09 April 2013

The knee slider/tarmac angle problem

I'm a bit picky when it comes to bike gear so it took me quite some time to find a one piece suit I actually like but last year I couldn't resist trying on a suit I've been eye balling a couple of times at the local Dainese store.
It took a couple of months before I could properly 'use' it but when I finally could I noticed the knee sliders weren't properly aligned when cornering.
It seems my legs are too long for my body height so ideally the size of the pants should be a size larger than the body.
No real problem when riding my two piece suit but in my one piece the legs tend to crawl up when I'm riding resulting in the knee bit being too high.
At first I tried lowering the knee sliders themselves but that didn't solve the problem; the angle at which they hit the ground was off because of the entire knee bit being too high and after only a couple of corners the tarmac ate through the sliders but only at the bottom bit (see picture).
Bram, the very knowledgeable salesperson at the Dainese store, actually recommended the 'in' version of the boots I've got now but, of course, I was too stubborn to actually follow his advice.
Had I actually taken the 'in' version of the boots I wouldn't have had the crawling up problem as the suit connects to the 'in' boots with a Velcro strip, keeping it in place, or in my case: pulling it down a bit.
As the bottom bit of the slider was almost gone and I started hitting the fabric beneath it I had to think of something or buy the 'in' version of my boots which seemed such a waste as there's nothing wrong with the boots themselves.
I came up with the idea of attaching a Velcro strip to the inside of the leg part (where the soft Velcro patch is to connect with the boot) and wind it around my foot, kind of like some ski pants have.
Bram agreed it'd be my best bet so past Sunday I tried it.
After a couple of tries and with +Sarah's help to get the length and position just right I went for a test ride and it keeps the suit perfectly in place.
It's still in 'prototype' phase as obviously the strip can be felt, especially when shifting, but it's not interfering and it doesn't hurt. I do intend to soften up the bit that wraps around the foot by shaving off the Velcro hooks and wrapping a thin cotton fabric around it.

Now for some pics.
Here's the knee slider itself, you can clearly see the bottom bit's weird angle:

And this is the DIY bit; quite simple, but it works:


Update: Sarah largely improved on the design; tall and wide Velcro straps with a thin but strong fabric hand sewn to it. 
It's very comfortable this way as I can barely feel them and they doesn't stretch out anymore, the Velcro ones did after a while.
Looking back, they started to hurt after some hours/days and the rough texture damaged the inside of my boots.
I did a track day with the new ones last Friday and I don't think the design can be much improved upon at this point.