The Best Mountain Bike Shorts

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.

Wearing Best Mountain Bike Shorts

Mountain bike shorts offer superior protection and durability when compared to any other cycling shorts around. They’re also loved for their rugged looking style. The pockets are a plus, meaning you can keep essentials safe during what is likely to be a bumpy ride.

A pair of the best mountain bike shorts might set you back a pretty penny. The SILVINI Rango Mountain Bike Shorts are our favorite, and the most expensive on this list. With that said, the others are far more affordable, offering a good balance of quality and price.

Hopefully our table above has enough choice to keep everyone happy. We can’t take your riding habits, size and other factors into account, so we’ve focused on providing you with a choice of the best value mountain bike shorts.

The following shorts tick most if not all of the boxes that a quality pair of mtb 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 in mind.

SILVINI Rango Mountain Bike Shorts

I got sick of cheaper shorts ripping on me after a ride or two so I gave in and bought these bad boys. I’m very glad I did!

These shorts prove that you get what you pay for.

By far the best part of these shorts is the pockets. There are so many of them and they are in the perfect spots. I can access things without having to stop and get off the bike, which I love.

Each and every one of the pockets has a zipper, so I don’t have to worry about things getting jostled out during a ride.

The overall appearance of these shorts is quite stylish and I have had several people ask me where I got them.

The seams are triple-stitched and the material is supposed to rip-proof. Since I have taken a few spills and they are still in perfect condition, I tend to believe that they are.

They give the impression of a seriously durable set of shorts.

Urban Cycling Single Tracker MTB Shorts

These fast drying shorts are perfect for wet winter rides.

They’re the perfect length, hanging just slightly down past my knees when I’m standing and keeping my thighs well covered while I am riding.

I wear them on top of some padded undershorts because on longer rides the padding they provide is a little lacking.

They look fantastic, and the fast drying waterproof material seems to cope with all manner of spills effortlessly.

I do wish the shorts were a little baggier, like most MTB shorts, and I think the material might be a little too warm during the summer months. That isn’t enough to turn me off wearing them though.

They’re a great buy for anyone looking to avoid shelling out on a pair of SILVINI shorts.

Urban Cycling Grinder MTB Shorts

My wife often struggles finding gear that’ll fit her. This is especially true for any mountain bike clothing.

She decided to try these shorts despite not being able to find much information out about them online.

In all honesty, I’m convinced her decision was based primarily on the way they looked in the pictures. They do look the part, and she hasn’t been disappointed.

You have the option of buying them with or without the padded underwear component. Be sure to order a size up if you get the version with the 3D padded underwear since they’re very snug.

It’s a nice feature that you can separate the underwear from the shorts. On shorter rides, she prefers to wear just the shorts because it feels much cooler.

So far, they have held up well to all the rides we’ve been on and she has no complaints at all. Of all the ones she’s tried, these are the best women’s MTB shorts she’s come across.

ZOIC Women’s Navaeh Cycling Shorts

These tight fitting cycling shorts fall perfectly at the knee to provide amazing coverage without added bagginess.

Velcro and elastic straps allow you to dial these shorts in to fit your waist perfectly. A flat fronted clasp reduces the chances of it catching as you mount/dismount your bike.

The material is ideal for summer rides. Air flows nicely through the whole short despite the waterproof material.

I’m not all too sure they’ll keep you warm in the winter, and you may have some issues getting padding underneath these. They’re a very close fit.

Przewalski Basics MTB Shorts

For the price of these shorts, you really can’t go wrong. You are really getting two shorts in one because they come with a removable liner.

I really like that they don’t restrict my freedom of movement at all when I am riding. The material has proven to be very durable too.

Unlike a lot of articles of clothing I order online, I did not have to exchange these for a different size because the sizing chart was accurate.

The biggest complaint is that there is only one pocket. I guess I have too many “essentials” because not everything I like to take with me can fit in there without it becoming way too bulky.

Another, smaller complaint is that the drawstring seems like it can come out way too easily. For me, the shorts would be useless without the drawstring. I have been hand-washing them only for fear that the string would work itself out in my washing machine.

As far as the padding, it is better than nothing but definitely not suited for a six-hour plus bike ride. I use these primarily in the summer for my shorter excursions. They are a nice looking product and I definitely recommend them to casual mountain bikers.

How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike Shorts

Whether you are new to mountain biking or a seasoned pro, you can greatly increase your comfort out on the trails by getting the right pair of shorts. 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 MTB shorts different? The waistbands are higher so that you don’t expose any skin you don’t want to while riding. Many of them do not have a seam in the middle/crotch area so that you do not experience chaffing while riding.

The seat area of these shorts is often reinforced to make sure they do not wear out too quickly on you.

Some of them are longer behind the knee than they are in front of it. That is to help them be compatible with knee pads. There are a few factors to consider when choosing your mountain biking shorts. This guide is designed to help you become familiar with them.

Benefits of Buying Mountain Bike Shorts

Guide To Buying Mountain Bike Shorts

There are a few reasons why shorts specifically intended for mountain biking are better than street shorts or any other cycling shorts. For one, they offer more protection in the event of a crash. They are usually made up of more layers, which helps absorb impact.

Added pockets are a great thing to have on a bike ride as well, and you just won’t find them on skin-tight cycling shorts.

Mountain bike shorts are super easy to clean, and extremely durable.

How Often Do You Ride?

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.
  • Regular Riders: You will want a baggy short as well as a padded liner. These can be purchased separately, although some shorts come with the liner already. Look for a 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 Mountain Biking Shorts

Material

Look for an athletic material, like polyester, and avoid anything made out of cotton. Even though these shorts are baggier, you do not want to add a lot of weight.

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 that are made of water-proof material are a good bet. Dry legs stay much warmer.

You may also want to get shorts that are ¾ length.

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.

Bagginess

A pair of baggy shorts is 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 incredibly heavy.

Pockets

A great feature on mountain biking shorts can be pockets if they are well-designed. Hip pockets are usually the most useful because you can access them while riding. Too many pockets just weigh you down. A pocket specifically designed for your cell phone is great.

Padding

Not all pairs of baggy MTB shorts will have padding. If you need extra comfort in the saddle area, look for ones that include foam padding. It is usually included in the inner liner instead of the outer shell.

Washable

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 instruction on any shorts you buy. Due to the material they are made of, some may need special care to keep from getting damaged or shrinking.

Durability

Look for shorts that have high-quality stitching and are made of tough materials. These shorts are often expensive and you will want a pair that lasts awhile.

Conclusion

Why do mountain bikers like baggier shorts? A major part of it is not wanting to walk around in skin-tight spandex. The other benefits (extra protection in a crash, pockets) are just gravy.

Buying a good pair of MTB shorts can greatly improve your riding experience. With a little research, you can find the best pair for you. Hopefully this guide gave you a good starting point for finding the shorts that fit your preferences, style, and your budget.