10 Best Mountain Bike Elbow Pads for 2023 (Trail-Tested and Approved)

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I tested many mountain bike elbow pads and found Fox Enduro D30 Elbow Pad to be the best overall elbow pad for protection.

I’ve been changing elbow pads since I started mountain biking through rough roads, but they don’t cover my elbows very well. 

I had my fair share of bruises and fractures even with elbow pads until I learned about Fox Enduro D30 Elbow Pad.

Every elbow pad is different depending on the biking activity. That’s why I’ve listed reviews of the best brands for every biking activity.

Let’s find out. Read on till the very end to find out my top product, plus all the necessary factors you should consider before buying mountain bike elbow pads.  

Best Mountain Bike Elbow Pads 

1

BEST OVERALL

Enduro D30 Elbow Pad

Fox Racing

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2

BEST FOR ENDURO

Mission Elbow Pads

‎Kali Protectives

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3

BEST FOR DOWNHILL

Slayer Elbow Pads

Dakine

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4

BEST FOR CROSS COUNTRY

Elevate Elbow Guard

Pearl Izumi

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5

BEST FOR ROUGH CYCLING

Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads

POC

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6

BEST FOR LONG MID-SUMMER TRAIL RIDES

Speed Elbow Sleeves

Troy Lee Designs

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7

BEST FOR SMALL BUDGET

Bodyprox Elbow Protection Pads

Bodyprox

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8

BEST FOR TRAIL/CROSS COUNTRY

PRO-X3 Mountain Bike Guards

G-Form

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9

BEST FOR TRAIL BIKING

Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads

7iDP

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10

BEST FOR LIGHT CROSS COUNTRY

Airflex Elbow Guard

Leatt Brace

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10 Best Mountain Bike Elbow Pads Reviewed

All the items on this list are top-notch products. Browse through them, and try to find the one that best matches your individual requirements. 

1. Fox Enduro D30 Elbow Pad

Weight: 8.8 ounces
Product Dimensions:7 x 11 x 2 inches
Padding TypeD30
Certification:Level 1
Material:Polyester

The Fox Enduro D30 elbow pads have a balance between protection and comfort. These pads offer superior protection while maintaining an ultra-light and pedal-friendly design. 

What sets them apart from the rest is the advanced D30 CE-certified build, which allows the pads to remain flexible for unrestricted movement and optimal comfort. The D30 build instantly hardens and effectively dissipates the force of a crash in the event of an impact.

The slip-on design of the Enduro D30 Elbow Pad ensures easy and hassle-free usage, while the inclusion of impact-absorbing inserts provides comprehensive coverage with minimal restrictions. 

The moisture-wicking open mesh design promotes airflow, reducing the risk of overheating during intense rides. 

Whether you’re hitting the trails or downhill runs, these elbow pads have you covered with their exceptional protection and style.

2. Kali Protectives Mission Elbow Pads

Weight:6.4 oz
Product Dimensions:9.1 oz x 8.8 oz
Padding Type:Polyurethane
Certification:Level 1
Material:Polyurethane and Mesh

The Kali Protectives Mission Elbow Pads are reliable for protection during cross-country riding. These elbow pads, with their shorter-sleeved design, are particularly suitable for situations where elbow protection is not as critical. 

Their compact size also allows for easy storage in a backpack, making them convenient to carry for challenging trail sections. One notable advantage is their affordability, offering great value as Level 1 protectors.

The Mission Elbow Pads’ durability and lightweight construction are best for the demands of all-day trail riding. They ergonomically enhance both climbing and descending performance, which will let you focus on your riding without distractions.

The elbow pads feature flexible shock-absorbent polyurethane padding, which effectively cushions impacts. In addition, the breathable mesh back panel promotes ventilation to ensure comfort during long rides. 

The non-slip bands at the top and bottom of the pads help maintain a secure fit and prevent unwanted movement. 

So, if you’re looking for lightweight protection during cross-country riding, Kali Protectives Mission Elbow Pads are the right choice.

3. Dakine Slayer Elbow Pads

Weight:9.1 oz
Product Dimensions:10.04 x 5.94 x 3.54 inches
Padding Type:Polyurethane
Certification:Level 1
Material:80% Polyester, 20% Nylon with polyurethane foam

The Dakine Slayer Elbow Pads are best for heavy-duty downhill mountain biking. These pads mean business with their thick foam and Cordura fabrics, providing the most robust protection. The Cordura fabric provides exceptional abrasion resistance. 

It also uses Polygiene that keeps the pad fresh. The perforated 4-way stretch materials and open-back design enhance breathability to keep you cold during intense rides, and the pre-curved ergonomic patterning ensures a great fit.

The thick protective elbow cup absorbs shocks and gives a spring-like feel on impact. It’s not the most comfortable fit compared to pads with later fabrics, but it’s a trade-off for the level of protection you get. 

The Dakin Slayer pads are top-notch when it comes to downhill biking. The DK Impact polyurethane foam acts as a shock absorber, preventing serious elbow injuries. The stretchable extended mesh ensures a snuff fit that won’t slide down. 

4. Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard

Weight:9.8 oz
Product Dimensions:11.81 x 9.84 x 5.91 inches
Padding Type:D30 LP1 Viscoelastic Pads
Certification:Level 1

Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guards are medium-weight and provide CE level 1 protection with their D30 viscoelastic LP1 pads. They strike a nice balance between comfort and safety.

The pads are made with tough Cordura 4-way stretch woven materials that don’t restrict your movement. They can handle the rough and tumble of riding without adding bulk. 

Plus, the back of the pads features mesh fabric with a knee cutout to keep things cool and prevent annoying bunching when you pedal.

Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard has impressive coverage and a secure fit. The sleeves cover most of your bicep and stay in place because of the silicone grippers

The Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard will protect you, whether you’re tearing down the trails or tackling technical sections.

5. POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads

Weight:7.1 oz
Product Dimensions:8.58 x 1.95 x 15.6 inches
Padding Type:VPD Compound
Certification:Level 1
Material:Neoprene

POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads provide lightweight and impact-absorbing protection with their VPD Compound

The reinforced stretch fabric adds to the overall comfort, while the crash retention strap (CSR) ensures a secure and comfortable fit. The neoprene antislip on the inside adds an extra layer of reliability.

One thing to note is that the POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads don’t offer as much additional coverage with a sleeve, unlike other models. The padding takes up the entirety of the pad. But overall, the POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads are a great option for rough cycling.

6. Troy Lee Designs Speed D30 Elbow Sleeves

Weight:6.4 oz
Padding Type:D30
Certification:Level 1
Material:D30 Foam

The Troy Lee Designs Speed D30 Elbow Sleeves offer a unique advantage over standard foam pads with their 4mm D30

At rest, the padding is soft and flexible, but upon impact, the molecules lock up to absorb shock and safeguard your elbows. Once the impact is over, they return to their flexible state, ready for the next hit.

One standout feature of these sleeves is their breathability. Your elbows can stay cool and ventilated even during intense rides. 

The 360° seamless construction adds to the overall comfort, ensuring a smooth and irritation-free fit. The abrasion-resistant covers ensure that these sleeves can withstand the rigors of mountain biking without wearing out quickly. 

Plus, the full-length sleeve design prevents slippage, so you won’t have to constantly readjust them during your rides.

Another good aspect is the visibility enhancement provided by the reflective print logos. These logos are not only for style. They make you more visible to others, which improves your safety.

Numerous reviews have praised their breathability and overall comfort. Some riders found them so comfortable that they wear them more frequently than bulkier, more protective pads. 

7. Bodyprox Elbow Protection Pads

Weight:2.4 oz
Product Dimensions:11.14 x 5.51 x 1.15 inches
Padding Type:EVA Foam
Material:Polyester, Rubber

The Bodyprox Elbow Protection Pads have thick EVA foam strategically placed to protect every angle of your elbow. 

These pads provide reliable and targeted protection. They fit comfortably to your elbow because of their flexible and form-fitting design. They even release body heat because of their breathable knit blend of polyester and rubber.

One of the main features of these pads is their light to moderate compression. The compression sleeves not only enhance blood flow but also increase muscle warmth, keeping your muscles relaxed and ready for action. 

Additionally, compression helps minimize swelling in case of sudden falls or injuries.

Bodyprox Elbow Protection Pads come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. These sleeves are highly stretchy and can expand up to 60% of their original diameter. If you prefer a tighter compression fit, you can size down.

With their durable construction, lightweight design, and therapeutic compression, the Bodyprox Elbow Protection Pads are a great choice, especially for budget riders. These pads provide the perfect balance of protection and mobility. 

8. G-Form Pro X3 Elbow Guard

Weight:5.28 oz
Product Dimensions:6.11 x 8.51 x 1.43 inches
Padding Type:SmartFlex pads
Certification: CE EN 15613:2008
Material:Lycra

G-Form Pro-X3 Elbow Guards provide the protection you need, precisely when you need it, without weighing you down. The key to the Pro-X3’s performance lies in G-Form’s SmartFlex technology. These flexible pads are designed to mold your movements, giving you total comfort during any ride. 

The body-mapped impact-absorbing SmartFlex pads ensure you stay protected, while the compression sleeves with silicone grippers keep the pads securely in place. 

SmartFlex absorbs the impact, providing you with a more comfortable experience. You’ll feel less impact while wearing G-Form protection.

Not only are these elbow guards ideal for various types of riding, including BMX (both race and freestyle), but they also boast excellent ventilation. The ventilated pads and moisture-wicking, UPF 50+ fabric work together to keep you cool ad dry even during intense sessions.

G-Form goes the extra mile by incorporating XRD Protection into its padding. This exoskeleton rate-dependent material is soft to the touch but hardens upon impact. This provides you with enhanced protection when you need it most. 

9. 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pad

Weight:7.02 oz
Product Dimension:9 x 5 x 4 inches
Padding Type:Impact Foam
Certification:Level 1
Material:Synthetic Blend

7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads is the ultimate choice for lightweight and reliable impact protection during your mountain biking adventures. These pads deliver the necessary crash protection without weighing you down or hindering your movements.

These pads offer crash protection in a minimalist package, ensuring your safety without any unnecessary bulk or weight. 

The long bicep length compression fit, along with internal silicone strips, ensures a snug and non-slip fit, hugging your upper arm and forearm for consistent protection.

The pads incorporate a breathable 4-way stretch mesh that runs the full length on the inside, allowing for optimal airflow and ventilation. Additionally, their roll-able and stow-able size makes them convenient to carry and store when not in use.

The 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads, with advanced features such as the 3D-shaped impact gel, silicone grip panels, ventilation window, and high-quality construction, protect you without hindering your movements.

10. Leatt AirFlex Elbow Guard-S

Weight:8.5 oz
Product Dimensions:16 x 5 x 4 inches
Padding Type:AirFlex
Material:MoistureCool and AirMesh

One of the standout features is the new super slim AirFlex gel, which provides molded impact protection. The reinforced polyamide construction of the BDX 5.5 ensures durability and reliable protection.

The pre-shaped design and adjustable chassis ensure a comfortable and secure fit, allowing you to focus on the trail ahead. With the MoistureCool fabric and AirMesh, you can say goodbye to sweat buildup as they work together to manage perspiration and enhance breathability.

The Leatt AirFlex Elbow Guard features silicone-printed grips at both ends to prevent unwanted slipping or shifting during your rides. This ensures the guards stay securely in place, even during intense maneuvers and rough terrains.

Leatt AirFlex Elbow Guard is your reliable companion whether you’re tracking challenging trails or enjoying a leisurely ride. It’s a must-have for any trails or light cross-country enthusiast.

Guide To Buying Mountain Bike Elbow Pads

Now that we list down the top 10 best mountain bikes for all riding activities, here’s a guide on what to look for when buying these mountain bike elbow pads:

Features

Protection: Elbow pads are typically categorized into different levels, Level 1 or Level 2, which are based on their impact absorption capabilities. 

Level 1 pads provide a basic level of protection, while Level 2 pads offer higher impact resistance. 

Fit and Comfort: Look for pads that offer adjustability through straps or closures, allowing you to fit your arm size. A snug and secure fit is crucial to ensure that the pads stay in place during your ride.

Additionally, check for pre-shaped designs that are specifically shaped to your elbow. This will enhance comfort and flexibility, allowing the pads to move with you as you navigate the trails.

Performance and Usability: Silicone-printed grips at both ends of the pads can provide extra security and prevent them from slipping down your arms. 

Problems

Discomfort: Discomfort from the elbow pads is caused by improper fitting or inadequate padding. Pay attention to any potential pressure points or rubbing areas that could cause discomfort during long rides. 

Restricted Mobility: Elbow pads shouldn’t hinder your ability to maneuver your arms freely. Look for pads that offer a good range of motion, allowing you to comfortably handle your bike’s controls and maintain your riding technique. 

Pad designs ensure unrestricted movement while still providing adequate protection.

Durability: Look for pads made from durable materials that can withstand the rigors of off-road riding. Reinforced stitching and high-quality construction are indicators of a more durable product. 

Check for any specific maintenance instructions, such as whether the pads are machine washable or require special care to ensure their longevity

Use Cases

Type of Mountain Bike Activity: Different disciplines have different levels of intensity and potential risks. Elbow pads designed for downhill or more aggressive riding typically offer higher levels of protection. 

If your mostly ride cross-country or less technical trails, you may prioritize lightweight and breathable pads.

Duration of Rides: If you typically ride for long hours or engage in more technical terrain, you may want to prioritize elbow pads that offer a balance between comfort and protection. Look for pads with adequate ventilation and moisture-wicking properties to keep you cool and dry during extended rides. 

You should consider the padding thickness and impact-absorbing capabilities of the pads to ensure they can handle the types of impacts you might encounter.

Climate Condition: If you often ride in hot and humid environments, breathability becomes even more crucial. Look for elbow pads with mesh panels or moisture-wicking fabrics to enhance airflow and prevent excessive sweating. 

If you frequently ride in cooler or wet conditions, consider elbow pads with water-resistant properties or the ability to stay in place when wet.

Level of Adjustability: Look for pads with adjustable straps or closures that allow you to fine-tune the fit according to your arm size and personal preferences. The ability to secure the pads firmly in place is essential to ensure they don’t slip or move during intense riding.

Conclusion

Out of all the elbow pads listed, the Fox Enduro D30 Elbow Pad is the best for overall mountain bike activity. The D30 impact-absorbing technology provides excellent shock absorption and protection during aggressive trail riding or enduro races.

The D30 feature sets the Fox Enduro Elbow Pad apart, making it a top choice for riders seeking advanced impact protection without compromising on flexibility and comfort.

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AUTHOR

Paul Tuthill
Growing up in Scotland, Paul developed a love for the outdoors and a desire for adventure from an early age.