Durable, comfortable and affordable. Three words that apply to all cycling clothing but especially to mountain bike shorts. These 5 shorts will take a battering without showing signs of struggle.
Mountain bike shorts take a battering regularly and need to offer superior protection when compared to any other cycling shorts. Because of this, it’s super important that you purchase a pair that will stand the test of time. We’re on hand to help.
You’d think a pair of the best mountain bike shorts might set you back a pretty penny. But, you’d be wrong. Smaller brands are now putting out shorts that rival even the most established of labels; you’ll definitely be able to pick up a bargain that doesn’t compromise on quality (with our help, of course).
The Best Mountain Bike Shorts
We can’t take your riding habits, size, and other factors into account, so we’ve focused on providing a choice of the best value mountain bike shorts that would suit the majority of riders.
The following shorts tick most, if not all, of the boxes that a quality pair of mountain bike shorts should. From durability to fast-drying wet weather shorts, we’ve got you covered. Below are the best mountain bike shorts for men and women with value for money firmly in mind.
SILVINI Rango Mountain Bike Shorts
SILVINI’s Rango shorts strike the balance of cost and effectiveness perfectly. A blend of 98% polyamide and 2% polyester seems to be the sweet spot for stretchiness and durability. There’s plenty of snugness in the places that matter, but they’re loose enough fitting that you don’t feel at all restricted.
Triple seam stitching makes for some of the most durable mountain bike shorts we’ve had the pleasure of trying. Ample ventilation means they’re perfect for warmer weather, and they brush off water effortlessly so you’ll dry off in no time. It’s rare to find anything that lives up to the bold claims made by manufacturers these days, but these shorts manage it; worth every cent.
Cycorld Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts
Extremely cheap and twice as comfortable; Cycorld’s mountain bike shorts are one of the biggest bargains around. Easily accessible pockets carved out of cationic yarn-dyed fabric make these incredibly comfortable and breathable shorts the perfect option for calmer rides.
An adjustable waist strap and seams that eliminate chafing mean you can wear these snuggly without issue. There are six different options available that are all worth checking out before settling on your favorite; regardless of which you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
Ally Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts
These soft and comfortable mountain bike shorts are one of the most surprising bargains out there. Despite coming from a rather generic brand name, they’re of excellent quality and come with a detachable padding seat that is perfect for switching between casual and serious mountain biking.
A 92% polyester and 8% spandex blend gives them the stretchiness you’d imagine from something with that much spandex content. The shorts have deep pockets and dry as quickly as more expensive shorts do too.
Santic Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts
Another bargain find! Santic’s mountain bike shorts are looser fitting than most and as such are perfect for casual off-road biking. Even though they’re most suited to quieter trips, they do come with a seamless pad to protect your undercarriage.
If you only plan on riding leisurely and without taking too many impacts, we’d highly recommend these as the best mountain bike shorts for you. Our reason’s being that they’re: light and airy, fit comfortably, have minimal but appropriate padding, and dry extremely quickly when wet.
Women need look no further than these excellent women’s mountain bike shorts from ZOIC. A comfortable stretchy fabric reduces chafing, and a detachable padded liner makes these just about the comfiest mountain bike shorts around for women.
Despite the knee-length leg, they comfortably fit over kneepads should you require them, and feel as durable as you’d hope a mountain bike short would feel. We highly recommend it as the best, though not the cheapest, women’s mountain bike shorts around by quite a margin.
Brief Guide To Choosing Mountain Bike Shorts
Whether you are new to mountain biking or a seasoned pro, you can significantly increase your comfort out on the trails by getting the right pair of shorts. Just like the needs for specialist mountain bike gloves, your average street shorts just aren’t going to cut it when biking over bumps, sticks, rocks, and other obstacles you come across out there.
So what makes mountain bike shorts different? Well, there are a few significant differefnces:
The waistbands are higher so that you have less risk of exposing skin that should be covered up. Many of them do not have a seam in the middle/crotch area to avoid chafing while riding.
The seat area of mountain bike shorts is often reinforced to make sure they do not wear out too quickly under stress.
Some of them are longer behind the knee than they are in front of it; making them more compatible with knee pads.
These are just a few factors to consider when choosing suitable mountain biking shorts. This guide is designed to help you become familiar with your options and to make the correct purchase the first time around.
Benefits Of Mountain Bike Shorts vs. Regular Shorts
There are a few reasons why shorts intended explicitly for mountain biking are better than street shorts or any other cycling shorts. For one, rather obviously, they offer far more protection in the event of a crash. To achieve this, they are usually made up of more layers, each of which helps to absorb a sharp impact.
Added pockets are a great thing to have on a bike ride as well, and you’re unlikely to find those on skin-tight cycling shorts.
Mountain bike shorts are typically super easy to clean due to their durable nature.
How Often Do You Ride Off-Road?
Depending on your level of intensity, you may need a different type of shorts.
Casual Riders: A pair of padded liner shorts underneath your street clothes may provide adequate comfort for the occasional, shorter ride over rough terrain.
Regular Riders: You will likely want more baggy shorts as well as a padded liner. These can be purchased separately, although some shorts come with the liner already. Look for good athletic material and be sure they aren’t going to ride down.
Racers: Most racers avoid baggy shorts and instead go with Lycra or something similar. Endurance racers sometimes wear a mountain bike style short, but they shouldn’t be too loose or baggy.
Qualities To Look For In Good Mountain Biking Shorts
Look for solid, athletic material, like polyester. They’re typically significantly lighter than their cotton counterparts without sacrificing any durability or protection.
Go with a lightweight material or look for shorts that have vents to help keep you cool.
If you need something to keep you warm, shorts made from water-proof materials are a good bet. Dry legs retain much more heat.
You may also want to consider shorts that are ¾ length.
While this is ultimately a personal preference, keep in mind that your shorts will appear much shorter when sitting on your bike than when standing.
Shorts that are at least knee-length when standing should still offer adequate protection for your thighs when you are pedaling.
A pair of baggy shorts are good for going over kneepads as well as protecting modesty. On the other hand, excessively baggy shorts can be a danger. They can catch on your bike. If they get wet, they can get heavy quickly and reduce your mobility.
A great feature on mountain biking shorts that you rarely find on other cycling shorts is pockets. Hip pockets are usually the most useful for casual mountain bikers because you can access them while riding.
A pocket specifically designed for your cell phone is excellent as they typically come with a safeguard to prevent them from falling out mid-ride.
Not all pairs of baggy mountain bike shorts will have padding. If you need extra comfort in the saddle area, look for ones that include foam or gel padding. Padding is usually in the inner liner around the seat of the pants instead of the outer shell.
Will your shorts hold up in the washing machine? If not, are you prepared to hand-wash them after every use? Pay attention to the tags and washing instructions. Due to the material, they are made of, some may need special care to keep from getting damaged or shrinking.
Look for shorts that have high-quality stitching and are built to last. Though durable shorts are often slightly more expensive, the additional up-front expense is worth it in the long run. You won’t be replacing them every three months.
Your main concerns when shopping for solid mountain bike shorts are durability and protection. Value for money is an obvious factor, but you should be careful not to cheap out and get a pair that are unlikely to last two months. Buy high-quality mountain bike shorts, and you’ll only need to buy once.