The Best Mtb Pants You Can Buy 8 Bike Pants In Review
We are mountain bikers, we fear no bad weather and thrive on big adventures. So what is it about our tribe that demands we take on the elements armed only with a pair of shorts? We say #dryknees for all, and put eight of the best trail-focussed riding trousers to the test.
Riding trousers are still a rare sight on our trails. Were not talking about lycra tights, but durable trousers made from the same materials that our shorts are constructed from. Traditionally, trousers are the chosen armour of race-pyjama wearing DH racers or the year-round urban commuter, and in the past they were thick, heavy and clunky. Things have changed, knee pads have grown slimmer, breathable fabrics have improved and stretch fabrics are now commonplace. If you ride year-round, a good pair of riding trousers can be the difference between a great ride and an emotional experience.
What Types Of Mountain Bike Shorts Are There
Theres long and longer. You want your mountain bike shorts to fit your style of riding. If youre chasing distance with cross-country riding, putting long hours in the saddle, youll want a short that enhances breathability and freedom of movement with a slightly shorter and slimmer fit. If youre an aggressive enduro or downhill rider, charging hard on technical trails, youll want to kit up with baggies that offer greater coverage and comfort with a longer, and well, baggier fit.
Oneal Trailfinder Stealth Pants
Russell Burton / Our Media
- Sizes: 28in, 30in, 32in, 34in, 36in, 38in
- Excellent tailored cut and fit
- Simple but effective closure system
A cheaper option offering very good quality and performance, the Trailfinder Stealths are closer-fitting and dont flap around when riding in the mud or rain.
They feature a tailored cut and fit and we were impressed with the simple but effective semi-elasticated waist and ratchet buckle closure.
They work well with knee pads and contain two zipped hip pockets. The only downside is that the seat panel on the pair tested started to discolour.
Russell Burton / Our Media
- Price: £185 / $200 / AU$325 / 229
- Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
- No waist adjustment
- Reinforced with ripstop panels and Cordura
Despite the lack of a waist adjustment that allows you to size up or down depending on your favoured leg length, these trousers provided an excellent fit around the waist and hips.
The ankle cuffs are elasticated and the fabric used is relatively lightweight but it has a bit of stretch to it. There are two zipped pockets and a fluorocarbon-free DWR coating.
Russell Burton / Our Media
- Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
- The lightest on test but super-comfy, especially on longer rides
- DWR treatment wards off puddle splashes and light rain showers
Off the bike, the fit and cut doesnt look quite as tailored but thats not the case on the bike.
Knee pads fit underneath easily and they are adjusted via a lockable buckle and strap.
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The 6 Best Mountain Bike Pants Of 2022
By: Jon Kennedy: Bike Buyer | May 25, 2022
Mountain bike pants, or trousers” as the brits call them, have always been a core piece of riding apparel. But, historically, theyve been mostly the domain of downhill racers and freeriders. They were bulky, heavy garments, modeled after motocross pants, and not comfortable enough for pedaling or all-day rides. Luckily, in the last few years, thats been changing. More brands have been experimenting with lighter fabrics, slimmer cuts, and thoughtful features on their riding pants. The result is a market thats saturated with great options for everyone from casual trail riders to hardcore enduro racers.
The best mountain bike pants give you a little more protection and coverage than shorts, perfect for wet rides, or overgrown trails. But theyre designed to move easily as you pedal, and breathe well as you sweat. Every pant on the market has a slightly different list of strengths and weaknesses, so weve put this list together to help you choose. Looking for a super light pant for summer riding? Weve got that. Looking for something weatherproof? Youre covered on this list, literally. So give riding pants a try, your knees and calves will thank you.
The Best Mtb Pants You Can Buy Today
Beyond the best mountain bike garment name ever lies the only waterproof riding pants weâve ever tried that actually kept us properly dry, regardless of the conditions or ride duration. And the best part about 7Meshâs Thunder Pant is it doesnât even need to be horrendous weather to use them, thanks to their exceptional cut and incredible breathing properties.
At first, the fit felt strange due to their peculiar fly-less arrangement and less-conventional front fastening, but itâs obvious that everything has been done with foul-weather protection being the first and foremost priority.
The Thunder Pant doesnât feel like old-school waterproof pants of the past either, as the state of the art Gore-Tex Pro 3L fabric is smooth and brilliantly tailored. Their lengthy Vision zips up each leg which allows you to slide them over shoes, kneepads, and even other pants, too. 7Mesh offers the Thunderpants in XS â XXL and there are even pre-marked cut guides on the neoprene cuffs so they can be cut to any rider’s ideal length. Oh and thereâs room for proper knee pads without a compromise in fit or comfort.
Yes, the price tag is high enough to make your eyes water, but itâs one of the few products that over-delivers when it comes to fit, function, and elite performance. If youâre frequently riding in wet weather climates the 7Mesh Thunder Pant is a genuinely game-changing product.
Find out more information in ourLeatt MTB 4.0 pantreview.
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Pearl Izumi Womens Scape Coverall
Pearl Izumi Scape Coverall
File under: just plain rad. This mountain biking jumpsuit looks like something straight out of Top Gun and will make you feel just as badass as you drop in and fly down the mountain. Constructed from organic cotton and durable nylon, these dark olive coveralls will stand up to bushes, branches, and the inevitable crashes without a single snag. Five pockets, including a side zippered pocket for your phone, give you plenty of space to stash snacks and stuff. Theyre water-repellent to ward off the elements on damp days. Zippers at the ankles make the Scape easy to pull on and off over shoes, and the knees are spacious enough for pads. Though lets face it, as a one-piece article of clothing, its not the most practical cycling attire. But sometimes a small sacrifice in convenience is worth it to look this cool.
Types Of Mountain Bikes
- Trail bikes: These bikes work best for all-around riding styles. They’re great for casual riding or if you’re just looking to get into the sport.
- Cross-Country: Designed for faster riding with less suspension. They’re easier to climb hills with and focus on efficiency for longer rides.
- Fat tire bikes: With giant tires to improve traction, these bikes are good for sand and snow.
- All-Mountain: If you don’t want to compromise between downhill speed and uphill ease, consider one of these.
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Mountain Bike Suspension Styles
You’ll also need to consider what type of suspension you want. You can save money with limited suspension, but you’ll have a less comfy ride.
- Rigid: No suspension. It’s least expensive but least comfortable.
- Hardtail: A front suspension fork absorbs some shocks, but there’s no rear suspension. These are popular for cross-country riding.
- Full suspension: Has suspension in front and back making for a gentler ride.
Fox Ranger 3l Water Mountain Bike Pants
We have reviewed a good number of Fox mountain bike pants, including the beloved Rangers, and the Fox Ranger 3L Waterproof Pants turn up season extension to eleven. These pants have the same pair of hip pockets, ratcheted waist closure, and racy fit, now with 3L waterproof layers to keep the mud out. Theres a little more space in the legs to make up for the fact that the material doesnt stretch much, these feel comfortable on the bike no matter the weather. Ranger 3L waterproof pants come in seven sizes and two colors for $175.
Fox has MTB pants dialed, and these waterproof pair is no exception. They have yet to leak through in some torrential downpours, and the waterproofing is enduring my lazy washing machine habits well. The robust material breathes okay, but I wouldnt want to pull these on for a ride above 55° F.
If you already love Fox mountain bike pants you wont be surprised, and if youre in the market for winter gear these will be a good piece to put on the list.
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Chrome Plask Hybrid And Storm Rain Mtb Pants
On the commuter/trail crossover side, the Chrome Plask Hybrid Pant is a cool option for riding to work and sliding down the trail after. They have double-knee fabric like a pair of Carhartt trousers, and the material is notable sturdy. Those front panels are also DWR-coated to keep some moisture out. Theres a pair of jeans-style external pockets on the seat and two hand pockets up front with a single zippered pouch on the right hip to keep the keys safe. Plansk Hybrid pants come in six sizes for $140.
Available at Chrome Industries.
You wont be fitting kneepads under these pants, as they fit like denim skinny jeans. Instead, you get to look like the cool dirt-jump kids who only ride in denim. The material has just enough stretch that the pants move well with your legs, and they definitely dont leave any snaggy fabric. The material should last through several seasons on the trail and at the pub, no matter your crash status.
These MTB pants from Chrome have the most casual look of the bunch, making them a good wardrobe option even if you dont take them for a ride.
For my body type, these dont work as mountain bike pants. The legs are far too long on my usual size small, leaving a pile of fabric bunched at the ankles. The crotch is also way too deep and it regularly gets snagged on the saddle and pulls the pants down. Likely these features make these perfect pants for wearing over jeans on a commute, but on the trail, they are not the trousers I would choose.
Showers Pass Skyline Pant
The Showers Pass Skyline Pant seems more designed for road cycling than MTB, but they work well for both. The tighter elastic material is more aerodynamic than most MTB pants, but its no tighter than the tailored trousers most World Cup DH racers are stuffing themselves into. If you have small legs like mine these pants will still have some give. I have worn these skiing, road riding, and mountain biking, and they work well for all three. Surely you could also wear them to play pickle ball in a pinch. They move well with your body, and the material is surprisingly breathable for how heavy and warm it can be. Skyline pants come in four sizes for $143.
These pants are not truly waterproof, but they keep a lot of the water out and the fabric dries relatively quickly. They are definitely warm enough for a 40° F pedal if you keep moving, and the seams are well placed so theyre not annoying while doing so. A few reflective stripes in the right places will help you be seen on the way to and from the trailhead.
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Why Are Mountain Bike Shorts So Long
Protection. Short shorts will lead to saddle chafe, scrapes, bruises, and other unsavory trail souvenirs. The more skin you have covered, the more protected you are on overgrown singletrack and through crashes. When riding technical terrain at speed, youll want longer mountain bike shorts that are articulated to fit over knee pads. On long hot summer rides, youll appreciate a pair that hits just above the knee when pedaling for a little more airflow.
Troy Lee Designs Skyline Pant
Russell Burton / Our Media
- Sizes: 28in, 30in, 32in, 34in, 36in, 38in, 40in
- Lightweight and some of the comfiest out there
- Bluesign approved fabric
Another fairly lightweight entry, Troy Lees Skylines are another seriously comfortable option, both on and off the bike, although the lower legs could be more snug.
There are two zipped hip pockets that are decently sized and knee pads fit well underneath.
There are perforations behind the knees to help prevent overheating and there is a heavier protective panel on the inside of the right leg to protect the crank arm if it comes into contact with it, although this can bunch up if your legs are on the shorter side.
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Troy Lee Designs Sprint
Made from a blend of Bluesign-approved rough-and-tumble 600D polyester and spandex, the Troy Lee Designs Sprint trousers can survive an extended slide through the underbrush without pinching the back of your knee as you pedal. The knee and outside of the thigh are made of a tougher fabric still to stave off crash damage, and there is a mesh liner on the inside that creates a primitive slip layer and wicks sweat, too.
The calves feature a few mesh panels for airflow, and the inside of the right ankle is reinforced with a sonic welded patch to prevent wear from your drivetrain. The fit is tapered with hook and loop adjusters at the hip, and there are good-sized zippered pockets to carry your essentials.
Made from lightweight four-way stretch fabric, the Endura MT500 Spray pants were designed in collaboration with the Athertons, and feature heavy-duty panels on the bum, a popper fastener, velcro waist adjusters, and zippered fly.
While the MT500 Waterproofs are properly waterproofed for terrible conditions the MT500 Spray gets a DWR treatment to keep the odd shower and puddle splash from soaking through. To protect from tire spray, the rear panels are made from a waterproof material featuring three-layer seam taping.
The pants come in Black or Moss, and Endura also does a women’s version but that only comes in Black.
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What Extras Should You Look For
Some riding trousers feature extra padding or abrasion-resistant materials around the knees, hips and shins, while others have a mesh liner that runs part of the way down the leg to create a slip plane. We are big fans of additional features like these that create a point of difference, but make sure they don’t come at the cost of fit or comfort.
Pearl Izumi Launch Trail Pant
$150.00 Pearl Izumi Launch Trail Pant
$150.00 Pearl Izumi Launch Trail Pant
These trail trousers are so perfectly tailored, you could easily slide them between the business-casual pants in your closet and no one would be the wiser. But dont waste them sitting on your keister while tapping on your keyboard. These truly are built for hard-charging days on the dirt. The Cordura nylon, polyester, and elastane fabric is strong and durable, yet perfectly stretchy and pliable, so you can forget all about them while youre pedaling along. The brands PI Dry water-shedding technology keeps your legs happy and dry when the skies start to cry. The two zippered, easy-access front pockets are spacious enough to hold your phone and some snacks and perfectly positioned to avoid interfering with your pedal stroke. They have a slim fit, but are roomy enough in the knees to make room for pads.
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Shredly Cascade Mtb Pants
As the temperatures begin to fall, its nice to have at least one pair of warm and comfy pants to ride in. Some MTB-specific pants are constructed with rigid fabric, designed to take a beating in the event of a crash. The Cascade fabric is not rigid or ultra thick but it does the trick to prevent cuts and scrapes with the best of them.
The Shredly Cascade pant is jogger-style, made specifically for pedaling on your mountain bike, but also for those who want to double down on function. The lightweight, soft, durable, four-way stretch, quick-dry fabric is a dream come true for multi-discipline athletes in the crowd. The relaxed fit, coupled with articulated knees, elastic ankle cinches, and a yoga-style waistband are perfect for pedaling as well as hiking, climbing, going to the gym, and just casually wearing around town. If you happen to have the pleasure of being caught in a rainstorm with these, they do a nice job of repelling water and not sticking directly to the skin.
Cascade Pant MSRP $135, Available at Shredly.com