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Lightweight elbow/forearm and knee protection

Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Lightweight elbow/forearm and knee protection

Old 04-21-19, 12:58 PM
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Bryan C. 
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Lightweight elbow/forearm and knee protection

Crashed my Diverge a few nights ago. Narrow trail, at night, going too fast and just slid off the outside edge of the trail. Went down, per strava, at 15 mph. Got the usual road rash but I also suffered a rather deep cut in my forearm. 1.5" long and all the way to the bone. Spent a few hours in the ER getting the gravel and dirt scrubbed out. Still too dirty to stitch up but will see my regular doctor on Monday morning and will know more then.

This was actually my 2nd crash in 7 months. Both were associated with my infatuation with climbing and descending hills. And when descending I'm usually riding too fast for the bike and trail I am riding. Gravel bikes are great climbers, but not so good at descending. Well, maybe that's just my issue rather than blaming the bike.

So that leads me to wonder. Is there any gravel specific lightweight knee and arm protection available?

The closest I found was the Troy Lee Designs speed sleeve. It seems to cover the area I got cut in and provides decent fall protection without being too bulky. The matching knee pads are actually pretty well reviewed too.

https://shop.troyleedesigns.com/spee...olor=7&size=50

Any other options? Does anyone wear pads on a gravel bike?
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Old 04-21-19, 02:14 PM
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Glad it wasn't something more serious Bryan

Maybe something with Schoeller protective textile?

https://www.schoeller-textiles.com/e...ctive-textiles

I have a Kitsbow Origin jersey with Schoeller armored forearms. I'm not sure it isn't designed to protect the jersey as much as the rider. The textile is not padded but it is tough.



Scott ITD ProTec cycling gear is designed to protect the rider during high speed crashes and uses Scheoller developed armored or abrasion resistant textiles.

https://www.scott-sports.com/us/en/page/itd-protec

Schoeller are the people who invented cold black and there are other brands out there using Schoeller armor textiles if not for cycling then for rock climbing, hiking and similar activities.

I hope you get well soon.


-Tim-
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Old 04-21-19, 03:27 PM
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Iím interested in your comment on gravel bikes being poor at descending.

Iíve had the same opinion since spending a lot of time riding on the road on a gravel bike with 70mm+ trail. That much trail requires a high lean angle that itís very easy to exceed the tire traction and slide out even on dry grippy pavement. High trail is great if youíre going down a rough gravel descent thatís straight but as soon as thereís a curve the bike is outside of itís good handling envelope instantly.

What model diverge do you have, Iím curious of the trail?
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Old 04-21-19, 05:27 PM
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Armor for riding a gravel bike? Wow. I never would have imagined. Whatís next, full faced helmets? Goggles?

ďGravelĒ bikes arenít inherently poor descenders if they are set up properly. The biggest difference is going to be the relative lack of grip compared to a MTB. As the trail gets choppy the lack of suspension comes into play.

This requires looking even further ahead and managing the traction circle even more tightly than on a MTB.
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Old 04-21-19, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Iím interested in your comment on gravel bikes being poor at descending.

Iíve had the same opinion since spending a lot of time riding on the road on a gravel bike with 70mm+ trail. That much trail requires a high lean angle that itís very easy to exceed the tire traction and slide out even on dry grippy pavement. High trail is great if youíre going down a rough gravel descent thatís straight but as soon as thereís a curve the bike is outside of itís good handling envelope instantly.

What model diverge do you have, Iím curious of the trail?
Specs are 58mm of trail. Bike is a 2019 Diverge Expert size 56.

I'm not a big geometry guy so it's hard for me to describe the subtleties of the way the bike handles. Coming from a mostly MTB background this bike has a tendency to bounce over rocks and drift quite a bit when on a narrow trail with tight turns at higher speeds. Nothing crazy but in the 10-20 mph range.

These are really MTB trails and I'm pushing my luck with the Diverge. The particular trail was actually well groomed, I was just going too fast for the corner. A small rise in the trail at the speed I was riding made the bike a little light and I lost traction pretty quick as I tried to lean into the corner.

Last edited by Bryan C.; 04-21-19 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 04-21-19, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by enveous View Post
Armor for riding a gravel bike? Wow. I never would have imagined. Whatís next, full faced helmets? Goggles?

ďGravelĒ bikes arenít inherently poor descenders if they are set up properly. The biggest difference is going to be the relative lack of grip compared to a MTB. As the trail gets choppy the lack of suspension comes into play.

This requires looking even further ahead and managing the traction circle even more tightly than on a MTB.
Let's not go crazy here. I'm asking for protection while my arm heals. But also in the future when I am planning on riding in an area where steep descents are likely.

I'm an experienced cyclist, I just push my luck more than I should sometimes. And when I go too far I pay the price. Downhill racing is best left for a bike set up for it, which a gravel bike is not.

A friend told me I need to know my limits, it's hard to know them if you never find them. Go ahead and ride how you like, play it safe if you like, I'll keep pushing myself and my bike's limits.
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Old 04-21-19, 06:35 PM
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The FOX Enduro knee pads are very lightweight and don't seem like they would hinder pedalling very much, can't tell for sure is I've only tried them at the LBS, but it may be worth looking into. The FOX Enduro elbow pads seem to have a similar construction and are long enough to cover most of the arm, can't say much about the elbow pads as the LBS does not have them in stock.
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Old 04-21-19, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Bryan C. View Post
But also in the future when I am planning on riding in an area where steep descents are likely.

Downhill racing is best left for a bike set up for it, which a gravel bike is not.
The singletrack in Black Diamond is nothing like a DH course.

Or dd you slide off a trail somewhere else?

Originally Posted by Bryan C. View Post
Go ahead and ride how you like, play it safe if you like, I'll keep pushing myself and my bike's limits.
Play it safe? Where did that assumption come from? Thatís very odd, especially coming from the guy who is asking about ďgravel armor.Ē
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Old 04-21-19, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by enveous View Post
The singletrack in Black Diamond is nothing like a DH course.

Or dd you slide off a trail somewhere else?



Play it safe? Where did that assumption come from? Thatís very odd, especially coming from the guy who is asking about ďgravel armor.Ē
Well, so much for taking it easy.
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Old 04-21-19, 09:33 PM
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G forms are about as light as you can get and would probably do the trick.

https://www.amazon.com/G-Form-Pro-X-.../dp/B075WVHYWM

Or one of these football arm guards if it is further down your arm
https://www.amazon.com/McDavid-Forea...g%2C163&sr=1-3
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Old 04-22-19, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Jakedatc View Post
G forms are about as light as you can get and would probably do the trick.

https://www.amazon.com/G-Form-Pro-X-.../dp/B075WVHYWM

Or one of these football arm guards if it is further down your arm
https://www.amazon.com/McDavid-Forea...g%2C163&sr=1-3

I tried the g-forms a few years back when I bought some MTB pads. They didn't fit me very well so I bought some Leatt pads instead.

The forearm guards brought up a bunch of cross training style arm pads as similar items. I'll check them out later and see if any might work for me. Thanks for the link.
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Old 04-22-19, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Bryan C. View Post
Crashed my Diverge a few nights ago. Narrow trail, at night, going too fast and just slid off the outside edge of the trail. Went down, per strava, at 15 mph.

This was actually my 2nd crash in 7 months. Both were associated with my infatuation with climbing and descending hills. And when descending I'm usually riding too fast for the bike and trail I am riding. Gravel bikes are great climbers, but not so good at descending. Well, maybe that's just my issue rather than blaming the bike.
You were riding technical single track at night on a gravel bike and admittedly descent too fast for the bike and trail you are on.
Yeah, your last sentence sounds right- its your issue and not the bike.

Dont descend faster than the bike and trail allow, especially in the dark. Seems like that would be an easy fix instead of wearing body armor just to ride a gravel bike.
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Old 04-22-19, 01:40 PM
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Dude if you want to wear pads wear pads. Don't let other people dictate your safety. All it takes is one oopsie and you land knee first on a rock and your out of commission for months. I started riding my mtn bike with knee pads even on simple XC trails last year and don't really care if other people think I'm over worried. There are a lot of light pads out there now. Might be better off asking in the mtn bike section.
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Old 04-22-19, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You were riding technical single track at night on a gravel bike
1. Not a technical trail "The particular trail was actually well groomed"

2. If you have decent lights, it's no big deal to ride at the same speed at night.
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Old 04-22-19, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You were riding technical single track at night on a gravel bike and admittedly descent too fast for the bike and trail you are on.
Yeah, your last sentence sounds right- its your issue and not the bike.

Dont descend faster than the bike and trail allow, especially in the dark. Seems like that would be an easy fix instead of wearing body armor just to ride a gravel bike.
Originally Posted by enveous View Post
1. Not a technical trail "The particular trail was actually well groomed"

2. If you have decent lights, it's no big deal to ride at the same speed at night.
I didn't really blame the crash in the bike. I said that I didn't think gravel bikes descended very well. That statement was based on high speed downhill riding on a bike with no suspension and file tread tires. I was to blame for the crash.

Here is the trailforks trail profile. It's reversed as I rode from the top down as opposed to climbing the trail. Twisty, narrow, and steep is the best way to describe it.

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Old 04-22-19, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Canker View Post
Dude if you want to wear pads wear pads. Don't let other people dictate your safety. All it takes is one oopsie and you land knee first on a rock and your out of commission for months. I started riding my mtn bike with knee pads even on simple XC trails last year and don't really care if other people think I'm over worried. There are a lot of light pads out there now. Might be better off asking in the mtn bike section.
Thanks, I ride my MTB wearing light duty knee pads and elbow pads too. I couldn't care less as to what the bro crew or the keyboard warriors think.

I like my Leatt Airflex Pro pads quite a bit but even still I think they're overkill for what I'm looking for. I found the link for the TLD pads on another MTB forum. The real problem is that most manufacturers don't post pics of the pads on an arm, which would be helpful.
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Old 04-22-19, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by enveous View Post
2. If you have decent lights, it's no big deal to ride at the same speed at night.
It's almost impossible to consistently ride the same speed at night as during the day, regardless of lighting. Singletrack and to some extent, gravel roads, aren't nearly the same as pavement.

I'm a middling sport category mtb racer who rides at night more often than most people. If I could keep the same nighttime speed as I ride during the day for a given race course, I would win every expert category night event by a significant margin. Riding fast at night is extremely difficult.
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Old 04-22-19, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
It's almost impossible to consistently ride the same speed at night as during the day, regardless of lighting. Singletrack and to some extent, gravel roads, aren't nearly the same as pavement.
That hasn't been my experience off-road whether I'm on my gravel bike or MTB, according to Strava. Familiarity with the local trails coupled with an obscenely bright bar and helmet light combo makes it possible.
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Old 04-22-19, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by enveous View Post
That hasn't been my experience off-road whether I'm on my gravel bike or MTB, according to Strava. Familiarity with the local trails coupled with an obscenely bright bar and helmet light combo makes it possible.
Cool story bro.
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Old 04-22-19, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Bryan C. View Post
Cool story bro.
Just the truth.

A combined ~6100 lumens makes night riding like riding during the day.

As noted above, familiarity with the trail plays a part as well.

Just keep practicing bro!
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Old 04-22-19, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by enveous View Post
Just the truth.

A combined ~6100 lumens makes night riding like riding during the day.

As noted above, familiarity with the trail plays a part as well.

Just keep practicing bro!
6100 lumens? And I'm the one who is being ridiculous?

Are you scared of the dark? Or just playing it safe? I bet you are so badass you don't even wear a helmet. You know, since you don't actually plan on crashing.

So other than your, "I can do anything you can do better" attitude, which nobody cares about, you have brought nothing to the discussion. Maybe it's time you let the adults talk, ok?
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Old 04-22-19, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bryan C. View Post
6100 lumens? And I'm the one who is being ridiculous?
Yes, I believe you are being ridiculous with your gravel armor quest and yes ~6100 lumens. As lighting tech has progressed over the decades from the first 12v and 6v halogen systems I've steadily upgraded and my night riding experience has gotten more and more fun. You should try out one of the better light systems and see (no pun intended) for yourself! Maybe a light upgrade will help you stay on the trails or maybe you just need to keep on practicing.







Originally Posted by Bryan C. View Post
Are you scared of the dark? Or just playing it safe? I bet you are so badass you don't even wear a helmet. You know, since you don't actually plan on crashing.
Nah, not scared of the dark, just trying to get the most fun out of my rides.

For someone who self-admittedly struggles to stay upright on a bike it sure is funny to watch you try to talk smack.
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Old 04-22-19, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by enveous View Post
Yes, I believe you are being ridiculous with your gravel armor quest and yes ~6100 lumens. As lighting tech has progressed over the decades from the first 12v and 6v halogen systems I've steadily upgraded and my night riding experience has gotten more and more fun. You should try out one of the better light systems and see (no pun intended) for yourself! Maybe a light upgrade will help you stay on the trails or maybe you just need to keep on practicing.









Nah, not scared of the dark, just trying to get the most fun out of my rides.

For someone who self-admittedly struggles to stay upright on a bike it sure is funny to watch you try to talk smack.
Ok tough guy.
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Old 04-22-19, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by enveous View Post
That hasn't been my experience off-road whether I'm on my gravel bike or MTB, according to Strava. Familiarity with the local trails coupled with an obscenely bright bar and helmet light combo makes it possible.
What kind of trails are you riding? I'd love to see some Strava links, or even a screenshot of the Veloviewer data for whatever segments you'd like to share. I don't believe you but I don't have any problem being wrong.
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Old 04-22-19, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
What kind of trails are you riding? I'd love to see some Strava links, or even a screenshot of the Veloviewer data for whatever segments you'd like to share. I don't believe you but I don't have any problem being wrong.
Local singletrack usually accessed via fireroad. Conditions vary from flowy with minor chunky sections to more tech with repeated small drops (Chaparral DH PR in the screen cap below).



The more mellow singletrack can be seen by fast forwarding past the fireoad climbing/descending here:

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