The Alpinestars Paragon Plus Elbow Guards are designed to give lightweight trail protection. They are made using a minimal breathable mesh with a ‘certified protector’ pad sewn into the sleeve. The pad stuck out when riding and felt inflexible. Although the sleeve stayed in place, it doesn't feel especially durable for its purpose or for long term use.
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Alpinestars Paragon Plus Elbow Guard review - Materials and build
The Paragon Plus Elbow guards are made from two materials. The inside of the arm uses a thinner, mesh type, breathable fabric, and the outer is a thicker material. There are elasticated grippers on the top and bottom, the upper includes a silicone band to help the pad stay put when riding.
The ‘certified protector’ pad conforms to a CE-certified standard, but there's little information given on exactly what it is. Unfortunately, the pad isn't removable. It feels very similar to the multi-faceted style impact material used on a lot of trail pads - there is a texture to it, with lots of small separate elements meant to allow flex and movement.
The seams are smooth and well finished. The pad is thicker and more heavy-duty than road arm warmers, but doesn’t feel bulky and isn’t a compression style fit.
Alpinestars Paragon Plus Elbow Guard review - Out riding
The Alpinestars Paragon Elbow Guard didn’t feel especially great when put on. The elbow pads lack flex. This was noticeable when putting jerseys or jackets on, and once riding they felt odd. I felt like the pad stuck out and seemed to hold form in one direction, either around the arm with the top and bottom sticking out, or when the arm was bent the sides stuck out. This did improve a little when they warmed up, but even at room temperature, they felt quite stiff.
Under a jacket or jersey, they stayed put when riding. The mesh fabric on the inside of the arm allowed effective cooling in lower temperatures (below 10C), but above this, they felt warmer, which is pretty usual. The material choice balances being durable with effective cooling. When riding downhill I had decent freedom of movement. There was a sort of snagging from the pad shaper and position at times. The pad would be much better if it was more malleable to the shape of the elbow.
Thankfully I didn't have to put them to use, but the actual pad and materials feel tough enough to absorb impact when it happens.
Alpinestars Paragon Plus Elbow Guard Review - Summing up
For me, the fit, shape and how the pad sits on the elbow felt uncomfortable. It's annoying to have a pad that is noticeable when riding, especially when they are meant to be lightweight. I expected them to feel unobtrusive and to only notice them when things got a little warmer.
Looking at other options, like the SixSixOne DBO tested by Liam, which although pricer is a better fit and more protection. Other options are the Endura Singletrack Lite II, ION Elbow Pads E-sleeve, 7idp Sam Hill Lite, and the Amplifi MKX Elbow (being reviewed currently)
Overall, the material of the Paragon and the shape of the sleeve is good. The sleeve stays in place and isn't especially sweaty, or no more than is typically expected. I'd like a more flexible pad, and ideally, for it to be removable. For a lightweight trail elbow guard, these are functionally ok, but there's room for improvement.