May 8, 2020 at 2:09 am #339559
Looking for some guidance. Primarily a roadie and newish CX racer, I recently picked up mountain biking which I really enjoy. I’m 46 and have no interest in high-speed downhill or taking big risks on the trail. Nonetheless, today I had an unspectacular low-speed crash due to user error and banged up my left knee and elbow pretty good.
So, my question is – is it worth getting knee and elbow pads? I’m assuming they would have helped. I’m thinking lightweight and comfortable for the type of riding I do And I should also mention that I’m in Austin and the trails around here are pretty rocky. Any suggestions on what to look for?
May 8, 2020 at 11:36 am #339698
Go to your local bike shop and see what brands they carry. I use G Form and Alpinestars knee pads, but most other brands are pretty decent as well. Important thing is fit – one brand’s ‘medium’ is another brand’s ‘large’. The right size will keep them from sliding all over the place, and make pedaling comfortable.
I don’t wear elbow pads, so can’t help you there.
May 8, 2020 at 11:43 am #339729
I’m 51 who does not engage in high-speed downhill or take big risks. That said, I wear knee/shin pads and elbow pads on every ride. They have saved me in in numerous low speed crashes over the years. Most of the riders in our group of 10+ guys wear some sort of padding.
I have Fox Launch hardshell pads which aren’t made anymore. They can be warm but are perfect for the rocky New England trails. I have yet to find a similar style pad to replace them.
We do have riders in our group that wear the G-Form soft pads which are cooler and they haven’t had any issues with tearing from impact with rocks.
May 8, 2020 at 1:11 pm #339816
Good advice from Bike Nerd about trying stuff on. The “fit” of these things is all over the map.
We have a group of 10-12 riders that I’ve labeled Team AARP since most of us qualify for benefits. I’d say about half wear lightweight knee pads like the G-Forms https://g-form.com and only one guy (our oldest at nearly 66) wears elbow pads. I personally only wear pads on BIG feature rides or when riding in the bike parks in which case I’m also wearing a full face helmet as well. To be honest, while I’ve scraped up my knee 100’s of times over the years, I don’t crash often enough where I’m willing to sacrifice my comfort to climb all day in pads. I’d also cook wearing them in Austin as heat is my nemesis.
As far as elbow pads…good luck. I rode dirt bikes from age 6-48 and have been mountain biking since 1989 and I’ve yet to find elbow pads that stay up properly with all the shaking & jarring of riding dirt bikes and mountain bikes. The best ones were some Troy Lee options from my dirt bike years that covered my forearm and elbow together.
May 10, 2020 at 8:45 pm #342641
BTW, (and I’m still not BikeNerd) I just looked over at PinkBike and they have a bunch of new/used pads and gear on the Buy/Sell page. Decent deals, too, if you want to try things out for short money.
May 11, 2020 at 12:01 pm #343184
I am 45 and I do like to ride at the edge of my limits and work to expand those limits. That being said I don’t have elbow pads. I have been riding bikes my whole life and can’t remember a elbow issue ever. I am sure I may have banged one somewhere along the way. Knees I have banged and scraped numerous times. Bought some lightweight Alpinestar knee pads for bigger rides and still have yet to break them out on a ride. Helmet, eye wear, gloves, knee and possibly shin protection is about the extent I think I would suggest unless you are a bomber which you said you were not.
May 12, 2020 at 10:40 am #345651
I think most everyone can agree if you MTB you will fall/crash regardless of your riding style. And while there are those that may be athletic/flexible/limber enough to fall the right way that’s not true for most riders especially as we age and it may not be true in any situation. I’m 54 and I tend to ride at the edge – and sometime beyond lol – of my ability. When I started riding I never used pads. I’ve had my fair share of injuries but none to my knees or elbows. But I came to realize that if I happen to go down differently that could change. And why in the world would I risk potentially damaging a knee or elbow joint that are so critical to everyday movements when I could reduce the risk significantly by wearing a pad??? (And FWIW, I would put finger & knuckle protection up there as well along with a helmet.) Point is: if you’re thinking about getting pads… get them!
As for elbow pads, I have had excellent experience with G-form elbow pads. They fit snug, aren’t constricting (for me) & stay in place. I’ve wonk them over a thin base layer and without. They also have held up very well (over 6+ months of riding) and they also provide enough protection for most riding styles.
For knee pads, it’s been a different story. I would NOT buy the G-Form Pro pads. Starting out they were great but after a few months they started to stretch and tear and are now pretty useless. I tried the Raceface Charge pads but found them to be useless. I’m currently using Troy Lee knee pads which have been good but over time it seems they are starting to stretch and don’t quite stay in place as well as they did when new.
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