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A Deep Dive into MTB Elbow Pad Brands

MTB Elbow Pad Brands and Manufacturers

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Mountain biking can be an exciting sport, but it also comes with risks of injury. Elbow pads are an important piece of safety gear that can protect your arms and elbows if you take a spill. When choosing elbow pads, it’s important to find ones from top brands that offer good protection.

If you’re new to mountain biking, these are some quality brands to look at.


Giro is one of the most popular brands for elbow pads and other mountain biking gear. The company started out making helmets but now makes all kinds of protective gear. Giro elbow pads use special materials like D3O padding that gets stiff on impact. This helps absorb the force from hits to your arm. Most Giro elbow pads are also ventilated to help keep you cool while riding.

Popular Giro elbow pads for mountain biking include the Launch Pro Pads. These have a low profile design but still manage to offer good protection on trails. The pads have an adjustable hook-and-loop closure so you can get a customized fit. The Launch Pro pads only have light padding on the front but extra protection over your actual elbows in the back. This keeps the pads breathable while guarding the parts of your arms that most need shielding if you crash.

Another good option from Giro is the Hex Mountain Bike Pads. These provide a sleeve-style fit for more coverage beyond just your elbow joint. The pads extend down the back of your forearms as well. This helps protect against abrasions if you slide across rough terrain.

The Hex pads use Giro’s proprietary InForm bio-engineered padding. This moldable material stiffens on impact to divert energy away from your joints. The padding then flexes back to allow freedom of movement for pedaling and bike handling.

For aggressive trail riding, Giro also makes the Dispatch Elbow-Forearm Armor pads. As the name suggests, these guard both your pointy joints and your lower arms. The armor uses Giro’s Sleeve-Fit design to deliver a body-hugging feel that moves naturally with your arms.

An adjustable strap lets you cinch down the fit so the pads don’t slide during dynamic riding. The Dispatch pads also come with removable plastic outer shells. You can add these caps for extra abrasion resistance or take them off on hot days.


Another top brand for protective mountain bike gear is POC. This company focuses specifically on making pads and armor for action sports like mountain biking. POC is based in Sweden and gets its name from the medical term “point of care.” This refers to the moments right after an accident where immediate care is critical.

A top elbow pad from POC for trail riding is the VDP Air. Like all POC gear, these offer high-tech protection. The elbow cups utilize PADloc technology, which uses a special foam that gets more rigid on impacts. There is also extra abrasion padding over the elbows in case you slide on rough terrain.

To cut down on bulk, the VDP Air pads use a ventilated stretch mesh on the forearms instead of big pads. But silicone gripper bands keep the elbow pads anchored in place when riding. Reflective prints help with visibility for early morning and evening rides too.


7iDP is an up and coming brand that makes elbow and knee pads designed for aggressive riding. Their pads offer robust protection for downhill and enduro racing. But 7iDP’s pads work equally well for recreational riders looking to guard themselves on rough trails.

The Transition Knee/Elbow Sleeve from 7iDP provides full coverage for your elbows and upper forearms. It uses a combination of durable outer shells and EVA foam pads to handle impacts. The sleeves secure using an adjustable hook-and-loop strap system to dial in the fit.

One standout feature is the neoprene mix in the fabric. This adds extra stretch and breathability compared to basic nylon sleeves. So the pads conform to your elbows without overheating or limiting mobility too much. The mix of pads and flexible fabric makes these great elbow protection for active rides.

For even burlier shielding, 7iDP offers the Sam Hill Signature Line Knee/Elbow. The elbow pads extend down over your forearms as well for lots of coverage. Large PU shells cover the main impact zones including over your actual elbow bump.

These shells use a layered design to manage force dissipation. The inner layer helps absorb smaller hits without losing its shape over time. Then the thicker outer layer handles bigger crashes.

Under the shells, you’ll find strategically placed Airprene foam pads with ribbed textures for flexibility. The Sam Hill pads use a mix of elastic bands and adjustable straps to lock into place over your arms. Rugged construction makes them ready to withstand rough riding.

Choosing the Right Elbow Pads

When picking out your next set of mountain bike elbow pads, there are some important features to consider:

Coverage Area

Think about how much of your arm you want to protect. Do you only need shielding right on your elbow joint? Or extra coverage on your forearms too against scrapes? Most pads protect just your elbows but some offer extended sleeves as well.

Protection Level

Lightweight XC racing pads focus mainly on protecting your joint from direct impacts. Trail riding pads add more buffering for possible crashes on uneven ground. And downhill pads have the most robust shields against major spills. Choose what matches the mountain biking disciplines you take part in.


Protection matters most. But after that, you want breathable and flexible pads that don’t restrict your pedaling and handling too much. Look for ventilation and stretch fabric where possible, like on forearm sleeves. The pads should also stay put once adjusted without sliding or slipping.


Get accurate measurements of your arms to pick the right size. Brand sizing can vary slightly. The elbow pads shouldn’t pinch or feel loose. Light compression helps keep pads anchored but also allows full arm circulation. Pay attention to adjustable straps as well for tuning the fit.


Many riders also consider the visual look of pads these days along with just their functional protection. Bright colors and graphics help with style points as the pads safeguard your limbs. Mixing and matching pad sets to pedals or bike paint can produce a customized kit.

Other Brands

A few other brands make quality elbow pads for mountain biking besides the major names above. These include:

  • Alpinestars: Known for motocross protection, they make lightweight but durable pads.
  • Demon: Offers full-coverage pads plus jackets with built-in protection.
  • IXS: This Swiss company makes user-friendly elbow pads with easy size adjustments.
  • Leatt: Leatt brings its background making neck braces to elbow pads focused on impact force reduction.
  • Race Face: Makes low-profile pads favored by cross-country racers along with extended AM style versions.
  • Six Six One: Aggressive riders dig their technical pads with options for custom D3O foam tuning.
  • TLD: They pioneered armor for DH with elbow pads featuring rugged construction.

There are quite a few top brands always look to create the new future technology that takes mtb elbow pads to the next level.

Finding the Best Pads for You

Mountain biking delivers an adrenaline rush few other sports can match. But to keep that thrill seeking fun, protecting yourself from spills and crashes is a must. The right set of elbow pads goes a long way to letting you ride with confidence and push your limits on the trail.

Leading brands like Giro, POC, and 7iDP design their pads specifically for these demands. Look for the protection level, fit, breathability and adjustability features you need to find your perfect set. Compare different models as the ideal choice comes down to your riding style and preferences.

It’s smart to try some different pad options on in person at your local bike shop. See what feels best for full arm movement and all-day comfort on singletrack. Then get after those dream rides knowing your joints and arms have solid backup whenever needed. The terrain may be unpredictable but your safety gear doesn’t have to be. With high-performance protection from trusted brands, you can count on quality elbow pads to let you bounce back from tumbles and carry on chasing down the epic descents.

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