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MTB Elbow Pads Pricing and Affordability

MTB Elbow Pad Pricing and Affordability

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Mountain biking is an exciting yet dangerous sport if proper safety precautions are not taken. One of the most important pieces of safety gear every rider should wear are elbow pads. Quality elbow pads protect a mountain biker’s arms and elbow joints when crashes or falls occur on rough trails. Many mountain biking enthusiasts wonder whether effective elbow pads need to be expensive options from premium brands or if more affordable basic pads can still provide adequate protection. This detailed article examines the pricing, features, and affordability aspects of different MTB elbow pads available for various types of mountain biking.

Anatomy of MTB Elbow Pads

In order to understand elbow pad prices and make informed gear decisions, mountain bikers first need to know the components and construction of modern pads. MTB elbow pads are designed to shield the vulnerable elbow joint area from repeated impact while allowing flexibility. Most quality elbow pads utilize a durable outer plastic shell to distribute and deflect direct blows over a wider space. Underneath the protective shell, pads contain inner foam or soft padding material to cushion and absorb kinetic energy from crashes. Advanced pads may also employ supplementary materials like D30 foam or flexible plastics that temporarily harden upon impact. An elbow pad’s composition directly affects the level of protection it provides.

Additionally, fit and adjustability determines how well pads perform when riders go down. Higher end MTB elbow pads integrate features like Velcro straps, rubber grippers, and spandex sleeves for a more secure contoured fit. While simpler basic pads offer sufficient coverage for light trailing, they may shift and expose areas during rigorous riding. The anatomy and composition of MTB elbow pads directly influences price and protection capabilities.

Beyond that, realize that there are different elbow pads  for different people. Many times you can get better-fitting elbow pads for women or children.

Entry-Level MTB Elbow Pads Under $30

For beginner mountain bikers or those riders merely trying the sport out, a set of entry-level budget pads provide basic protection without much investment. Quality entry-level MTB elbow pads generally cost less than $30 which makes them an affordable option. At this low price point, the materials used are relatively simple but still useful. Basic elbow pad shells are constructed from standard injection molded plastic polymer blends or sturdy vinyl. Inside contains basic cushioning foam, fabric padding, or EVA foam pads. While the components are moderately simplistic, entry-level pads still supply better impact absorption than riding with exposed arms.

Well known mountain bike protective gear companies like G-Form and Demon sell their most affordable pad models for under $30. Large online retailers often sell entry-level sets from their own sporting goods house brands in this range too. While the technology and resources devoted to designing these basic MTB elbow pads isn’t extensive, the low costs makes them ideal for the budget conscious. They allow riders to elevate their training while minimizing expenses. For newer mountain bikers still determining if the sport is a good match, low priced entry pads present a smart choice. Especially since you will often need to pick up gear other than just mtb elbow pads.

Mid-Range MTB Elbow Pads $30 – $70

The mid-range segment of protective MTB elbow pads features improved technological materials and more strategic padding zones to warrant the higher pricing of $30 to $70. By spending more, mid-range elbow pads utilize sturdier thermoformed or injected plastic polymer blend shells resistant to abrasion. The interior foam padding is typically higher density for enhanced cushioning ability. Some brands also integrate supplemental pads using porous fabrics like Ariaprene that increase breathability. Many mid-range pads add stabilization features like non-slip rubber sleeve grippers and additional Velcro or elastic straps to minimize unwanted movement.

Several of the most popular mountain bike elbow pad models on the market fall within this mid-range bracket. Brands like Fox Racing and POC Sports sell their middle-tier pads featuring value-added attributes for $50 to $70 MSRP full retail. The increased investments in research, development, testing, and production carries down into incremental improvements over basic pads. For mountain bikers progressing in the sport and taking on more challenging terrain, mid-range MTB elbow pads present ideal solutions. They balance useful protection levels with reasonable price points for dedicated enthusiasts not yet competing.

Premium High-End MTB Elbow Pads $70+

At the highest end of available elbow pad technologies sits the premium offerings targeting competitive riders requiring unparalleled impact defenses. Leading brands design exceptional pads integrating state-of-the-art materials, dynamic segmented padding, moisture wicking fabrics, and ergonomic sleeves. Consequently, these high-performance premium MTB elbow pads demand lofty price tags over $70 dollars with some as high as $200. The high costs account for patented technologies and professional grade construction geared for hardcore racers.

For example, industry pioneer G-Form Elite elbow pads utilize advanced Reactive Protection Technology materials that instantly harden at the molecular level upon detection of abrasive forces before returning to flexible status. Other premium brands incorporate progressive airbag style pads into sleeves providing adaptable defenses. Companies like Leatt leverage extensive R&D resources to engineer premium pads offering true motorcross levels of protection for extreme downhill and enduro riders. While the cutting edge technology integrated into premium MTB elbow pads delivers best-in-class performance, the steep pricing restricts purchases predominately to competitive professional bikers.

Evaluating Costs of MTB Protective Apparel Packages

Shrewd mountain bikers looking to equip themselves with protection gear for maximum savings should evaluate complete apparel packages when possible. Almost all major cycling protective wear brands now offer integrated sets encompassing options like elbow, knee, and shoulder pads. Smart shoppers buying bundled pads together take advantage of built-in cost savings since the sets share development expenditures. Packages allow customers to acquire fully matching and complementary protective apparel pieces for decreased expenses compared to individually priced gear.

While combo pad sets inherently provide purchasers with savings versus buying pads as separate items, pricing on bundles still varies substantially based on included contents. Once again, higher caliber technology and construction found in premium branded pad packages causes elevated package sticker prices as well. Nevertheless, protective gear bundles enable prudent mountain bikers to acquire perfectly harmonized pads guarding priority body zones at level appropriate prices by assessing total outlays.

Finding Discounted or Used MTB Protective Gear

Despite the inherent importance of wearing elbow pads for mitigating crash related injuries, the financial outlay for protective equipment remains prohibitive to certain riders with limited budgets. Luckily, opportunities exist for obtaining high performance cycling pads at reduced costs if buyers seek out discounted gear. As each year new product generations released by major cycling brands, retailers apply sales and markdowns on previous season merchandise to clear inventory for newer items. Mountain bikers willing to purchase prior model elbow, knee, and shoulder pads benefit from substantial bargains well below MSRP prices.

Dedicated riders aiming to receive elite pads at discounted rates should monitor favorite manufacturer and bike store websites for special holiday sales events announcing deep seasonal price cuts too. Significant savings frequently materialize over winter months or at Thanksgiving sales for example when shops reduce rates to stimulate customer orders during slower periods. Some stores may even offer extra promotional coupon codes applied to already marked down out of season pads at checkout for extra funds off.

Besides retail clearance sales on existing pads, passionate mountain bikers recognize the value of acquiring secondhand used premium pads with remaining functional life at huge cost savings from owners no longer needing them. Browsing online auction marketplaces or dedicated cycling gear swap forums allows discovering exceptional bargains on gently employed pads from previous racers upgrading equipment or leaving sport while recouping funds through private resales. Although secondhand equipment purchases do not typically enjoy factory warranties, significant savings outweigh risks when equipment examination shows solid durability. With creative sourcing of marked down and used pads, budget restricted riders gain ability to protect themselves like professionals without paying full market values.


Protecting vulnerable joint areas with padded coverage represents an absolute necessity for regular mountain bikers pushing personal limits across demanding trails. However, the seemingly excessive price tags of some cycling specific elbow pads deter potential buyers lacking discretionary income. Fortunately for all riders though, the recent expansion and innovation of protective MTB gear spawned companies developing pads meeting multiple price criteria.

While ultra premium pads with space age materials run very high at over $70, respectable mid-range models made by trusted brands integrate useful technological improvements for under $70. Even basic level pads provide fundamental impact defense versus naked arms for less than $30. Through careful comparison shopping of materials, construction quality, and features present in different pads at distinct tiers, mountain bikers select appropriate protections matching personal budget tolerances and riding styles. Those riders taking advantage of frequent sales promotions, bundled gear sets, and secondhand source opportunities access elite level pads decreasing overall purchase expenditures as well. Prioritizing effective padded joint protections enables all cycling enthusiasts to challenge boundaries in the sport worry free.

To get you started, we have put together a list of the best MTB elbow pads for various riding and styles. This should give you a good idea of the best in the industry to work from.

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