How long have you been in business?

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. SnowX racing was 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 of upper body impact protection in the snowmobile industry. In 2001 we started development of an off-road line.

Where are the TekVest models made?

All TekVest models are made in the small Canadian town of Minden, 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 on the trail in the heart of the popular Haliburton County riding area. We ride dirt bikes, ATVs and snowmobiles from the door. We are one of the few clothing manufacturers who have not gone overseas to manufacture 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 quality. Our products only have to perform once to pay for themselves. What is the cost of a day off work; or worse?

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; impact protection. The energy absorbing 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?

It's hard to compare apples to bananas. Yes, they both provide basic roost protection but a Tekvest goes way beyond and offers a much higher level of impact protection than any other product. A TekVest is not for everybody but it only has to work once to pay for itself. We aren't the number one selling off-road gear but we do offer the most coverage area, the highest protection levels and lots of comfort for those riders who have become tired of the same old hard plastic gear. Our soft armor configuration dissipates force loads better than hard shell MX gear. Hard shell MX gear can actually accelerate a rib crack if the rider hits a hard object like a stone or stump as in that scenario the force load is actually being concentrated on single point.

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 quite favorable. We work hard at making things comfortable and make extensive use of high-tech materials and design tricks to achieve the right comfort balance. The TekVest will become more comfortable as you pile on the miles. Body heat molds the armor inserts to your exact body type. Finally, you can have high-end protection and comfort in the same package! We have many riders who are still wearing their original 1997 models and many have reported over 100,000 miles on them. Our gear tends to last a long time.

 

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.

 

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

We have learned a lot from snowmobile racing and this know-how is an ideal cross-over for the off-road world. Snowmobilers are used to handling 600 lbs vehicles in high speed racing applications with 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, are they?

All forms of protective gear trap heat. Heat is the enemy of race 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 adapt 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.

 

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. 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?

The MAX versions of our Pro-Lite race models continue to accommodate the latest neck brace offerings. The regular Pro-Lite model remains a perennial 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 than the Super Sport as we 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.

 

Who makes the OEM vests?

TekRider has made units for all OEMs over the years and continue to offer them. Look for the TekVest logo and inner label to authenticate your purchase. We  make co-branded  product for Arctic Cat, BRP/Ski Doo, Polaris, Yamaha, KLIM, 509 & DIVA SNOW GEAR

 

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 events 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.

 

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 shower wand to spray clean and then let your vest 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. 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.

If you have any technical questions please feel contact Steve Brand by e-mail at: steve@tekrider.com