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I was originally interested in them as a cheap set of pads for my grandfather's Parkinson's induced meetings with the ground. I bought a pair of the underwear for him. They seemed to be the cheapest alternative for something I wasn't sure was going to be worn regularly, but grandma's been pretty diligent about getting them on him for the most part. Don't get old, it sux.

Anyway, my personal inspection: The pads are quite stiff and over the long term have broken down quite a bit, they were pretty broken down after a couple of months, not sure what to expect or how much "use" they have really gotten or what to really expect as far as that goes, but they don't seem to last through constant seating, which will likely be what they see in motorcycling application.

I don't think they provide much impact absorption by my simple feel analysis. I wouldn't want to purposely fall in them while standing, but without any real data, it's hard to know for sure. On the bright side my grandfather hasn't received anything more than bruises on his butt whether wearing them or not from almost daily standing/walking falls.

After originally receiving them, I had some more questions about the pads for possible motorcycling use, so I emailed the company to further inquire about any technical aspects of the pads and other options. Then I recently saw them mentioned on Webbikeworld from their booth at a motorcycle show. I checked-out their website again to see if anything had changed. I was also contemplating some new padded shorts for mountain biking use and eyeing the T-pro Action Pro shorts as the best option, but prefer a chamois crotch for mountain biking. So, I again emailed Crash Pads about the inclusion of a chamois crotch in their shorts. I then ventured into some of the details that may be of concern for motorcycling use as well, hoping to get better answers than my previous responses.

The basic summary of my correspondence is that they are clueless to any technical points, and the garments are in their own words "simple padded shorts", though they have recently taken to claiming to be "CE tested" with no mention of the standard or proper approval. Another Bohn Armor in the making. They started making products for use in skate, ski, and mountain biking, and are now marketing to the motorcycling world.

Here's the most recent followed by my earlier questions:

"So how bout the actual pads, are they standardized for crash protection or energy absorption ratings or something? I guess what I want to know is if they will actually make a measurable difference, and if so, how much of one?"

"All of our products are CE tested. We are patented for both abrasion and impact. The foam is a closed cell polyethylene high density foam. We go through a process where we heat laminate and mold the product..."

Totally misleading. Patented doesn't cut it for effectiveness, and neither does "tested". She didn't say approved, didn't cite the actual standard, because the claim is totally bogus. All of what she said is meaningless in regard to real info, completely skirting the questions. So, I tried again to get further info regarding those answers:

"Thanks for the info, sorry to keep bothering you, but I've got another question about them, you said they are CE tested, is that the EN1621-1 rating that I've seen on some other shorts? It looks like that is a standard for motorcycle gear, or is it some other rating? And you say tested, is there any numbers or levels that they passed?"

"The information I gave you on testing previously is all I have for you. If you are more comfortable purchasing form someone else we understand. Thanks again for your interest.

Sidnie Doyle
Crash Pads "

Ok, yep, I think I'm more comfortable purchasing from somebody else. I don't think my questions were that tough, out of the ordinary, or confrontational, do you?

Here's what I got about a year ago, when I naively tried more in depth questions regarding the foams and construction of their shorts(using a completely different name and email address, of course):

"1. We use closed cell 2lb high density polyethylene foam. It is not layered.
2. The foam is tested by the manufature to meet the specks described above.
3. We sew the pads to the base fabric.
4. We have been on the market for over 10 years and have had countless falls taken in our products...we have had over a decade of testing and testimonials.
5. We do not claim to prevent injury however you will be more protected in Crash Pads than if you had no padding on whatsoever.
6. Depending on the product you purchase, they are recommended for street due to the abrasion resistant fabric flame bonded and then thermal formed to the padding. Our other products are recommended to be worn as undergarments and then used wherever your adventures take you.

I am confidant that if you decide to purchase our products they will do what we claim in our literature and you will be happier with them than without them. We feel our products are the best of their kind on the market.

She then qualified that line with this satirical one:

I would like to tell you what our hand tag says..."Crash Pads do not prevent injury. So, if you are even thinking of buying these, Don't blame us if you're sporting beyond your intelligence".

Thanks for your inquiry and I hope you will consider Crash Pads in your protective needs.

Crash Pads"

With a small understanding of foam density and firmness in mind, I asked a couple more questions about things like the foam thickness and density of the pads after reading her vague response and allusions to technical specs. Here the further response:

"We do have all the CE marks for European distribution for protective wear. (Again, NOT TRUE)

We chose the 1/2 inch 2lb weight because it was the best combination of softness and strength. It moves and still takes a really good hit however it is not so dense (hard) that it actually hurts when the foam is pressed into your body from the impact of the fall. We tried different weights and this one was the best.


Hardly scientific, as strength and softness are meaningless terms for foam, and the rest of the explanation is just a little bit ambiguous, don't ya think? The density doesn't set the firmenss, in fact most high-density foams, like the viscoelatic mattress foams are 5lb density and ultra-soft firmness.

Here's a little bit of info on what foam density and firmness actually mean, as they are not any type of measurement for energy absorprtion and no tpye of protective benefit can be measured by the density or firmness of a particluar piece of foam alone:

Density is nothing more than how much the piece of foam weighs. It is determined by taking a cubic foot of foam (12" x 12" x 12") and weighing it. If the foam cube weighs 2.9 pounds, the density is 2.9. If it weighs 1.2 pounds, the density is 1.2. The higher the density, the longer the foam should last. The best foams for extended use are the ones with a density of 2.0 or higher. Foams with a density of less than 2.0 are adequate for temporary use.

IFD stands for Indentation Force Deflection and refers to the firmness of a piece of foam. The lab puts a 4" x 15" x 15" piece of foam on a flat surface. Then a round metal plate, 8" in diameter, pushes down on that piece of foam. The amount of pounds of pressure it takes to squeeze that 4" piece of foam to 3 inches (25% compression) is referred to as the IFD. A low IFD, such as 10, doesn't offer much resistance and is a soft piece of foam. At the other end, a piece of foam that takes 43 pounds of pressure is an extra firm piece of foam. Generally speaking, IFDs of 15-24 are considered soft, 25-32 are medium, 33-40 are firm, and 41+ are considered extra firm. The comfort range for most people is 25-35. Foam does soften slightly with regular use.

So with that little bit of understanding of foams, I tried again and got this response:

"I know that we tested the weight of the foam against a number of different weights and the 2lb weight seemed to be the best. The thickness was also the best. the density I thought was in relation to the thickness and weight...but I could be wrong. Crash Pads are just a padded pant. They may not be technical enough for your needs. They work really well for average falls in a number of applications. If you purchase them and after trying them on, do not think they will meet your needs, you may return them."

So, Crash Pads is basically lying about CE approval, and have little real information or knowledge about crash protection. They pretty much admit to that when pressed for more than a couple of questions about the usefulness of their gear.

501 Posts
wouldn't one be able to contact the CE organization that does the certifications to find out what products they have certified? Snell gives out thier lists

the only thing I found was" Understanding CE Approval
In brief, since July 1st 1995, it has become unlawful to offer clothing as "protective clothing", unless it has met with the specifications of the PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT DIRECTIVE (PPE). This contains official requirements for products to meet with the type approval standards relative to their usage. Compliance is ensured by way of rigorous sample and garment testing by an official notified body (e.g. BSI, SATRA or SGS Yarsley etc.), then independent certification of the CE Mark to show this.

I think you might have to contact each company to get the list of tested products (BSI, SATRA or SGS Yarsley )

1,587 Posts
LifeLiberty said:
wouldn't one be able to contact the CE organization that does the certifications to find out what products they have certified?
The way it works is that each country in the European Union has a least one approved testing facility. The manufacturer sends one of the test houses their "technical file" on the product and a sample for inspection. The manufacturer is required by law to include information about the testing requirements and procedures, reference numbers, and the name of the test facility under the CE obilgations from what I understand, though there seems to be a lot of confusion or purposeful ignorance about that, even with the larger Euro manufacturers. It may be hard to locate the testing facility for many products. As was the case for the Velocity gear back protector, he had stated that it was tested by SATRA in England, so someone contacted them and they were able to confirm the pass.

It's unlikely from the start that an American made and sold product would be carrying the label to begin with, since it is not mandatory in our market, and if they did, they are not subject to the EU laws anyway, as far as I can tell. It's unfortunate, because that label is the only amount of real assurance that we have that any armor products are truly proven to make a meaningful measured difference in the outcome of a crash event. Even worse is lying about it or implying it, which American companies like Bohn and Impact Armor have been doing for years, eventhough their products are very likely non-compliant and inferior. and Controversy 2004.pdf

1,587 Posts
ShanMan14 said:
I don't undervalue the CE label, but I think the majority of us would do better WITH them than without. More padding=less ouch.

You've certainly done your homework, but I wonder how many of the rest of us would get into such minutiae about the product. It's not like SNELL is to helmets, IMO.
Yep, I'd rather understand the details of the testing than try to figure-out ambiguous marketing details, and since most will not bother with a clearer understanding, we should be seeking a Snell-type label. Performance testing holds a huge advantage over guesses or assumptions. Right now we have CE, for whatever it's worth, and our vote and money should be going to support those types honest actions and higher-quality information. The ugliest situation we can fall into is to have companies like Crash Pads lying about an important label and not having even a partial clue about what safety their products actually provide. Whether it's $5 or $500, we shouldn't be left to guess.
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