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Bliss Protection starts padding its presence in North America – Interview and tech details

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Bliss Protection isn’t a new company, but they’re just starting to make inroads in North America, so they reached out with info and samples…which we’ll be testing in the Alps over the next couple weeks. For now, we wanted to know what made them unique? After all, there are quite a few companies making elbow, knee and body pads.

The secret is in the material they use to keep the pads both lightweight and extremely flexible. It’s called Armorgel, and it brings several things to the table. First, it’s incredibly thin, just 6mm on some of the lighter pieces, yet it’ll dissipate about 80% of an impact’s energy. It does this by firming up under impact and spreading the force across a broader area. After the impact, it returns to its original shape and softness, regaining full functionality, flexibility and protection hit after hit.

It’s also breathable, using a porous, open design to keep air circulating to the skin underneath. Compared to fully enclosed pads, that could be reason enough to switch over during the summer. And it can be thrown in the wash up to 50 times without performance loss, so even if you are sweating like mad, it can stay fresh.

We spoke with Bliss founder and designer Matthias Ascherl to learn more…

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BIKERUMOR: How did you get into this?

MATTHIAS: Bliss Protection was founded in 2006. We at Bliss are all enthusiastic mountain bikers, skiers and snowboarders – were not satisfied with the current body armor at the market. Every product was – or even still is – too bulky and made you look like a “Robo-Cop”. It was time to do something new, something different, something better! Bliss Protection is known as a riders brand and has the mentality that comes along with it. Constantly thinking outside the box is the daily grind at Bliss. We wanted thinner, more flexible, lighter and even more breathable protection, so we can ride longer and have more fun and comfort. There was nothing in the shops you could buy, so we started our own protection company. This was the day when Bliss was born.

Bliss' elbow and knee pads range from full length, covered versions to minimalist, lightweight skins. We're testing the latter.
Bliss’ elbow and knee pads range from full length, covered versions to minimalist, lightweight skins. We’re testing the latter.

BIKERUMOR: What makes Bliss’ products different or better?

MATTHIAS: Our products are driven by getting used in all kind of terrains, Cross Country, Enduro, Downhill and even Freeriding. The big difference is that we are able to make products slightly thiner and lighter with even more protection. All our products are CE tests certified, which is the highest test on the market so far.

BIKERUMOR: What were the biggest challenges in developing a new material?

MATTHIAS: The challenge was to find the correct material for our pads which will fulfill the high standards we set to get used in our products. After around 3 years developing with Armourgel we launched the first products and are very proud to set the next level of body armor.

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BIKERUMOR: Outside of product development, what are some of the other challenges of creating and growing a business?

MATTHIAS: Being a small brand the largest challenge was and still is to get people to notice our products. We do not have big marketing budgets as the big competitors. Because of this we work very close with our riders as a kind of partnership. They are involved from the first sketch to the final product. This provides solid credibility in the scene. Our brand is deeply embedded in the MTB culture – this is what keeps our brand reputation solid.

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They make tops and bottoms, gloves and other protective items, too. There’s even kids’ sizes in some items.

BIKERUMOR: What’s next for Bliss?

MATTHIAS: Conquer the world 😉

Our next big focus is to get piece of the North American market and still continue to grow in Europe. We are also continuously working to improve our product line.

BlissCamp.com

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