Mountain Bike Trousers, also called MTB pants - are a great choice for mountain bikers all year round, but especially when the colder weather bites during the winter months. Mountain bike trousers are expertly engineered to provide excellent levels of comfort and performance - and many trail riders, both professional and recreational - are choosing to use MTB trousers VS shorts, because of the extra protection they provide the wearer.
All mountain bike trousers have been designed to provide a close fit, so there is no excess material blowing around - but the close fit is provided with technical and stretchy materials, meaning there is no loss of movement, providing comfort and an unrestricted performance on the bike.
The biggest reason to wear MTB trousers over shorts on the bike, is protection from the elements - they protect the legs brilliantly from cold weather and rain, which means that when you take the trousers off at the end of the ride - your legs are clean, and not caked in too much mud!
Mountain Bike Trouser Features
Mountain Bike Trousers need to be able to stretch in all the right places. Although the material should have some degree of flex and stretch across it, you can expect stretch panels across certain areas - such as the knees. Four way stretch fabrics provide the best performance and comfort. Mountain bike trousers should also be adjustable - with tapered ankles and velcro tabs around the waist to adjust comfort and hold across different positions both on and off the bike.
As well as being stretchy, the fabric of a mountain bike trouser needs to be tough enough to be able to shrug off tears and rips from bushes and branches. Common examples of these fabrics include Cordura, kevlar and ripstop.
Although it’s not often that normal mountain bike trousers are completely waterproof, all should have some water resistance - meaning your legs stay dry in the inevitable showers you will end up in. Although water resistance is important, so is ventilation and breathability - all mountain bike trousers of a decent standard are made from breathable fabrics, and most have zips to provide vents.
As standard, mountain bike trousers should also have plenty of features to make your life easier. Plenty of storage options, vents, as well as zips to open up the bottom of the trouser, so they can be put on over mountain biking shoes - are all desirable.
Mountain Bike Trouser Types
Downhill MTB Pants
Downhill mountain bike trousers are understandably some of the toughest mountain bike trousers that you can buy. These trousers need to be made from tough fabrics, as they are likely to come into contact with bushes and branches which line many trails. Easy to ride in, they provide plenty of flexibility and have a more comfortable, looser fit than many other mountain bike trousers.
Cross Country MTB Pants
XC MTB trousers are lighter than dedicated downhill trousers. These trousers need to work on the ascents, as well as the descents - so have water resistant fabrics to help guard against spray, and also have tear resistant fabrics. These trousers provide a tighter fit, than downhill pants.
Waterproof MTB Pants
If tackling mountain bike trails and journeys in the depths of winter, normal mountain bike trousers - whilst water resistant, will struggle to deal with not only the rain falling out of the sky, but also mud and water spray from the ground up.