O’Neal new lightweight protection lineup includes the Redeema Knee and Elbow guards and a lightweight STV Short Sleeve Protector shirt. These products were designed having in mind the convenience and comfort of the wearer as well as his protection. Let’s see if they manage to do both.
Redeema Knee and Elbow guards took to my heart from the first touch. They fit very well, they are pretty light (elbows at 168 grams / piece for L size, knees at 249 grams / piece for XL size) and yet the area of the protection pad seemed very big for the weight. Moreover, the protectors have a slim design, not like some other bulky offerings, which helps a lot if you like to ride in long sleeved jerseys or pants. The material material os the sock that encircles you arm or leg is not a standard sock type of cloth, but has a honeycomb structure. This has two advantages – the gourds are more breathable, and the material from which the honeycomb is done is rubbery which give a little bit of extra protection for the places not covered by armor. Both of the guards have interchangeable joint protectors which is helpful for washing machine use. The knee guards have additional famy patches here and there to cover more of the knee area. Moreover, the knee guards have zippers sawn in, so they can be taken on and of without the need to remove ones shoes. Great feature, which sometimes can be a little uncomfortable – when the zipper is not shielded the right way and cause scratches etc. on the legs. Fortunately in these guards the zipper is more than enough covered and does not provide any incovenience whatsoever.
When it comes to picking up the right size, once gain the sizing tables from O’Neal were just great to help with choosing the sizing option. And as the talk of the sizes came up – there are four of them: S, M, L, XL so almost everybody should get the right fit. If not, the both of the guards are equipped with one Velcro straps to fine tune the fit. The price is set at 59 Euro for the elbows and 89 Euro for the knees.
From the first view you can see that STV Short Sleeve Protector shirt is a product designed to be used either with a backpack or for a very light kind of riding. This is caused by the back protector which consists only of foam. It offers basic protection in case of a crash but it is not designed to withstand some of the blows from rocks and other hard stuff found on more demanding trails. The same goes for the chest protector: it’s made of foam as well. One more thing about the protector: even if its pretty delicate it covers almost all of your back. The shoulder protection on the other hand is done with the help of certified IPX protectors which meet demands of the CE certifications. These two facts cause me to emphasize my earlier opinion about wearing this protector while riding with backpack if you riding on very demending trails. With a weight of 505 grams for the XL size this shirt is probably the lightest of any armor that is currently available on the market. Thanks to the weight and design, the shirt is very comfortable and one forgets almost immediately that he is wearing a shirt protector at all.
Of course if you ride without a backpack and want more protection O’Neal has the BP Protection Sleeve model. It has a certified back protector, the same shoulder protectors and a place for a certified chest protector as well.
From the first time I put hte protectors on I was amazed how stealth they feel on me. From most of my life I was riding in bulky, plastic shelled protectors, lately I changed to some more up to date things which were nicer and more comfortable but still the level of comfort that the Redeema guards offer is a winner. And beeing very comfortable does not compromise their protecting abilities because, as I allready mentioned, they cover a lot of body area. When riding in long sleeved jerseys and pants (hooray for wintertime) I was very happy that none of the usual problems like pressures from pants or sliding due to friction between clothes and protectors occured. As I’ve been ridding mostly in long clothes I had a nice possibility to test how warm these things can really be: pants and long sleeves = not much wind going into the protector’s vents. I sweated a bit underneath them but it wasn’t anything near temperatures I got from some other protectors I used to wear on winter rides.
As for the STV Short Sleeve Protector shirt: its well ventilated. I considered putting it on without a thermal wear underneath but the first downhill sections verified my views. The ammount of ventilation is caused mostly to the fact that the shirt is as minimal as it can be. Also the material seems a little bit like the ones used on thermal clothes but here it does not warm you or keep your temperature within. The fit is very good, there were no issues with the armour hanging loosely around me or the protectors changing their place. Only one thing was not perfect – sometimes the zipper which is positioned in the middle of the shirt was curling up a bit and it looked strange underneath the jersey but made no other inconveniece.
The back protector, despite the fact that it’s made of foam, shoud give good protection on those more mellow trails that does not consins merely from rocks and root but mainly on hardened ground. The are it coves is very big. It covered almost all of my back. As this protector shirt is designed for trail / enduro use, the back protector does not go all the way down, but instead ends a little early so you can use it with a kidney bag of you choice without any inconveniences. All in all a great option for those who need basic protection of their spine and chesk or need something for their shoulders while riding with a backpack.
– lightweight and slim design
– lots of protection (knees and elbows)
– good ventilation
– great shirt protector for using with a backpack
– if you ride in rough terrain, the shirt protector should be used with a backpack
O’Neal presented a very comfortable, lightweight and pretty much cost conscience protector set. Apart from the Protector Shirt which is designed to be used under the backpack, the knee and elbow protectors cover much and still maintain a stealthy design which translates into more freedom of movement on the bike while still maintaining high protection levels.