Bliss ARG Vertical LD Day Top - Review

Dec 17, 2015
by Paul Aston  
Bliss ARG Vertical LD Vest


The ARG Vertical LD from Bliss is a lightweight mesh vest with an ARG (Armourgel) spine protection insert. The vest also has pockets to stash a couple of phones/gels/bars/tools and a pair of 250ml Hydrapak flexible bottles are included. The ARG pad is basically a thin back protector that moulds easily to your body. The ARG gel hardens upon impact to dissipate forces around the area of the contact point and is said to absorb up to 80% of the energy from a crash. The pad is perforated, so it's much more breathable than some competitors, and reportedly, it can withstand multiple impacts at the same point. Performance is said to be constant in temperatures between +40°C and -20°C, and the vest can be washed over 50 times with no negative effects. MSRP is: €169.90, or $149.90 USD. blisscamp.com / @blissprotection

ARG Vertical Details:
• ARG spine padding
• Ergonomic cut
• Flatlock stitching
• Side zipper
• Additional side pockets
• Includes 2 Hydrapak Softflasks
• Lightweight and eco-friendly fabric with coconut shell fibres, anti-bacterial
• Mesh in-lay at armpit area
• Breathable
• CE EN-1621-2:2014 CB certified (back)
• Sizes: XS - XXL
• Colours: black, blue
• MSRP: $149.90 USD / €169,90 EUR

Bliss ARG Vertical LD Vest
The perforations help keep the air flowing.
Bliss ARG Vertical LD Vest
The ARG protection is slim and lightweight.

Bliss ARG Vertical LD Vest
The small waist pockets were handy, although the Hydraflask bottles managed to escape pretty quickly.



Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesProtection is a personal thing, with preferences divided between safety, comfort, bulk, and price. For me, comfort is utmost. If it's not a good fit, too hot, or irritating, I won't wear it. What's the point of having an amazing piece of safety technology sitting at home as you make your way over the handlebars, planning to break your rock-fall with soft flesh and comparatively feeble bones?

The ARG Vertical LD vest certainly covered the comfort side of things for me, by far the most comfortable and cool back protector I have used. The Hydraflask's? they were another story - a little awkward to get in and out of the pockets, and I lost both within a few metres on the first descent. Beyond the useless water bottles, the vest was impressive. I never had that"hmmph, I don't fancy having to put that on today," and while the coverage of the Bliss' ARC back protector is minimal compared to some competitors, it's the one I wear. The competitors are hanging in my wardrobe somewhere. - Paul Aston



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MENTIONS: @blissprotection




109 Comments

  • + 133
 Wore this testing my stunts at Rampage, definitely confidence inspiring. Breathable and didn't notice it's there #sendit
  • + 97
 And that ladies and gentleman, is how you create value for your sponsors.
  • + 21
 If Reece Wallace trusts it and it's comfortable... I'm going to buy myself a christmas gift
  • - 49
flag MaxDeutsch (Dec 17, 2015 at 22:03) (Below Threshold)
 (text from bliss)
Alright Reese, PB dropped the review, get in those comments and bring us more customers. Make sure you add #sendit or something like that so it seems authentic too.
  • - 14
flag stacykohut (Dec 17, 2015 at 22:40) (Below Threshold)
 i wouldn't trust this wack job product any further than i could throw it. spine protector my ass, more like a car floor mat duct taped to a t shirt.
  • + 18
 Come on guys...did ever think about that riders also have a choice what they want to ride or by whom they want to be sponsored? It is not like..."f*ck I need to get a protection sponsor and I am accepting any offer I get"...
It is pretty much like a Job. If the job does not fit you, you not gonna take it. Same for protection gear or any other bike-related product. If you as a pro rider do not like the product you not gonna ride it. I guess there are some exceptions (dont have a proper example here) but in such an individual and important matter like protection gear you definitely make sure that the product/sponsor fits your needs.
  • - 34
flag MaxDeutsch (Dec 17, 2015 at 23:17) (Below Threshold)
 Bliss isn't in his bio so maybe Reece isn't even sponsored by them, he just comments stuff that sound like he's being paid to say it, so he can watch the world burn.
  • + 101
 @MaxDeutsch I saw the article at the top of the news feed, noticed I wear the same one, and thought I would make a comment because Bliss is a rad company who supports freeride and I'm proud to work with them. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • + 31
 stop trying @MaxDeutsch
  • + 16
 Why are people negproping @stacykohut ? I guess he should know a thing or two about spine protectors
  • + 2
 It's pretty irrelevant whether or not @reecewallace is sponsored by them or not (which he is as their logo is on his jersey). You buy your bikes and components based on "it survived Rampage", so how is this any different? If you are a company that has built a product to protect from the biggest crashes, you have to pay a Rampage or WC rider to wear one to prove it (and from the videos it certainly looks like he was wearing one). That's how the business works. No one would be saying shit and everyone would have bought one if Reece had went OTB and landed on his back and got right up and did another run (he did land on his butt pretty hard, it looks like, so this may have saved his tailbone). But the fact he trusts this product enough to wear it at Rampage is all he is telling you. Paul Aston, who got his for free I'm sure, said its the protection he wears now too, so you now have this information, take it or leave it as you may.
  • - 4
flag FaastEddie (Dec 18, 2015 at 9:02) (Below Threshold)
 Cuz this is OBVIOUSLY the sturdy type of protection you want to wear at Rampage doing 50-70 foot drops. Reece, I'm sure you would feel a thing landing on your back from one of those drops wearing this. Totally legit!
  • - 9
flag stacykohut (Dec 18, 2015 at 9:18) (Below Threshold)
 @getrektm8..

you right, i was not injured in a sporting event..

you wanna know why?

because i always wore real protection everytime i raced or rode my bike/mx and skateboard.

you don't wear upper body protection when swinging on swings, but then again, maybe i should have. lol.

massive douche huh?

what happened? did i not let you ask a question when i came and visited you in elementary school to public speak about high risk activities and staying safe? was that with the p.a.r.t.y. program or was it with smartrisk? or maybe it was the esteem team? one of those years and programs for sure.

were you the kid in the front row with snot all over your face smelling like sour milk?

its okay tiger, i'm sure with a name like getrektm8 , you got it all covered.
go get em!
  • - 12
flag stacykohut (Dec 18, 2015 at 15:29) (Below Threshold)
 maybe thats your problem junior, you don't listen to people who know whats up. and as far a me and all the crap you've heard from the herd, well, you couldn't walk a foot in my shoes young man. my father taught me many lessons when i was in elementary school...and i was smart enough and turned on enough to remember the lessons.............my fave......... lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep. you my friend are baaaaaaaad.
  • + 8
 You were turned on by your dad?
  • + 13
 Wow...who the f*ck is stacykohut anyway?
  • + 7
 No, seriously..
  • + 5
 The dude who rides whistler on his buggy/4 wheel dh bike/whatever that is
  • - 7
flag stacykohut (Dec 18, 2015 at 22:02) (Below Threshold)
 give me break getrektm8........... you and your kind just kill me. keyboard warrior.
  • - 3
 @uphilarious......

sorry ya don't get it. not my fault.
  • + 5
 I'm pretty sure that's exactly what you wrote, not my fault.
  • + 4
 I love the MTB community.......entitled,opinionated, narcissistic, immature, and just plain full of shite!!! thanks for the giggles in the morning and a reminder of how nerdy this sport is......LOLOLOLOLOLOL
  • + 3
 @Bird-Man

I'd have to agree, but it's not just mountain bikers it's everywhere on the internet. And no offense @GetREkTm8, but if you just didn't respond to @stacykohut then either the argument would just stop or Stacy would refresh the page over and over again until he explodes
  • - 10
flag stacykohut (Dec 19, 2015 at 14:31) (Below Threshold)
 i came here to put down a product, getrektm8 came here to put down a person.


who's the real douche?
  • + 13
 How about both of you for arguing like 12 year olds on the internet?
  • + 12
 $150 buys a LOT more protection that this thing provides.
It'll buy you complete upper body protection, including an armored back protector that easily zips away from the rest of the padded jacket/shirt, allowing you to wear it by itself if you choose
  • + 8
 Do you have a preferred option that you would care to share with the class?
  • + 2
 @yokev, you're right that there's full pressure tops for that price, it's a matter of what you want to ride in.
I was looking for something I wouldn't notice while riding. After my first ride in a Bliss top I ditched my old pressure suit (with zip off spine protector) that I'd been using for 2 years.
I no longer notice my protection & can ride more smoothly, comfortably and ultimately have even more fun with the added confidence.
  • + 5
 I'm a big believer that less is more, that the less-protective armor that you actually wear regularly is safer than the fuller-coverage armor you don't. So I like the concept of this. But it looks to like this leaves the top and bottom of the spine unprotected for no good reason.
  • + 5
 @Phillyenduro I just checked out their website. The Comp model has protection that goes a bit lower, tailbone. Loses the pockets, but I would be wearing this under some other shirt, so for me, the pockets offer no value anyway. If you like the concept, you might want to check out their other offerings.
  • + 1
 I am all for protective gear, the more the better. The key for me is "fit". I try as many brands and models as I can get my hands on. I'll even make modifications to the gear to make it fit & feel better. Cost is an entirely different topic, but the cost of gear is always less than the cost of Ambulance, Emergency Medial Treatment or Hospitalization...So "gear-up my friends".
  • + 9
 I don't comment much, but thought it was important for me to comment on this. I'm an orthopaedic surgeon. I ride bikes, and I've treated mountain bikers with serious spine injuries. This armour, while protecting against scrapes and bruises, provides essentially zero protection against the type of injuries that cause spine fractures and spinal cord injuries. These injuries are caused by axial load (landing heavy on your ass or head), or flexion/extension injuries (getting folded through the body as you land). Braces like the Leatt neck brace get certification because they protect against axial load when you land on your head (and they work). Buy this if you want to stop yourself getting scraped up when you land on your back, but don't think it's going to give any protection against a fractured spine or spinal cord injury if you land the wrong way.
  • + 1
 so is there any kind of protection you can get for your spine, lower than your neck? except of not biking...
  • + 3
 So basicsally none of the backprotectors in the market Are helping to Prevent fractures, Right?
  • + 3
 As far as I know, the only protection with any kind of evidence are the neck braces (Leatt, etc.). The only type of fractures these back protectors theoretically might help with in the spine are transverse process fractures (think Brazil's Neymar in the World Cup). Transverse process fracture has essentially zero chance of spinal cord injury.
  • + 9
 What happens after 50 washes? I need back protection and this seems to fit the bill
  • + 33
 Shit'll catch on fire and take your washing machine with it too.
  • + 5
 It's to do with the fabrics. Same with any jersey or armour vest out there, the stitching is the weak point and may start to drop a thread. The ARG Armourgel is waterproof, so thats fine. I've been using and washing my kit regularly for a year with no issues.
  • + 3
 I did ride my arg-gear the whole season and washed it after every bikepark ride. So should be about 30 full washing cycles. It's still in perfect condition.
  • + 4
 wash on cold handwash and don't dry. Same goes for the rest of your technical gear and it will last for years pending serious crash damage.
  • + 6
 Even if it falls apart after 50 washes, that's still 49 more than I got out of a POC vpd suit before the seams fell apart.
  • + 1
 Same as for all protection. A bucket and some bleach, add water to top, agitate with stick for a couple of minutes, let sit for a couple of hours, wring out and hang to dry. Some use Woolite instead of bleach so it doesn't fade the colors, but you will need to use a lot more of it.
  • + 6
 As a rehab dr who has seen many spinal injuries a protective vest will do nothing to prevent a vertebral fracture but could protect your ribs. Mechanism of injury is generally compressive or hyperflexion or extensiom injury
  • + 6
 I've had Bliss vert top since February and fully agree, "by far the most comfortable" protection. Plus I've walked away from a couple tumbles I don't think I would have walked away from had it not been for the top.
  • + 4
 Been running one for a year and it's terrific. slim and comfortable but a definite feeling of protection. Neck sits a little high is my only minor gripe.
  • + 2
 I wouldnt trust anything that is not Ce 1621-2 level 2 for spine protection, and CE 1621-1 for rest. residual forces on your bones in a crash are a lot higher when protected with non certified materials and that is the diference between walking home and broken bones. In the bike market products with CE are allready here and in some cases they are exceeding the certifications by a big percentage, just need to research a bit about it.
I havent seen the Certifications of this product, so is it CE certified ?up to which standard ?
  • + 13
 Just checked the table on the article, it is CE 1621-2 , so it is quite interesting!
  • + 7
 a simple click on the link could have answered your question: "CE EN-1621-2:2014 CB certified" - from the bliss site
  • + 1
 It does work really well with a least neck brace. It is comfortable. Ive hit a tree really hard on the shoulder pad and ended up with less damage and bruising than with hardshell. I also flattened a fence post with the back plate and only knew I had hit it because I was lying on it. Didn't feel the impact at all. its good stuff and they have excellent after sales. I use mine for DH and have never looked back.
  • + 1
 i rode this vest all season long and love it. i don't like backpacks but want spine protection which doesn't limit my movements, so it's perfect for me.
but they state " is said to absorb up to 80% of the energy from a crash", i thought at least 95% of impact energy has to be absorbed to get CE level 2 certification ....am i wrong?
  • + 1
 Hey,
Anyone have any experience with these?
www.blisscamp.com/en/bliss-arg-comp-ld-top-black/a-21539
I have used this Troy Lee shirt the last couple of years, www.troyleedesigns.com/products/51000320
It has saved me on numerous occasions but is hot and rides up quite a bit. Thinking of trying the Bliss Comp Top.
Thanks
  • + 3
 Hey,

I'm riding the same model, just without the chest protector. The first rides it didn't give me much confidence, but after some time I love it. You almost dont feel it, and the elbows stay in place all the time. I've always hated all these protection jacket/vest things. Bought them, wore them 2-3 times and never again, but i'd never want to miss one of these. I ride Bikepark/DH and enduro/trail with one and the same thing (Y)
  • + 1
 Thanks for the heads up. I think Ill look into one for this summer in the park. They are almost impossible to find here though and Id like to try one on.
  • + 3
 Hey! Like dude415, i have the same, just without the chest protector and is just perfect, it stays in place and you easily forget, that you are wearing it. Just be sure that you buy the right size, i ordered from the internet and checked directly with guys from bliss via their facebook page and they helped me out with the sizing!
  • + 1
 Thanks @Kanta. Did you notice the sizing to be pretty true? Im an XL in most uppers, t shirts, Troy Lee etc. Did it fit close to your shirt size?
  • + 1
 Hey @snowsnow

my sizing did fit quite perfect, I have to wear xxl, and the size chart was pretty on point. the only thing: it's a little long, as I am only 5.9ft
  • + 1
 Hey @snowsnow , i usualy wear an L, and ended buying an L size, but it might differ for you. I am quite skinny, and could also go for an M depending on the size charts, and an M size was also the recomendations from bliss, since the vest needs to be a snugg fit, and because it uses a zipper up front it is realy no problem getting it of. I bought an L because in the end i found somewhone who was seluing it and got to try it in person, it is a little loose around my vaist, but it doesnt bother me and it does not affect the movement of the pads. Hope i helped you Smile
  • + 1
 Thanks again everyone
  • + 1
 It looks comfortable and I may look into it for enduro racing, but for DH I want more protection. The heat and discomfort doesn't really bother me.

To the article writer: did you fall wearing it? Do you think it protected you?

FWIW, I saw (and talked to) Manon Carpenter at Windham this year without her jersey on and just the armor. I am not sure what brand it was, but it was more substantial than this.
  • + 2
 They offer a wide product range. The day top is just a product out of their range. Personally I use the comp top and the tank top which is the one Manon is used to wear.
I was a bit worried at the beginneng because the material is very thin but after several hard crashes I´m assured.
  • + 2
 Looks like it works for preventing scrapes and bruises but if I am going to protect my back I would wear a hard shell that prevents the spine fron snapping/breaking like motorcycle protection right?
  • + 3
 These are the same standards as motorbike and Forcefield (for example) who supply armour to a lot of British Super Bike and Moto GP riders use soft armour. A hardshell won't prevent your back from breaking. A soft armour absorbs the impact, reducing and spreading the load, whereas a hardshell transfers the majority of the energy to you. A hardshell can be useful for sliding.
  • + 1
 Spot on. This would save you from some soft tissue damage but that's about it. I'm not sure it's feasible to produce something that actually would protect your spine but would still be ok for riding in.
  • + 4
 Check Manon Carpenter's Fort William crash from this season, along with Recce Wallace from Rampage. They do protect your spine.
  • + 1
 Does a hard shell prevent the spine from bending backwards so that it does not break? I'm just visualizing a neck being jolted back and snapping if there is no headrest in a car. I just thought that the hard shell just prevented the movement backwards ?
  • + 1
 A soft amour goes rigid on impact, giving the protection the hardshell would but customised to the persons body shape/how they landed.
  • + 1
 Exactly, Armourgel becomes rigid when the speed of impact increases. There's a video somewhere on Youtube of a guy with a block of Atmourgel. He can bend it, fold it whatever he wants. Then, he shoots a bullet (actually it's a pellet from an air gun) at it, and it suddenly becomes rigid, the bullet just falls on the floor
  • + 1
 @fabdemaere - what happens when you fold the soft armour in half? Does it become rigid?
  • + 1
 Hyperflexion people is what you want to protect your back people. Not bruises.
  • + 1
 You can fold it on itself and it'll still go rigid - obviously once injection moulded into a piece of armour it has more of a form. But, it your back is folded in half, I think armours the least of your worries.... The armour protects way more than just bruises.
  • + 2
 Rubbish article, more in depth testing please!!
How well does it work with a neck brace and how does it feel after 15 shuttle runs???
I'm after good back protection after Tring 661 an leatte an hating both
  • + 3
 I´m using the top with a leatt brace and I´m happy with it.
  • + 1
 How heavy does the pad feel? I'm only asking because, I had the leatte protection to work with my leatte brace and, while the interaction was great the actuall pad felt to heavy. Like a plank of wood strapped to my back Frown
I'm looking at this, race Face or a troy Lee vest
Thanks for your opinion bud!
  • + 1
 @nojzilla it´s not too heavy at all. For sure it adds a couple more grams but I´m ok with it. They use a flexible material which I really appreciate. For this reason it doesn't feel like a plank to me. The surface of the pad is pretty minimalistic. It´s good for trail riding but when things getting serious I rather prefer another product out of their product range named comp top. Also works brilliant with a brace to me.
  • + 1
 Cheers! Yeah the leatte had very little flex
  • + 3
 @nojzilla I'm a quite big guy, so I don't have much space under my Neckbrace. because the arg-gear is super thin it worked out perfectly well in use with a neckbrace. I also hat several crashes on roots and rocks and walked away easily. To be honest: at first I didn't think this gear is thick or strong enough for riding DH and I didn't feel that confident, but in fact it works awesome. Everything stays in place (and it does cool you a lot)

because of its fabric it gets wet quite fast but you don't feel that at all. Only if you take it off and then back on. Mine did also not wear out it still has the same shape after many washing and biking cycles

best thing: it's super flexible, and it feels almost just like a shirt
  • + 2
 Cheers for the opinions guys, I'll have to give this a try
  • + 3
 I have the whole suit version. Lighter, more breathable than any other type of kit I've had. I've crashed in it to. Its the best I've ever used.
  • + 1
 Hey @ovadebarz, are you running this one?
www.blisscamp.com/en/bliss-arg-comp-ld-top-black/a-21539
I have used this Troy Lee shirt the last couple of years, www.troyleedesigns.com/products/51000320
It has saved me on numerous occasions but is hot and rides up quite a bit. Thinking of trying the Bliss Comp Top.
You like it I am getting from your comment?
  • + 4
 Before anyone complains about the price, what is your body worth if this really is somewhat comfy and protective?
  • + 3
 Borke three ribs 2years ago right next to my spine on my left hand side. $150 is NOTHING pampered to what I had to go through...
  • + 7
 Speak from some experience here... Broke c5/c6 in the neck and t12 on the back previously and I recently looped out in a manual and had a real crack at my spine again. 2 weeks in - the pain is severe - and I'd pay 10X this amount to go back in time and be wearing this protection. Sometimes light is good as I''m more likely to wear it during session than say my pressure suit. Back to price - one crash has resulted in $100,000 medical costs so having the right protection when you need it is smart money
  • - 1
 100K! Thanks Obama!
  • + 2
 Ha... Re: Obama. That was before ACA. In fairness it included: reattaching my lower lip, screws to put my jaw back in place, removing said screws, even more plastic surgery for facial fractures / nose and treat complications, 4 months of spine work complete w/ an unfortunate amount of time in a collar, replacing my front teeth and rehab.... Plenty-o-rehab. Want to know how fun it is to drink your food for months on end? Just ask.

A bit out of the scope for what this protector was capable of helping with but it does show how something can go horribly wrong and cost $$. A FF would have been nice tho.
  • + 1
 I'd love to wear something like this that also extended the protection over the scapula region as well. Ife wear it biking and skiing without question.
  • + 3
 The perfect way for beekeepers to take a swarm with you for a ride.
  • + 1
 This looks more like protection for bruises and it's strong point is comfort. Does anyone know if it will protect from a broken spine or back? Thx
  • + 1
 I don't see how it can, surely it would need to be rigid and you securely strapped to it?
  • + 4
 The ARG Spine Protectors are fully CE certified and adhere to the highest standards. The Armourgel stiffens on impact (has an open re-entrant structure and is non Newtonian), preventing penetration, whilst spreading and absorbing a large proportion of the energy, reducing the blunt trauma. If you want proof of it protecting your back watch Manon Carpenters Fort William crash from this year or Recce at Rampage. Both were wearing Bliss ARG back protectors.
  • + 1
 Sure, this is a video from that company, but it convinced me kind of... vimeo.com/90859455

I had several crashes, even on rocks e.g., and always walked away without anything
  • + 1
 light weight and comfortable ill take it as opposed to what i wear now....nothing
  • + 1
 Yes, I have tried this one.
Happy with this one but for DH riding I rather prefer their Comp LD Top.
It offers more protection and I assume it´s good for me.
  • + 1
 this will protect my spine??...
  • + 2
 That´s what it´s made for. And it´s certified with CE EN-1621-2.
I was used to wear the 661 Sub Gear Sleeve before which is as far as I know not certified or even tested.
So I feel better, yes.
  • - 3
 useless. no better than tieing a sack around yourself and thinking you are protected. if you want proper solid protection then go to a company that sells reputable, proven protection. not this hybrid wannabe endurotastic junk. please - don't compromise on body armour and protection
  • + 1
 Can you use a neckbrace with it?
  • + 1
 Klar, sollte kein Problem sein!
  • + 2
 Stimmt, so dünn wie die ist. Werd mir wohl mal eine zur Ansicht bestellen, wobei ich weiss nicht ob mit das nicht bissl psychisch verunsichert so wenig wie da dran ist. Fühle mich schon bissl sicherer mit den dickeren SASTEC die ich hab Wink
  • + 1
 So gings mir am Anfang auch, aber nach den ersten Stürzen war das weg Wink
Bin mir nicht ganz sicher, aber glaube dieses Jahr kommt ein DH-Spezifischer Protektor raus (Team-Line), der ist Dicker und hat glaube ich noch eine zusätzliche Lage Schaum mit drin.
  • + 1
 Heben die auch was gegen spitze Steine? Dass die die Energie rausnehmen glaub ich, aber ob die auch gegen fiese Steine was bieten? Der Teamline klingt allerdings interessant.
  • + 1
 Hi, klar das ist im Labor. Mich haben die Videos damals aber überzeugt: vimeo.com/110880261
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TuXz_83Jio
  • + 1
 no front picture???
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