Cuz It Happens
"If you have somewhere to be Monday morning, shouldn't you be thinking about a Tekvest?"
Email from Ryan M. in Knoxville. August 2019 Rally Max customer
On the weekend of July 27th, 2019, I set off with a group of North Carolina locals to ride the many dirt roads around the Wilson Creek area. As we were preparing for riding at our campsite, I asked about the condition and difficulty of the roads as I had never ridden the area before. It went something like, “hey, are these roads pretty dicey? Do I need to armor up?” As I hefted my Tekvest out of my pile of riding gear. I was secretly wanting a blessing to ride sans gear (i.e. sans common sense). My riding companions said that they were not too difficult, but, better safe than sorry as they were putting on their various pieces of safety apparel. I reluctantly agreed and donned my Tekvest, helmet, elbow pads, gloves, etc…
Once everyone was ready, we decided on order, much to my dismay they elected me to lead. I had a GPS and an understanding of where we were going so I said, “are you sure?” They said, “yes.” So, I set out to not fudge the predetermined route of the day too much. The roads in the area are a mix of dirt and gravel, which range from well-traveled to rarely used. Along a section of fire road, the road goes uphill slightly and crests while taking a left-hand bend at about 60°. The left side of the road is a drainage rut while the right side goes down the side of the hill. It was here where my rear wheel decided to take the day off and play catchup with the front wheel, suddenly realize what it was doing and try to act normal again by biting into the gravel and establishing grip again. Unfortunately for me, this caused me to highside, throwing me off the bike at roughly 30 MPH and into the left side drainage ditch headfirst.
After the crash, my first thought was... “Oh wow! That hurt a lot more than I expected!” After a few moments I collected myself and made sure all my appendages worked and I wasn’t leaking any fluids anywhere, “Check!” Then with the help of my riding companions we got the bike righted and off we went to ride the rest of the day. I sure was happy I decided to wear ALL my gear. In the aftermath I walked away with two cracked ribs, a ruptured bursa sac in my knee, various cuts and scrapes, a helmet with a slight dent in it, and a Tekvest with a “lived in” look. I couldn’t imagine how it would have turned out if I decided to keep my vest at the campsite that day, and I will not ride without it from here on out!
BTW, these vests are good for multiple impacts...right? (yes they are Ryan)
Cheers, and thanks again for making a superior product! Ryan M Knoxville, TN August 019
Jeff B wrote “Hey everybody, I got the TekVest and had a chance to wear it at the Beagle Bash on Sunday! It looks great and feels absolutely awesome! It fit my 3L bladder and all my trail tools with room to spare! I'll never go back to wearing a crappy, uncomfortable chest protector and a backpack that flops all over the place. I can't wait to wear it for 2 weeks straight when I head to Utah with Rome! Thanks again!" Jeff May 2019
Mike B. wrote; ” New BushMaster works great. Wore it down in West Virginia with the back pack full of inner tubes, tire pumps, irons etc. And of course moonshine and it didn’t move around at all. Great job! Thanks very much. Had a few guys asking about it." Mike April 2019
NEWEST TESTIMONIAL - GEORGIA ON MY MIND
Georgia on my mind! 05 Dec 18. Today, someone asked Steve about the significance of the yellow hat that’s been on display in the office for a few years now. Well it turns out there’s quite a story behind it and Steve checked in with Georgia to see how she’s been doing since her near-fatal accident in 2009. Here’s her response. The accident story follows in more detail.
“Hello Steve, I am doing well, thank you. And how is life treating you ? It is so nice to hear from you. We received about 48.1” of snow so far this year, but only have about 10” of it left on the ground. I still ride , maybe not as much, or as fast as usual, but I still get on my machine. And I never leave home without my TekVest !! Everywhere we go, I tell my story, with the hopes that I can save at least one or more riders from pain. My accident has taken away a lot of the fun I used to have, but my husband Jim is amazed that I even get on my sled. So am looking forward to another great winter season. Thanks for checking in. I have sent you a summary written by Jim as I don’t remember much of the accident. Georgia”
Georgia on my mind
March 12th 2009. Near Hurley, Wisconsin. As told by husband Jim. It was a day that is forever burnt into our memories, it was just about the last chance to ride for the year and we did not want to miss it. We were about 40 miles into our ride. The weather had turned cold and snow was covering the hard icy snowmobile trail underneath. The sleds were handling good. North winds had blown the snow off the trail in open areas and road sides. I was in the lead as always. We were going north, running on the trail about 10 miles south of Hurley Wisconsin, right next to Hwy 51. We have communicators so we could keep in touch to give trail conditions, snowmobile traffic, stop signs and road crossings when Georgia (aka Judge) had safely crossed the road. I had warned Georgia of a hard Ieft turn and as always I go the report back (Hard left, roger). I was probably 50 yards ahead of her when I heard a loud whoosh sound looked in my mirror and looked behind and only saw snow dust. I figured Judge had gone straight and got stuck. I turned my sled around and saw her sled leaning to the right still running and my best friend lying with her back to a clump of trees.
Judge always wore a yellow face mask that's my 1st troubled memory (How the hell did she get her helmet off so fast) I stopped by her and asked what had happened? l hit kill switch on her sled, she was gasping for air having got the wind knocked out of her I thought, WRONG Judge had her gloved hands under her head and told me she had broken her back. And again l'm thinking broken ribs. I started my sled and parked it sideways in the trail but let it run so we could hopefully be seen by cars going past. I went back to Judge and my 15 years of Snowmobile safety training kicked in. She kept saying that she could not breathe and was scared. I learned her helmet had blown off her head at impact. A cold rush went through me. This was a 911 moment. I grabbed my cell and dialled 911 knowing we were in big trouble. Where the accident happened cell service was only so, so but I figured at 100 Miles an hour I could get to a high hill fast enough on the Hwy 51 but luckily I had just enough service to connect and was answered by a 911 operator. I kept calm enough to tell her our location and the extent of her injuries. It was serious. I hung up and went back to Judge. Her mouth was bleeding and I could see her face was turning color. This is the point where you tell the victim Judge in this case you are talking you are breathing because you can talk. I held c-spine till a guy stopped. He saw my sled running and gave me a hand to get the snowmobile up right as all I could think of was the gas leaking and her sled starting on fire. ln my haste to get the sled more upright we rolled the thing right on her legs, the sled stopped right next to her. Back to c-spine and keeping Judge calm. The whole time I was watching for blood to start running from her ears or nose. After what felt like hours, but really was 10 -15 minutes, the police and ambulance arrived. Georgia was a local EMT herself and when the guys saw me they recognized it was Georgia. lt was one of the best things that happened that day. My Judge was safe, help was here. (Yah right) l'm not sure why but I wanted to drive my sled home and then go to the hospital. lnstead of going back to the railroad grade I chose to take one of the windiest trails in the County. I just don't know why I didn't get into the cops car. The guy that stopped offered to get both sleds for me That could have turned out to be not so good running, full throttle anyplace I could thinking don't crash I need to get to Judge.
When I got home one of medics called telling me Life Flight had been called at the accident scene and I only had 15 minutes to join them. Once again I was off speeding my way to Judge. When I arrived at the hospital the staff were all running around checking on Judge. I know if Life Flight was in-bound things were way worse than I had been told, looking back I should have known when one of the Ambulance crew was down they all showed up to say hello. About half way to Duluth MN one of the medics told me Judge had broken her back. I later learned Judge had also shattered 3 Thoracic Vertebra, broke most of her ribs, some twice, punctured both lungs, broke her pelvis and that there were shards of bone poking at her spinal cord. We didn't know if she would walk again. This happened 9 years ago and not one day has gone by without thinking about seeing that yellow face mask and Judge lying on the ground. Judge is walking now and is back on her sled. Our lives forever changed and we have people telling us that it could have been worse of course.
It could have been avoided, had I not taken that trail. Why didn't I slow down more? (l was the lead and it's my responsibility to ride safe) lf I had only stopped at the corner (which now is a stop sign) We Judge and I talked about getting TekVests before the crash but since we ride slow, and even though I'm the fast nut in our group, we didn’t think we needed one. Had we purchased a TekVest it would have been for me and not Georgia. This was a slow speed accident and no drinking was involved. We were just out to enjoy the last ride of the season. The Safety lnstructor and the EMT out for a ride, always prepared to help others on the trail. A TekVest would not have prevented the crash but it sure would have lessened the damage and over $100,000 hospital bill. We have attached a copy of the bill for your readers to consider. The cost of a TekVest is a lot less than the cost of a day off work or worse and we have the bills to prove it. Tx for reading our story. Georgia and Jim Piilola 05 Dec 18
SnowTech Magazine September 2018 Issue
Video Testimonial From: Jason Jones
During my first few days of "coming to" at the hospital, I was made aware of the countless posts and well wishes from friends, and even total strangers. The reason I mention this is because a few posts surprised and shocked me. Several people asked if my health insurance would be covering my accident.
Of course my health insurance would cover it, I thought. I wasn't racing or participating in a sanctioned event. I'm well aware most insurances will not cover an accident in that case. I was unaware that with the new Obamacare regulations, several private insurances have cut coverage to recreational vehicle accidents. To lessen costs, insurance companies have stopped automatically including coverage for people injured while participating in something they love. That coverage can be added, but for an additional cost.
I just wanted to make all my friends aware so that those of you that do have recreational vehicles check your health insurance policy. My bill from the hospital alone (not including rehab or the physical therapy and follow ups I have) was $179,000. I was in the hospital 9 days short of a month. Oh and I was taken to the hospital by medical helicopter MercyFlight, for those in WNY. The distance was only 24 miles, the bill- $13,000. Thank goodness I only have to pay my co-pay, but if I did not have my coverage I would be financially ruined. So everyone do yourselves a favor and check your insurance policies! Being in an accident is traumatic enough, but then to have to worry about money and costs. That is additional stress no one needs or wants.
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2014 9:11 AM
To: Steve Brand
Subject: Tek Vest
I apologize for not emailing you before now. The last time I rode was Aug 24th and the good news is I did not impact test your vest. The bad news is that I did impact test my helmet. Broke a carbon fiber helmet. The helmet worked. No concussion. However it has jammed up my back and neck pretty good. Needless to say I have not done any riding since then.
I was able to do some riding with both vest in some real heat and you were correct, they are not that bad. To my surprise I like the Rally vest the best. I like the zipper in the front. I found that you can quickly open it when you come to a stop and just as quickly zip it shut when you are ready to ride again.
I will try to call you later this week. Things are very busy from now till the beginning of next month. I have a trade show next week that I am trying to get ready for. Then when I get back I have a huge Dual Sport to get ready for the first weekend in Nov. There will be over 600 riders there and I set up as a vendor.
Talk to you soon. Have a great day.
Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2014 8:03 AM
To: Steve Brand
Subject: Re: Rally Max crash testimonial
Overall: I am very pleased with my TekVest. I have not had any significant crashes while riding with it, (I hope it stays that way). My biggest concern was it being to hot in the summertime, especially in the desert, that turned out not to be an issue, it is warmer than my old 661 pressure suit but I would gladly trade that for the obvious increase in protection. I like the integrated hydration pouch. The only down side is that I find that I can't wear my day pack comfortably with the TekVest, So I plan on buying a Giant Loop Mojavi bag for day trips. Also, I have not found a good location to put my Spot beacon, I really like having that somewhere on my upper torso not my bike.
Design: Please tell you team that the design, material selection and overall fit and finish of your product is great. I have worked as an engineer in design and manufacturing for over 25 years and I really appreciate high quality, well thought out and robustly designed products.
Function: The TekVest helps me ride better because I feel more protected while I wear it. It is like a helmet for your body and just like a helmet I feel naked if I don't wear it now.
Customer Service: I really appreciate the time that you take to respond to me and other customers.
Best of luck to you and your company.
Sent: June-17-13 7:38 PM
Subject: RE: Your repair
Hello Steve and Tekrider:
I just thought I would write a quick note of thanks to you and your staff for your great product and support. My Rally Max Tekvest has served me well over the past three years. It is an essential piece of gear when I'm riding off road. It has been worn for over 300 hours in the past three years on dual sport rides, enduros, cross country events, organized trail rides and off road rides in all kinds of weather from -2C to 30+ degrees Celsius. At a recent event I went down in a corner on the first lap and was hit / run over by a bike and rider behind me. At the time, we both got up, jumped on our bikes and got going again and I never gave the incident another thought. The next day I was no worse for wear aside from a sore arm but when I looked at the vest I realized there had been some sort of impact. After shipping the vest back for repair I was informed of how bad the impact had been. Judging by the damage to the vest I was very fortunate to escape this without so much as a bruise. The side of the vest looks as though perhaps a foot peg or some other metal tore into it. The protection offered by your vest certainly did its job I can't imagine what my torso would look like had I not been wearing the vest. The side protection offered by the Tekvest was the reason I purchased the unit three years ago after cracking ribs in a crash while wearing a roost guard. Thanks again to you and your staff for such a great product and standing behind it. Also thanks for the great deal on my new Rally Max vest.
From: George (Sledcore Mulisha)
April 2nd 2018
I've had my vest for not even 2 months now. This is the first year I've been serious in riding off trail and getting used to throwing my polaris around.
A couple friends had ordered these vests and I was very impressed with the quality of the build and materials. Very light and warm and most of all seemed to offer protection in the right areas.
Well today my luck finally caught up with me as I cased a landing and slammed into the handlebars. The crash was violent and I was stunned as I felt like I was smashed in the chest by a train. As I came to my senses I realized what had happened. The vest had surely saved me from broken ribs/collapsed lung etc. .
I'm sitting here writing this review from home and not the hospital or worse. The vest saved me today and I'll never ride without it again. Thank you so much for this quality peace of equipment.
Jan. 8th 2018
I thought I would write a note about the IMPORTANCE my TekVest played for me:
On Saturday, December 30, I was on my snowmobile coming down a hill and hit a small rock that tossed me to the right into another huge rock. When skis hit the rock it turned the handlebars completely sideways and brought the sled to an instant stop. I took the end of the bar in my side in the ribs. When I came off the sled and landed on the ground, I thought I was going to die. The pain was EXCRUCIATING. It took me quite awhile to be able to breathe and had to have help to get up.
A week later, I can still barely move and am in pain from my arm pIt to waist and breast bone in front to spine in back.
Although i'm still in a lot of pain, I can only IMAGINE what would have happened without my vest on!!! I never ride without it!
I believe the protection on the sides is imperative and may have saved my life.
My vest did it's job perfectly.
Feb 7th 2018
Had an off on my sled yesterday coming out of an icy corner. If not for Tekvest I would be hurt pretty badly. Other than some bruised ribs and some sled damage I am good to go. Thanks for building such a great product!
From: Jake Thomas
As an avid snowmobiler, my best accessory purchase was a TekVest. Over the years our group would ride snowcross, back country, trails and regardless of the environment, I would always wear my TekVest. This small investment paid back dividends in 2017 when I had an fluke snowmobile accident and broke my back, hip and several ribs. I am now a paraplegic because of this accident but I owe my life to my Tekvest because without it, I would not be here today. Not wearing a TekVest is like not wearing a seatbelt. They just make sense.
From: Don Neilsen
Last winter December 16th 2018 on the first ride of the year on my brand new sled (2018 Arctic Cat El Tigre 8000) It was midnight and I was second in line riding through a wooded area, I saw the lead sled 50 yards ahead take a sharp left turn so I moved to the right side of the trail to set up for the turn and when I did snow and dirt came up off the ski tip right into my face shield. At that point I couldn’t see anything but I knew I was getting pulled off to the right side of the trail but before I could get my hand to the brake my ski caught a tree and I was ejected from the sled and went back first into a tree and approximately 30 to 35 mph resulting in 9 fractured ribs in my back, left shoulder blade fracture, broke T4, T5 & L4 vertebra and collapsed both lungs. Now I have 12 screws with 2- 11” rods in my back and I am fused from T2 thru T8. I’ve ridden snowmobiles for 45 years and never had an accident till now. No one that I ride with has ever worn a vest so it never occurred to me to even check into it until now. Since my accident all my buddies are wearing them. I truly believe that if I would have been wearing one at the time of my accident I would not have been injured as bad.
To All at Tekrider
Thank you for taking the time to work with me to provide the best protective vest possible with an awesome design. Your customer service and communication is great.
Safe riding everybody
TESTIMONIAL FROM, RECENTLY RETIRED, TUCKER HIBBERT: