MXA TEAM TESTED: LEATT AIRFLEX ELBOW GUARDS
WHAT IS IT? Leatt’s new Airflex Armourgel elbow guards are slip-on sleeve-like guards that don’t need Velcro straps to stay in place. And instead of plastic padding, the Armourgel elbow guard uses a molded padding made from an energy-absorbing material known as Armourgel padding.
WHAT’S IT COST? $59.00 (adult), $48.00 (youth).
CONTACT? www.leatt.com or (800) 691-3314.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Leatt Airflex Armourgel elbow guards.
(1) Armourgel. According to Leatt, Armourgel is a “non-Newtonian gel.” What does that mean? “Non-Newtonian” refers to the fact that the Armourgel pads have a coefficient of viscosity that is not consistent. What does that mean? Armourgel pads are soft to the touch but become firmer on impact. In other words, if your elbow struck the ground, the pads would get firmer to resist the blow.
(2) Function. Every motocross racer has lived with a scabby elbow that won’t heal or a serious arm injury that needs protection from further damage. Most elbow guards strap on to your arm with Velcro straps. To keep them in place, the Velcro has to be tightened down. This is uncomfortable and not all that secure in a crash. Most MXA test riders prefer sleeve-style elbow guards. By wedding the Armourgel padding to a Lycra sleeve, the Airflex elbow guards pull on like arm warmers that Tour de France racers wear in the Alps. There are no pressure points, because there are no Velcro straps. The Armourgel pads are perforated to keep your arm cool, but that is a pipe dream. Leatt’s Airflex elbow guards are CE tested and certified for impact protection.
(3) Performance. For motocross, the Armourgel Airflex elbow guards are almost perfect. MXA test riders, even those who don’t normally wear elbow guards, said that they never gave them a thought during a race. If you gave up on old-school elbow guards, you should try Leatt’s sleeve-style guards.
(4) Options. There are five sizes; small, medium, large, extra large and extra-extra large. Most MXA test riders wore the large version and it fit tightly. Interestingly, Leatt Airflex elbow guards come in dedicated left and right versions. Since only a small tag told the rider which was which, we used a paint pen to put an “L” or “R” on each one to make life easier.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? There are three quibbles: (1) They are hotter than not wearing them (perforated or not). (2) Our large elbow guards were tight on test riders who thought that they had large forearms. (3) They are so flexible that they have to be peeled off like a sock, which isn’t comfortable if you are protecting a scab. However, a tight fit is more desirable than a loose fit when riding at the track.
MXA RATING: Racers with elbows that are perpetually hamburgered will find Airflex elbow guards to be a great way to protect an injured elbow or forearm. And, if you haven’t road-rashed your elbow yet, the Airflex guard could keep it from happening in the future.
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