Day 2 O’Neal Sneak Peek
Day 2 – Personal Protection
O’Neal Sinner Elbow Guards, Talent FR Knee / Shin Guards and the O’Neal Lance McDermott signature “Love Gloves”
Now I’m not a huge fan of separate armour, I’ve always been in the too much than not at all camp when it comes to keeping my body in one piece. The Sinners however just might tempt me away from a full suit which can be a bit restrictive for day to day riding. Speaking from experience, elbow injuries are not cool and the Sinner Elbow Guards will keep yours in good shape, safe and secure.
The sample set were a large which were a good fit on my arms, the protective cup extended a reasonable distance above and below the elbow itself meaning that even if you went down heavily on your forearm you should still walk away… The pads are held in place with the obligatory Velcro strap around the bicep and with a mesh backing your elbows won’t overheat any time soon.
On the trail I didn’t notice these in place and they looked far less chunky than many of the others you see being ridden gingerly down Caddon Bank… Thankfully I didn’t get to test their impact resistance but I did scuff a couple of trees as I was pushing skinny tyres and narrow bars but even after a wipe down they still looked as good as when they came out of the packet. The Sinners would be equally at home on a weekend ride, race or a trip to the skate park.
A pair of the 2011 O’Neal Sinner Elbow Guards will set you back £49.99
Talent FR Knee / Shin Pads.
Since a big spill a few years ago where my Knee and Shin guards rotated neatly out of the way on impact I’ve always been a bit wary of separate’s or combos, generally the fear of an exposed knee meets rock has stopped me considering any.
The Talent FR however are different, firstly the construction is more robust with a neoprene “sleeve” that you step through which sits snugly over the knee and could at a push be used as a “lite” guard on XC duties stopping the knocks but not the big impacts. The actual plastic element of the guards is then held to the neoprene by Velcro tabs around the knee and is further secured by the usual straps below the knee and above the ankle.
The Talent FR’s certainly felt secure and offered as good a fit and comfort level as other pads I’ve used in the past, The armour elements are a decent size, the knee part provides reasonable protection and the shin element extended down pretty far down in the large size we were supplied with. The padding level was decent without being overkill and overall a decent portion of your leg is protected.
The two Velcro straps were long enough without falling into the trap of being so long they need wound right round your leg twice to keep things secure and the O’Neal logos on the back are a nice touch. Colour wise not sure how long they will stay white for but then again if your kit stays white you ain’t doing it right! During my time with the Talent’s I didn’t manage to have an off where they were tested, however I would be quite happy to run these on either DH or All Mountain duties …….
A pair of Talent FR’s retail at £49.99
Another of today’s goodies are the O’Neal Lance McDermott signature “Love Gloves” and the 2011 Like the Monster lit tested earlier the gloves come in green and black, not my first choice colour wise but after a couple of runs they began to grow on me. Standout features are the armour on the back of the hand (Angel Vs Devil), and the loops sewn into the cuff which make pulling them on with cold hands a doddle
The thing with gloves is that they need to be thin enough so you can get a solid grip on the bars but thick enough to save your palm from blistering on the bars or from taking a hard landing whilst not being too hot and uncomfortable. The Love Gloves were a good fit on my paws, they didn’t bunch on the palms and the fingers were a perfect fit. The ventilation on the palm is decent and whilst not really armoured they will stop the knocks and scrapes that you pick up when going fast…
I particularly liked the rubberised signatures on the index and second finger which made sure there was no slipping from the brake levers. Gloves are a bit of a personal choice for most people, as you’ll use them so frequently they have to be right.
I would suggest that they might be a bit light for full on mid winter XC but I suspect that for the majority of you that’s not going to be an issue.
I gave these one of the most testing runs of my life down Caddon bank on my Retro XC bike, there were a couple of sketchy moments but the gloves stayed glued to the grips and levers…. These ones are staying with us on an extended test so further updates; good bad or ugly will follow.
The gloves retail at £29.99