Regardless of a rider’s skill, crashing is an inevitable part of riding BMX. Luckily, pads can greatly reduce the unwanted effects of rider blunders and make it easy to get “back on the horse” after a hard slam. There are all kinds of pads. They come in many styles, are made from different materials, are available for most parts of the body, and offer varying levels of protection. The most common pads protect the knees and shins, as a common slip of a pedal or tumble to the ground will usually injure your body in those locations. Elbow pads are also popular with vert and park riders. Whatever your style, a set of pads is a worthy investment.
Things To Look For
Because pads protect a rider’s body, and not all bodies are made the same, choosing a set of pads depends greatly on fit. Finding a set of pads that works with your body is very important to getting the most out of protective gear. Before going out to purchase pads, it is wise to decide what type of protection you need based on riding style and even clothing style (for example, tight pants don’t fit well over big pads).
Pads fall into two categories: large and thin. Large pads use thick foam padding under hard plastic outer shells. They are popular with vert riders, and some park riders choose a large knee or elbow pad because of their unrivaled protection. Thin pads are designed to be worn underneath jeans, in some cases even the skinniest of jeans. Protection in thin models is usually provided by foam, sometimes in combination with a less bulky plastic cap. However, some modern thin pads use specialty foams that become rigid upon impact, giving superior protection with minimal bulk.
Most companies offer pads in two or three adult size options. For the most part, adult pads are available in small, medium, or large sizes. Sizing is based on leg and arm circumference, and companies often offer a sizing chart to help select the proper size. However, trying on a pad in person is the best way to guarantee a great fit.
Pads use a combination of materials such as nylon, neoprene, foam, plastic velcro and leather. Different models incorporate different materials in their construction depending on the style and price point of the pad.
How Much To Spend
Pads range in price from around $10 to $100, depending on the body part they’re designed to protect and the sophistication of their design. Pads in the $10-$40 range use traditional materials such as hard plastic and foam to absorb impacts and protect the body. Moving up to the $40-$60 range, pads begin to incorporate modern materials such as impact foam and ballistic nylon to offer superior protection and comfort. Pads costing more than $60 dollars use top of the line materials and modern technology to give ultimate protection, ventilation, comfort, and fit.
Before buying, be sure to do your research and read product reviews. Reviews are a great way to find out specifics about a particular model, user impressions, and things to watch out for. After you’ve purchased a product and had enough time to thoroughly test it, we encourage you to leave a review for other people to see when they are researching bikes and parts on the web.
We hope you’ve found this information to be helpful. If you have a question that isn’t answered in this guide, our BMX forums are a great place to get advice from knowledgeable riders. Your local bike shop is also a great resource.