clothing instead of pad inserts, I would put money that it tests similarly - if not better - to equestrian gear. Ryan briefly shows us an example of a back protector that exceeds the standard but of course doesn't test it or provide us with a technical data sheet.

Of course, the solution to this "problem" that he poses is to toss your pads and buy the Helite airbag that F9 sells.

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