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The 7 Best Men's Mountain Bike Shorts of 2021

It’s easy to take your mountain bike shorts for granted. After all, they’re one of the simpler pieces of your mountain biking kit. But it only takes a few sweaty rides in casual shorts to understand why bike-specific shorts exist. They’re just a lot more comfortable and durable and in the long run, they’re always worth it. Not all mountain bike shorts are created equal. Every model has a different combination of fit, features, and price that give it particular strengths and weaknesses. And those small differences add up to a huge impact over a long day on the bike, and can separate the best mountain bike shorts form the field.

Trying on different options will always be the best way to figure out what works for you, but that’s not always possible. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best mountain bike shorts of 2021. We’ve broken down their features and intended uses, and included a table of features to help you figure out which shorts will work best for your body and climate. So use this piece to find your new favorite bike shorts, and then go back to not having to think about them while you ride.


Troy Lee Designs Skyline Shorts

Best 2021 men's mountain bike shorts
 
 

Troy Lee Designs has a reputation for making some of the smartest designed and most durable bike gear in the world, and the Skyline Short is no exception. Troy Lee designed these shorts for the rider who does a little bit of everything, and needs a short that can keep up with it all.

From long XC rides in the morning to DH laps in the afternoon, the Skyline short has a versatile fit that works well with, or without kneepads. The Lycra/Coolmax fabric blend stretches easily to move with you as you pedal, and dries very quickly. Zippered pockets keep your phone or tools within easy reach, and a low-profile waist closure keeps your shorts up.

If you’re not the type of person who likes to limit the type of riding you do to one discipline and instead wants to ride a little bit of everything, the Troy Lee Designs Skyline short is one of the best mountain bike shorts for all-around riding.

 
 Liner Included? Pockets Original Price
 No 2 $89

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Fox Ranger

Best 2021 mountain bike shorts

Fox has been perfecting their bike clothing for decades, and the Ranger short is a great example of the level of refinement that they’ve reached. Every detail has been thought through and perfected. The zippered stash pocket keeps valuables safe and out of the way, and the low-key styling means they look good on the trail, or at the coffee shop before your ride. That's why they're some of the best men's mountain bike shorts.

What really sets the Ranger apart though is the comfortable waist. Fox got the inspiration for the Ranger’s waistband from goggle straps, and the stretchy elastic with rubber grippers does an incredible job of staying put and comfortable all day long. The Ranger isn’t the flashiest short on this list, it doesn’t tout any space-age fabrics. Instead they focus on the essentials, delivering top-end performance no matter where your ride takes you.

 Liner Included? Inseam Pockets Original Price
 Yes 12" 1 $89.95
evo Customer Review:

"Good mid-weight shorts, very happy with them for the money. Included a chamois which I wasn't expecting at this price point (and I'm not a thorough reader, I guess). They fit over knee pads comfortably but aren't too baggy."

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Patagonia Landfarer

Best 2021 mountain bike shorts

Patagonia has been refining their bike clothes over the last few years, and the Landfarer is their latest option for the all-mountain rider. In typical Patagonia fashion, the Landfarer is sustainably produced, with all the features you need, and no extra nonsense. Two zippered pockets? Check. Comfortable elastic waistband? Check. Nice fit and stretchy fabric? Check, and check. Sure there are shorts out there that hype more fancy features and have more pockets. But if you’re looking for something understated that will stay comfortable all day and look good everywhere from the racecourse to the bar after, the Landfarer won’t let you down. They’re classy, durable, and good for the planet. What more could you want?

 Liner Included? Inseam Pockets Original Price
 No 12" 2 $79

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POC Essential Enduro

Best 2021 Men's mountain bike shorts

POC understands that sometimes you want your bike shorts to not look quite as technical and flashy as they feel. That’s why they offer the Essential Enduro short with its understated casual style. At a glance, these shorts would look fine at a party or post-ride bar paired with a nice shirt. But underneath they hide a plethora of technical features. They’re woven from stretchy, durable nylon fabric, and the side stash pockets are zippered. POC went to great pains to keep seams out of high-wear areas, and the knee openings are shaped to work well with kneepads. Your bike shorts shouldn’t just be confined to mountain biking. We love the scratchy fabric, and the nice cut of the the POC Essential Enduro short - that’s why we picked them as one of the best men’s mountain bike shorts of the year.

 Liner Included? Pockets Original Price
 No 2 $99.95

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Sweet Protection Hunter Light

Best mountain bike shorts

Sweet Protection’s Hunter Light shorts have a hidden secret. Unlike most bike shorts which are made from some sort of nylon blend, the Hunter Light is wool-based. This means that it dries very quickly, wicks sweat and moisture away from your body, and most importantly, won’t smell as funky if you don’t wash it as regularly as you should. Additionally, the short live up to their name quite well - they are very lightweight. That’s not all though, Sweet Protection’s attention to detail extends down to every aspect of the shorts’ design. That includes laser-cut ventilation, a comfortable waist adjustment system, and ergonomic stretch panels.

Sweet Protection’s Hunter Light short is an understated over-performer. It doesn’t have any flashy logos or branding, it just shows up, and gets the job done, every time. If that’s what you’re looking for, look no further. The soft and light materials make these some of the best men’s mountain bike shorts for hotter climates and summer riding.

 Liner Included? Pockets Original Price
 No 1 $99.95
evo Customer Review:

"These shorts are great for summer! The material is very soft, comfortable, and breathes well. I wear a 32 waist, I got the size M. They are just a touch shorter than I'd like to go with my POC vpd knee pads. Other than that, they're prefect."

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Pearl Izumi Summit Shell

Best 2021 mountain bike shorts

For a very long time, Pearl Izumi has been synonymous with high-quality bike gear, and the Summit Shell shorts are no exception. They’re designed to drape lower over your knees so that they overlap your kneepads, instead of leaving a weird gap. A DWR coating helps them shed water, and a high waistband keeps them comfortably up, even when your jersey is trying to ride up your lower back on a long climb. The real magic of the Summit though is in how Pearl Izumi designed the pockets. Instead of just adapting pocket shapes and locations from casual wear, Pearl Izumi researched everything from the shape and angle of their pockets to how they hang when loaded. The result is easily accessible side pockets that keep their contents secure and out of the way, no matter how rough the descent. You won’t even feel your phone in your pocket, just don’t take a fall and crack it! The Summit Shell shorts offer good water protection on wetter rides, but breath well when it’s warm and dry. If you’re looking for a capable, year-round bike short, they’re hard to beat.

 Liner Included? Pockets Original Price
 No 2 $90

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EVOC Bike Shorts

Best 2021 mountain bike shorts

EVOC might be better known for their packs and protective gear, but their outerwear takes that same precise design philosophy and adapts it to clothing. Unlike some of the more minimal options on this list, the EVOC Bike Shorts have it all. Drawstring waist closure? Check. Velcro waist adjustment? Check again! Five pockets, a DWR coating, and a lens cleaning cloth? Yep, the EVOC’s have you covered.

If your riding motto is “be prepared” there are no better shorts out there for you than the EVOC bike shorts. They might be overkill on shorter rides, but if you want all of your bases covered, you can’t go wrong with these.

 Liner Included? Pockets Original Price
 No 5 $120

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