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Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guards Review

Pearl Izumi Elbow Guards

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The Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard is a popular mountain biking elbow pad that offers protection during rides. This article reviews the Pearl Izumi Elevate’s key specifications, features, user experience, construction, comfort, protection level, value, and how it compares to other popular elbow guards on the market.


The Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard has a lightweight build made of flexible fabrics and armored pads. The main pad coverage area measures 7 inches tall by 5.5 inches wide. The fabric is a mix of nylon, polyester, and spandex offering stretch and ventilation. The total weight is around 5.6 ounces per sleeve.

The Elevate comes with Pearl Izumi’s BioViz reflective elements for improved visibility. It is sold individually so you can purchase just one if needed. The sizing runs from small to extra large and fits circumference measurements up to 15 inches around the upper forearm area.

  • Padding Type: D30®
  • Certification: EN1621-1 Level 1
  • Weight: 9.8 oz.
  • Sizes: XS-XL
  • Material: Cordura®
  • Closure: Slip-on with silicone grippers
  • Manufacturer Warranty: Lifetime warranty
  • Recommended Use: Trail / Enduro
  • Rating:

    4.0 out of 5 star rating

View on Amazon

Key Features of Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard

The Pearl Izumi Elevate stands out with some useful features geared towards mountain biking and riding trails.

The main protective pad uses Pearl Izumi’s own P.R.O. Padding system. This innovative padding combines multiple densities for flexible wear that still absorbs impacts well. It has ventilation holes throughout to prevent heat buildup.

The sleeve contains mesh paneling underarm and across the elbow joints. This further aids breathability during active riding sessions. It uses their Direct-Vent fabric that transfers moisture better.

User Experience and Performance

The Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard gets excellent reviews from most riders for its lightweight feel that barely hinders movement. The flexible padding allows natural arm bending. The sleeve stays fixed in place without sliding around.

Many users comment on the breathability and ventilation working well even over long summer rides. Sweat dissipates efficiently from the moisture transferring fabrics rather than pooling. The mesh regions really help reduce heat around the joints specifically.

In terms of protection, the Elevate does a great job handling minor to moderate impacts from brushing against branches or falling. The padding absorbs force nicely without transmitting it through or turning too stiff. For more extreme crashes directly on the point of an elbow, the Elevate has some limitations which is expected for this type of flexible guard.

Material and Construction

Pearl Izumi uses quality materials and construction for good durability and functionality in the Elevate pad.

The main padding consists of their P.R.O. material SYSTEM in a multi-layer build. The top layer helps stabilize and support with a firmer density while not compressing comfort layers beneath. This combines impact dispersion with flexibility for movement.

Bonded seams connect the padding securely to an abrasion resistant outer sleeve made of primarily nylon and polyester. High percentage elastane woven throughout gives the 4-way stretch.

Reflective screenprinting covers areas for visibility when riding in low light conditions. The fabric and padding bonding allow repeated machine washing without deteriorating.

Pearl Izumi Elbow Guards Closeup

Zoomed in on the protective material that shows the mesh-covered pad.

Comfort and Fit

The Elevate Elbow Guard scores highly for providing a super lightweight feel that contours comfortably. The stretch fabrics never bind or pinch while pedaling and breath very well, avoiding that sauna effect inside sleeves.

The silicone print arm grippers prevent slippage effectively even over time. The tapered ergonomic shape wraps naturally from mid forearm to right above the elbow joint without bunching material.

For sizing, Pearl Izumi charts run true to measurement. Riders suggest trying a size down if debating between two choices for a slimmer race fit around the biceps. The fabric does have enough give to accommodate slight swelling in hot weather as well.

Protection Level

The Pearl Izumi Elevate offers light padding suitable for trail to all mountain riding protection needs. It works better covering scrapes than high velocity crashes.

The padding measures 7mm thick over the elbow which handles minor to moderate impacts well. It has more coverage vertically than many slimmer sleeves to protect some of the upper forearm too. The top of the pad sits right at the tip of the elbow for optimal positioning when arms are bent riding.

The flexible build does sacrifice big crash capsulation compared to hardshell guards. But the trade off allows way more freedom, comfort, and airflow for the majority of everyday rides.

Other mtb elbow pads have similar protection, like the VPD padding in the POC elbow pads is very similiar to the D30 padding in these pads.

Price and Value

With a retail price set at $60, the Pearl Izumi Elevate hits an excellent price point for the technology and performance offered. The padding innovation, ventilation, quality fabrics, ergonomic fit, and reflectivity make this a top value choice in the flexible mountain biking elbow guard category.

The Elevate costs a fraction compared to certain hard shell models over $100, though does not offer the same impact forces dampening as rigid plates and plastic caps. Overall it delivers outstanding value for the intended use level based on customer satisfaction.

Comparison Of Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard With Other Brands

The Fox Racing Enduro Elbow Sleeve  offers similar flexible protection for less cost. The foam pad is not quite as molded so lacks some ergonomic shaping by the joint. Ventilation falls short of the Elevate although still decent.

For burlier but still pedaling friendly coverage, the Alpinestars Paragon Plus Elbow Protector has a hard shell cap over padding. This burgers impact force better albeit with more bulk and restriction. Ventilation drops significantly as well.

The Pearl Izumi Elevate finds a nice middle ground balancing padded protection, breathability, mobility, and affordability. Riders needing more versatility between weight and crashes may spend more for Alpinestars while budget minded racers can save on Fox.

If you’re curious how these stack up against some of the other elbow pads, take a look at our review on the Dakine Slayer elbow sleeves.

Comparison of MTB Elbow Pads: Pearl Izumi Elevate vs Fox Racing Enduro vs Alpinestars Paragon Plus
Features Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard Fox Racing Enduro Elbow Sleeve Alpinestars Paragon Plus Elbow Protector
Material 83% polyamide, 15% elastane, 2% polyurethane / 53% polyester, 29% polyamide, 16% elastane, 2% polyurethane Polyester fabric with an abrasion-resistant film Rip-stop fabric, mesh
Closure Slip-on with elastic cuff Slip-on with elastic grip Slip-on with elasticated cuffs and silicone printing
Protection Area Extended sleeve, D3O® viscoelastic LP1 pads, TPU skid plate Enduro-specific coverage CE certified protector, targeted coverage
Certifications CE level 1 protection CE level 1 protection CE certified to EN 1621_1: 2012 LEVEL 1
Manufacturer Warranty Lifetime warranty Not specified Not specified
Weight Not specified Ultra-lightweight Lightweight
Available Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL S, M, L, XL S, M, L, XL, XXL
Key Features 4-way stretch, breathable, extended coverage Slip-on design, moisture-wicking, pre-curved ergonomic fit Pre-shaped ergonomic design, perforated pads, abrasion-resistant

User Reviews and Feedback

Analyzing buyer feedback reveals most customers award the Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard high marks across the criteria spectrum. They praise the comfortable lightweight sleeve with padding exactly where it needs to be for elbow protection. Ventilation and flexibility work as advertised for unhindered riding feel.

Impact protection does have some limitations noted by hardcore downhill riders or those evaluating after massive crashes. But the target all mountain group stays protected as expected with the flexible pad material absorbing moderate blows. For the cost, versatility, low profile design, and breathability, most call the Elevate a top performing elbow guard option.

Pearl Izumi Elbow Guards Rear View

A look at the secure fit and rugged design from the back of the Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard — ready for any challenge on the trails.

Is Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard Right for You?

The Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guard works best for trail, cross country, all mountain, and enduro style riding where optimizing freedom of movement and ventilation is crucial. The protection hovers in the moderate zone, cushioning against brush strikes and minor spills better than major high speed crashes.

Riders wanting ultimate impact dampening or armor support may need a bulkier hardshell plastic guard instead. Casual cyclists happy wearing just a basic sleeve can also save money with cheaper options lacking targeted padding aligned to the elbow joint.

For the core group hitting single track often, charging through tight technical lines, riding late into dusty summer days, and still needing elbow insurance against the trail, the Pearl Izumi Elevate their preferred choice. It balances key properties masterfully – breathability, flexibility, comfort, stability, and smart padding placement right where vulnerability points exist off road. Considering value too, the Elevate becomes that critical piece keeping riders smiling mile after mile.

While the Pearl Izumi are one of my top recommended elbow pads, I suggest to check out the options available, compare them with your needs, and go from there. I do have a guide on the best mtb elbow pads which gives you some excellent choices to look at.

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