One of our testers recently caved in and decided to start wearing a chest protector while riding downhill bikes. This didn’t come about until recently sustaining a shattered collarbone, a fairly severe back injury involving a broken rib and after old age in general began to set in. A quick poke around at the options revealed that most of offerings are either, long sleeved jacket style options, OR really hard plastic motocross style roost guards. After coming across the TLD 5900, it seemed to tick all of the boxes. It was fairly lightweight and had hard plastic in the right places without having so much that you look like a ninja turtle. There is a great deal of adjustability and loads of mesh, venting and soft padding on the inside. Last but not least, the 5900 is highly adjustable and works really well with a variety of neckbraces.
- Over 44 configurations adapt to rider preference for a custom fit
- Low profile design eliminates bulk to fit under or over jersey.
- Hinged chest plates provide extended rib coverage, better fit and maintains proper positioning in crash situations.
- Covers the chest, ribs, back, clavicle, shoulders and upper arms.
- Convenient strap locations and integrated fast-lock buckles for easy function.
- Two Sizes: Medium & Large
- Two Colors : Black & White
The 5900 Chest Protector is available in two sizes – medium and large. It’s also made in youth sizing, so if you’re on the small end of the fit spectrum or if you’re a female who’s looking for protection, perhaps you could explore the larger youth sizes. In any case, it comes in black and white, and according to TLD, it’s possible to configure it 44 different ways. That has us scratching our head, but in any case it really is highly adjustable via the solid alloy hardware. One of the cool elements in the 5900’s design is the way that it integrates with some Leatt and Alpinestars neckbraces. In general, it should play nice with most braces on the market regardless.
When we initially got ahold of the 5900, we were rather surprised at how light it felt just from handling it. After we threw it on, we quickly realized that it seemed even lighter once we were wearing it. Just from trying on most chest protectors in the past, we haven’t really gotten along too well with them in general, but this was a bit different. We were surprised at how form fitting the 5900 felt, without feeling intrusive or even the slightest bit restrictive in either movement or breathing.
Truth be told, we didn’t really spend much time fiddling with adjustments, nor did we need to…although it’s nice to know that they’re there. We liked the simple strapping system: two low profile buckles with discrete strap guides. One thing we did do on fairly short order was slap on a go pro mount. If you ever film with a chest mounted camera, this is a much more stable way of doing so. Anyhow, off to the trails…
On the Trail
It was the padding that we liked most and appreciated as soon as we started riding. Troy Lee Design’s Shock Doctor lineup has been pretty excellent for us thus far and the 5900 was no exception. Because of the excellent contour and shape, this chest guard was truly an afterthought as soon as we dropped into our local trails. Having typically not ridden with a chest protector for the last 18 years of downhilling, our tester fully expected to be more frustrated while wearing one.
Throughout our testing,we’ve had one minor over the bar crash where we slid on our stomach in a rather inconsequential manner; it was well handled. This brings us to the fact that we do like the idea of a hard plastic outer shell. It’s more apt to slide on rocks as opposed to stick to them like a soft shell style guard would. On even the rowdiest terrain we experienced no shifting around, and no chaffing. As mentioned before, we really didn’t notice the 5900 at any point in time(unless of course we crashed.) This chest protector didn’t seem to make us any hotter, it was breathable and kept air flowing nicely. Lastly, the padding didn’t seem to pick up too much moisture in the form of sweat, and what little was absorbed – dried quickly.
For such a fairly minimalist offering, the 5900 provides really good coverage at the chest and back, as well as ribs and clavicles. However, if you’re looking for shoulder/arm/elbow coverage you’ll have to look into a full jacket style upper body protection system. There are advantages and disadvantages to both styles so it’s best to go with whatever you think would suit your style. Troy Lee Designs also offer a great deal of jacket style coverage as well. For the price this is a great piece of protection and we haven’t experienced anything that would indicate that it might wear our prematurely. All in all we’ve got nothing bad to say about the 5900, it’s fairly lightweight, super comfortable, doesn’t move around and it breathes well. Oh yeah, it also does a great job of protecting your core…that’s why you’d be buying it in the first place, right?