Why are Mountain Bike Shorts So Expensive? – An Explanation

You’ve got to have the gear if you want to excel at a sport, and that definitely includes mountain biking. 

Mountain biking isn’t just riding a bicycle. The shorts you wear when you go mountain biking need specific characteristics if you want the utmost comfort and protection. It takes extra money to produce mountain bike shorts compared to other kinds of shorts. 

That is why if you want to buy a high-quality pair of mountain bike shorts, you will probably pay a bit more than you would for other styles. If you want performance, you’ve got to pay for it.   Let’s learn more about why mountain bike shorts are so expensive. 


Mountain biking is a challenging sport and your shorts should go the extra mile. Like with any other kind of clothing, more durable materials tend to be more expensive. However, once you’ve made the investment, you can expect your new mountain bike shorts to last for years. 

If you go downhill mountain biking, your shorts should be even more resilient, with extra thickness. You should also look for a bit more length, for extra protection from a variety of elements. 


Perhaps most importantly is the protection that mountain bike shorts offer. They are designed to protect you from all sorts of hazards out on the trail such as debris getting flicked up, bushes, and the ground if you end up coming off.

All of this costs money to design and make hence it adds to the cost. But, when you need it out on the trail, you are certainly grateful that you’ve got it!

Waterproof Material

Mountain bike short manufacturers often also use waterproof material. After all, the weather can change in an instant. But as well as waterproof, you need your shorts to be breathable. This combination can be pricey but it’s not something you’ll want to skip. 

Don’t try to save money by going either waterproof and not breathable or breathable and not waterproof. Skipping either of these characteristics will likely lead to an uncomfortable ride. 

Advanced Stretch

Top-notch mountain bike shorts have a 4-way stretch. They will always bounce back to the shape they were when you bought them. As a result, your shorts will look new and stay resilient no matter how much strain you put on them on your adventures.  

4-way stretch fabric production is an expensive business. Your mountain bike shorts manufacturer must buy that fabric and use it to meticulously create their products. 


Another reason for the cost of mountain bike shorts is their length. More length means more material and greater cost. 

These shorts should be longer than other kinds of shorts because they should shield your skin from sources of injury as you ride (such as bush and tree branches that may scrape you as you ride). 

Moisture Wicking

You always break a sweat when mountain biking, and you don’t want to end up with uncomfortable moisture in your shorts. That is why you should look for mountain bike shorts made of moisture-wicking fabric, even if they’re more expensive. These fabrics such as Merino are costlier to produce and purchase, hence the increase in cost. 

With moisture-wicking fabric, moisture on your body will be pulled away. That means it won’t stay on your skin, causing irritation and other issues. The moisture is brought out to the outside of the shorts, through minuscule capillaries in the fabric. Once this happens, it can evaporate. 


One of the great things about mountain biking is that you can wear remarkably comfortable shorts. They don’t have to be like what we typically think of as “bike shorts” or “Lycra”. In other words, they can be more loosely fitted. In fact, most mountain bikers feel that they should be, and they appreciate having a superior range of motion and protection. 

Mountain bike shorts are also made to make it easy for you to wear knee pads. Always wear knee protection when you go mountain biking. You don’t want to end up with a serious knee injury if you fall. 

When you invest in a high-quality pair of mountain bike shorts, you get features specially designed for comfort. For example, you may get flatlock seams. These help to prevent chafing. 


You can find mountain bike shorts that come with padded crotch areas. If the shorts you buy don’t have that and you want that feature, you can purchase the padding (chamois) shorts separately here. 

A padded crotch liner comes in especially useful if you go mountain biking frequently and for long distances. Although mountain bike shorts are comfortable the seat after a long ride is definitely not. So it’s probably worth getting some extra padding if you don’t have any. 

While other kinds of shorts may have padding, mountain bike shorts with padding have this feature in a different position. This takes into account the fact that mountain biking usually involves sitting more upright on the seat. Don’t underestimate how important the proper position is to enjoy mountain biking. 


Yet another feature of top-quality mountain bike shorts is their pockets. This requires not only extra labor in the production process, but better fabric quality with sturdier characteristics. 

The need for pockets is one of the circumstances behind the fact that mountain bike shorts should generally have a roomier fit. If shorts are too close-fitting, it will be difficult to access things you put in your pockets

There are plenty of things you will want to carry in your pockets when you’re on the trail, especially if you’re traveling a long distance. Make sure you’re prepared with dependable storage space in your mountain short pockets. 

What If You Do Cross Country Mountain Bike Racing? 

Most mountain bikers don’t race. But if you do, or maybe if you have a cross-country bike, you will probably want mountain bike shorts that are a little different in one way: fit Specifically, you will probably prefer shorts that fit a bit more closely. This is important to aerodynamics. 

Often they will race in lycra, which to me is not very comfortable or practical. It is, however, aerodynamic which is great for racing. That is fine but it is important to know what you are sacrificing when you wear lycra mountain biking such as protection, comfort and pockets!

Final Thoughts

Yes, a good pair of mountain bike shorts are a significant expense. But they’re an investment you’ll be glad you made when you’re riding on the trail. Going the cheap route will probably mean frequently replacing your shorts, and it will probably interfere with your performance.