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What is a TekVest?

"If you have to be somewhere Monday morning then maybe you should be thinking about a TekVest?"

Tekrider was established in 1996 to manufacture and distribute a new concept in upper body protection designed to meet the new rules of the International Snowmobile Racing federation. Snow Cross racing was then exploding and traditional MX roost guards were banned as they did not provide enough coverage and performance for snowmobile use. The first TekVest was unveiled in October of 1996. Since then the Tekvest design has evolved into the number one seller in the snowmobile world. In 2001 we started development of an off-road line.

All TekVest models are made in the small Canadian town of Kinmount which is located 2 hours north of Toronto in the province of Ontario. All design, development and production is done in-house, in a plant located right on the trail in the heart of the popular Haliburton County riding area. We ride dirt bikes, ATVs and snowmobiles right from the door. We are one of the few clothing manufacturers who have not gone overseas to make their products. Our products feature "NO COMPROMISE" materials and construction techniques that can't be maintained in an overseas factory. Our products only get one chance to perform to the high standards that we set and we won't compromise that by sending it overseas. Do you really think that manufacturers outsource their products to overseas plants to improve your riding experience? Our products only have to perform once to pay for themselves. What is the cost of a day off work - or worse - if you take a tumble? It's probably more than the cost of a TekVest!!

Steve Brand is the Founder, CEO and "Senior Test Pilot" of Tekrider and a power sport industry veteran. Since 1975 he has worked for a dealer, an after-market parts distributor, Arctic Cat and was most recently at Bombardier for 16 years before leaving to start Tekrider. At Bombardier he started out as a district sales manager for Moto Ski, Ski Doo and Can Am before moving into R&D and the race department. He was the Canadian race manager for Can Am motorcycles from 1980 to 1987 and later the Ski Doo Sno Cross/XC Race manager for North America from 1992/95. Steve still rides bikes, ATV's and snowmobiles at "competitive" speeds as he seeks out new ideas and develops new products. However, he tries hard to leave the "impact testing" to others, but is not always successful!

Why is a TekVest better than a traditional MX chest protector?

The market is, and will always be, dominated by the traditional hard-plastic "roost" protectors. They are cheap and easy to produce and do a good job at what they were designed to do, protect the rider from roost spray. However, they do little to protect against impact and can be uncomfortable to wear. The TekVest soft-armor configuration provides roost protection and more importantly; all-round impact protection. The energy absorbing foam armor features the use of UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight) plastic for outstanding cut resistance, flexibility and roost protection. No one in the industry offers this much protection and few are as comfortable to wear as the TekVest.

How come they are so much more money than MX roost guards or other types of body armor?

Well it's hard to compare apples to bananas. Yes, they both provide roost protection but a TekVest goes way beyond that and offers a much higher level of impact protection than anything out there. A TekVest is not for everybody but it only has to work once to pay for itself. We don't want to be the number one selling off-road gear but we do want to offer the highest protection levels and lots of comfort for those riders who have become tired of the same old hard plastic gear.

What is UHMW and how does the armor work?

UHMW stands for Ultra High Molecular Weight plastic. It is a very high-end plastic product that is custom milled for use in the TekVest. It provides superior cut resistance and great flexibility. We laminate it to a closed-cell, vinyl nitrile foam that delivers a level of comfort and protection not available in the off-road world.

How comfortable are they?

Many say they look bulky and uncomfortable until they try one on. Riders are amazed and their first impressions are generally quite favorable ie; " wow I had no idea it would be this comfortable". We work hard at making things soft and make extensive use of high-tech materials and design tricks to achieve the right comfort balance. The TekVest will form up quite nicely as you pile on the miles and body heat molds the armor inserts to your exact "personality". Yes, you can have high-end protection and comfort in the same package!

Does a TekVest offer more than crash protection?

Absolutely! A TekVest is a great wind-stopper and insulator and becomes a great mid-layer product. A TekVest enables you to make great use of shell-type jackets with zippered vents. No "Puff Ball" jackets anymore!!! Hopefully you'll never need to test its protective features.

What does snowmobiling have in common with ATV's and dirt bikes?

We have learned a lot from snowmobile racing and this armor know-how is an ideal cross-over to the off-road world. We are used to handling 600 lbs vehicles in high speed racing applications with lots of obstacles to hit and sharp objects to protect against. Our soft amour configuration can handle just about anything the dirt world can throw at us. We eat, sleep and think sleds, quads and dirt bikes, every day!

They look hot and what's up with the orange trim?

All forms of protective gear trap heat. Heat is the enemy of racer performance and our number one challenge. We make extensive use of ventilated armor and breathable meshes to keep temperatures as low as possible. We have designed a product that works best when adjusted on the loose side to enhance airflow and reduce temperatures. By using mesh jerseys during the hot months, and ventilated jackets in the wet and cold months, a rider can quite easily adjust to the TekVest. We've raced and ridden the gear in all temperatures. One thing is for sure, a helmet is still the hottest thing we wear but we learn to manage in order to have the right protection. The TekVest soft-armor concept also works well in cold weather. By tightening up the adjustment you can trap heat and create an "electric blanket" feel for those high speed conditions that contribute to kidney chills and lower back discomfort. We needed a neutral trim color and felt that orange would be better than grey or white. We are a small company and would need to have 5 color schemes to cover the full OEM lineup and a neutral scheme. This would be prohibitive for our distributors. We know that orange will "grow" on you.

Who is our customer?

Riders of all ages, both genders and all experience levels can wear the TekVest. However, our primary customers are the PeeWee/Kids/Youth riders and those riders, generally middle-aged ones, who find conventional roost guards inadequate and uncomfortable. Young competitive riders would rather spend their money on go-fast parts that get them further into harm's way so the last thing they'll think about is a TekVest. Moms generally demand the best product available for their kids and no product out there comes close to the level of protection offered by a TekVest. Experienced riders generally have lots of broken bones and injuries from a long career of off-roading and can often only continue riding with the best protection available. Often they are middle-aged males with successful careers and families to protect. They don't heal up like they used to and a day off work, or worse, has a price tag. If you have to be somewhere Monday morning then maybe you should be thinking about a TekVest?

What's new with our Super Sport & Freestyle TekVest models?

Our best selling trail models continue to use the race-proven UHMW plastic armor upgrade. UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight) plastic is the toughest grade of plastic we can use in this application. UHMW is used by many of the top ski makers such as USI, SLP and C&A Pro. HDPE has served us well for many years but we decided the leader should lengthen the lead and produce all models using UHMW. No other competitor uses UHMW!! Look for the TIVAR UHMW Snow Product rubber patch on all UHMW models. We have recently increased the amount of mesh in our designs to increase airflow. With over a million miles logged by factory development riders we have gained an excellent reputation amongst the pros who wear it every day. Remember these models are designed to wear over bibs and under a jacket. In warmer temperatures above 25 F you can actually wear the TekVest exposed over a light jersey and be quite comfortable.

What's new with the SX Pro-Lite race vest & some riding tips

The biggest change to this model in three seasons happened last year when we introduced the MAX versions of our Pro-Lite race models that have been designed to accommodate the latest neck brace offerings. The regular, race-proven Pro-Lite remains the top seller and is used by more racers around the world than any other product! Our Pro-Lite continues to have a bigger fit zone that the Super Sport as we have to allow for a wide range of clothing layers depending on whether the Pro Lite is worn on the outside or covered up. The average racer who is a slim 6 foot, 200 pounder can actually fit into an Medium Pro-Lite whereas they would wear a Large in Super Sport. It is safe to advise customer/dealer to order Pro-Lites slightly smaller than they think. Remember to advise your customer that the Pro-Lite works best when worn on the outside. It runs cooler without a heat-trapping jacket and improves mobility.

Who makes the new Yamaha and Arctic Cat vests?

Tekrider has made units for all OEMs over the years and continue to offer them through Yamaha and Arctic Cat dealers. Look for the TekVest logo and inner label to authenticate your purchase.

Are all TekVest models race legal?

Yes all models are ISR race legal. However use of the Sport, Super Sport and Trail Pro for Sno X , XC and Hill Climb requires the use of our optional shoulder pads. Please consult your race circuit rules and regulations.

Does the TekVest float?

Yes it does. The principal armor component is made of closed-cell foam which does not absorb water. Although not Coast Guard approved, the TekVest delivers a level of positive buoyancy best described as emergency flotation. Generally the last selling feature that we talk about but an important one to some customers. We mention it because some of our competitors use open-cell foams that absorb water and increase body weight upon exit.

What type of jacket works best with a TekVest?

Generally a light shell type jacket is best. Many of the 3 in 1 jackets are also ideal when the liner is removed. The TekVest is a protector, an insulator and an excellent wind stopper so less clothing is better. The slim armor profile and design enables the customer to get an excellent fit with existing jacket size. The only time we have a fit issue is when the customer insists on wearing a tight jacket.

Cleaning tips:

Do not machine wash or dry clean as it will result in an unstable load. Hand wash is the safest. Use mild soap products. Consider using a shower wand to spray it clean and then let it drip dry. All TekVest models are fabricated from 100% synthetic materials. Clean Pro-Lite plastic with Toluol or 100% alcohol or equivalent . Dry plastic surface prior to decal application. The use of strong solvents on the plastic may reduce surface adhesion

Does TekVest now offer Off-Road/Dual Sport/ATV models?

Yes we do. We now offer 2 adult styles and Youth, Kids and Pee Wee models. The biggest seller is our Rally Sport model which features 4 pockets and an integrated hydration bag holder and cargo pouch. It debuted at the 2002 Paris-Dakar and several testimonials can be seen on our Testimonials page. Last year we introduced the Rally Max to accommodate the latest neck brace offerings


Why do we use UHMW?

"POLYMER". Isn't that just another word for plastic? Perhaps, but the term polymer actually describes the material and not the end product. Poly, meaning "many", and "mer", parts, refer to the long chain molecules that make up the miracle of modern plastics. Unfortunately, many people still associate the term "plastic" with that Christmas toy that broke five minutes after being opened, or a plastic lawnmower gear that stripped the month after the warranty expired. These same people think of "polymer components" as a contradiction in terms.

Polyethylene is the largest volume thermoplastic polymer used today. A thermoplastic polymer is capable of being repeatedly softened by heat and hardened by cooling. Polyethylene is available in a wide variety of grades and formulations that have an equally wide range of properties. Certain polyethylenes are flexible, others are rigid; some have poor impact strength, others are virtually unbreakable. Service temperatures can range from 40 to 200°F. In general, polyethylenes are characterized by toughness, excellent chemical resistance, low coefficient of friction, near zero moisture absorption, light weight (approx. one-eighth that of steel) and ease of processing. Polyethylenes are classified into three categories, according to density:

  • Low
  • Medium
  • High

A fourth type, UHMW-PE, is in the high-density range. In some cases, properties of this high-performance plastic are similar to other polyethylenes, but in other cases, can be dramatically different.

HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) Rigidity and tensile strength of the HDPE resins are considerably higher than those in the low and medium density materials. Impact strength is slightly lower, as is to be expected in a stiffer material. Applications of HDPE range from film products to large blow molded industrial containers. The largest market area is in blow-molded containers for packaging fluids. Other major uses include injection molded housewares, industrial pales, food containers and tote boxes. Also, mechanically ground HDPE resins are used to mold large, complex shaped products such as fuel tanks, trash containers, pallets, highway barriers and all 1997/2001 Tekvest models.

UHMW-PE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene). This is a polymer with a molecular weight of 3 and 6 million. UHMW-PE has outstanding abrasion resistance, low coefficient of friction, self-lubricating, chemical and stress cracking resistance. Another key characteristic is impact strength, which is 8 times greater than HDPE. UHMW-PE does not break in impact tests using standard notched specimens compared to HDPE, which will break. UHMW-PE must be double notched to break in a Izod impact test. In a ballistics test conducted at -65°F, a 1" slab of UHMW-PE stopped a .45 caliber bullet at a distance of only 25 ft!

UHMW-PE Applications: Conveyor wear strips, Guide rails, Bearings, Paper machine suction boxes, Chute linings, Trailer linings, Snowmobile skis, sliders, idler wheels, drive sprockets & suspension bushings and all TEKVEST models since 2005.


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