8 Best Mountain Bike Shorts for a Comfortable Ride in 2020

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Bike shorts are an essential part of your cycling kit whether you’re a beginner or an experienced biker. However, most people take them for granted and assume that all bike shorts are created equal, but that’s not always the case.

Truth is, if you want to find the best mountain bike shorts then you have to keep in mind the quality of construction, price range, features, and of course, fit.

There are pros and cons to buying bike shorts without considering these factors and in the following guide we’re going to share helpful pointers with you on how to choose the proper pair for your needs.

Best MTB Shorts

One of the easiest ways to find the best mountain bike shorts is to try out a few options and decide based on your experience which one does it for you.

If that doesn’t sound feasible for you, then you might be better served reading the following guide, complete with reviews.

1. Silvini MTB Shorts Rango

These SILVININ bike shorts come with 6 pockets to store valuables such as a mini water bottle, GPS device, and even your smartphone charging cable. They’re designed with care by Silvini and are made for comfort.

These shorts also come with an adjustable belt that you can use to ensure a comfortable and customized fit. This is in addition to a quality stretching band for further customization. This non-restrictive design makes them ideal for various cycling activities, whether you’re in an urban environment or in the mountains.

You’ll love the reflective strips that are designed to help keep you visible when cycling at night or in low light conditions. It’s a must-have feature for any serious biker and it’s what makes them the best women’s mountain bike shorts.

Pros
  • Comes with several pockets for your convenience
  • Offers adjustable fit with Velcro straps
  • Ventilated inside the thigh area
  • Available in four colors
  • Extremely comfortable
Cons
  • They’re a bit pricey

2. EZRUN Padded Bike Shorts

With their 3D padding, fast-drying material, and comfortable fit, these mountain shorts from EZRUN have a lot going for them.

They’re perfect for use in competitions because you can wash and use them as many times as you like, and they come with removable padding which adds to their fast-drying properties. Plus, you can always use them without padding if you like.

These shorts are constructed from 100% polyester material which is comfortable, breathable, and strong. This material is also moisture-wicking and the shorts’ design comes with three pockets with Velcro lining.

They’re great for storing your phone or GPS device while you’re hurtling down the mountain, and we think they’re the best padded mountain bike shorts.

Pros
  • Comes with secure pockets to store your valuables
  • Features comfortable 3D padding
  • Fits loosely around the legs
  • Lightweight and comfortable
Cons
  • There have been some complaints about the shorts riding up sometimes

3. Santic Men’s MTB Shorts

These bike shorts for men from Santic are a budget-friendly option to consider if you’re looking for entry-level shorts. They’re constructed from a combination of Lycra and polyester which makes them durable, flexible, and sturdy.

These shorts are also highly breathable, moisture-wicking, and comfortable to wear all day long regardless of the season or climate.

On the seat of the shorts is a convenient cushion made from 4D COOLMAXX technology. This means that these shorts are flexible and can adjust to your body movements in order to prevent injury to this very sensitive area.

Also included in the design of these shorts are padded pockets designed to keep all the little knick-knacks and gadgets that you might want to bring with you when cycling. The best part is that they’re available in four different colors, which is great.

Pros
  • Comes with a thin and stylish saddle pad that doesn’t look out of place
  • Fits loosely around the legs for maximum comfort
  • Made from fast-drying materials
  • Wash and wear fabric
Cons
  • The drawstring button is annoyingly ineffective

4. CANARI Gel Baggy Cycling Shorts

One of the many things that these shorts get right is having a durable outer shell and a breathable liner to protect you from the elements and potential accidents.

They’ll keep your legs safe from dings and scratches in case of an emergency and they’re perfect for off-road applications.

The backstretch yoke is flexible enough to ensure pedaling efficiency no matter where you are, and the chamois offers shock-absorption properties to handle rough terrain.

On the front of these shorts are two pockets including one zippered pocket to keep your phone, keys, and even a small wallet safe as you go up and down hilly terrain. This is in addition to belt loops and buttons that enable an even more customizable fit.

Pros
  • Comes with two elastic inserts on the back
  • Features removable breathable mesh liner with a silicone gripper
  • 12-inch inseam zipper fly comes with a dual-button snap closure
  • Convenient button closure
Cons
  • The material quality could use some improvement

5. PEARL IZUMI Shorts

Constructed from 100% polyester fabric, these men’s shorts from PEARL IZUMI are simply perfect for avid bikers who have to go through rough terrain and trails.

They’re suitable to wear on your urban adventures, for daily commuting, going downhill, freeriding, and doing cross country.

They come in several different designs and colors, and are constructed from breathable material with a removable 3D tour Chamois liner.

In addition to offering great value for money thanks to the included padding, these shorts fit loosely and comfortable and come with a belt loop stud that allows you to customize the fit. There are also two hand pockets that you can use to store your cycling essentials.

Pros
  • Comes with snap front closure with zip fly
  • Made from transfer fabric which is moisture resistant
  • Machine wash friendly
  • Comes with snap closure
Cons
  • Beware; these shorts run small

6. Hiauspor Mountain Shorts

These bike shorts from Hiauspor are thoughtfully-designed and well-made. They’re constructed from a moisture-repellant combination of Spandex and polyester materials and they’re ideal for use in mountain biking applications. They’ll handle the rain as well as the snow with equal ease.

They fit comfortably yet firm, thanks to the durable stitching and the material itself stretches four ways. As if that weren’t enough, these shorts are made from a fast-drying material with moisture-wicking technology that’s designed to maintain optimal comfort no matter where you are.

They’ve been shown to resist dust, water, snow, and mud. This means that you can comfortably compete in cross-country mountain biking trails without worrying about the weather conditions because you know that your shorts can handle it and you won’t come out soaked on the other side.

We also love the fact that these shorts are fully adjustable thanks to their built-in elastic waistband. They’re definitely one of the best mens mountain bike shorts.

Pros
  • Features reflective strips to keep you visible in low light conditions
  • Made from quick-drying material
  • Perfect for casual riding, mountain biking, boating, and hiking applications alike
Cons
  • The sizing for these shorts runs large

7. The Single Tracker Bike Cargo Shorts

You can tell just from looking at these shorts that they’re made to perform. Although the material they’re made from is quite thin, there’s firm padding featured in the undershorts to protect your nether regions in case you experience an accident of some sort.

The only caveat is that these shorts run large so you might want to buy a size smaller than usual. They’re made from a material known as Cordura which is ideal for use when biking outdoors because they make it easier to handle mud, snow, and rainy conditions.

You’ll be glad to know that the padding on these shorts is anti-bacterial and perfect for long-distance biking. There’s a couple of belt loops and a firm waistband to keep the shorts in place and you can always adjust them to achieve the perfect fit.

There are additional Velcro straps featured on the legs of these shorts to tighten or loosen them as you see fit. Another downside with these shorts is the close-fitting pockets but we’re just glad they have pockets to begin with.

Pros
  • We liked the addition of the belt loops
  • Suitable for all types of outdoor cycling applications
  • Comes with zippered pockets to keep your essentials safe
  • Features smartphone pockets
Cons
  • Unfortunately, the sizing runs large

8. Fox Head Ranger Cargo Shorts

These men’s cargo bike shorts from Fox Head offer great value for money. They are stylish as they are comfortable and durable. You can get them in three different colors and each one comes with a variety of great features that you’ll love.

This includes an adjustable waistband as well as a double stud feature on the interior to prevent the shorts from riding up when you’re going up and down hills.

Also featured on these shorts are Velcro cargo pockets, zipper hand pockets, and back pockets for your convenience. The pockets aren’t zippered so you’ll have to keep that in mind if that’s important to you. But, they’re safe enough to keep your belongings in place while you’re riding your bike through rough terrain.

Not only that, but these shorts also feature removable liners to reinforce the padding and provide added comfort and customized fit. The best part is that these shorts are constructed from breathable materials so they’ll keep you cool in high humidity and warm temperature conditions.

Pros
  • Clean graphic design
  • Comes with cargo pockets
  • 2-way stretch fabric construction
  • Features 100% poly mesh stretch
Cons
  • The warranty’s not great

How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike Shorts

Alright, now that we know who the contenders are for the title of the best mountain bike shorts, it’s time to look at the criteria that we considered when compiling this list, particularly the features that we recommend you look at in your search as well.

Adjustable Waist

The first thing you should look for when shopping for mountain bike shorts is an adjustable waist.

This is important because it’ll determine the fit and comfort of your shorts. Velcro tags come highly recommended because they won’t scuff your skin and they look neat.

The only downside is that Velcro material tends to catch on sweaters and jerseys. While buckle straps are available as an alternative they’re not without their own downsides.

Hip Pockets

You don’t necessarily NEED hip pockets but you might want them to keep your phone, keys or small change on hand just in case. The deeper they are, the better.

Cargo Pockets

Cargo pockets are great in theory same as cycling gloves because they mean extra storage space, but they do place your essentials in a precarious position.

Should you get into an accident, the cargo pocket is in the line of impact and can easily place your gear in jeopardy.

Length

Longer length shorts obviously offer better protection against the elements and against injury should you accidentally fall off your bike.

The longer the leg, the less likely the shorts are to ride up so you should definitely consider a minimum 13-inch inseam when buying shorts.

Fly

Most shorts come with a press-stud fixing on the fly to prevent the waist from popping open. Sometimes, an extra Velcro strip is added to keep the fly shut.

If your shorts don’t come with waist adjusters, then belt loops might be a good idea.

DWR Coating

DWR coating refers to a water repellant treatment that is added to bike short fabric during the manufacturing process.

Some shorts don’t come with this but you can always purchase DWR coating separately and apply it onto your shorts when necessary. You should know it will wear off so you’ll need to re-apply it and even buy more when it runs out.

Liner

Inner liner shorts are a great option for anyone who wants to enjoy a comfortable fit.

This isn’t a standard feature in most bike shorts because liners are available for purchase separately. The most important thing is to ensure that the liner is moisture-wicking and comfortable.

You’ll notice in high-quality bike shorts that they have a short liner on the leg and they’re often constructed from thin Lycra or breathable mesh fabric.

Needless to say, liners are essential and if your shorts don’t come with one then you can expect to pay about $25 for a separate liner. A good pair of MTB grips will serve you well in this case also.

Bibs

I’m sure you’ve heard of bib shorts before. They’re basically cycling shorts that come with shoulder braces to ensure that the shorts don’t fall off no matter what happens or what mountain bike frame you have.

There’s no risk of drooping or tugging up with these shorts, and they’re much more comfortable than regular-designed shorts.

The downside of bib shorts is that they cost more than your regular liner shorts and it’s a hassle to go to the bathroom when you have them on. This is even worse if you decide to wear baggy shorts over them. They’ll just keep falling down at every turn.

Conclusion

The key to finding the best bike shorts is to first determine what features are important to you. Once you’ve figured that out you can then take your pick from the options we reviewed in the above sections.

Of all the options featured in this guide, we highly recommend the Silvini MTB Shorts Rango as our top choice.

Although pricey, these shorts are well worth the price. They come with such features as six pockets to keep your outdoor essentials safe, a comfortable and durable construction from high-quality stretch material, and a versatile design that makes them suitable for a number of different biking applications.

James is a passionate bicyclist who has done about every kind of biking there is. He loves the wind in his hair, the sun over his shoulder and maybe even the bugs in his teeth. No, just kidding about that last item. He isn’t crazy about road burns, either, but acknowledges that to have the good there is the occasional tumble. James feels that his bike is the place where he can unwind, leave troubles alongside the road, meet new people, go new places, and live the life of adventure that he loves. He is ready to share the ride with you.

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