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Are elbow pads necessary for trail/xc riding?

ross_mccullochross_mcculloch Posts: 478
edited February 2015 in MTB general
I recently bought my first pair of elbow pads for trail/xc riding (nothing full-on). I got some cheap 661 Comp hard shells.

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I've found that they only just fit under my bike jacket (Gore Alp-X) and restrict movement quite a bit. I'd imagine ever pricier hard shell pads would give me a similar same problem.

1. Would I be better off getting some low-profile pads like the G-Form?
2. Would I be better wearing a looser-fit jacket?
3. Should I ditch elbow pads altogether?


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Posts

  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    Depends how often you fall off!!
  • And onto what.........
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • Both good points. I don't fall off too often.

    Either of you wear elbow pads?
  • Not generally no. If I'm riding somewhere very rocky or very flint-ridden then yes.
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I never wear elbow pads. Even for downhill racing I don't use them any more, I occasionally graze an elbow on a tree but in several years of riding and crashing I have never had more than cuts, grazes or bruises in the area which an elbow pad could protect and to be honest I'm happy to accept that rather than wear pads.
    Some people choose to ride cross country in full armour and a full face helmet though so it's a very personal choice.
  • POAHPOAH Posts: 3,369
    I wear pads when I'm trying to go as fast as possible (trail skins for knees & leatt 3DF elbow). for gentle fitness runs I'll just put the knee pads on. I also wear the pads when I go BMX'ing. in my older years and low skill level I don't want to be falling without being protected
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Although I say I dont use pads unless DH racing I am injured at the moment and it was one of the rare occasions I was actually wearing my heavier armour. It wasnt even a big crash and I ended up with a separated shoulder.
    Some of the most spectacular crashes I have had have caused no injury worse than a few bruises.
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    I wear knee pads if I know I am going full g-nar on a ride or if I am in the bike park but if its trails I know and am confident on I dont bother. Only wear elbows in the bike park when I am working, because I have to.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    I don't own any body armour at all, just a helmet. Not rocky round here, but a lot of folk still opt for knee/elbow pads. Personal innit. Never even thought to do it at Welsh trail centres where it's far more prevalent (and rocky), but can see the merits.
  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    I have a pair of kneepads which I only wear at the trail centres. Most of my riding is over rock, and to be honest the stuff out my door is more technical than trail centres, but its only at trail centres that I feel like I'm going fast enough to warrent them. I don't push it too much downhill though and so, touch wood, haven't fallen off for a while. I dont actually notice the trail skins knee pads once I'm riding so I should probably wear them more to be on the safe side when I'm not going for training type ride or long xc one.

    I've never even considered elbow pads - a cricket box would be more use as my most common fall involves a stem to the nads!!
  • I don't fall off to often, but when I do I'm glad I've been wearing Helmet and Pads.
  • lancewlancew Posts: 680
    I wear knee pads when doing XC and trail riding as a semi novice.

    I don't own elbow pads.
    Specialized Allez Sport 2013
  • I have some POC elbow pads which I wear for all riding. The POC pads are quite expensive but thought justified as had big off a couple of years ago which resulted in elbow fracture, surgery and a total of about 10 months of physio.
    The POC pads are the soft D30 type which just harden when impacted.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    It depends how hard you push it and the trails you ride. If you are continually riding fast on steep,rough rocky trails pushing the bike to the limit of its traction and handling then body armour is a good idea. If you just pootle round flat smooth trails then no need really. In the end whatever makes you feel safe.
  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    Kajjal wrote:
    In the end whatever makes you feel safe.

    problem is when you feel safe, you push it and then you crash. I seem to fall of most times i wear knee pads, but if I'm not then i don't!!
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Elbow pads are not needed for XC riding, that is fact, even if you fall off they were not needed for teh riding, just the crash that resulted!

    Like most PPE, the vast majority of the time its not needed, but when it is you may live to regret not having it. With my awesome skills (I can ride slower than my mates who crash more often) I survive just fine with a helmet only, the 2 injuries I've had, one wouldn't have been stopped by any existing protection, the other would have needed a full chest guard which is a bit OTT for XC riding, besides the ribs mended in 3-4 weeks.
  • POAHPOAH Posts: 3,369
    I fell off on the commonwealth XC course and elbow pads saved me from damage so your statement is in fact incorrect.
    The Rookie wrote:
    Elbow pads are not needed for XC riding, that is fact, even if you fall off they were not needed for teh riding, just the crash that resulted!.
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    POAH wrote:
    I fell off on the commonwealth XC course and elbow pads saved me from damage so your statement is in fact incorrect.
    The Rookie wrote:
    Elbow pads are not needed for XC riding, that is fact, even if you fall off they were not needed for teh riding, just the crash that resulted!.

    Think you might need to rethink that. His statement is correct, you even back it up.
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    Kajjal wrote:
    It depends how hard you push it and the trails you ride. If you are continually riding fast on steep,rough rocky trails pushing the bike to the limit of its traction and handling then body armour is a good idea. If you just pootle round flat smooth trails then no need really. In the end whatever makes you feel safe.

    When it comes to pushing hard it doesn't necessarily follow that you're going fast on steep, rough rocky trails pushing the bike to the limit of its traction and handling. I'm usually riding on the ragged edge, but it's the ragged edge of my own limited ability, so rarely is it particularly fast, steep, rough or rocky, nor am I pushing the bike to the limit of its traction and handling. But I'm still that close to falling off most of the time on anything that requires a bit of work. So I think instinctively each person should be able to figure out if they need them or not. There will be plenty of people who can ride the same routes as me twice as fast as me with zero chance of falling off.

    Although I don't wear them myself I can't think of any reason not to. I'm sure there must be many out there which are light enough that you won't notice them while still offering reasonable protection. I guess a lot of people don't wear them because it's seen as a bit pansy. MTFU and all that buIIshit. Guys are wankers like that.
    Ferrals wrote:
    problem is when you feel safe, you push it and then you crash. I seem to fall of most times i wear knee pads, but if I'm not then i don't!!

    That one comes up a lot and I just don't buy it. Crashing is traumatic, pads or not (yes, I know the more macho amongst us will claim otherwise). There's still plenty to break, ribs, collar bones and the like, so is there really anyone out there stupid enough to think they're unbreakable just because they've got pads on their knees and elbows?
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
    Kona Process 134 viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12994607
  • oodboooodboo Posts: 2,177
    I only really ride xc, elbow pads would've stopped this from happening:
    p4pb8744752.jpg

    I still don't own any though.
    I love horses, best of all the animals. I love horses, they're my friends.

    Strava
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    You still don't wear them after that?! I had one of those on my right kneed and that's all it took for me to buy kneed pads and wear them for every ride since.
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
    Kona Process 134 viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12994607
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    How many years of ridimg with no problems before that nasty gash?
    The way I look at it is that I tend to break something every four of five years xc riding so I can just accept that rather than wear slightly uncomfortable pads.
    I always wear armour for downhill but crashes are bigger, nastier and more frequent so its more worth while.
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    I can just accept that rather than wear slightly uncomfortable pads.

    If you've got time to notice what your elbows feel like perhaps you're not riding hard enough. :)
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
    Kona Process 134 viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12994607
  • oodboooodboo Posts: 2,177
    Been riding bike since I was little, I remember doing something similar to my knee when I was about 14. I've had a few cuts and bruises and the occasional broken rib. I'll accept injuries like that every few years or so, it's just something I've come to expect and the injuries are worse if I'm riding faster or more often. I tend to try to ride within my limits, even more so now that I'm a dad.

    I know what went wrong when I done that and I wont repeat it (worn out tyres and too much braking on the slab at Dalbeattie).
    I love horses, best of all the animals. I love horses, they're my friends.

    Strava
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I can just accept that rather than wear slightly uncomfortable pads.

    If you've got time to notice what your elbows feel like perhaps you're not riding hard enough. :)

    Perhaps I notice it more on long climbs between the bits where Im more likely to need them.
    Also because I have a DH bike for when I want to go proper banzai I tend to keep a little in reserve when on the xc bike.
  • I've only recently started wearing elbow pads.
    Got knee pads after an off last year that could have been a lot worse.
    I find going out 'padded up' brings a bit more confidence.
    If I can save a trip to the hospital then it's worth it regardless of if it's an XC bimble or attacking the trials.
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    edited February 2015
    I guess it also depends on your age. I break a lot easier at 52 than I did at 20. I had a lot of spectacular slams when I was skateboarding in my late teens, early 20s but I can't remember any of them putting me out of action for anything beyond a few days. In the two years I've been MTBing four of my crashes have put me out for weeks at a time, with a broken rib putting me off the bike for two months. So, if you're a young whippet it might be overkill, but if you're an old bumbler it might be something that keeps you on the bike.
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
    Kona Process 134 viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12994607
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Ferrals wrote:
    Kajjal wrote:
    In the end whatever makes you feel safe.

    problem is when you feel safe, you push it and then you crash. I seem to fall of most times i wear knee pads, but if I'm not then i don't!!

    I have found as I get older I take less risks on the MTB and only really go for it on smoother twisting trails I know very well. Your right about more protection can make you feel safer and so take more risks.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    I guess it also depends on your age. I break a lot easier at 52 than I did at 20. I had a lot of spectacular slams when I was skateboarding in my late teens, early 20s but I can't remember any of them putting me out of action for anything beyond a few days. In the two years I've been MTBing four of my crashes have put me out for weeks at a time with a broken rib putting me off the bike for two months. So, if you're a young whippet it might be overkill, but if you're an old bumbler it might be something the keeps you on the bike.

    Completely agree , in my twenties I used to go fast on all kinds of trails on my MTB. Now in my forties I take a lot less risks and even walk down some very steep bits on trails I used to fly down.
  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    Ferrals wrote:
    problem is when you feel safe, you push it and then you crash. I seem to fall of most times i wear knee pads, but if I'm not then i don't!!

    That one comes up a lot and I just don't buy it. Crashing is traumatic, pads or not (yes, I know the more macho amongst us will claim otherwise). There's still plenty to break, ribs, collar bones and the like, so is there really anyone out there stupid enough to think they're unbreakable just because they've got pads on their knees and elbows?

    Just saying that's what I find happens, but then I only put pads on for trail centre routes like blade where bits of the last decent are at the limit of my ability. And after badly hurting myself last year I'm pretty risk averse so if I've not got them on I'll take it easy on the descents. And yes it's completely illogical because I fractured my shoulder and knocked myself out and last time I checked neither of those bits were covered by knee pads!
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