Author Topic: Elbow pad choice  (Read 931 times)

fd3

Elbow pad choice
« on: June 03, 2018, 09:07:59 pm »
I had hoped to spend much less on them, so now I need to have a clue as to which ones to buy.  Do I go for kevlar/padded cloth types or the ones with the hard shell?  My first thought is that a hard shell will allow a longer skid so less impact.

Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2018, 06:35:25 am »
Hi, I thought long and hard about this after a relatively low speed off on a gravelly country lane did a lot of damage to my left elbow.

I bought some Race Face D30 pads which seem fine.  I also have a cheapo pair off eBay with more of a cut-out in the fabric sleeve on the inside of the elbow in an attempt to get a bit more cooling.

I can't see the need for the hard shell versions as an impact is likely to be a slide, so you need a bit of padding to absorb the impact, plus something to take the wear as you come to a halt.  Depending upon the severity of the incident, these may be a throw-away item!

They need to be comfortable and not too tight as you are riding with your arms quite bent (on my hamster-barred Performers anyway) and the pads can bunch up a bit on the inside of the elbow.  They are also a bit hot and sweaty on hot days.  But, seeing the damage to my elbow (no, you really don't....) that's a small price to pay.  Having had an infection inside my shoulder after surgery (like 17 days on an intravenous antibiotic drip), I was very worried about a similar infection inside the elbow joint.  Fortunately, the joint encapsulation wasn't compromised and all I have now are the scars.

Having said all that, I've not had an off in the 2 years since.  (Goes off to find some wood.....)


And yes, the SAKI was fine, thanks for asking.  Unlike my bib shorts.

fd3

Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2018, 12:44:17 pm »
First, and most importantly, I'm glad the bike is ok!

The hard-shell will be less breathable, but the kevlar will be thicker, maybe have more gaps on the other side as they have attaching straps, not a sleeve.  Hmmm, at £10 difference there's not that much in it.  I reckon the hard shell would be better for learning as it will feel safer, the sleeves are more likely to be worn on a regular basis over the next 3+ years...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2018, 12:51:07 pm »
I was going to ask, is this for racing / off-roading / learning a new bike / icy conditions, or for general road riding?  I think that's going to make a big difference in the reasonable tradeoff between comfort and protection...
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2018, 01:24:48 pm »
First, and most importantly, I'm glad the bike is ok!

The hard-shell will be less breathable, but the kevlar will be thicker, maybe have more gaps on the other side as they have attaching straps, not a sleeve.  Hmmm, at £10 difference there's not that much in it.  I reckon the hard shell would be better for learning as it will feel safer, the sleeves are more likely to be worn on a regular basis over the next 3+ years...

I'd be wary of the hard shell version as these are made for MTB/BMX, AIUI.  Riders on a DF will have straighter arms (IMHO) that we do on a recumbent, and that may put more tension on the pad straps, resulting in more discomfort.  I don't particularly like wearing my pads as they do feel restrictive, and I suspect that hard shells would be worse - but I do wear them as I would rather my elbows keep working as designed.

 I already find my soft pads quite restricting with bent arms and I suspect that a hard shell would be worse. I also find it difficult to believe after a few thousand miles now on recumbents, that a 'soft' pad type protector would not save my elbows in any off that I can conceive.  However, it's your call. Don't forget that if you fall off sideways (the only real option!) you are only going to fall about 2ft (in old money) not the 4 ft or so off a DF, so the magnitude of the impact will inevitably be less than it would in parting compnay witha DF macjine. It's the abrasion resistance you need, commensurate with sufficent in-use comfort to encourage you to wear them.  My elbow scars always remind me to put them on before I go out.

Kim had a big sliding off a few months back, not sure if she wears elbow pads but her input will be valuable in this discussion.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 02:00:49 pm »
I'd be wary of the hard shell version as these are made for MTB/BMX, AIUI.  Riders on a DF will have straighter arms (IMHO) that we do on a recumbent

Depends on the handlebars, I reckon.  My arms are very bent on the Baron, with tiller steering, but about as straight as they would be on the hoods of an audax/touring bike with USS on the streetmachine.  Not quite sure how BMX compares, I haven't ridden one since I was about 8.


Quote
Kim had a big sliding off a few months back, not sure if she wears elbow pads but her input will be valuable in this discussion.

That was about a year ago, now.  Elbow damage was a minor grazing (I've had much worse falling from upwrongs).  I lost a lot of skin from my buttocks, which was as painful as it was inconvenient, and eventually discovered a small bruise on my ankle where the front mech hit my shoe.

I had a small off back in October, from the other bike (higher, so further to fall, but at fairly low speed).  No injuries, just damage to the handlebar controls.

I have some cheap (soft foam) elbow pads, but I only wear them for racing and when I think I'm particularly likely to fall off (eg. learning to ride a new bike).  They're uncomfortable and hot and result in silly tanlines, but I've yet to fall on them.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

fd3

Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 03:16:19 pm »
I was going to ask, is this for racing / off-roading / learning a new bike / icy conditions, or for general road riding?  I think that's going to make a big difference in the reasonable tradeoff between comfort and protection...
It's for learning to ride atm.  I don't know whether elbow pads are the helmet of the recumbent world or the gloves of the recumbent world, which would determine whether I will use them regularly in a year's time.  Reckon I'd stick to my DF for ice riding and as for racing/off-roading - that will never happen!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 03:31:18 pm »
I'd say elbow pads were much more useful than a helmet, but less so than gloves[1].

I always wear mitts (or warmer gloves) and glasses[2].  Plus elbow pads for when I think I'm going to fall off (ie. not normal road riding).  Helmet when it's mandatory - I think my chances of hitting my head in a fall from a recumbent are even lower than they are from an upright.

If I'm wearing elbow pads, I'll not be wearing sandals, and will likely wear my most worn-out lycra so I'm not too annoyed if it ends up full of holes[3].


[1] I reckon hand and elbow injuries are similarly likely, but that elbow injuries need to be a lot more serious to approach the same pain/inconvenience level as something relatively minor on the hand.
[2] Okay, I need them to see properly, so there's a substantial safety benefit right there.  But if I didn't I'd wear some anyway to keep the grit off my cornea, particularly on the lower recumbents.
[3] I had a conversation with a BHPC member last year who'd discovered (soccer) goalkeeper's shorts as a cheaper and slightly more sturdy (if not especially aerodynamic) alternative to use for racing.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

fd3

Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2018, 03:47:46 pm »
Thanks for that, without wanting to get this moved to the helmet sub-page, my view as a DF rider is that I wouldn't consider riding without gloves and would recommend them as the first safety device for new riders.  Helmets are optional but lots of people like to wear them.  So elbow pads are half way in between...  I think I'll try the race face then as they are cheaper.

Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2018, 08:15:57 pm »
So elbow pads are half way in between...  I think I'll try the race face then as they are cheaper.

This is the cheapo pair I bought - they are fine, and cheap enough as a try-out.  They will definitely provide a lot of protection against abrasion. If you get on OK, spend a bit more on the Race Face.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AQF-Elbow-Pads-Protector-Brace-Support-Guards-Arm-Guard-MMA-Gym-Padded-Velcro-/272556656588?var=&hash=item3f75a487cc

Not sure I'd agree with Kim on her priorities!  When I came off I hit my elbow hard, and then slid along the gravel, that's what did the damage. I'd go elbows:head:hands. But maybe that's nit-picking. I was wearing gloves (always do) but I don't recall me taking my hands off the bars until I came to a stop.  It all happened so fast anyway- front tyre blew for no apparent reason. And I do wear a helmet - but finding one with a high enough back not to foul the head rest restricts your choices.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2018, 10:11:25 pm »
my only major off on a reumbent involved sliding along on my RHS, with three main and one intermittent point of contact
1) RH ankle, abraded through two pairs of socks, still have the scar on my ankle bone
2) Hip, fairly nasty bruising, swelling, no torn lycra
3) Shoulder - bruised, sore for a few days

Intermittent - head, scraped helmet

Elbow, nothing more than a quick bump, and a mudstain on my jacket.  Zero pain. 

Apart from that, all of my recumbent offs have been more of a comedy topple rather than high speed fall
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2018, 10:46:55 pm »
I've had three proper offs at any kind of speed:

- Streetmachine vs diesel on left-hand corner:  Road rash and bruising to left knee.  Grazed elbow.  Minor arse bruising.  Cosmetic damage to bike.
- Streetmachine, overcooked on right-hand corner: Abraided right ankle on the bony bit.  Inconsequential arm bashing.  Minmal bike damage, but abraded through an Ortlieb front-roller that broke free in the slide.
- Baron, front wheel blowout at ~40mph: Baboon arse, grazed elbow, minor bruise on foot.  Serious damage to bike.


Also various minor offs from the Streetmachine:

- Sustrans mud at low speed leading to chainring vs shin.  Leg needed stitches.  Bike needed cleaning.
- Crashing into verge due to falling asleep:  Landed on hands in press-up position, protected by gloves.  Nettle rash. Bruising on hip from handlebar while thrown from the bike.
- Sliding out sideways on gravel: Grazed elbow, minor bruising of hip.
- Clipless moments / learning to ride: One non-bruising painful bash of achilles on front wheel during emergency unclip.  Grazed elbow x a few.

About 3 minor offs from the Baron (two while learning to ride, one due to chain coming off at the start of a steep climb and pedalling frantically in neutral rather than putting a foot down), no injuries (hands possibly protected by gloves) or bike damage.

I managed to roll the ICE trike once (low speed, mud, silly camber).  No injury or damage.

Various offs from uprights, nearly all off-road (either mountain biking, clipless moments, or using shit cyclepaths with road tyres):  Palm of hand usually protected by gloves, countless grazes, cuts and bruises of elbows (my left elbow's scars have scars).  Minor cuts and bruises to lower leg.  Occasional bruising to body from landing on handlebars, rocks, etc.  Occasional clipless-less moments resulting in painful shin brusies or less painful calf bruises.  I once shoulder-barged a brick wall in preference to falling into the canal.

I've never hit my head in a cycle accident, except while fettling.


One thing I have noticed is that with under-seat steering, my instinctive reaction in a fall is to pull my hands in from the bars to protect my fingers from being crushed, so the tendency is to land on my elbow and hip.  This is the opposite to what happens with tiller steering or uprights, or on foot, where I tend to extend my arms to break my fall.

I'm also suspicious that staying clipped into the pedals in a recumbent crash results in fewer injuries from sliding forward into bits of bike, but it's not like that's something you can reasonably control...


(This all does seem to add up to elbow protection being a fairly good idea, but like helmets I don't think the risks are high enough to justify the inconvenience for normal road riding.)
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2018, 10:58:36 pm »
[3] I had a conversation with a BHPC member last year who'd discovered (soccer) goalkeeper's shorts as a cheaper and slightly more sturdy (if not especially aerodynamic) alternative to use for racing.[/sub]
Okay, this might be the wrong place to ask, but it's weird enough; what on earth is the difference between goalkeeper's shorts and general football shorts?
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2018, 11:03:54 pm »
oddly, perhaps, it seems to be speeeed dependent with me.

recumbent, low speed, hand down almost as a prop to prevent toppling - hand down on the M5 is very easy

Amything higher speed either upright or 'bent goes back to my rugby days with a "tuck and roll" kind of approach with hands in, land on back/shoulders intent.  Working so far, and came in very handy one year in Bath with sheet ice everywhere
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2018, 11:05:06 pm »
[3] I had a conversation with a BHPC member last year who'd discovered (soccer) goalkeeper's shorts as a cheaper and slightly more sturdy (if not especially aerodynamic) alternative to use for racing.[/sub]
Okay, this might be the wrong place to ask, but it's weird enough; what on earth is the difference between goalkeeper's shorts and general football shorts?

They're padded on the hips, because proper goalies are supposed to courageously dive for the ball with disregard for getting bruised and muddy, rather than the traditional approach of hanging around the goalposts chatting to whoever's off PE with a broken arm and letting the ball in through general inattention and/or self-preservation.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Elbow pad choice
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2018, 11:15:36 pm »
[3] I had a conversation with a BHPC member last year who'd discovered (soccer) goalkeeper's shorts as a cheaper and slightly more sturdy (if not especially aerodynamic) alternative to use for racing.[/sub]
Okay, this might be the wrong place to ask, but it's weird enough; what on earth is the difference between goalkeeper's shorts and general football shorts?

They're padded on the hips, because proper goalies are supposed to courageously dive for the ball with disregard for getting bruised and muddy, rather than the traditional approach of hanging around the goalposts chatting to whoever's off PE with a broken arm and letting the ball in through general inattention and/or self-preservation.
How very sensible. We didn't have that in my day at school. <Kids today, don't know how lucky they are, ice cream and Yorkshiremen jelly, etc.> This day will have to be noted as The Day I Learnt Something About Football From Kim!
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)