By Salmarie Wilson (Special to Touratech USA from SheADV)
I recently purchased a new Klim suit and fortunately, I know the different levels of protection when it comes to the armor. Now, I want to start by saying I’m not trying to throw Klim under the bus because Klim is good, high-quality gear and I’ve been wearing Klim for decades. But, my job is to educate riders. Unfortunately, the women’s Klim gear, even though it is an expensive, high-quality suit, it comes with a lower level of protection in the armor department. What does this mean? Lower level of protection would be D30 Level 1 (L1) and the highest level of protection would be D30 Level 2 (L2). With the L1 armor, you’re essentially getting half of the level of protection of the L2 armor. High quality armor, like the L2, will offer as much as 70% reduction of energy on impact. Instead of shattering a kneecap, maybe you only bruise it.
Since the L1 is half the thickness of the L2, that leads me to believe the L1 will only reduce the energy of impact half as much, which would be 35%. That is not the level of protection that I’m looking for. Do you want 35% or 70% protection? Your answer could be the difference between a hospital visit or not. I ended up having to spend additional money to upgrade the armor. Those who buy the men’s suits do not have to make that additional purchase as the men’s suits come with L2 armor. Not only did I have to spend more money, but I also now have armor that is useless and will eventually make its way to the landfill because Klim doesn’t have a program of reusing the armor. What I expected when I purchased the suit and upgraded the armor, is that I’d get the L2 armor in the first place, not the suit with the L1 and then the additional L2 armor. When I called Klim to ask about getting the L1 armor back to them, they said, “we don’t do that.”
I asked, “What do I do with the L1 armor?” They said, “You can keep it and have extra armor.” I said, “I upgraded for a reason and the L1 armor is no good to me, so essentially it will be thrown away.”
This doesn’t seem like a good solution. Now, of course, I’m not going to just throw it away because I really don’t want to add to the landfill any sooner than I have to. So, I will find a purpose for it.