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Troy Lee Designs Speed Elbow Sleeves Review

Troy Lee Speed Designs Elbow Speed Sleeve

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Have you hit your elbow one too many times on large branches or tree trunks while flying down the trails? It only takes one or two good hits on the funny bone before it’s becomes obvious that grabbing a pair of mountain biking elbow pads is an easy way to avoid injuries like that.

The Troy Lee Designs Speed Elbow Sleeves are among the most popular MTB elbow pads on the market. They have been around for years and TLD has a solid reputation.

In this review we’ll take a look at these and see how they compare to others in the market. Do they live up to the hype?


The TLD Speed Sleeves use cutting-edge D30 impact material to provide the impact protection to your elbow. It’s a non-Newtonian material that is flexible under normal use, but under a strong impact will harden up instantly to protect you. It’s pretty cool stuff.

The TLDs come in a really wide variety of sizes to fit pretty much anybody, from XS to 2XL. Not many other elbow pads come in this many sizes.

These also come in lighter than many other comparable elbow pads while providing the same level of protection. Maybe they’re called Speed Sleeves because they are lighter and let you move faster. Who knows.

What I do know is that these have some great specs which make for a great starting point to the review.

  • Padding Type: D30®
  • Certification: EN1621-1 Level 1
  • Weight: 7.1 oz.
  • Sizes: XS-XXL
  • Material: Mesh
  • Closure: Slip-on with silicone grippers
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year
  • Recommended Use: Trail
  • Rating:

    4.5 out of 5 star rating

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Key Features of Troy Lee Design Speed Elbow Sleeves

The Troy Lee Designs Elbow Speed Sleeves are well-known in the mountain biking community. You are probably wondering why since you are reading this.

There are many standout features of the TLD sleeves, but the largest one is the D30 impact padding. It is a material that is flexible and light while you are riding. As soon as you bang into a tree or a stone, the material hardens up instantly giving you high levels of protection that easily meet the CE standards. This is as cutting-edge as it gets in elbow pads.

These sleeves are all full-length which is one thing that varies quite a bit in elbow pads. They will help protect you from all of those bushes and branches and such. In the winter they even give you an extra layer which is very handy.

The silicone grippers do a great job of keeping these in place during those energetic rides. I only had to adjust them after I took a break and moved them around.

The mesh breathes very well in these. They stay cooler than many other full-length sleeves which is really welcomed on the summer rides.

A lot of the design of the TLD is around the impact material and the sleeve material. If you look at my review on the Leatt AirFlex Elbow Guards, you’ll see that it is pretty similiar to the TLD except the TLD is a little lighter and might be better on the hot weather rides.

User Experience and Performance

I had heard enough about the TLD Elbow sleeves that my expectations where high going into it. TLD did not disappoint.

The TLD sleeves are very lightweight and they feel natural in a way that once you get going you completely forget you’re ever wearing them. That’s a really good thing and something I expect of any quality elbow pads.

Staying in place during rides is another must-have for mtb elbow pads in my book. These went on easy (before I was riding and sweaty) and they stayed in place no matter if I was taking it easy or riding hard.

To be honest they performed exactly how I expected from everything I have heard about TLD. That doesn’t take away from the fact that they work exceptionally well.

Material and Construction

Basically all of the mtb elbow pads are sleeve material and impact material. As similar as they are, it’s all about the attention to detail that separates these elbow pads.

The impact material is D30 which is very similar to the non-Newtonian material used by all of the leading manufacturers. It’s flexible, lightweight, and on impact then hardens up for protection. It’s the best of both worlds.

The sleeves you can tell is designed to be simple, high-performance, and durable. The sleeves are a mesh that breathes very well. The material is lightweight and flexible and seems to move with you almost like a second skin.

Everything on these from the stitching to the mold of the D30 just seems like a lot of time was put into making these some of the best for real-world mountain biking.

Comfort and Fit

The TLD elbow sleeves are very comfortable. The impact material is molded and stays snug and moves with me on rides.

The material gives and takes while moving my arms, and the material breathes well. They stay in place very well and didn’t need any adjustment while out riding which is refreshing.

Not too much to say about this other than I can’t imagine how these could be more comfortable or fit better. It’s a well-refined set of elbow pads that work great out on the trails.

Protection Level

The TLD Speed Elbow Sleeves achieve the CE EN 1621-1 Level 1 like the other top mountain biking elbow pads.

TLD achieves this by using state-of-the-art D30 impact padding that is this newer type of non-Newtonian padding that is flexible right up to the point of impact. When they hit hard against something, they harden up instantly providing you instant protection.

These are right up with the most protective pads you can buy. They are perfect for trails, xc, enduro, etc. I might not taken them into the extreme riding but for most riding they are just right.

Price and Value

I firmly believe part of what makes the Troy Lee Designs elbow sleeves so popular is the value for the money. Thanks for the advanced impact padding, these provide top-notch protection for a reasonable price.

The attention to detail on the stitching, how the impact material seems to fit like a second skin, it all goes to how these are made very well.

They are also like half the price of Fox sleeves and cheaper than 7iDP as well as many others. These are among the very best values on the market.

Comparison Of Troy Lee Design Speed Elbow Sleeves With Other Brands

The TLD Speed Sleeves are well made, but how well do they hold up to the competition? Let’s compare them to the Fox Racing Enduro elbow pads and G-Form Pro X3 elbow pads, both arguably among the top elbow pads being sold today.

All 3 of the elbow pads have advanced non-Newtonian impact padding. TLD and Fox have D30, and G-Form has the SmartFlex material. They all behave pretty similarly so I’d say they’re all on equal ground for the raw protection they provide.

The one difference in this area is that the Fox D30 pad inserts are removable for easier cleaning.

They all stay in place well so they’re also equal there.

The only real difference is in the sleeves material and how they breathe. I would say that TLD and G-Form breathe pretty similarly and the Fox Enduro pads breathe a little better. they all wick moisture away so all are still very capable.

Price-wise, Fox is the most expensive with G-Form coming in next with TLD having the lowest average price. In fact, TLD is about half the price of Fox.

If you’re saving money to use for other gear, the TLDs will do well for you on a budget.

The POC Joint VPD Air Elbow Pads are also a good competitor to the TLDs. POC has VPD impact material which is similar to the D30, and the POC are a more minimal elbow pad if you like to keep it lightweight. Read a little bit more about the POC in my review of the POC Joint VPD Air elbow pads.

Comparison of MTB Elbow Pads: Troy Lee Design Speed Elbow Sleeves vs Fox Racing D3O vs G-Form Pro X3

Features Troy Lee Design Speed Elbow Sleeves Fox Racing D3O G-Form Pro X3
Material Synthetic, D3O® padding, Mesh panel Polyester, D3O® insert Blend, SmartFlex pads
Closure Full-length sleeve with silicone grippers Slip-on with hook and loop adjuster Slip-on with silicone grippers
Protection Area Elbow Elbow Elbow
Certifications EN1621-1 Level 1 EN1621-1 Level 1 EN1621-1 Level 1
Manufacturer Warranty 1 year 1 year 1 year
Available Sizes XS/SM, MD/LG, XL/2X S-XL XS-XXL
Weight 7.1 oz 8.6 oz 5.28 oz
Additional Features Breathable and moisture-wicking Moisture-wicking, Perforated neoprene Waterproof, SmartFlex

User Reviews and Feedback

The TLD elbow speed sleeves are very well received in the mountain biking community. Since they have a very reasonable price they are popular for their high quality on a budget price.

Many riders are reporting that they wear these and go riding and never give them a second thought. Many riders have said they like that they can provide high levels of protection but without being bulky.

However, riders that use these on extreme riding such as downhill have stated these show some wear. Extreme riding does accelerate wear on all bike gear as well as the bikes themselves so the type of riding you do will likely dictate if this is a major factor in your decision.

Is Troy Lee Designs Speed Elbow Sleeves Right for You?

The Troy Lee Designs elbow sleeves are very capable, but the question is are they the right ones for you.

These elbow pads are made with trail, enduro, and cross-country riding in mind. They actually excel on this type of riding. However, these are not really the best choice if you are planning on doing extreme downhill riding with big jumps, drop, and high speeds. For those you want to max out your equipment where it’s all about safety and flexibility isn’t as much of a concern.

These are a great deal and on the lower end of the price spectrum while providing exceptional quality and protection. People in the community love them.

However, they are not for everybody. I have a bunch of other elbow pads to cover different types of riding if you look at my list of the top MTB elbow pads.

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