Mountain biking is not an easy sport and what makes it harder is uncomfortable attire. With recent advancements in fabric technology and tailoring, Mountain Bike Trousers have radically improved over the past few years. The fabric of the pants used to be bulky and thick that didn’t allow any air in, and it has transformed into a stretchy fabric that can even feature vents.
The best mountain pants have shifted from motocross-styled trousers specifically for downhill racers into lighter versions that you pick while going out for a trail ride. A slimmer fit is obtrusive and keeps the knee caps in place as well.
Pants have changed substantially from the knee pads growing slimmer; stretch fabrics are common, breathable fabrics have also improved significantly. These riding trousers provide protection from minor crashes and thorns, It protects you from the mud and spray, and gives great freedom of movement along with a comfortable ride.
In this article, we have compiled five mountain bike pants that are best suited for your needs. We have also included the considerations you need to keep in mind before making a purchase. Whether you ride in bike parks or want to go trail riding, we have a pick for every occasion.
Best Eco-Friendly Crash-Proof Pants
Troy Lee Designers Sprint
Construction: 90% polyester, 10% spandex
Waist Closure: Pop button
- Bluesign approved fabric
- Stretchy yet tough material
- Single popper waist closure
- Short inseam
Troy Lee Designers Sprint trousers are made up of rough-and-tumble 600D polyester and spandex that can survive an extended slide through the underbrush without pinching the back of your knee as you pedal. The construction material made up of 90% polyester and 10% spandex is both lightweight and durable.
The trousers offer excellent space for movement owing to their redesigned knee zone featuring a slimmer profile. It permits better articulation for improved movement and pedaling abilities without compromising protection.
The Stretch fabric of these trousers is more durable across the quads and around the rear of the shorts are beneficial for additional abrasion resistance in the event of a crash. A mesh liner on the inside creates a primary slip layer and also wicks sweat.
These mesh panels are useful for airflow, and the inside of the right ankle is reinforced with a sonic welded patch to prevent wear from your drivetrain. The sonic welded thermo-skin provides increased resistance.
Best Lightweight Pants
Fox Racing Flexair
Construction: 75% polyamide-nylon, 16% polyester, 9% elastane
Waist Closure: Ratchet
Vents: Bums, Thigh, and Knee
- Laser-cut vents all over
- Eco-friendly DWR treatment
- Reduced crash protection
- Not the best fit
Fox Racing Flexair is a super light tapered fit that is suitable for both climbing and descending. This feature gives it an edge on wicking the sweat away and helps keep the body dry. The all-way stretch fabric provides a full range of mobility.
The race-ratchet closure gives a secure fit and adjustments that are quick on the fly. The trouser is finished off with durable water repellent lining that sheds dirt, debris, and moisture. There is a system of airflow through front and back panels which is body-mapped by laser perforations.
Although the pants are cut slim, there is substantial room for heavy-duty pads. The negative aspects of the pants include a lack of doubled reinforced panels on high-wear areas. There is no extra abrasion-resistant material either. The company added an eco-friendly DWR treatment to brace the pants from light rain and slashes.
Best Ventilated Pants
POC Resistance Pro
Waist Closure: Pop button
- DWR treatment
- Zipper at the bottom cuff
- Short in the inseam
The POC Resistance Pro pants are aesthetically pleasing due to their articulated cut. The trousers are designed to serve a comfortable riding position and an excellent protection system on the bike. They don’t have ceramic abrasion-resistant fabric, but there are reinforced paddings for high-wear areas around the knees and seat.
The pants are treated with DWR so that the pants are prevented from soaking in water. An added feature of size adjustment at both hip and the ankle is also available. A zip below the knee can be used for ventilation, or you can also use it to slip them over your shoes—the zippered side vents aid in body temperature regulation.
An inner lining of mesh allows the built-up heat and excess perspiration to escape readily.
The rear of the trousers is reinforced with Cordura stretch panels that are resistant to rips, tears, and snags. The Rear also contains pockets for carrying cards and cash.
Best Painted-On MTB Pants
100% R-CORE-X DH
Waist Closure: Boa
Vents: Inseam and knee
- Boa retention
- Three pockets for storage
- DWR treatment
- Fit is often too tight
R-CORE-X DH is the ideal pair of trousers for full-fledged pajama pants. They are treated with DWR and made with four-stretch material. What sets these pants apart from their competitors is their waist closure. Unlike the usual ratchet or popper system, R-CORE-X DH uses a Boa dial, allowing you to reel in the waist.
There are laser perforations to the inseam and behind the knees, which harbor vents that allow maintenance of airflow and prevent these areas from getting overly funky. The trouser has three pockets; a zippered hand pocket on either side of the pants and a stabilized inner pocket to store your phone.
If you are a fan of the painted-on look, this is the perfect pick for you. Also, keep in mind that these pants are skinny, so if you want loose-fitting pants, this is not the one for you.
Best Durable MTB Pant
Endura MT500 Burner Pant II
Waist Closure: Ratchet
- A good combination of stretch and durability
- Molded knee pads increase durability
- A Silicone band at the waist prevents it from slipping down.
- Trouble in fitting at the waist
- The graphics on the pant tend to peel
In terms of cut, these pants have a bit of a gravity focus. The gear is not only durable and long-lasting, but the heavy-duty seat panel shows no signs of wear. The ventilation system includes mesh-backed knees, which helps prevent bunching. In the event of a crash, molded protectors are embedded to protect the sides of the knee.
The belt buckle is ratchet-style which is comfortable and easy to use. There are two pockets in the pants that are secured by zips and assist you in carrying your essentials. At the waist, there is a silicone band to prevent it from slipping down. The breathability is also good.
Endura MT500 Burner Pant II is the best value pant for being at the durable end of the spectrum. It is tough but comfortable for long rides. For heavy bike park use, the pants are rugged enough to stand the durability test owing to the molded knee pads.
Key Considerations To Buy Mountain Bike Pants
Waterproof or Non Waterproof
Mountain biking is a strenuous sport and involves a lot of sweating along with bearing with the external moisture. In pants, there is a distinct difference between waterproof and non-waterproof pants.
While the truly waterproof garments are ideal for wet weather and keep most of the water outside, it gets in the way of breathability and makes the rider uncomfortable. The moisture-proof membranes are bad at a disadvantage when it comes to breathability. They usually don’t have a built-in stretch, and the pants feel “crunchy.”
If you live in a region where it rains a lot, and it is cold most of the time, you should go for waterproof MTB pants. If you don’t, then go for softshell pants since they are substantially more comfortable, and they are treated with DWR so that the rain, splashes, and moisture can stay out.
The fabric of the pants you are wearing is important to keep the stretchability of the material in mind. Using the right textile in the right place can make or break pants. Getting pants with a good amount of stretch will help you feel comfortable and fit right into your body. It will also allow the materials to move with you as you ride.
Pants made of non-stretchable material will bunch, bind, pinch, and chafe which is not ideal for riding for long periods of time.
If you are someone who is not a fan of skinny-fitted jeans, usually, you need to change your preference when it comes to mountain bike pants. When you are riding a bike, you want your trousers to be form-fitting so that you can keep your knee pads in place and prevent the pants from flapping annoyingly with the wind and displacing the knee pads.
Moreover, flappy pants also carry the risk of catching on your saddle, which is a dangerous incident.
Picking pants that have articulated knees can help your pants fit better in the riding position so that your knee pads stay in place and your trousers don’t flap with the wind. Form-fitting trousers that are aerodynamic provide muscle support and a tight fit.
The fitness of a pant depends on the adjustability of the pants. To get a good fit, you need additional features such as look and hoop adjustment at the waist, allowing you to adjust your pants around the waist. Other options include Velcro, zips, or snaps around the ankle. This ensures that the lower cuff is fitting comfortably around your leg.
Special mesh linings or mesh panels on the sides of the garment are a good way to ensure that the sweat collected during long riding hours is wicked off quickly. Mesh lining helps to circulate air which increases ventilation and allows you to cool down easily.
Moreover, these linings are made up of stretch materials in the fashion of knitted fabric, giving them a good stretch and freedom of movement. Since the knit has enough space for the air to circulate, it can quickly cool your body and carry away the moisture.
Pockets are certainly a must need for riders to carry their personal belongings. You need pants that have secure pockets with zips so that your belongings don’t slip out. Two pockets are a must, but an additional one is a bonus.
Some riding trousers feature extra padding underneath or abrasion-resistant materials around the high-wear areas such as the hips, shins, knees. Abrasion-resistant fabrics reduce the rub against the surface area of the mountain bikes. The road rash that occurs due to normal fabric is not a major concern with these abrasion-resistant paddings.
While the functional features of the pants, such as the ventilation, pockets, adjustment, and waist closure, can impact the prices of these pants, additional features like abrasion-resistant material cost more.
POC Resistance Pro is the most expensive among these pants, and Troy Lee Designers Sprints pants cost the most. However, the features differ a lot, and it depends on your budget and needs which one you pick for yourself.
Choosing mountain bike pants that fit your needs requires a great deal of contemplation due to the plethora of choices you have. Whether you are a downhill rider or an occasional trail rider, make sure you invest in pants that can keep you safe and comfortable at the same time.
Keep the considerations in mind, whether you need a waterproof material if you live in a wet climate or extra padding because you tend to ride for long hours. While additional features make a point of difference, remember that these bonuses do not come at the expense of the cost, fit, or comfort.