What are mountain bike shorts

What Are Mountain Bike Shorts? Complete Guide

What Are Mountain Bike Shorts? Complete Guide

Suitable, fit, don't swing, and breathability - there's no better way to describe mountain bike shorts. But there's a lot more to consider, and our guide provides you with all the important arguments for the right MTB cycling shorts.

What are mountain bike shorts' features?

  1. Padding: It must be in the correct position, especially in the riding position. In men, this is the seat bump; in women, it is more the pubic region.
  2. Comfortable fit: Whether baggy shorts or bib shorts, you have fun on the trail only with the perfect fit. The tour can quickly become tedious if it pinches in the crotch or the shorts slip.
  3. Breathability: Bib shorts are usually made of very thin material and are very breathable. Unlike baggy shotts, they are mostly made of solid fabric that lets only a small amount of air through - a ventilated zipper lets air in.
  4. Saddle: Even the best mountain bike shorts are useless if the saddle is not in harmony with the hips. Here you can usually do a lot of optimization in the interaction between body and bike.
  5. Waterproof: Some Baggy shorts are also available in waterproof or water-resistant versions. Perfect for everyone who doesn't just ride when the sun is shining.

Mountain bike shorts: How important is the padding?

Whether bib shorts or casual baggy shorts, the padding is what counts. It's not unreasonable that almost every well-known manufacturer of mountain bike pants has only one large saddle manufacturer. The seat pads of the male pelvis and the pubic bone area of women are particularly sensitive - especially on long journeys. Therefore, it is precisely in these delicate areas that optimal padding is important.

However, this padding must sit perfectly in the riding position and not in the locker room while standing. The padding of the mountain bike shorts must not slip during the ride and must fit well and tightly. The padding must remain in place even when you are doing dynamic and athletic activities on the trails.

Enjoy bumpy descents with the right padding of your MTB shorts.
Enjoy bumpy descents with the right padding of your MTB shorts.

Mountain bike shorts: Which style is right for you? 

There are many styles of mountain bike shorts. The most common are padded (usually removable), baggy, breathable, knee-length, hard-wearing shorts - there are many different opinions about the right style on the mountain bike. However, whatever you like is indeed allowed! And, of course, it has to fit. The main advantage of tight bib shorts is their aerodynamics. At the same time, the suspenders keep the pads in the right place. Slipping is virtually impossible. However, bib shorts should be selected in such a way that they provide optimal performance, especially when riding, not just when standing in front of a mirror.

 Cycorld comfort shorts full shot

This is what Steve Fisher, editor of bikerumor says about Cycorld mountain bike shorts: "Seeking to provide decent quality riding gear at lower price points." He has tested the product himself; Steve has been writing about trail, enduro, and downhill mountain biking (plus a few commuter bikes) for seven years. 


Baggy shorts are especially suitable for younger riders because they are more casual. If the pads are removable, you can wear them as sports shorts in your free time. Baggy shorts such as mountain bike shorts are much more sturdy than bib shorts. The outer fabric made from a mix of plastic fibers (polyamide, nylon, and/or polyester) is woven relatively tightly and can also withstand the occasional drop (depending on material composition and strength). At the same time, the sturdy baggy shorts also protect against bushes and small branches that hang on the trail. Baggy shorts are reinforced by patches (usually made of polyamide) on particularly (fall and abrasion) vulnerable areas (knees, buttocks, side thighs).

adjustable at the Waist by Velcro.
Velcro adjustment

Similar to mountain pants, a belt is more than annoying in mountain bike shorts. Therefore, most baggy shorts are individually adjustable at the Waist by Velcro. In addition, flat seams help improve wearing comfort. This is important because, for motion-intensive sports like mountain biking, seams do not cause uncomfortable chafing on the skin and fit comfortably. This is an advantage if the knees are pre-formed for longer-cut bike shorts. This measure when cutting the shorts allows for a more comfortable buckling of the shorts when bending the knees. This way, the shorts can better adapt to the movement and fit perfectly.


Tip: Never wear underwear under your padded mountain bike shorts to prevent pain. Your butt will thank you for it! 


Mountain bike shorts: What should your MTB shorts have?

Rubberized leg cuffs on the thigh

Rubberized leg cuffs on the thigh

Sure, Bib shorts can not slip down due to their suspenders, and rubberized leg cuffs on the thigh also keep the pant legs always in place. In sum, this guarantees an optimal fit over the entire riding time, and the padding also benefits from this textile solution.

For baggy shorts with a wider cut, the padding is either integrated directly into the shorts (usually removable), or they are worn in separate bike shorts underneath. If the padding is integrated into the baggy shorts, it is important that the shorts fit well so that they do not slip out of place. If the shorts and padding are separate from each other, then the same arguments apply to riding shorts and bib shorts - rubber leg seams and a rubber waistband. An elastic rubber band or drawstring reliably holds the bike shorts where they belong.

Mountain Bike Shorts: Can you combine bib shorts and baggy shorts?

Tight bib shorts under a casual baggy? - No problem! Anything you like is allowed. Functionally, there's no loss here. The main thing is that the padding protects the hips in all positions. If this combination is not required, padded underwear can also be worn under any riding shorts and ensure a high level of comfort.

What other features should mountain bike shorts have?

At one point, the tight cycling pants simply can not keep up: Waterproofness. Some Baggy shorts are equipped with a waterproof membrane or waterproof material or at least water repellent impregnated. Those who travel a lot on wet, muddy trails and are not just fair-weather bikers will love this feature.

They are equipped with a ventilated variant (usually a zipper with mesh) to allow the hot air that forms under mountain bike shorts to escape. It is also important to ensure that the shorts are breathable so that air can circulate even when sweating. This means that the shorts are comfortable on the skin even when cycling vigorously and avoid a sticky feeling. In addition, unpleasant odors can be avoided during multi-day use.

Especially in the downhill-oriented downhill and enduro area, the trend is towards more robust materials for mountain bike shorts. These have the disadvantage of a higher dead weight and a poorer temperature balance. However, the advantages of robustness outweigh the disadvantages. In the event of a fall or unintentional contact with bushes, branches, or rocks, the robust materials protect the rider and, in the best case, even prevent injuries.

Cycorld comfort shorts action shot

Extra tip - the bike saddle should be at least as matched to you like your mountain bike shorts

No matter how well-fitting mountain bike shorts are, the wrong saddle can quickly turn a biking adventure into a grind. Therefore, no matter how good, mountain bike shorts and their padding must be optimally matched to the saddle.


Tips: Where should your sit bones be located on your bike saddle?
The optimal saddle width ensures that the sit bones are entirely flat on the saddle. This is the only way to reduce pressure on the sensitive areas in men and the pubic arch in women. The bike saddle should fit like a pair of shoes!


Mountain Bike Shorts Tested in 2022 | Editor's Pick

The most recommended mountain bike pants for women 

Women's Padded MTB Shorts with Pockets

Women's Padded MTB Shorts with Pockets


The most recommended mountain bike pants for men

Men's Comfort Mountain Bike Shorts With Liner


The most cost effective mountain bike pants

Men's Elastic Wear Resisting MTB Shorts With Liner


How much do mountain bike shorts cost?

The price of MTB shorts depends entirely on the brand and the respective purpose. However, do not pay too much attention to the price, but more to the fit and the technologies, because it is about your comfort.

Depending on which mountain bike shorts you choose, the price ranges from $30 to $280Cycorld MTB shorts offer innovative and effective performance at an affordable price. Big brands' prices are triple the price compared to these, and it's affordable and well worth the price.

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