Risk of splint in wrist protector?

Recently a Dutch MUni rider whose judgement I generally respect said that he prefers wrist protectors without a plastic splint on the inside. While such a splint (see pic) would protect against most typical impacts, it might break in case of a very heavy blow. That would actually cause additional trouble if the sharp fractured edge penetrates the wrist, potentially wreaking havoc with veins, nerves and tendons. Because of this risk, he would rather use padded gloves without splint.

My question is: has anyone here considered this risk? What is your verdict?

As it happens, my Harbinger “Extreme Gloves” 110G wrist protectors are quite worn down. (The picture was taken in happier times :slight_smile: .) I’m in doubt as to replacing them with a splinted or a splintless protector. I use my wrist protectors both for MUni and distance. For MUni the impacts should be smallish (few rocks in the Netherlands, low speed), on tarmac whole Cokering an impact could be substantial. (Actually, it has been substantial a few times, without problems.) The advantace of a splint on tarmac is that it slides much better than a padded glove.


Regular leather (or fake leather) cycling gloves slide plenty well enough on blacktop and concrete during a high speed fall. I’ve tested that several times. The gloves always slide but still have enough friction so that you can control yourself (like keeping your face off the ground).

The plastic splints slide too well in my experience. It makes it harder to keep your face and arms off the ground as you’re sliding.

I also find the rigid splints to get in the way too much. If I use any kind of wrist protection it is just a wrist wrap that still allows movement of the wrist.

John, you have a point with the lack of control if the sliding is too easy. I’ve had a few elbow grazes in the last couple of months. I’m gaining more and more speed on my 36" Just yesterday I’ve bought (skater’s) elbox protectors with a plastic cup. Not used them yet.

I’d like to hear what people think about the risk of breaking the splint and it cutting into the wrist area (through the leather in which it is embedded).

I’ve unfortunately tested mine a few times doing Coker MUni as well as Coker street/tarmac riding at high speeds. So far so good. While I also agree with John’s view (too slippery, getting in the way), I could never feel as comfortable riding without them (splints). With the support it gives the top and bottom of the wrist it can help save a broken wrist under certain circumstances (already tested)(one of my main concerns). Being I have the need to ride every day I take all safety precautions learned from prior experiences.

In my opinion with my weight 140lbs even at high speeds I don’t feel the risk of breaking the splint is worth not using them.

I see many other aggressive riders riding without the splints. I can’t stop thinking, nothing ever happens till it happens. That is something I always keep in mind.

I wonder if any venders have received them back in the past from consumers broken under extreme use. I am going to look into that just out of curiosity.


My harbinger wraps are still newish

So I don’t want to find out that bad. If your’s are ready for the can anyway, why not do an experiment for us all and find out ?
I will guess that they can be bent in half without snapping. Tough plastic is cheap enough, I don’t see why they would use a brittle type for this application.
The danger of a sharp stick cutting through the glove and into your wrist seems more likely. :astonished: Now I want to go back to bed !

It sounds like an idea. However,

  1. It’s not just about bending. Many materials bend under a slow stress while they might still break upon a sudden hard blow.
  2. They are still useable. So I don’t want to destroy them before I have new ones. That brings me back to square one: what to buy?

Oh and good night!

I use Salomon wristguards. I think they’re designed for snowboarding. The palm is a wide plastic protector, rather than a narrow splint. It is made of a hard but flexible materia, a bit like polythene, but stronger. They have been used “in anger” many times, with some very hard falls. The wide palm protector spreads the force of the impact. I can deliberately use them as sliders to support much of my weight as I grind to a halt. Highly recommended.

Many years ago, in a high speed Coker wipe out when I was wearing cycling gloves, the palms rolled back as far as my wrists, leaving my hands bare.

I feel obligated to tell you guys that if your not sporting motocross gloves then you don’t know what your missing.

I race mx and unicycling is really just a crossover sport for me so when I heard about all these so called “top of the line” gloves that everyone is wearing I just laughed. Now I know some of your are totally content with the gloves you have now I just thought you might like to know that MX gloves are totally the way to go.

I think that the benefits outweigh the consequences. It’s rediculously easy to break an arm: a bad bail can ruin your summer. I don’t think that padded gloves do enough. I broke my wrist through my KH gloves. Now I wear harbingers on every ride, even when it’s 35C. The plastic insert is all gouged and scratched, which I’m sure have prevented some fractures.

You’d have to falling pretty fast to break one of those splints. Extreme rollerbladers do much bigger drops and at much higher speeds than on unis, and all pro’s wear them.

I have a pair of the Harbingers, and that thought never entered my mind until you asked the question on this thread, and it won’t enter my mind the next time I use them, if indeed there is a next time.

I’ve hit the ground pretty darn hard with the plate on my Harbingers, and they’ve protected just fine. I can’t imagine the impact it would take to get them to shatter, and if they did, the additional force that would be required to take it through the leather and into skin. That would be a catostrophic impact, and I suspect if you were hitting that hard (maybe an upside down, hands-first fall from a 12 foot giraffe while traveling downhill at speed), you’d have bigger worries.

I think JC’s point was right on…the bigger issue is comfort and maneuverability. I found the plastic splint on the Harbingers really interfered with pulling up on the seat handle for muni or trials hopping. I don’t wear them for that type of riding anymore. If I wear them at all, which I don’t, it’s for cokering, where I generally only rest my hand on the handle, and where I have a greater risk of hitting the pavement with my hands, at speed.

That said, I use the KH Pulse now for all riding situations. The only exception is when I want to take photographs while riding. In those situations, I wear the KH on my left hand for protection, and a standard half-finger bike glove on my right hand so I can control the camera.

Great to get this additional point of view. Would you mind posting an online store link to the type you use, so folks can get a visual (and cost quote) on this form of protection?