Didn't want to steal NewRacer3's thread so:
I started racing last year and towards the end started hitting gates. Once it started to hurt, I used my daughter's soccer shin guard on my forearms and all was well. Slightly uncomfortable but did the job. Since I plan on spending the entire season racing as much as I can (84 starts last season and will easily break 100 this season), it was recommended to get at least a padded top. I don't believe I'm at a point that a gs suit is required (biggest bang will be in technique) and my daughter said she'd be less willing to go with me if I was in one. Can't say I blame her.
Anyway, looking at padded tops. Spyder has a couple I like. Of course the one I really like "Spyder: Power d3o Stealth Top" is either out of stock or for sale at full price ($100). The next one down "Spyder: Stealth Top" looks good too but I'm worried that I'll end up wishing I got the other one because it isn't protecting as much. I've only been able to find the latter on sale in my size (M) according to Spyder's charts.
I've been reasoning it out that there's a reason the d30 is sold out and I should wait for that. I'm trying to be a little thrifty as this season is going to be more expensive than last (daughter is doing race camp).
Would appreciate any insight on these:
Are padded tops worth it at all?
Is the d30 that much better and worth paying full price?
Is the Stealth good enough and will protect my arms and shoulders.