Ever taken a tree branch through the chest at 70 mph while going down the trail? It can really knock the wind, or life, out of a person. If you’re under the age of 25 and zestfully living life with a feeling of perpetual invincibility, you may not want to hear it, but the slightest thing can injure you at any moment.
How to protect yourself against the unknown? Wear the best gear you can get your hands on, and that includes some form of chest/body protection to defend against sharp blows to the torso, shoulders and, in the case of the EVS BJ33G Ballistic Jersey, even your arms.
Tekrider’s TekVest is the default snowmobiler’s body protection, but there are other options worth considering. EVS Sports makes high-quality safety gear for riders – neck and knee braces, helmets, elbow protection and other stuff. It’s a very impressive roster of quality equipment. At $139, the BJ33G is reasonably priced. The similar $150 G5 line replaces it for 2011 with mildly updated looks.
With light, see-through mesh, foam padding, plastic shielding and a zipper, the BJ33G is like wearing a sports jersey and vest in one article. My size XXL jersey fits well, and unobtrusively, except one thing: the elbow pads are too low to line up with my elbows. While I value my elbows, I’d get rid of these pads altogether in the name of less bulk under my jacket.
Contrarily, staffer Andy Swanson said he likes the Velcro straps on the forearms that hold the jersey in place. He said the elbow and shoulder pads on his size XL jersey fit him in the right places to protect the body while giving a fit so comfortable that he forgot he had it on. Another note from Swanson: “I miss the warmth of a TekVest.”
High-performance riders have absolutely no reason not to ride with some sort of body protection, in addition to other crucial safety gear. It could lessen the impact of a small-scale get-off. More importantly, in a serious, or life-threatening crash, you want all the protection you can get. Having an option as comfortable and discreet as the EVS BJ33G makes it all the easier to ride safely.
Rancho Dominguez, Calif.