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Just starting out - safety gear recs?


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Hi all just about to learn how to ride on my nearly new 16x...I'm going to start off on the local college's nice soft field turf, but I want to order gear today in the unlikely event that I can actually get the hang of this madness. Are there big differences between pads? Any recs?

Especially with helmets, I'm a person that has a hard time with that restricted perspective feeling. Like I dropped out of football before 10th grade not because I wasn't good, not because I didn't like getting hit... just because I felt like I couldn't really have fun from inside a gd pumpkin. Even baseball which I stuck with through college I always had a problem with batting helmets. Any "safe while minimally restrictive" recs?

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Head: You could start with a half helm, but eventually a DH MTB helmet. It would offer a lot of holes so you wont feel claustrophobic. Ideally though, a moto helmet if you want to go fast and protect your noggin, but you will feel restricted. 

Elbows: Fox titan pro elbow guards are solid. 3 straps plus a sleeve means it won't slide around.

Knee guards: leatt dual axis. Easy on and off via clips after setting proper length with the velcro. 

Hands: Any wrist guard will work. Depends on your budget. Best and most solid is Demon Flexmeters, but they may clash with the Fox titan elbow guards because it's a long splint going up the wrist. Hillbillies are also to consider. 

 

 

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Learner gear load out must include a set of $10 soccer ankle/shin guards! Sometime during the first few weeks you will bash your shin with the pedals, if you don't get bashed you should have bought powerball instead. Seriously! You only need them until you "can" ride (meaning: you don't so much bail or fall off, you stop and get off on purpose), then they go into the bag destined for play-it-again-sports.

Helmet should never be skimped on. At least get a quality skater helmet to start. When you get going faster than you can run, it's time to seriously consider full face. Buy now and learn to ride in full face, or buy later because there will come a time when you go down face first.

Oddly, on pavement I don't wear my Flexmeters much anymore and prefer guards with a huge palm slider over the wrist breakage protection. "At speed", I want to be able to slide out the crash, and chances are the crash will be pitching me forward rather than to the side or back. Off-road is different though, those crashes are very unpredictable and going over sideways or backwards is as likely as forward so flexmeters is the choice while off-roading. When you're learning, you might as well be off-road, you'll crash for no reason and want max protection. So, I'd splurge on flexmeters, especially if you have your eyes on the trails (and with a 16X, you have an off-road capable wheel).

Dual-axis knees are universal, they just work. Don't mess with anything else... you can use skater gear while you wait for the Leatts to arrive.

I don't wear separate elbow/shoulder stuff because I prefer the all-in-one on/off simplicity of a moto jacket, but the reason folks like elbows like the Fox Titans is that they extend down your forearm. This is as much road rash reduction as anything, and I'm sure you already know: road rash sucks.

Scary and dangerous sounding huh! Maybe this isn't a good idea???

I started at 62, far too old to rehab. Things break easily and when they do, they stay broke. Riding is an inherently dangerous activity, you will fall down. But quality gear can and does reduce the severity of the fall... it's no guarantee, but so far it (with healthy doses of prudence and respect) has kept me injury free.

Edited by Tawpie
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I personally learned without any gear..

As you are learning, you will not be riding around. Mostly trying to mount the damn thing. :D When you start riding, then you should gear up for sure.

Some people ride completely without any gear - but those are very rare.. And they ride slower/smaller wheels.

Full face helmet is a must at higher speeds. Same for wrist/knee/elbow guards. Some people get even more gear.. Best gear is the gear that you will use!

 

I personally never leave home without wrist guards, even when i got for slow ride. When i go ~22-25mph i wear full face helmet, wrist/knee guards. Under 15mph i only wear wrist guards. As i don't need to hurry anywhere. Simply enjoying slow ride.

 

 

Edited by Funky
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Oh. Learning to ride on soft stuff, especially a padded turf surface, is easier on the wheel but makes it much more difficult on the learner. Wrap your wheel in yoga mats, amazon boxes and duct tape, skip the 'soft surface' and learn on the pavement!

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5 minutes ago, Tawpie said:

Oh. Learning to ride on soft stuff, especially a padded turf surface, is easier on the wheel but makes it much more difficult on the learner. Wrap your wheel in yoga mats, amazon boxes and duct tape, skip the 'soft surface' and learn on the pavement!

I learned riding on bumpy grass/dirt road. Yes it's "harder" on learner. But after that going on asphalt was so awesome!!! It felt like i was gliding. :D It felt so easy, effortless to ride.

Big -YES for wrapping the wheel. As it protect it from slow speed side drops. I used white shower-mat simply put it around wheel and duct taped it around. It looked like big white bag. :D Doh worked very well as protection for the first week, while i was riding my new wheel.

Edited by Funky
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I learned to ride on turf until I overcame the sheer terror. If you aren't terrified of crashing as I was, I would skip it. It's much harder to ride on, even if maintained well - there are always hidden holes that you can't see, anticipate or control. If you do ride in grass, be sure to lower your psi by 10 or more to 25-35psi.

I experienced my first faceplant in grass with a clamshell. I hit my face and jaw and landed flat as a plank but was able to walk away without injury - just sore as hell. Although I waited a year until switching to a fullface helmet, I would not ride on pavement without it nowadays, given that wheels are now 10-40mph faster than when I first started over 6 years ago. The Bell Super helmets (3R, Air and DH) are great, have MIPS, and all are convertible to fullface so you can add the chinguard before switching to hardball.

As for other gear, good wristguards are essential. As @Waulnut mentioned, I also would buy the Demon Dual-sided D3O flexmeters immediately. You will buy them eventually anyway. ;) In my experience, kneeguards are not as important though necessary. Here you can get by with the inexpensive skateboard variety so long as they are very snug and don't slide in a crash. Otherwise, the Leatt Dual-Axis are the gold standard and very popular, especially for wearing over pants. I also encourage you to wear elbow guards. There are plenty to choose from, just ensure they are very snug and don't slide. Wear them on bare skin, or wear a jacket or other garment that has them integrated as @Tawpie and I sometimes do. D3O padding is recommended.

Finally, I think new riders waste too much time padding their wheel. Just skip it, or use the roll of foam that probably came with the wheel on the edges. You are going to crash, drop and bang up your first wheel, period. Focus on learning, having fun and protecting yourself. Being concerned about breaking your wheel will hinder all of that.

 

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Awesome replies folks thank you. Especially advice on not learning on soft surface. No need to make this harder than it needs to be, since I will already be testing my wife's fairly well developed theory that I am in fact incapable of learning. I contend that that only applies to putting things away, not racing around like a moron who looks like he's trying to kill myself. We'll see who's right.

I'll order up the dual-axis knees. The awesome fellow that sold me this beautiful 16-X (600mi!! and looks minty) also tossed in a couple of really nice high-visibility motorcycle jackets with built-in pads...seems like that would very often be too hot though? Do people like these?

currently the wheel has powerpads on it, I guess I should take those off for learning? Or let them be the protection?

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, litewave said:

I learned to ride on turf until I overcame the sheer terror. If you aren't terrified of crashing as I was, I would skip it. It's much harder to ride on, even if maintained well - there are always hidden holes that you can't see, anticipate or control. If you do ride in grass, be sure to lower your psi by 10 or more to 25-35psi.

Well by field turf I mean artificial "grass" surface...I think it's very uniform but soft, probably about like a padded berber carpet or something.  Seems pretty much in agreement here though that it's a bad idea. I can see that. The thing is going to kind of sink when I put my weight on it. I can see how that would interfere with the subtleties of balance. 

There's also a rubberized running track around it...maybe that would be good?

Edited by Bupalos
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5 minutes ago, Bupalos said:

Well by field turf I mean artificial "grass" surface...I think it's very uniform but soft, probably about like a padded berber carpet or something.  Seems pretty much in agreement here though that it's a bad idea.

There's also a rubberized track around it...maybe that would be good?

They both should be more uniform and smooth than a regular grass field. I would still recommend lowering your psi by 5-10 below recommended pressure, but not too much. Iirc correctly the rubber tracks have an abrasive surface so be careful to protect any exposed skin.

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A rubber running track would be ok for just starting the first few days but a large open parking lot where you can roam without worry of hitting things is much better. Good luck, you picked a really fun and very addicting hobby!

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40 minutes ago, Bupalos said:

tossed in a couple of really nice high-visibility motorcycle jackets with built-in pads...seems like that would very often be too hot though? Do people like these?

Hot? Think "sous vide, in your own juices"!

Yeah, during the summer they're quite warm. When you're learning, the jackets will be impossible—the first couple-five days are an actual real workout. Fortunately you don't have to worry about road rash as much, and helmet, knee, shin and wrist (elbow too perhaps) are adequate. Over t-shirt and shorts at the risk of some road rash (unlikely until you get moving though).

But after that, when you're riding you have the benefit of self-generated breeze and that really helps cool you off. I have a 'summer' kit and 'rest of the year' outfit... summer is a mesh moto jacket with no liner and riding jeans if it's below 90, very light nylon hiking pants if its above 90. Winter adds the water/wind proof liner inside the jacket (it's thermal too) with moto pants. My pants have removable thermal and wind/rain liners, when I'm out a 0F both are installed. Otherwise it's a normal a layering operation. I also have a Lazyroling armored hoodie I won in a drawing that I wear when it's warmish and super unlikely I'll suffer a sliding fall (picking up trash in the 'hood on the MTen)—it'll be protective but is a once-and-done garment. I wouldn't spend my money on another.

If the jackets don't fit snugly, they're no good to you. They must be snug enough to keep the pads where they belong after first impact!

Edited by Tawpie
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Meh jackets.. Only time i wear jacket is in fall/winter. Otherwise good old T-shirt does the job. :D (I hate anything "snug")

Defensive riding is the best gear you will ever use. Don't be a daredevil. Think about everything you are doing. (Hmm that curb seems high, should i jump it or stop and lift my wheel off.. I'm riding behind parked car line - one car could back out any moment. Blind corner - should i be riding 20+kph speed? Examples are many...)

Simply drive safe and don't fall... How hard is that? Watch the road and what's happening around you. Think what you are doing - you got brain. (Okey some got less.:D) Slow down to running speeds at corners. Walking speed at "blind" corners. Don't simply gaze around and you will not crash. Ride slower on "unknown" roads. Over time riding same roads, you will remember all the bumps and be ready for them. (I already know "most" bumps where i go 35-40kph speeds.)

Only time i have fallen, where when i was riding loose sand going 15-20kph. And i knew i would fall that day, because doh.. I was riding loose sand. :D Wanted to test the wheel on dirt roads, going true forest paths that day. I don't see how i could fall while riding on smooth asphalt. Only when wheel stops working. (Yes when, not if.)

Ofc if you live in very busy city, then i could see someone hitting or nudging you, while going past people/cars. Lucky i live in ghost town and don't ride with cars. (We don't even have stop lights in our city. And most paths are empty - no people almost.)

Edited by Funky
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Safety gear? What?

You don't want those "lesson's learned" experiences of scraping your palms on pavement, hard impacts on cement with your knees, spine crushing falls on your back?

Today's kids want it soooo easy. :)

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10 minutes ago, Circuitmage said:

Safety gear? What?

You don't want those "lesson's learned" experiences of scraping your palms on pavement, hard impacts on cement with your knees, spine crushing falls on your back?

Today's kids want it soooo easy. :)

Yeah duck the gear. Even my 60yo is riding without any, he ain't pussy and he eats the ground time to time. But after each crash he just hops back on and continues ride. :w00t2:

 

 

True story btw.. (Ducking the gear - was the joke.)

Edited by Funky
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In a car I'm a really defensive driver (kind of get made fun of for it) and I think that's just a personality thing, so probably that will transfer. I'm still probably just about never go without wrist pads, I've broken my wrist at basketball before and I know it takes practically nothing for those little bones in there, and that dumb human "gotta catch myself" reflex.

What do we think about these powerpads on here? take them off for learning? Leave them on to protect the wheel? doesn't matter?

BTW pretty cool the international flavor on this board! I'm hoping to visit the Subcarpathian range in southern Poland and go up through the Baltics next year. My wife has ethnic ties and I have more academic and cultural interests there. I've wanted to go to Riga and Tallin forever. Also want to travel that countryside.

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I would learn without the pads. (They will get in the way when "hopping" on/off the wheel as you still learn.) May even make you crash as your leg gets stuck. Also nothing in the way when "crash" hopping off.

Edited by Funky
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OK I'm heading out. I assumed it went without saying that it helps to have a gin and tonic first, so I did do that, thanks for that advice and accepting liability there.

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I too would advocate for learning on a soft surface; especially if it were flat and uniform like a turf field. The wheel is going to go down and your pedals are going to get scratched. Mind you they and several other parts of the wheel will more than likely sustain a scratch sooner or later depending on how you ride but if you're still learning then be prepared for some kind of aesthetic damage if you start off on pavement; if that's something you care about.

Also, be patient. The hardest part for me was just learning to stand upright on it. Once you can, the next hardest was to trust the wheel to catch me when leaning far more into it than I felt was comfortable at the time. Riding these things is all about micro-shifts in your center of gravity. Everyone learns at a different rate and it will likely take you at least an hour just to get going 20 feet but just keep with it and you will get it.

Good luck and enjoy!

Edited by Spaghetteh
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58 minutes ago, MetricUSA said:

Just buy everything.... 

Health insurance also could help. Also leaving will/statement in order - you know, "just" in case. Wink, wink.

One needs to cover all their basics.

 

I'm for buying all knight armor. Yeah it cost 500-1500$, Yeah you will gain weight. But you will be built like tank - literally. No car will ding you.. You will be the dinger of everybody.

Edited by Funky
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Strange, when I'm on my bicycle, I average 20 or so mph for hours (w/50+ mph on some descents), and I wear a lightweight bicycle helmet and spandex. 

But on my euc, it's atv armor and wrist guards (definitely a game changer when fallng on your hands). Still a bicycle helmet up top, but one with more coverage. 

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2 hours ago, Racer13X said:

Strange, when I'm on my bicycle, I average 20 or so mph for hours (w/50+ mph on some descents), and I wear a lightweight bicycle helmet and spandex. 

But on my euc, it's atv armor and wrist guards (definitely a game changer when fallng on your hands). Still a bicycle helmet up top, but one with more coverage. 

Odd pastime this wheel riding.

Maybe it was a mistake to read the OneWheel wrecks group on Facebook. And it's a good thing they don't have one for bike wrecks.

Terrain does matter, as does rider skill and confidence—that's why gear is a very personal decision. I found it amusing to watch the EUC Bros videos—same seriously gnarly terrain and some riders look like robocop. Then there's shibby_time.

Still, I've fallen... and I can still get up!

Edited by Tawpie
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