When buying your next set of elbow pads, there are a few things to consider, such as its purpose, the design of the pad, the fit and feel and whether they will work with your typical mountain bike outings, as well as the type of off-road cycling clothing you wear regularly. If a pad is too chunky and you often wear a slim-fitting long-sleeved jersey, you need to look for a low-profile design that’s non-intrusive. The TSG Chamber Elbow Pads are great value for the comfort and protection you get in return. The only downside is that you may need to go up a size if you have some strong bicep muscles.
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TSG Chamber Elbow Guards - Technical details
TSG’s Chamber Elbow Pads are £74and for this you get a lot of features and performance. The sleeve-style design pulls on without a velcro fastening and the breathability is achieved from the hole cut out on the inside of the sleeve, allowing for better airflow. The upper action of the hole cut out has a mesh fabric for additional ventilation. This also features on the lower area of the sleeve.
The Chamber elbow pads are constructed using a flexible soft foam that provides hours of comfort. The pad that offers the main protection is a PGF gel that is flexible but supportive. The edge of the sleeve cuffs features an anti-slip textured silicone strip to keep the pads in position.
There is a small logo on the side of the sleeve foam with ‘Air Stream’ and the brand name subtly printed. There is also a logo on the main area of protection moulded into the plastic gel. The pads are black in colour and come in sizes Small to X-Large, with the sizing measured by the bicep circumference. I tested a size Medium. They have a combined claimed weight of 291g, but when weighing them myself they came in at 310g.
TSG Chamber Elbow Guards - Performance
Looking at the pads, the first impression was how tiny they looked. But this was deceptive as it slid onto my arm easily and I found them to be surprisingly comfortable. Usually, from experience, I tend to fiddle around with the positioning for a bit too long, but these pads felt comfortable immediately. Only a slight fettle and twist to get the correct position that felt comfortable bend my arm.
The first thing I noticed was how much they moved effortlessly with the movement of my arms. There is no restriction while riding at all, and there is no pulling on my jersey. I usually wear a long-sleeved jersey, and they fit underneath this with ease, and I could still bend my arm fully without the jersey feeling like it was pulling or felt tight.
I like how easy they are to use as there is no velcro fastening which means there was less room for error or faults later down the line and no snapping on the jersey fabric. The cuffs stay positioned at the upper part of my arm (bicep) and the lower forearm area. During longer rides, they stayed still the entire way journey. I could feel the upper part of the sleeve cuff digging into my arm, and when my arms were bent in the typical riding position, they put some uncomfortable pressure around my arm. With some movement of the sleeve, I relieved the pressure slightly.
The pad is super breathable even with wearing a long sleeved jersey over the top, and I could feel cool air flowing through thanks to the hole on the inside and I didn't feel like I was overheating. The pads don’t feel intrusive and once in the correct position, I didn’t feel them there at all. In fact, i felt more confident knowing my arms were more protected, and this encouraged better riding.
They are fairly low profile which I was surprised with as they look chunky with the main shell construction, but they are barely noticeable. Okay so not as discrete as some elbow pads such as the POC Joint VPD Air Elbow which sit low without being ultra-invasive.
I didn't actually get to test how effective the main protection is in terms of how much it stopped being injured or its response to impact, but with its tough exterior, i feel confident that the pads would offer enough crash defence while low-level trail riding or even during a 4 cross race where it could be more contact with riders than hitting the ground.
TSG Chamber Elbow Guards - Verdict
Plenty of protection in a fairly low-profile construction featuring a sleeve-style design. Hard but flexible and super comfortable, except for a slight pressure on my bicep, which can be corrected with some simple re-positioning. Fits underneath long-sleeved jerseys with ease and they move effortlessly with the arms during both trail riding and even more aggressive downhill terrain. We reviewed the Alpinestars Paragon Plus Elbow Guard Review last year which is a budget-friendly cost of £45 but comes with a chunky “awkward” pad shape that isn’t too flexible.
Overall these pads are perfect for lightweight trail riding or enduro racing, where you want good solid protection without any bulk.