The style of ones riding gear is traditionally related to the type of motorbike being ridden. Full leathers and “power ranger” gear is mostly seen on sport bike riders professionally and so it’s not unusual to see them on recreational riders, unless they’re a squid, in which case a wife-beater (optional), long denim shorts, sneakers without socks and a helmet locked their the side of their bike is the Stupide de Jour.
Cruiser riders will normally be seen with bluejeans and perhaps a t-shirt… maybe a vest, sunshades and perhaps a bandanna if they need that extra bit of protection. A REAL safe cruiser will slap a brain bucket on their head and then get pointed and laughed at by their friends (I assume).
Scooterists are often portrayed in Mod gear (bombers, parkas,etc) or just in their individual style; MUCH of which offer little or no protection should the rider find themselves dancing the pavement polka. That’s where Armadillo comes in. Stylish, understated, innovative protection that could save you some skin if you find yourself doing a little blacktop breakdancing.
Armadillo is being distributed by Benchmark Helmets (the same people who were kind enough to bring Momo helmets to us jealous Americans). Check out their website (title link) to see the entire Armadillo line up. The “stylish”part is pretty self explanatory. By “understated”, I mean it’s not covered in logos and patches. It’s not big and bulky. It’s not even stiff and uncomfortable. What you see me in is a hoody that felt just like a hoody should. I wouldn’t recommend it for a kneedrager, but a little 35 mph bigstreet bop should be pretty well covered by the armor… and that’s where the “innovative” part comes in.
Aramadillo is one of the first manufacturers to offer d3o armor. What’s neat about d3o is that it allows you to retain freedom of movement while offering shock absorption through the “first ever intelligent shock absorbing material”. What they mean is when you’re just moving around the armor feels soft and spongy, but when you get the sandy road smackdown the “intelligent molecules” inside lock together, spreading the force over the whole pad. I’m no chemist, or physicist and I don’t play one on TV, so if you want more on the magic of d3o, you should hop on over to www.d3o.com.
I think this hoody would make a great Fall or Winter jacket for riders in the south. It has good wind and water protection and can be worn from the scooter to the pub… Ok, I’m making assumptions here. The armored hoody is NOT meant to offer the same level of protection you might get from a stiff, armored riding jacket, but if you’d rather have stylish, understated and innovative then you might want to try one out.
Another great feature with this particular piece is that it’s so flexible you can roll it into a little ball and stuff it into your helmet to stow under your seat. Let’s see you do THAT with your heavy armored jacket. What’s that? You ride a Majesty… oh… never mind. I’m talking to YOU then… tiny scooter rider. This baby packs small!
I took a few more photos of the hoody, the armor and some of the features of this baby. Thanks to Benchmark Helmets for sending us out a sample! If you go back and watch some of my California scooter reviews (Morphous, C3) you can see what it looks like in motion. Cheers!
Here’s another review of some Armadillo gear, their scooter parka.