Saturday, October 06, 2012

Safety Farkle - D3O Armor Pads

Farkle: Functional Sparkle, the nickname given to all sorts of usually shiny aftermarket parts/gadgets/add-ons to one's motorcycle in order to mold it into the image of one's ideal motorcycle.

Today, I was at a local motorcycle accessories store to pick up a Heidenau K37 Tire for Valencia, my 2011 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig.  This was the tire to replace the one I'd gotten a puncture in and which had been acting as my spare tire.

I now have new semi-aggressive knobby type tires all around and as a spare.  Bring on the snow!  Despite the teaser reports on the news shows however, no snow to speak of.  A few snowflakes here and there, some small ice particles but nothing that stuck or hung around for long.  Very disappointing, it ended up being just a gray and overcast kind of day.  Perfect for hanging about the motorcycle accessories store!

As I wandered about the store, while waiting for them to mount the new tire onto my spare wheel (only $20 to do this), I stumbled upon what I am calling safety farkle.

It's not shiny though it is bright orange.  The store was selling D3O Motorcycle Armor pads!  I'd first written about them back in September of 2007, now five years later, they were there right in front of me.  Bluekat about written about the D3O kneepads she'd gotten online, and I had briefly thought about buying the armor online but I wanted to look at it firsthand.

I picked up a pair of shoulder pads to supplement the armor that came with my Motoport Riding Jacket, perhaps next time I have a lowside at over 40mph and my shoulder is the first impact point, the D3O armor will prevent further separation of my AC Joint!

On the top, are the shoulder pads, the hip pads are below them.

The D3O shoulder pads went in just fine over the existing motoport armor pads.  No drama there.

However, the original plan for the hip pads had been to replace the rather wimpy pads Motoport had installed in my riding pants.  I'd never had much faith in the thin armor pad provided.  But, as I was to find out, there's a reason they're so thin.  Once I had the hip pads in place, the pants were much too tight around the lower hip area and I could not sit comfortably on the motorcycle.

So I ended up cutting the hip pads in half, using one half to bolster the exiting hip pad, locating the D30 armor more towards the rear to cover more of my hip, outer buttock area.  The remaining hip pad, I split in half and sewed it into place using lots of Kevlar thread to provide protection for my Coccyx or tailbone:

The new tailbone armor
You can see the semi-circular pockets to each side containing just the 
thin motoport hip pad armor on the half furthers away from the orange tailbone pads
and the half closest to the orange pads containing half of the other D3O hip pad on each side.

 So the search is over for me, the extra and more modern armor pads give me much more confidence in being protected if and when I ever have another accident.  


RichardM said...

So no jumping off of the bike to the pavement to test their effectiveness, eh?

redlegsrides said...


funny guy.

actually, the salesguy at the store had a small ball of the stuff....had me throw it as hard as I could against their wood floor.

the ball hit with a loud impact, I saw a third of it flatten but the rest remained round as it rolled away....actually pretty impressive.

RichardM said...

Do you remove the old padding and use the new ones in their place or do you add it to what's already there. I've heard that due to their properties, the padding could be thinner than regular foam padding for the same protection.

redlegsrides said...

Richard, for the shoulder pads, I put them on top of the existing pads. The d3o is about the same thickness as the original armor, but smaller. So I used the old pads as anchor points for the d3o pads.

Bluekat said...

So far I still like the knee pads. Much better for my knees. I've considered some for my jacket as well, though the regular padding isn't too bad. My shoulder pads don't stay on my shoulders very well though. Perhaps adding extra pads like you did would anchor them better. Might have to give that a try.