why are mountain bike shorts so expensive

Why Are Mountain Bike Shorts So Expensive

why are mountain bike shorts so expensive

Many mountain bikers complain that shorts are too expensive. Maybe it is due to a lack of understanding as to the reasons for a high price. I investigated this to learn more.

Why are mountain bike shorts so expensive? Mountain bike shorts are expensive because they are more durable, made specifically for mountain biking, and they are waterproof. They are baggy and long, have padding, and are moisture wicking. Mtb shorts are made with 4 way stretch material, they have extra pockets, plus they are made in smaller quantities by small companies when compared to street clothes. All these factors result in a higher price.

There are mountain bikers who are happy to pay the high price for these shorts. Since they think it is worth it, let’s find out more.

Why Are Mountain Bikers Willing To Pay For Expensive Shorts

  • Mountain bikers ride on rough terrain such as roots, rocks, gravel, mud, hard packed dirt, and sand. If they crash or fall off their bike they want to be protected. Mountain bike shorts are stronger and more resistant to tearing than regular shorts.
  • Trail riders bike in all kinds of weather. Some like rainy, snowy weather conditions more than sunny days. Whether you like them or not staying dry and comfortable is important. So riders like to wear waterproof shorts. Especially in the butt area and crotch area, keeping these sections dry is particularly important for comfort.
  • Mountain biking requires that your legs have full range of motion when pedaling. You need to shift your weight forward and back, left and right. Baggy shorts give you that freedom. The extra width in the thigh area won’t restrict you. More material is used to make them baggy.
  • If you want baggy shorts then they also need to be longer which has benefits of its own. Long shorts offer protection from branches and bushes that hang over the trail. Plus if you crash your knees are protected and other parts of your leg. These advantages outweigh the cost.
  • Comfort on the saddle is important or you won’t be sitting there for very long. Many shorts for mountain biking come with multi layer chamois padding. This padding supports and cushions your sit bones when you are seated and prevents chaffing while pedaling.
  • There is nothing worse or uncomfortable than sweating a lot and having your shorts get all wet from it. This is very uncomfortable for your buttocks and crotch area. Shorts for trail riders are able to wick away sweat before it can build up keeping you dry, comfort and smelling good.
  • When you are in the saddle you need to shift left, right, forward, and back. Plus get into an attack position. Your legs shift left and right. This movement causes friction if your shorts are not flexible. But mountain bike shorts use 4 way stretch material. This means you can stretch them vertically, horizontally, and diagonally, and they will return to its original shape.
  • Mountain bike shorts are baggy and long, plus they have extra pockets. These pockets are convenient for carrying your keys, cash, credit cards, and a flat mobile phone. Carrying these things in hand pockets will increase the risk of you losing them. They can fall out, whereas the extra pockets have zippers keeping your stuff safe.
  • Finally, these companies which manufacturer these specialized shorts are not big and they don’t mass produce these shorts. They are designed to have specific characteristics for specific customers. This will result in a more expensive product, but riders think it is worth it when the shorts do what they are supposed to do.

What Are The Most Expensive Mountain Bike Shorts


  • The most expensive shorts I have found are by FoxRacing. Their RawTec shorts are $169.95. The fabric is made with 89% nylon and 11% spandex. For durability and movement it is made with abrasion resistant and stretchy fabric.
  • It uses a ratchet closure system for a more secure fit and quick adjustment. There are zip hand pockets. The waistband is bonded with perforations for increased breath-ability. The hem is bonded and low profile, plus decreased chaffing.
  • Their trademark TruDri fabric evaporates sweat away to keep your body dry. TruMotion trademarked stretch fabric offers full range of motion. There is a water repellent finish on the shorts which deflects moisture and dirt.


  • Glidepath mountain bike shorts is made by 7Mesh for $150.00. The fabric is made of 93% nylon and 7% elastane. It makes use of Soma fabric to make the shorts light and stretchy, plus it is durable and abrasion resistant.
  • There is a water repellent coating which helps to keep out moisture. The legs of the shorts are articulated in order to handle non-downhill knee pads. There are 2 front hand pockets with no zipper. Plus there are 2 zippered utility pockets on the sides for important items.
  • There are built-in waist adjusters which are low profile used to help you get the right fit. You can also use your belt and slide it into the belt loops. The fly is zippered for closing and there are snaps for additional fit and closing.

Defend Kevlar

  • Another high end short by FoxRacing is called Defend Kevlar at $149.95. The body of the shorts are of 93% polyester and 7% spandex. The panel is made of 75% nylon, 10% spandex, 9% Kevlar, 6% polyester stretch Kevlar.
  • The Kevlar fibers that it uses have a higher resistance to cuts, tears, and abrasions. It also has a ratchet closure system and zip hand pockets. It also uses Trumotion all stretch fabric for full range of motion.
  • On the front and on the back to keep you cool it has body-mapping laser perforated sections. To keep away moisture, dirt, and debris there is a durable water resistant finish.


  • Next are Vista Shorts by Pearl Izumi for $110.00. The main parts of the shorts are made from 89% polyester, and 11% elastane. The pockets are made of 100% polyester. There is a stretch twill for an easier fit off and on the mountain bike. It is lightweight and made of polyester and elastane.
  • This fabric has been treated with eco-friendly DWR durable water repellent, it helps to make the fabric water resistant. The shorts have Bioviz which is trademarked. It is a fluorescent 3M reflective designed to make you seen up to 5 times farther away. It is most helpful during low light visibility during dawn and dusk.
  • These shorts use the classic 5 pocket styling system which includes one zippered security pocket. The waistband has a high back so that when you are in the attack position the back of the waist band will remain secure and not become too short when you lean forward.

What Do These Shorts Have in Common Which Make Them Expensive

Both Foxracing and Izumi have features about their shorts which are trademarked. So they developed and designed the feature specifically for their shorts. This will increase the quality as well as the price.

All the brands use high quality materials for their fabric such as nylon, polyester and Kevlar. All of the shorts have a water repellent coating for protection. The extra pockets are all zippered making them extra secure.

The brands all use strong elastic material for full range of motion. The shorts are all able to wick away moisture. The waistbands are bonded so it can handle the forward bending movements of mountain biking.

The quality of these shorts is obvious which helps to justify a more expensive price. Mountain bikers have certain needs when it come to their shorts. When these requirements are met they have no problem paying for high quality shorts and the price that goes along with it.


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