Bliss ARG minimalist elbow pads – Review
A few weeks ago I booked onto an uplift session at Bike Park Wales. This ‘racing slug’ is planning on getting faster. That said, my body is still soft and pink like a newborn mole rat, it needs protection. When the trails get rough I regularly ride with my 661 knee pads (you can find a review here) and my Fox Flux helmet and so far I have managed to “scrape by”. With BPW booked it was time to admit that I’m not a pro-rider, and my elbows were probably going to take a beating on Welsh slate in a couple of weeks.
After a fair bit of research I settled for Bliss ARG minimalist elbow pads. The pads came recommended to me by a number of riders and it didn’t hurt that they were very reasonably priced on CRC at the time.
As the name suggests the pads are on the light side of the protection spectrum. They come in a bold blue colour, that fits the rest of my ‘smurf outfit’ out on the trail. Most importantly it is made with the ARG material. ARG stands for Armourgel, a substance that is designed to absorb and spread the sudden mechanical shock of a hard impact. There are other companies out there that offer similar products, most notably the G-Form Pro-X Pad which is similarly lightweight and low profile, though sadly it doesn’t come in smurf blue.
Historically arm protection has been very clunky and stiff, leaving your arms burning after half an hours riding, but Armourgel claims to allow the pads to stay flexible and only harden upon impact. Apparently the ARG material can be washed up to 50 times without losing its capability, so I probably better start washing my pads more often!
Wearing a pair of the Bliss ARG minimalist pads felt relatively light and comfortable. The sleeve design is breathable and pads are pretty well ventilated with holes throughout. Even after several sweaty miles the pads didn’t budge an inch, due in part to the small rubber bumps inside the sleeve.
Its important to choose your size right and the chart I used are quite accurate. I would encourage you to go for a slightly bigger size, I’m wearing a unisex medium and they’ve managed to contain my ‘bingo wings’ so far.
Recently I managed to give the Bliss pads a baptism of fire…and rocks…and mud. A day after the elbow pads arrived, I went on a ride with MTB Diva in Gisburn. Whilst courageously fording a deep and fast running river (stream) at the bottom of Hully Gully I wedged my wheel between two rocks. One thing led to another and I landed spectacularly on the river bank with my left elbow first, luckily my fall was broken by a pile of fresh rocks, and my Bliss pads. Whilst slightly stunned, but very much still alive, I can confirm that I did not fracture my elbow and I got away with only a small bruise.
The pads got a second test whilst visiting Dalby Forest (ride guide coming very soon!) last weekend. I rode 22 miles (it felt a lot longer…) in unseasonably hot weather for North Yorkshire. Whilst it would have been easier to ride without the elbow pads, in comparison to my 661 knee pads, it was cool as a breeze. The pads didn’t restrict my movement and for the most part I forgot I was wearing them.
All in all, Bliss ARG minimalist pads are a great all day elbow pad for trail riding or Enduro racing. Thanks to advancements in technology you can keep your elbows safe without compromising too much on the freedom of movement.
July 27, 2016