Mountain biking can be a fun way for you to satiate your need for adventure, get in some much needed exercise and test your mettle against the great outdoors. For most leisure mountain biking enthusiasts, getting the right gear, including the right type of mountain bike shorts, may seem like an overreach. But wearing the right shorts, especially if you are going off-road will be the difference between a comfortable ride and a sweaty, waterlogged one.
Sometimes referred to as ‘baggy shorts’ MTB (mountain bike) shorts should be breathable, made out of the right kind of material and when necessary, waterproof. There are two main types of mtb shorts:
- Form-fitting tight lycra shorts (these are typically favored by cross-country- XC riders)
- Baggy shorts that are preferred by trail riders
Of course, the ultimate choice comes down to your choice and preference, but it is often wise to look at the alternatives in the market and see what kind of benefits or advantages they might offer you before deciding to go with a particular choice. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the 10 best mtb shorts to help guide you towards the right choice. Within this list, some shorts come from trusted brand names in the industry just as there are those that do not come from recognized name designers but still punch well above their weight class. Some of the most common brands include:
When choosing a pair of mtb shorts, you need to look out for telltale signs that could help lead you towards the most ideal riding conditions. You need to find shorts that:
- Have a good cut
- Use technical, breathable fabris
- Have a decent waist adjuster
Then, of course, there is the issue of price. But as is the case with most things, the most expensive shorts do not necessarily mean that they are the best in terms of practicality. With that in mind, here are the 10 best mtb shorts on the market today.
As one of the most trusted brand names in the game, Fox has been marketing their ‘Ranger’ mtb shorts for a good number of years now. The Fox Ranger Cargo Shorts are an interesting lot. A popular choice for most trail mountain bikers, the Fox Ranger includes a detachable liner that comes with chamois and has an internally adjustable waistband followed by a two button snap enclosure system. With more than 10 different prints from which to choose, these mtb shorts are designed to appeal to almost every kind of mountain bike enthusiast. It has a mid-weight 2-way stretch polyester material that is both abrasion-resistant as well as comfortable.
As one of the leading European brands, many US mountain bike enthusiasts may not be familiar with Endura. That, however, doesn’t mean that this pair of shorts doesn’t live up to its reputation as one of the best mtb shorts on the market. The classic pair of Endura Hummvee Shorts is made from coated, water-proof Nylon. It also features a mesh liner that allows for breathability and an integrated adjustable webbed belt for better fit and comfort. It has six pockets including two large map pockets as well as a zippered pocket for your accessories such as cell phones plus two extra front zipped pockets for your convenience.
You know you have a good pair of mountain bike shorts when they are: made out of materials that can easily stretch, they have easily accessible waist adjusters, and they fit properly to allow for vigorous cycling. The Troy Lee Designs Skyline Short encompasses all these features and offers you extreme quality when it comes to mtb wear. It features a two-button closure system that is convenient and has deep side pockets that allow you to safely stash your gear. You have a choice to buy the shorts with or without chamois liners.
4. Zoic Ether
Yet another pair of mtb shorts that have thought about everything that the riders might need. It features 6 pockets that allow you to safely stash everything you might need while on the trail. It has a 12-inch inseam that rides at knee length for a majority of the riders. The mesh ventilation panels run down the legs and allow for excellent breathability. It also has an external and adjustable waistband that allows for your convenience. That waistband is secured with Velcro as well as a single button and zippered fly enclosure. Coming in a wide variety of styles and configurations from which you can choose. You can also buy the shorts with or without removable liners.
The Canyon Shorts are some of the popular mtb shorts among the Pearl Izumi collection. These baggy shorts feature a lot of the accessories that most riders consider essential to their comfort such as a detachable chamois liner. The shorts have a 12-inch inseam, and they are designed to fall around the knees for most riders. With an internal adjustable waistband for your convenience, the shorts also have a single button, zippered fly closure. Offered in two solid color options, these Pearl Izumi have a single zippered cargo pocket which ensures that the shorts have a sleek, aerodynamic look.
As a member of a rather broad Pearl Izumi Elite line of mtb shorts, this lycra style, non-baggy pair is perfect for those who want to do more cross-country mountain biking. The pair features high-quality chamois. The best thing about these shorts is that they can be worn as part of a riding outfit with the Elite Short worn underneath an outer baggy short or worn alone when riding cross country. It also features P.R.O Transfer fabric within its body. This provides you with excellent moisture transfer and comfort. It has Raw Edge P.R.O Transfer fabric on both leg openings that gives them a soft stretch that allows the shorts to comfortably grip you when riding.
What stands out most about these shorts is that they are 100% waterproof and very breathable which makes them very comfortable for those who enjoy trail mountain bike riding in any kind of weather. Furthermore, the shorts feature a 4-way stretch which makes them nonrestrictive and excellent for vigorous riding. The interior has fully tape sealed seams, and the outside has two covered zipped hand pockets that allow you to easily and conveniently carry some of your favorite accessories such as cell phones. With ratchet easily adjustable waist closure and reversed waterproof zips through the entire pair, these shorts have to be some of the most comfortable, affordable and breathable on this list.
Designed in such a manner that they can easily be put on or removed, these mtb shorts are not only breathable, but they are also loosely cut for ultimate comfort. They have a 6.5-inch inseam internal spandex that can snap in under the liner or can be worn independently. On its own, the inner shorts are fast-drying that offer high-performance pads and soft silicone grippers for your legs. They have loops that allow you to wear your own belt for the right fit. Best of all, the shorts have a 4-piece Red Premium Crotch pas that is made from multi-density foam that is not only long-lasting, but also offers you much need shock absorption and comfort when riding.
These loose fitting mtb shorts offer you ultimate breathability. They are baggy by design and made out of 92% polyester, and the rest is all spandex which makes them lightweight, capable of reasonable stretching, breathable, quick to dry and the fabric wicks moisture away thus helping to keep you comfortably dry when riding. The shorts are also water resistant, durable and offer some UV protection. They have five pockets that are all zippered: the front two mesh pockets increase the shorts breathability, while the two zippered leg pockets are deep and roomy enough for your accessories such as cell phones. It has a rear pocket that is also zippered and designed to be subtle and secured. This is perfect for your cash, cards and maybe even keys. Because some riders like to ride at night, the shorts have a reflective logo on the front. This increases safety when you are out at riding at night.
Made from 85% polyamide and 15% lycra, these shorts are not only water repellent to an impressive degree, but they are also snug and rather comfortable. They feature an easy to operate snap closure with an elastic waistband and fastener tape that makes them easy to wear. The pockets offer you excellent storage capabilities with the front two pockets, single back pocket and four leg pockets all zippered. The loose yet fit design has mesh lining which makes it very breathable. The fabric wicks away sweat and moisture from your skin allowing you to stay cool and relatively fresh on your rides. They are durable, affordable, easy to clean and water repellent; perfect for trail mountain biking.
What to look for when choosing mountain bike shorts
So, out of this list, which one is the 10 best mtb shorts (Mountain Bike)? The truth is, choosing just one can be a little frustrating as they are so many options from which to choose. Whereas some people will go by color, price and maybe even brand name, more experienced mountain bikers know that there is more that goes into making the perfect mtb shorts than simple aesthetics. With that in mind, here are some of the most important factors that you should consider when choosing a pair of mountain bike shorts.
What is your style of riding? This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself before you even start shopping for the shorts. The kind of mountain bike riding you will be doing will determine whether you need to shop specifically for lycra style shorts of baggy ones. For cross-country riders, the lycra style shorts are best because they offer you both comfort and streamlinity which will make your rides more aerodynamic and efficient. Trail riders or Enduro mountain bike riders would identify with baggy shorts that fit their style of riding as well as taste.
What about chamois? The simple definition of chamois is the little piece of padding that is in shorts and stays between you and the saddle. Chamois is designed to make your rides as comfortable as possible. They are typically made from synthetic materials. Not every pair of mtb shorts have chamois, but the best often allows for the inclusion or addition of chamois should the rider wish it. If you are more inclined towards comfort, then you should be focused on finding shorts that have chamois.
What about the fit? For the most part, many riders prefer shorts that give them some maneuverability and comfort while out on the trail. With baggy pants, this is the kind of option you will get. They are often loosely fitting and breathable. Cross-country riders prefer a closer fit as is offered by the lycra style shorts. This allows for better aerodynamics and allows for efficient riding.
Other things that matter include aspects such as pricing, color, and water resistance. The water resistance is crucial when you intend to ride your bike at any given time and through whichever kind of weather. If you are keen on appearances, then the brand name will also mean something to you. When all is said and done, then the best way to go about this is to decide what style of riding you have and what kind of taste you hold. After that, you should go out and choose any one of these 10 best mtb shorts. We featured both lycra and baggy shorts for your consideration.