Head to the Alps and you’ll see myriad storm troopers going gnarly off 2ft drop-offs. But if you'd rather not look like a sci-fi movie extra, Troy Lee's E-Lite guards are thin and comfy pads that take the sting out of crashes, without taking up loads of room around your arms.
The Lycra arm warmer-like construction doesn’t inhibit movement or feel bulky. They do add extra warmth, but the material wicks sweat well and doesn’t seem to get too stinky. At the top there’s a silicone gripper, which is relatively secure. Ours did creep a bit over longer rides, but it’s no hassle to rearrange them once in a while. Seams are flatlocked and soft.
On the outside, protection is provided by a reasonably high density but flexible abrasion resistant pad. Its tread-like pattern means it’ll conform to most arm shapes without getting too baggy. Inside there’s more memory foam padding, which helps fit and comfort. While the padding is thicker over the elbow, there’s a recess in the underlying harder shell, so it stays in place relatively well.
In crashes the pads aren’t as secure as bulkier ones – their thin, lightweight construction menas they’ll never be as protective as a full-on D3O or hardshell pad – but they definitely help with skin retention.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.