G-Form Elite Elbow Guard Review

G-Form's Elite Elbow pads provide protection for mountain bikers at the molecular level, thanks to Reactive Protective Technology.

G-Form offers an impressive range of protective gear for an equally impressive range of activities. From skydiving to soccer, G-Form designs have caught the attention of thrill-seekers and team sports athletes across the world. In fact, G-Form is the official protective partner of the Boston Red Sox, with a good portion of the team using their sliding shorts. According to G-Form, Yuri Gurriel is also a fan. G-Form has also built a strong reputation among mountain bikers and you don’t have to ride far before seeing their iconic, exoskeleton structure adorning many a knee and elbow on the trail.

The Elite Elbow Guard employs the same construction as other G-Form protectives — a modular pad sewn into a moisture wicking compression sleeve. It extends coverage in all directions while staying flexible and maintaining a low profile. In conjunction with this review of the Elite Elbow Guard, check out my companion reviews on the G-Form Elite Knee and Pro Ankle Guard.

Photo: Chris Daniels | @chrizdan

Elite Elbow Guard Specifications

  • CE EN 1621-1 certified for motorcycle protection
  • Body-mapped, impact-absorbing RPT padding
  • Moisture-wicking, UPF 50+ compression fabric
  • Upper and lower silicone grip bands
  • Mesh back panel
  • Sizes: S-XL (M tested)
  • Colors: Black/Yellow, Black
  • Weight: 234g
  • MSRP: $89
Photo: Chris Daniels | @chrizdan

Protection on the Molecular Level

It’s called Reactive Protective Technology (RPT) and it’s G-Form’s molecular concoction of impact-absorbing polymer used across their entire line of protectives. At rest, the molecules within the padding repel each other, making the padding soft and flexible. On impact, the molecules approximate, making the overall structure denser. The impact state absorbs, redistributes, and slows energy transfer. After impact, the molecules return to their original, repelled state, making the pad soft and flexible again. The RPT reaction facilitates protective prowess only when you need it and free range of motion any time in between.

Photo: Andrew Jensen

Motion Matters

G-Form products strike a balance between protection and articulation I’ve never seen in any other pad. The ability of MTB body armor to move with you, versus against, always takes a back seat to a stiff, defensive design. It’s a reasonable tradeoff most bikers are willing to live with. G-Form, however, uses three constructive features to achieve a high standard of protection with little sacrifice to range of motion: a modular design sewn into a compression sleeve. Let’s break that down.

The use of a highly modular design provides superior flexibility. Other manufacturers out there use similar methods in pad design, making small notches, holes, breaks, extra panels, etc., but not to the degree G-Form does. Each Elite Elbow Guard has about 50 individual pod-like structures — the largest is not much bigger than your thumb. You can bend, twist, fold, and contort the Elite pad any which way, and it complies effortlessly.

Instead of creating a pocket in which the pad would sit, the pad panel is sewn directly into the sleeve body. This forces the pad to move wherever the sleeve moves and, due to the use of a form-fitting compression sleeve, wherever your arm moves. All this, combined with silicone striping on upper and lower aspects of the sleeve, kept the Elite Guards in place the whole time. Not once did I find myself adjusting the sleeves after a long, arduous descent.

Photo: Chris Daniels | @chrizdan

Extended Coverage

Using the same base structure as the Pro-X Elbow Pads, G-Form extended the amount of protective coverage in designing the Elite Elbow Guard. This means more wrap medial and lateral to the elbow and elongation above and below. More pad means more sleeve, and more material isn’t necessarily better when it comes to heat management. I’ve never not sweated in an elbow pad, but the Elite sleeve features a mesh panel to exhaust heat. It’s not an air conditioner, but it helps.

Bottom Line

With expanded coverage using the same soft, flexible structure for which G-Form is well-known, the Elite Elbow Guards are an exciting addition to their already-popular lineup. The Elite Guards feel a lot lighter than they look (234g, size medium), which is probably due to the sewn-in, modular construction that works with you rather than against you. Fans of the Pro-X Pads looking for the extra oomph should not hesitate to upgrade and, if you haven’t given G-Form a spin, I highly recommend you do.

Thanks to G-Form for providing the Elite Elbow Guard for review.

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