Cycling goes beyond the simple act of getting on a bike and cruising around for fun. For some people, it’s a serious vocation.
That’s why you find some bike enthusiasts buying every single accessory that exists in their bid to do biking the right way.
Among the many accessories on the market, MTB elbow pads are the least prominent ones. You’ll always see bikers in helmets, knee guards, and sunglasses, but rarely would you see a cyclist strapped up in a pair of mountain bike elbow pads.
So, what are they?
Mountain bike elbow pads are protective padded gear that protects the elbow from injury when you fall off the bike accidentally. They’re worn by various professionals across a majority of sports.
In the mountain biking world, falls are part of the trade. To better shield yourself from injury, take your pick from these best-selling mountain bike elbow pads.
- At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Mountain Bike Elbow Pads
- Top 5 Best Mountain Bike Elbow Pads – Our Reviews:
- What to Consider When Buying MTB Elbow Pads?
- The Bottom Line
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Mountain Bike Elbow Pads
If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the MTB elbow pads that most people buy).
- Fox Racing Launch Pro Elbow Guard Top Pick
- G-Form Elbow Pro-X Pads Runner-up
- POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pad Runner-up
Top 5 Best Mountain Bike Elbow Pads – Our Reviews:
1. Fox Racing Launch Pro Elbow Guard
The Fox Racing Launch Pro elbow guard is considered one of the best mountain bike elbow pads on the market right now. They’re crafted to provide the most elbow protection without being uncomfortable.
It has a hard and fortified outer shell that will protect the rider even when landing on asphalt as it will absorb any shock directed to the elbow area.
The outer shell of the Fox Racing elbow guard is made of Kevlar for protection against scratches and scrapes. They have tight velcro straps that keep the pads in place, preventing them from even slipping an inch.
The main body of the pad is designed with a perforated neoprene sleeve that makes the pad breathable, allowing the rider to have them on all day.
- Solid build for maximum safety
- Tight and comfortable fit
- Easy to put on and take off
- Perforated neoprene construction
- The lining is a bit too stiff, causing friction with the skin
2. G-Form Elbow Pro-X Pads
The G-Form Elbow Pro-X, one of the best mountain bike elbow pads, comes in a pair of protective elbow guards made using a flexible type of foam that immediately hardens on impact.
The elbow pads are very light; you would barely feel them when they’re strapped on the elbows. The pads also have a breathable and moisture-wicking compression fabric that will make it possible to wear the guard for hours without feeling clammy.
- Flexible elbow pads
- Machine washable
- Comes in adult and kid sizes
- Breathable fabric
- Easy to wear and take off
- Doesn’t restrict arm movements
- Too long for mountain bikers with shorter arms
3. POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pad
VPD Air elbow pads are one of the best mountain bike elbow pads that are lightweight, breathable, and comfortable.
These elbow guards make use of proprietary Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough material from POC that absorbs shock on impact. You’d barely feel the ground no matter how hard the elbows hit the surface.
The lightweight construction of the VPD Air elbow pad doesn’t constrict arm movements; you’ll retain all the freedom you need to make the most of your riding experience.
These pads are the ideal elbow guards for mountain bikers who love cycling in any kind of weather and road.
- Lightweight pads
- Fits arms snuggly
- Unrestricted arm movements
- Have silicone grippers
- Limited color choices
4. Race Face Ambush Elbow Guard
The Race Face Ambush elbow pads are among the best elbow protection products that do exactly what it was designed to provide, shielding arms from elbow injuries. Each of the pads has a Velcro tab with a hook-and-loop strap on top that can be fastened tight to hold the whole thing in place to provide the best levels of protection.
The pads feature the D30 material that offers balance among weight, flexibility, and protection to give the rider the best possible shield from nasty grazes when they hit the ground.
The sturdy construction of the pads gives them impressive longevity of up to two years of daily use. Once you purchase these elbow guards, you won’t have to worry about them for a long time.
- Strong and durable
- Can last for 2 years
- Shock absorption
- Offers good protection
- Too big for smaller people
- A bit heavy
- Could do with more colors
5. Ion E-Pact Elbow Pad
The Ion E-Pact are products built with minimalism in mind.
It’s the smallest and one of the best mountain bike elbow guards on this list, but don’t let its diminutive size fool you. This is a heavy-duty product.
The pair of pads is designed for the daredevil mountain bikers, the rough type of MTB riders who are into stunts and are always falling on rough surfaces.
The pad keeps your arms in a bent position at all times, which isn’t a hard ask for cyclists who spend most of their time riding up and down hills on mountain bikes.
The pads have a memory foam padding that absorbs any impact suffered by the riders. The outer layer is reinforced with a solid hard shell that keeps anything serious from befalling your joints.
- Small pair
- Perfect fit
- Good for extreme riders
- Solid construction
- Restricts arm movement
- Bit heavy
What to Consider When Buying MTB Elbow Pads?
Purchasing the best elbow and knee pads may look like an easy thing to do, but when you are faced with thousands of options, making the right choice suddenly becomes complicated.
The following are some of the things you should consider when looking for the best MTB elbow pads.
This is the whole point of having mountain bike elbow pads in the first place; they have to provide the protection they tout. Ensure that a large area of the elbow and the adjacent arm parts are well covered.
It has to be thick enough to stop any damage from passing through.
For the mountain biker, the pad also has to be tight enough to stay in place even when the rider tumbles. A moving pad will expose the elbow to injury, defeating their purpose.
Good MTB elbow pads will provide maximum protection without compromising on comfort.
An uncomfortable pad is no fun at all, as you would spend the whole time re-adjusting them around your elbows, and this loss of focus can lead to accidents.
Bike elbow pads should be soft on the hands without any protruding corners that may scratch the skin. They have to fit just enough to not move but not too tight that they constrict the flow of blood.
For something that covers the arm that tight and for long hours, there’s bound to be a lot of moisture trapped inside. This can create discomfort.
A good bike elbow pad should allow for the free movement of air; this is called breathability and helps to release the sweat excreted by the elbows. This lets the rider wear the pads for mountain biking for as long as they need without shifting them an inch.
Mountain bike elbow pads are built to withstand hard surfaces; they should also be able to withstand the ravages of overuse. You don’t want to replace them every few months.
Focus on finding long-lasting elbow guards that will last at least 2 years when pushed to the limits.
Most elbow pads come paired with knee pads in one package. They may cost a little more, but it makes more sense to spend that kind of money on both than buy knee pads and elbow pads separately.
Another advantage of pairing a knee pad and elbow guards together is that you get the pads in matching styles and colors.
Most times, some knee pads and elbow pads will bear the same artwork and construction, which is better than spotting two different models—the kind of stylish protection mountain biking enthusiasts will appreciate.
Ease of Use
Putting on and removing elbow protectors shouldn’t be rocket science. It should be an activity you’re able to pull off on your own without asking for help or injuring yourself in the process.
Many come with instructions, so that should not be a big issue for you.
The Bottom Line
Elbow and knee guards are necessary for mountain bike riding. You may consider yourself a safe cyclist, but accidents always happen.
Protecting yourself should be a priority that goes beyond elbow guards. You should also invest in a good helmet.
When selecting protectors for elbows and knees, make sure you feel them physically and even try them on to ascertain their ability to protect, how to wear them, and to find out if they fit you well.
Make sure you take your time with the selection since you’ll be using the pad for a long while before you require a replacement; it has to be worth the money.