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7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads Review

7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads

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The 7iDP Sam Hill Lite elbow pads are some of the most popular elbow pads used in mountain biking today.

These are so popular because they are one of the best values on the market. There are other elbow pads that have higher level of protections, but few can beat what you get for the money.

In this review I’m going to give you the low down on these and why I think you should strongly consider these when you look for your next pair of elbow pads.


The 7iDP Sam Hill elbow pads are well-made set of pads that are durable and will stand a lot of real world riding. They are even better than the specs show, but let’s go over them before we get into the main review.

The Ripstop Spandex is a synthetic blend material that makes up the sleeve. It’s renown but lasting through lots of wearing and washing and using. Definitely a good start for a pair of elbow pads.

These do meet the CE safety certification level for elbow pads and work well fo rmost riding as you can imagine thanks to the impact foam design.

These will work well for almost all types of mtb riding. However, even these with thick padding I would upgrade to the Leatt AirFlex Elbow Guards if you plan on doing those exciting jumps and drops in downhill riding.

The 7iDP have silicone grippers to stay in place and these do tend to cover more of the bicep which I believe is part of what helps them to stay in place so well.

  • Padding Type: Impact Foam
  • Certification: EN1621-1 Level 1
  • Weight: 7.2 oz.
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • Material: Synthetic
  • Closure: Slip-on with compression fit
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year
  • Recommended Use: Enduro
  • Rating:

    4.5 out of 5 star rating

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Key Features of 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads

The 7iDP Sam Hill Lite elbow pads have many features in common with other elbow pads like silicone grippers to keep them in place and such. So let’s look at what makes these ones different.

The Ripstop Spandex fabric is one of the features that stands out on these elbow pads. 7iDP came up with this synthetic blend material that is both lightweight but also incredibly durable. All things being equal, these will take all of the wear that other elbow pads will and keep on going.

The Ripstop fabric breaths very well and the stitching is very well done and I didn’t feel any seams so these are very comfortable.

The other key feature of these is the impact foam built into these pads. Like most foams, these are tried-and-true design that has been around for awhile and it works well for a vast majority of riding.

User Experience and Performance

So now the question of how these do when you wear them out on the trails. Most specs look the same, so now onto the subjective feel.

The 7iDP slip on easy before a ride. They are longer than many other elbow pads so they cover halfway down my forearm and a majority of my bicep. On a cool day the longer 7iDP elbow pads were actually a welcomed addition as it helps to keep the arms a little warmer on the ride.

They do breathe well, or more to the point the moisture wicking aspect works well so that my arms weren’t all sweaty.

With the impact padding these are not quite as flexible as elbow padding with D30 or VPD but they are lightweight and I still enjoyed wearing these very much and I’d be perfectly happy to have them on any ride.

Material and Construction

The 7iDP Sam Hill Lite elbow pads are definitely one of the better-made elbow pads out there. They’re durable, predictable, and they just plain work. No wonder they are so popular in the mountain biking community.

The Ripstop Spandex material the sleeve is made from is both durable and comfortable. It is a synthetic blend that is both lightweight but also durable. Elbow pads take more wear than it seems at first glance when you figure they hit every branch, let alone real hits from heavy branches, tree trunks, stones, and more. Then factor in they get sweaty so they need to get washed.

So if you have to get a pair, I always say buy one that’ll last and stick with it. These 7iDP’s are that kind of pair.

The impact foam that 7iDP put into these isn’t just a flat slab. They are contoured and curved so they fit like a glove to your arm, which is exactly what you want. The impact foam has enough thickness to be very effective but thin enough that it doesn’t really affect arm movements too much. It’s not quite as flexible as the SmartFlex material I noted in our review of the G-Form Pro X3 Elbow Guards, but I do like the sleeve material better in the 7iDP’s.

To keep it in place it has silicone grippers on both ends and also a silicone stripe running the length. Silicone grips even when it’s wet which I believe is part of why these stay in place so well (as long as they are sized properly).

7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads Rear View

Rear view of the 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads, highlighting the meticulous design for a secure and comfortable fit.

Comfort and Fit

The 7iDP Sam Hill lite elbow pads are among the most comfortable pads I’ve tried. The synthetic compression sleeve is snug without being too tight. The impact foam is molded in a way that it seems to follow the natural curves of my arm. If you’ve ever had ones that didn’t, you’ll appreciate how it doesn’t have the gaps between your arm and the pad which would translate to play or sloppiness.

Other than that, the silicone grippers as well as the silicone stripe work well to keep it from slipping around while riding so there’s no need to adjust it constantly.

The material breathes well enough that the moisture-wicking aspects of the material keep the skin from being too sweaty even when you’re working up the sweat on the trails.

These do feel like the 7iDP elbow pads have a very refined design. Maybe that’s one of the big reasons why these are so popular among mountain bikers.

Measuring for the Perfect Fit of 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads

How to get the perfect fit for your 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads

Protection Level

The 7iDP Sam Hill are certified to CE EN 1621-1 Level 1 which is what you want of any elbow pads you consider. It’s the strongest you’ll see in elbow pads since beyond that are ratings reserved for motorcycle pads.

The impact foam in these pads are quite good at absorbing hits against branches, tree trunks, and rocks. The foam is form-fitting so that it absorbs the hits while it’s up against your arm instead of bouncing against your arm if that makes sense.

While they do a great job of absorbing hits, they do it while being very lightweight. These are about as light as you are going to get with elbow pads with impact foam padding. You still have plenty of freedom of movement while retaining top-notch elbow protection. It’s a win-win.

While there are models with the newer non-Newtonian impact padding such as D30 or VPD which are more lightweight, these fall right in the middle of those and elbow pads with thicker padding than these. These are plenty for trail and enduro use, but for more extreme riding like downhill I might get a paid of elbow pads with even thicker padding.

Price and Value

For many pieces of bike gear, you get what you pay for. In the case of the 7iDP Sam Hill Lite elbow pads you get a bit more than you pay for.

These elbow pads fit right within the sweet spot of price vs value. These are a little above average for price on elbow pads, but these have high-quality workmanship on top of materials that top off a refined design. Basically these breathe quality and they are built to last.

That last part is the key to value for your money. You want elbow pads that are going to last season after season, and these 7iDP are the ones to do it.

Comparison Of 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads With Other Brands

So we already know the 7iDP Sam Hill elbow pads are excellent, but how do they compare to other popular elbow pads on the market? Let’s compare them against the POC VPD Air Sleeves and the Dakine Slayer elbow sleeves.

The POC VPD Air have the VPD compound which is light and flexible until it takes a hit in which it hardens right up to absorb the blow. This makes the POC a little lighter than the 7iDP and a little more flexible. However, the 7iDP materials and design are far more refined and have a very strong reputation in the mountain biking community. the 7iDP is about $20 more to buy, and if you are a little short on change the POC make a great alternative to the 7iDP.

The Dakine Slayer elbow sleeves also use a type of impact foam for protection, but they are a little more flexible than the 7iDP. The Dakine are cheaper than the 7iDP but to me the 7iDP is much better made and refined and I expect the 7iDP to last longer through regular use.

Comparing these to the competition the 7iDP are among the best deals for long-lasting elbow pads on the market.

Comparison of MTB Elbow Pads: 7iDP Sam Hill Lite vs POC VPD Air vs Dakine Slayer
Features 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads POC VPD Air Sleeves Dakine Slayer Elbow Sleeves
Material Ripstop Spandex fabric Preshaped low profile Sleeve comfort pads, Ventilated textile inside arm 4-way stretch mesh back: 70% Polyester 30% Nylon
Closure Slip-on with silicone grippers Silicon strips at the top and bottom Snug-fitting four-way stretch mesh with gripper strips
Protection Area Elbow Elbow Elbow
Certifications CE EN 1621-1 Level 1 CE EN 1621-1 Level 1 CE EN 1621-1 Level 1
Weight 7.2 oz. per pair 7.1 oz. per pair 9.4 oz. per pair
Available Sizes Small, Medium, Large, X-Large XS, S, M, L, XL XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL

Is 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads Right for You?

Now to the ultimate question. Is the 7iDP Sam Hill Lite elbow pads the right choice for you?

If you like to ride trails, enduro, cross-country, or BMX then these pads will handle your riding. These are good for all but the more extreme downhill riding.

The 7iDP have sleeves made of Ripstop Spandex material that is lightweight, flexible, and very durable. As long as you measure carefully and pick the right size, they are just the right kind of snug that they stay in place without being too restrictive or affecting your ride.

These elbow pads are among the most popular in the mountain biking community and for good reason. They feel great like you’re not even wearing a pair of elbow pads and they protect well. They stay in place throughout the ride, and they’re durable enough you’ll have them for many seasons.

While the 7iDP Sam Hill Lite Elbow Pads are incredible, it’s always a good idea to look at your options before deciding which ones are best for you. There are a lot of choices, so the easiest way to get started is to look at our guide to the best MTB elbow pads on the market where you can get a quick comparison of the best ones.

About the Author

Tony K

Senior Technical Writer,

Tony K is a technical editor at He has a focus on downhill bike riding but still loves xc bikes too.

With more than ten years of mountain biking experience and more than 5 years testing mountain bikes, Tony has ridden and tested hundreds of different bikes and products, everything from XC to enduro bikes. Tony regularly competes in mountain bike races while seeing how long those compontents can hold up which gives me a lot of insight.

When he isn't shredding down a mountain or camping out, he is writing reviews for Mountain Bike Experience.

Rides: Surly Lowside, Canyon Exceed