If you are new to mountain biking you may be riding around in a pair of non-mountain bike specific shorts. You can greatly increase your comfort while riding by investing in a good pair of shorts that have been designed for riding off-road. The best mountain bike shorts are cut to be comfortable while you are pedaling. There are a two types available: form fitting tight lycra shorts favored by cross country (XC) riders and baggier shorts of different lengths and material for trail riders. The latter may have some level of waterproofing to deal with wet weather or be ventilated for summer use.

Here at The Adventure Junkies our goal is to help you choose the right riding gear. This guide will tell you about important considerations when choosing a pair of mountain biking shorts and show you a selection of the best shorts available.

 

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THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE SHORTS – QUICK ANSWER

  1. Troy Lee Designs Skyline
  2. Gore Fusion
  3. Pearl Izumi Elevate
  4. Fox Ranger
  5. Zoic Ether
  6. Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool
  7. Cannondale Performance 1
  8. Endura Humvee
  9. O’Neal Stormrider
  10. Royal Racing Storm

 

 

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE SHORTS

PICTURE
SHORTS
BEST USE
POCKETS
LINER INCLUDED
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
SHORTS
BEST USE
POCKETS
LINER INCLUDED
PRICE
RATING
Troy Lee Designs Skyline
Overall
2
No
$
5.0
Gore Fusion
Overall
2
No
$$$
4.0
Pearl Izumi Elevate
Overall
3
No
$$$
4.5
Fox Ranger
Budget
3
Yes
$
4.5
Zoic Ether
Budget
6
Yes
$
4.3
Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool
XC
N/A
Integrated
$$
4.0
Cannondale Performance 1
XC
N/A
Integrated
$
4.0
Endura Humvee
Winter
6
Yes
$$
4.5
O'Neal Stormrider
Winter
6
No
$$
4.5
Royal Racing Storm
Winter
2
No
$$$
4.0

 

 

MOUNTAIN BIKE SHORTS 101

 

4 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE SHORTS

 

1. FIT

As with all clothing, it’s no good if your new shorts are not comfortable. Consider whether you want tight fitting lycra shorts for better aerodynamics or looser shorts with thicker material for more protection. In comparison to normal shorts designed for walking, the best mountain bike shorts will have a taller rear end to ensure coverage when you are bent over pedaling and the front will be shorter to avoid material bunching up.

 

WAIST ADJUSTMENT

Most mountain bike shorts will come with waist adjusters so you can customize the fit. Tight fitting lycra bibs or shorts will not as they hug your body anyway. Look for baggy shorts with waist adjustment otherwise, you may find your new shorts are too tight or too loose. You may loose some weight as you ride more so it is good to be able to pull on the adjustment tabs when you feel a bit skinnier rather than buy a new pair of shorts. Some shorts may have belt loops but waist adjustment tabs are preferable to the added weight and bulk of wearing a belt.

 

LENGTH & WIDTH

Think about how far down your leg you want your shorts to sit. If you wear kneepads you will want the leg to be long enough to reach the pad without leaving a gap and also wide enough to avoid the pads snagging when pedaling.

 

2. MATERIAL

Tight lycra shorts are thin and breathable but offer little protection. Baggier trail shorts can be found with thin material for summer riding, or thicker, ripstop material to protect you better in a crash. You may also want some level of water resistance so you can blast through winter puddles and rain.

 

3. POCKETS

Do you need pockets on your mountain bike shorts? If you always ride with a rucksack then possibly not. However, it can be useful to easily reach your phone or to have somewhere to store your keys on a shorter ride.

A zippered pocket has more security than an open pocket, but if the pockets are deep enough you shouldn’t have any problems. Keep in mind that in the event of a crash, anything you do have in your pockets will be sitting on your thigh and quite possibly end up being between you and where you hit the ground.

Do you really want your keys to be mashed into your leg? Also be aware that some smartphone batteries can ignite if they are hit hard enough.

 

4. CHAMOIS OR LINER

Some shorts will come with a padded liner. If not, it is highly recommended to purchase padded shorts to wear underneath as they help avoid chafing and discomfort.

 

pertfect mountain bike shorts

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/solisimages

 

MOUNTAIN BIKE SHORTS REVIEWS

1. BEST OVERALL MOUNTAIN BIKE SHORTS

TROY LEE DESIGNS SKYLINE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Dry trail riding

WOMEN’S VERSION: Troy Lee Designs Skyline

MATERIAL: Breathable spandex

POCKETS: 2 open but deep

WAIST ADJUSTMENT: Waist tabs

LINER INCLUDED: No

PROS: Long enough for pads, can be cut down a couple of centimeters thanks to a double hem, slim around crotch to avoid snagging on saddle, stretchy ribbed spandex panels allow plenty of movement

CONS: A zipper would be better than the hook and loop fly

 

 

 

GORE FUSION

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Year round comfort

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: Stretchy, water resistant and breathable polyamide

POCKETS: 2 open pockets at front, two zippered pockets at back

WAIST ADJUSTMENT: Waist buckles

LINER INCLUDED: No

PROS: Long legs, well ventilated, water resistant, fast drying, year round comfort

CONS: None

 

 

 

PEARL IZUMI ELEVATE

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Trail riding

WOMEN’S VERSION: Pearl Izumi Women’s Elevate

MATERIAL: 4-way stretch and ripstop nylon, and spandex

POCKETS: 3 zippered pockets

WAIST ADJUSTMENT: Internal waist tabs

LINER INCLUDED: No

PROS: Long and loose without being too baggy

CONS: Sizing comes up slightly larger than other Pearl Izumi shorts

 

 

 

 

2. BEST BUDGET MOUNTAIN BIKE SHORTS

FOX RANGER

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Relaxed trail riding, hanging out after a ride

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: Stretchy nylon

POCKETS: 3 open pockets

WAIST ADJUSTMENT: Waist tabs, belt loops

LINER INCLUDED: Yes

PROS: Lightweight, casual look works off the bike as well, long enough for pads

CONS: Items in pockets feel loose, not long enough for pads

 

 

 

ZOIC ETHER

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Riders who like to listen to music

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: Durable ripstop nylon

POCKETS: 6 zippered pockets

WAIST ADJUSTMENT: Waist tabs

LINER INCLUDED: Yes

PROS: Water repellent and well ventilated, tech pocket with headphone opening, long enough for pads

CONS: Inconsistent sizing

 

 

 

 

3. BEST XC MOUNTAIN BIKE SHORTS

PEARL IZUMI ELITE IN-R-COOL

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Cross country

WOMEN’S VERSION: Pearl Izumi Women’s Elite In-R-Cool 

MATERIAL: Nylon, elastane, polyester

POCKETS: N/A

WAIST ADJUSTMENT: N/A

LINER INCLUDED: Integrated

PROS: Cooling fabric reflects sun, vented panels enhance cooling, comfortable integrated chamois

CONS: None

 

 

 

CANNONDALE PERFORMANCE 1

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Cross country

WOMEN’S VERSION: Cannondale Women’s Performance 1

MATERIAL: Polyester

POCKETS: N/A

WAIST ADJUSTMENT: N/A

LINER INCLUDED: Integrated

PROS: Snap compatibility with Cannondale Jerseys prevents jersey riding up your back

CONS: None

 

 

 

 

4. BEST WINTER MOUNTAIN BIKE SHORTS

ENDURA HUMVEE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Riders who spend many hours riding in cooler weather

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: Ripstop nylon, water resistant

POCKETS: Two rear large, magnetically tabbed map pockets, two front zippered pockets, cargo pocket and zippered mobile phone pocket

WAIST ADJUSTMENT: Integrated belt

LINER INCLUDED: Yes

PROS: Water repellent, large vents on the side can be zipped open if you get warm, very durable, will last a very long time, useful map pockets

CONS: Sizing comes up small, “clickfast” liner attachment is fiddly

 

 

 

O’NEAL STORMRIDER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Trail and enduro riding, days at the bike park

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: Heavy duty tear and impact resistant

POCKETS: 6 zippered or hook and loop pockets

WAIST ADJUSTMENT: Waist tabs, belt loops

LINER INCLUDED: No

PROS: Material offers great protection, two padded sections on back, long enough to work with pads, very durable, microfleece insert keeps you warm

CONS: Not water resistant despite what you might assume from the name

 

 

 

ROYAL RACING STORM

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Wet weather riding

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: Fully waterproof and breathable polyester

POCKETS: 2 taped zippered pockets

WAIST ADJUSTMENT: Waist buckles

LINER INCLUDED: No

PROS: Waterproof and breathable, the perfect choice for riding in wet weather, knee pad compatible

CONS: Baggy legs can flap around at speed

Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Shorts of 2017 – Mountain Bike Clothing - Best Mountain Bike Gear Articles – MTB Equipment and Accessories for Men,  Women and Kids – Mountain Biking Products Articles and Reviews
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