Best Mountain Bike Shorts (Jan. 2018) – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
What are the best mountain bike shorts in the market today? This is a question many amateur riders seem to underestimate. The importance of a biker’s short cannot be underestimated because of the comfort and protection that they offer during a ride regardless of whether it is a rough or a smooth ride. A pair of the shorts protects the wearer by not only keeping the body warm but to keep off moisture especially on a long trip. Trying to replace the recommended biker shorts with the regular cotton or sports shorts may not give the comfort that one is looking for.
10 Best Mountain Bike Shorts - Comparison
Two side cargo pockets with Velcro closure
Removable 6 Panel Chamois padded inner liner/underwear.
Lightweight and highly breathable and quick dry
Asian size about one size smaller than US size
Quick removable gel padded liner
Highly functional for bicycle touring and mountain bike rides.
Water resistant cordura
Two shorts in one: loose fit exterior short and dense foam-padded inner liner
Seamless under panel
Front Red Astek Rubber Button Griper and 2 Adjustable Waist Rivets
Crucial Factors every Mountain Biker Must Consider to Land the best mountain bike shorts
There are basically two main categories of mountain bike shorts that are available. You can pick the fitting Lycra type or the baggy shorts that come in different lengths and materials. The Lycra type is recommended for the cross country rider while the baggy ones are ideal for trail riders. It is also good to note that the baggy shorts have some waterproofing padding that helps a great deal when facing a wet weather. The baggies can also be good for ventilation when being used in summer.
The aim of this article is to help you choose the mountain bike shorts that we think should be part of your riding gear. Through the guide, you will be able to identify the most crucial factors that have to be looked at when choosing your favorite pair of the best mountain bike shorts.
NOTE: There are two major things that will eventually determine the type of short that is right for you. The two are:
- Type of Rider
- Features of the short
1. Type of Rider
What is your riding style? There are several rider categories that we will look at and help you determine the type of short you need in terms of comfort and aerodynamics.
Trail or Cross Country Rider
This is basically an off-road rider where there is a lot of sitting and the ride is often smoother. The key thing to look at here is comfort, therefore, look for the best mtb short with more flexibility and durability
Here the rider focuses on speed and there is a possibility that you will be wearing all the protective gears including the knee caps that will determine the height and width of your biker short. A downhill rider does not necessarily need a liner or a chamois padding.
An Enduro riding is more of a challenge to the body’s limits. It involves going up and down a hill or several hills in the entire course of the ride. You the best mountain bike shorts of choice here is one that offers maximum protection and flexibility because of the constant changing of speeds and positioning.
When determining the features to look for in a short, we will help you look at what is crucial and what is not. The features also depend on the type of ride (whether short or long) and convenience (whether to carry a bag, pack or go the best mtb shorts with pockets).
Does it fit?
Just the same way you take your time to get the best denim for your size, make sure that the bike shorts you are looking for are comfortable. Do you want the tight fitting Lycra shorts that will guarantee better aerodynamics or the baggy shorts that offer more protection because of the extra lining? Conventional and the best mtb shorts must have a taller rear that covers your lower back well when bent over, while the front section is made shorter for comfort.
In the shop today most mtb shorts are fitted with adjusters that make it easier for you to adjust to your level of fit. For the form-fitting Lycra, they may not have the adjuster because they hug the body. To make sure that the baggy shorts you have are not too tight or too loose for you, make sure the one you choose has an adjuster. Some of these shots may have waist loops. The additional belt needed for the short may just be an extra baggage and the belt buckle may be a disaster when involved in a crash or a fall.
The Length and Width
This should be looked at from the angle of kneecaps. If you are a kneecap wearer, get one with just the right length to reach, but not to cover the kneecaps, but at the same time not wide enough to be tucked in the kneecaps when pedaling.
Some of the best mountain bike shorts that are meant for form fitting like the Lycra shorts are thin therefore offering little protection. The baggy trail shorts are made of thick material that offers protection against a crash, they also give some level of waterproofing that gives comfort riding in a wet weather. The best mtb shorts are usually made of red top material that is a reinforced threads and nylon giving it more flexibility and durability.
Are pockets a necessity for you? If you are not in any form of racing or you are used to carrying your backpack, then pockets may not be an essential factor to you. What if you are just in the neighborhood and want a place to place your key or phone. You can choose from the deep pockets with no zippers of the ones with zippers that can either be deep or not. There is the available option of the cargo pants, which may not be a good idea after all.
Some of the best mountain bike shorts have liners, if yours does not have a liner, you may be forced to spend more to get the comfort that a liner offers. When inspecting the liner, look at the shape of the pad, the construction of the wicking and make sure that it is a comfortable fit and reduces chafing. Stay away from liners that have a flat design and have a small shape. There is an option of getting an after-market liner if the mtb short you like doesn’t come with one.
Chamois / Padding
This is a piece of an extra padding that is fitted with the short to cushion your body from the likely discomfort of the saddle. You can find one made from leather or synthetic fiber. In our opinion, a chamois is what separates an average bike short, to the best shorts available in the market. If you are using a terrain that mostly goes downhill, you don't see the need of a chamois as most of such rides need the rider to be off the saddle. The best mtb shorts come with a matching chamois. When looking for the best chamois know the kind of a rider that you are, as most mountain riders use the upright position when pedaling while which is the opposite of road bikers who are slightly bent forward, this positioning is what defines the ideal chamois for every case.
You do not need a short that will be trapped on the saddle when grinding up and down. Poorly designed mtb shorts will bunch up on the waist when going uphill. This should apply when you are on or off the saddle.
Some people are more comfortable when they choose the best mtb shorts that match personal taste and preference. Do not feel pressured to buy a short that does not blend in well with your style
The value that you get from the best mtb short could be determined by your budget. The best mountain bike shorts that we have reviewed here cuts across different price ranges that should ideally fall in within your expected spending.
Reviews of the Best mtb Shorts in 2017
Below is a review of the top 10 of the best mountain bike shorts available in the market today
The ATD cargo cycling short is made from 100% four-ply Tason Nylon Shell, giving it the design of a two in one mountain bike short. The inner lining acts as the shock absorber since it is made from the durable cellular urethane. It offers good air circulation as it lets water vapor and sweat to escape from the body. It has a built in pad that offers the rider resistance to abrasion because of its smooth and wrinkles free nature. The inner liner is made of Lycra with a matching black pad. The design is a loose fit that stretches on the side panels and the rear side to give one a perfect fit when pedaling up or downhill. If you are moving within the neighborhood, the two side cargo pockets have a Velcro closure to make sure your keys or phone does not fall off when cycling. It is good to note that the crotch pad has been designed with comfort in mind because of the long lasting foam material and its anti-shock properties.
- They are above the knee and therefore comfortable for kneecap wearers
- They are lightweight and comfortable with a good padding
- They have an adjustable elastic and a string tie at the waist
- The two in one designing has a form fitting padded lining that’s great for comfort
- No zipper or opening provided for the male folk
- The inseam sizes are not accurate
The double lining of this short gives the rider a comfortable setting when cycling for long or short distances. The Velcro closure on the pockets will secure your belongings when riding
The most distinctive feature about this mountain bike short is the removable chamois that as six layers. It is convenient as it can replace the small backpack because of its four zipper cargo pockets and an extra two more hand pockets on the side. The inseam falls right above the knee, which does not interfere with the pedaling motion. The Astek Men’s blue, black MTB is a baggy short with a rubber button gripper and two adjustable waist rivets, this is to allow for the adjustment of waist to fit. It has been designed to fit waists of medium range to large size.
- Washes and dries well
- Available in both medium and large waist sizes due to the snap adjustments
- The pads are removable and can be adjusted for comfort
- Many pockets for convenience
- They are not durable, they seem to be wearing too soon
- The padding is made of sponge that soaks up with sweat
Astek Baggy fit is one of the best mountain bike shorts that will make you feel good when riding or off the bike.
Ynport Men’s Fast Dry Loose Fit MTB short is made from 100% nylon material giving it the lightweight characteristic. Allows for easy airflow when in use and when washed it dries very fast. It has an adjustable waistband that matches the design of the short that also has the waist rope adjustable design. The nylon material is more comfortable because of its elasticity. Each pocket has a zipper that guarantees the safety of your possession when cycling, another pocket is fitted on the back of the pant which acts as both anti-theft and anti-drop further securing your belongings. It can stretch in four different directions, this makes you more comfortable when on and off the bike.
- Lots of pockets for added storage
- There is a reflective logo on the back to keep you visible in the dark
- Light in weighing and breathable
- Adjustable elastic and string for waist fitting
- No padded inserts
- May not be used with knee pads for those with big legs.
This is the one of the best mtb bike shorts for a commuter, casual cyclist and a professional too. They are an appealing design and are truly functional.
Arsuxeo Loose Fit Shorts are made of soft and lightweight materials i.e. 92% polyester and 8% spandex. It is well known for its air circulation property and the drawing of perspiration away from the body, maintaining that cool atmosphere throughout the ride. The design is loose but fits in well because of the elastic band on the waist and a fastener tape on a band that guarantees a good fit. Its pockets all have a zipper for both safety and convenience for carrying personal stuff.
- Easy wash and dries quickly
- Very comfortable due to its stretching capacity and the elastic band use to adjust the waist
- Has a manufacturer's reflective logo for a safer night ride
- The padding material is made of durable material
- The padding size is not adequate for riding in different positions
- The padding is too thin
The design is great as you can be able to use the short in different occasions. It would be very ideal for a triathlon or decathlon athlete who does not need to change from one outfit to continue racing.
#5. Bpbtti Men’s Baggy MTB Mountain Bike Shorts with Removable Biking Bicycle Cycling Padded Liner Short
Bpbtti Men’s Baggy Mountain Bike Short has a removable padded liner with increased thickness of the sides and saddle area. The padded lining contains a gel that acts as a defense against bacteria. The pad still features a wicking finish with a groove to enhance more comfort on the pressure points of contact. The inseam of 12 inches and the padded liner at about 9 inches is the standard requirement for padded shorts. The two hand pockets on the side are deep enough to keep your possessions safe when cycling. There is one small rear pocket that is zip secured and can be used for smaller things like keys, cash, and cards. The Velcro closure at the waist makes the short more adjustable for a custom fit. The short has well been designed to allow for free flow of air through the mesh vents located on the front thighs and rear waistband. There is no sophistication, look when you put on this lightweight casual baggy mountain bike shorts.
- Have a removable and durable padded liner
- The thick padded lining has health benefits and also offers comfort for a longer ride.
- They are suitable in hot weather because of mesh ventilations
- Features a four-way stretch that hinders no movement at all
- The back zippered pocket is difficult to access
- The side pockets still need zippers because they are not deep enough to secure one's belongings
The Bpbtti Casual Baggy Cycle Shorts provide comfort both on or off the road. They are also suitable for cycling in hot weather. This is a four-way stretch short that is built to perform while keeping you healthy (the bacteria gel), cool, and dry.
#6. Spotti Basics Men's Baggy MTB Mountain Bike Cycling Shorts with Padded Underline - Two Shorts in One
For cycling tours and mountain trailing, the Spotti Basics Cycling Shorts offer the rider a relaxed fit with a lot of room for functionality. This short is made up of two layers, thus the outer layer comprises of the baggy nylon with a Velcro closure pocket on the left side. There's a drawstring on the waistline that is used for a perfect fit. The inseam goes up to 6 inches. The internal liner of the short is made up of both polyester and Lycra fabric and an added blue gel comfort pad on the inside, the gel offers great elasticity and is made to act as an anti-bacterial layer, it also has a grooved and wicking finish on its surface to improve the comfort of the wearer especially on the pressure points of contact. There is enough leg room with no restrictions on movement.
- The dimpled pad enables one to take the long ride feeling comfortable
- Made of two soft, flexible, and durable materials
- Made of thin fabric that is suitable for the summer weather
- Only one sided pocket, which may not be ideal for things like cell phones
- The pad shifts from time to time when used for a long ride
The Spotti Basics Men’s Short has a unique design that offers comfort for a cyclist whether using the bike or not. The ant-bacteria gel and the meshed ventilations are ideal for a hot outdoor ride.
#7. THE SINGLE TRACKER - Mountain Bike Cargo Shorts with secure pockets, baggy fit, and dry-fast wicking - from Urban Cycling Apparel
If you are looking for a casual design for a mountain bike short that does not miss on the functionality and professionalism, the SINGLE TRACKER is what you may be looking for. It has deep and secure zipped pockets that are not only made to keep devices such as mobile phones secure, they also protect them from the elements such as perspiration from the body. The inner panels of the pockets and the under panel have a double stitch that adds to the durability and strength of the short without compromising the internal flat seam design that is supposed to prevent chaffing. It has a water resistant Cordura that is durable and keeps water away to keep you dry even when navigating a wet terrain. There is a G-Tex undershot that is padded for comfort, the undershorts has the anti-bacterial pad that is supposed to add more comfort as it wicks away the excess moisture.
- The pockets are conveniently designed for easy access
- The double stitching feature makes the short both durable and comfortable
- Seamless under panel to reduce friction from rubbing
- The Cordura is water resistant, therefore keeping you dry
- The size fits smaller than advertised
- The pockets may not be that accessible because of the snug fit
This is the kind of gear that an enthusiastic cyclist would want to have because of the waterproof Cordura and the wicking material that keeps you dry all through a wet terrain
When all that you need is an mtb short that is able to give you comfort on all-weather terrain and will enhance your performance while on the saddle, the versatility of this short gives you the comfort to use it for the bike and other sports without having to look for an alternative outfit. This is a two in one nylon short that has the inner one made from nylon and the anti-microbial pad that is made from a thick foam that gives the rider more comfort. The short has a silicone leg gripper on both sides that secure the chamois in place to prevent further misalignment when pedaling. The waist has an adjustable drawstring band for a perfect fit. The colours that are available are charcoal, black, orange, and black.
- Two shorts in one a loose exterior and a padded spandex liner for more comfort
- Gives both the casual appearance without losing its functionality
- The silicone grippers are handy in securing the chamois in a position which is good for a long journey
- Available in a variety of colors that offer more option to accessorize
- The outer layer does not stretch
- The only back pocket may not be easily accessible
They seem comfortable both functionally and in design. This could be one of the best mountain bike shorts that have a grip on the chamois, if you are a long distance cyclist then this could be a great choice.
#9. THE PUB CRAWLER - Men's Loose-Fit Bike Shorts for Commuter Cycling or Mountain Biking, with Secure Pockets
The PUB CRAWLER loose fit bike short is highly ideal for those who like carrying more than one thing while cycling, the five secure pockets that are cleverly designed does not only make them accessible but also protects devices from being into contain with sweat. The unique design of the seamless underpants has been done on a single panel to help reduce rubbing due to friction when cycling. All the short’s panel and pockets have a double stitch that gives a combination of both extra strength and durability without compromising the internal seams that prevent chafing. The fast drying wicking design is both lightweight and durable as it is made of polyester. The undershorts are detachable and have a G-Tex padding and a layer of an antibacterial pad for added comfort and ease mobility.
- All the pockets are secure and are easily accessible. They also offer protection against sweat
- The wicking is fast drying ensuring that you are comfortable throughout the ride
- The detachable G-Tex undershorts offer both comfort and protection from possible bacterial infection
- The double stitching has been done to reduce chaffing
- The size chart not accurate
- The added paddings may be uncomfortable wear for some users
Apart from the seemingly thick padding, this short is good for people on a long distance trail and are prone to sweating, the quick drying wick design would be of great help in such situations
This is a thin design mountain bike short with a removable six panel, padded inner layer (underwear). The cargo pockets are four and are all secured by a zipper, the other two hand pockets have no zip on them. The eleven-inch inseam design makes it a comfortable choice if you are using knee caps.
- Offers more comfort because of its six layered and padded underwear
- Pockets are accessible at any given point of the journey
- Does not have an adjustable waist line
- The zippers seem to come off easily
This short seems to be having a problem with its zippers which ruins the accessibility advantage of the pockets. On the other hand, the six liner padding should just serve you the best comfort
It is our hope that our review has been able to offer you an insight by narrowing down to the best mountain bike shorts that are available in the market. There are so many factors that go beyond the type of a biker you are and the features of the mtb short you are looking for such as climate and terrain preferences. As you can see the options are endless, but if you can stick to the basic guideline offered here, nothing can go wrong with your purchase.
Learn - How to Wash Bike Shorts