If you’re a cycling enthusiast, you will suffer from excessive sweating, chafing, and general discomfort without the proper equipment.
Comfy socks, a sweat and moisture-wicking top, and other paraphernalia are of paramount importance. However, when it comes to cycling, the shorts are probably the most vital piece of clothing.
In this article, we’ve reviewed the five best bike shorts on the market for all you beginners and come up with a buyer’s guide. We hope that you’ll find your perfect match here or, at least, learn what to pay attention to when browsing for bike shorts.
5 Best Bike Shorts
Sponeed Men’s Cycling Shorts
Getting a low-cost pair of bike shorts may seem like a solid idea, but you won’t feel that way once you’ve thrown them away after the first ride. Cheap men’s cycling shorts don’t tend to pay off in the long run. Exceptions to this rule, however, do exist.
Sponeed Men’s Cycling Shorts are the prime example of such exceptions. Yes, the Sponeed website copy is written in notably poor English, but the company does a brilliant manufacturing job.
Feature-wise, this model is rich, especially considering its price. You get 3D silicon padding for maximum seat comfort, as well as the stretchy fabric on the inner, for extra comfort. Sponeed Men’s Cycling Shorts are soft, lightweight, and breathable, which are the pillars of great bike shorts. Despite being a tight-fit, these shorts don’t constrict movement.
They ensure comfort while riding, have sweat- and moisture-wicking properties, and are suitable for all weather conditions and environments. Well, as long as it’s not too cold outside; after all, we are talking about shorts here.
With that said, Sponeed Men’s Cycling Shorts are a bit tight where they end, just above the knees, so if there is any discomfort to be expected, it’s going to be located in the knee area. Of course, this depends on your thigh size – people with skinnier thighs most likely won’t note any form of discomfort in this department.
This soft, lightweight pair is machine- and hand-washable.
- Great 3D padding
- Breathable, soft, and lightweight
- Tight above the knee part
POC Resistance Pro DH Shorts
If you’re in to mountain or off-road cycling, you’ve probably come across POC products more than once. POC Sports is a popular cycling helmet brand, but they also offer quality apparel.
Resistance Pro HD Shorts are one of the best-selling pieces of POC apparel. These shorts are competition-grade – they’re a pre-shaped ride fit that perfectly complements knee pads.
POC Resistance Pro DH Shorts feature a higher back for keeping your backside warm and dry, but also for position and comfort support.
The outer is made out of durable nylon fabric that offers solid water repellency. Still, this POC model is stretchy, meaning extra comfort and wiggle room.
The waist is Velcro-adjustable, and the quality of Velcro itself is very high. For extra adjustment, the shorts offer belt loops, so you can set them to your preference.
This is a performance mountain biking model, so don’t expect any cargo pockets on the side – they would only create discomfort. Still, you get two side zipper pockets that are lined with mesh. There’s also a keycard rear pocket with a zipper on the back. Although the storage options aren’t mind-blowing here, whatever you put inside these pockets is sure to stay dry, safe, and ventilated.
- Pre-shaped and pre-bent
Hiauspor Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts
Whereas sports cycling shorts dictate the need for a tight fit for maximum muscle support and comfort, mountain biking is more about baggy lower apparel. Hiauspor Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts are baggy-styled and made out of 92% Polyester. The remaining 8% is Spandex for maximum stretch comfort.
Speaking of which, the material here stretches four ways, so it gets bonus points in the comfort department. The stitching is very durable and strong; expect this model to last for a long time.
Cold air and wet conditions are expected with mountain biking, which means that water repellency and fast-drying should go without saying. These bike shorts not only boast the standard moisture-wicking technology, but are very quick to dry. This makes them a fantastic choice for snowy, muddy, and rainy mountain biking conditions.
As for adjustability, Hiauspor Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts feature an elastic waistband, so you probably won’t need to use a belt here. However, the belt loops are included. You also get Velcro straps for legs for switching between a looser and a closed fit. This model doesn’t leave much to be desired in terms of adjustability.
The storage options are brilliant. There are two cargo pockets on the thighs, two pockets on the left waist, and one on the right. All pockets are deep and secured with YKK zippers. You won’t find too many bike shorts with storage options that are this convenient and safe.
Although Hiauspor Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts are primarily intended for mountain biking, they perform well for boating, hiking, and trailing.
- Brilliant for mountain biking and various other activities
- Fantastic storage options
- Great adjustability features
- Run large, particularly at the knees
Fox Racing Shorts
By the look of these shorts, you’d expect them to be off-road and mountain-focused. Although they fare well in rougher conditions, they work great on all terrains and in all kinds of weather.
On the inside, you get the liner shorts, which are actually comfortable. In addition, they include EVO chamois, which provides a perfect amount of padding for your sit bones. There’s nothing particularly special with this padding option, but it’s the padding placement that dictates the ultimate comfort. And the Fox Racing Shorts boast brilliant padding.
Pocket-wise, there is nothing fancy to see here. The model has two waist pockets, which don’t have any pleats and are perfectly trim. Still, you can fit a big smartphone inside.
What about the material itself? Well, it’s durable and repels water. However, it’s because of this, perhaps overemphasized, durability that you get a lack of venting. During those hot days, this can get frustrating.
For adjustability, some belt loops would be great. Unfortunately, all you get here is a simple button. No Velcro, no other means of waist closure.
So, the Fox Racing Shorts are durable, water-resistant, and comfortable. Well, until the comfort gets ruined by an overly hot day or if your button pops open. Still, these shorts are unmatched in terms of diversity.
- Very diverse
- No belt loops
Troy Lee Designs Flowline
The Troy Lee Design shorts are very popular in the cyclist community, with mountain bikers in particular. Earlier this year, the Flowline model was released, aiming to provide a perfect middle ground between toughness and pedaling efficiency.
These shorts aren’t designed for peak performance. They aim to retain the balance between comfort and performance. Make no mistake, though; thanks to their toughness and pedaling efficiency, you’re likely to find them very convenient for both casual and more serious mountain bike excursions.
Courtesy of the waistband grippers, the Troy Lee Designs Flowline shorts are conveniently adjustable and will stay in place on your waist.
They are made out of polyester but feature a chamois and a COMP-padded liner for optimal comfort. You also get a waist pocket on each side, which is secure enough for storage, although they don’t have zippers.
- Balance between performance and comfort
- COMP-padded liner and chamois for comfort
- Waistband grippers
- Quality design
- Not for peak performance sessions
Best Bike Shorts Buyer’s Guide
At least one of the above-mentioned models is bound to suit your needs. On the off-chance that you want to go ahead and look for a pair of bike shorts on your own, though, we want you to know exactly what to pay attention to. Straightforward though it sounds, choosing the ideal model might be a tad more complex than you expect.
Inner vs. Outer
There are two main parts of every pair of bike shorts – the inner shorts and the outer shell. Inner shorts are there to provide support for your muscles and wick any sweat away for more comfort and better performance. The outer shell, on the other hand, is made with durability and water-resistance in mind.
Don’t be deterred by nylon-made outers. The vast majority, if not all, bike shorts feature a percentage of nylon in their outer to repel rain and moisture. This is no mean feat. If you’re worried about comfort, pay attention to the inner part of the shorts, the layer which comes into contact with your skin.
Don’t expect 100% cotton material on the inside, though. After all, performance is the goal here, and this means sweat-wicking and muscle support. Although most typical bike shorts are slim-fit, meaning that they are stretchy and tight, some, especially those made for mountain biking, tend to be baggier and look like your regular cargo shorts.
Regardless of what kind of a fit you go with, comfort is your number one priority. This is why taking a good look at the short’s inner is vital.
Bike shorts, especially the sporty models, aren’t made with adjustability in mind. If you’re looking for tight-fit shorts that go right against your skin, do not expect any adjustability whatsoever. Taking this into consideration, choosing the perfect size is vital.
However, some more elaborate models, for mountain biking, for instance, do offer adjustability options, at least to an extent. Some bike shorts feature elasticated waistbands and various adjustment tabs.
The factor of adjustability, however, doesn’t necessarily make or break a pair of cycling shorts. In truth, you need to know what to expect from a model. A pair of mountain bike shorts without adjustment properties is probably not a good choice. For sports biking, though, adjustability might not be a priority.
If you find a pocket on a pair of sports bike shorts, you’re in luck. In most instances, the only kind of pocket you’ll find is a small, hidden one, located on the inside of the waist area (typically for a small item like a key). Equip your bike with a small, lightweight storage option instead of looking for sports bike shorts with various pockets.
On the other hand, mountain bike shorts not only come with your typical side pockets but some feature cargo pockets, as well. This is why mountain cycling shorts can often resemble cargo shorts.
Ideally, every pocket should have a zipper – lose an item while cycling, and the chances that you’ll find it are slim, at best.
As mentioned, there are two main bicycle shorts styles: the sports style and the mountain or off-road biking type. The former are a tight fit, don’t have pockets, and are built to leave as little wiggle room as possible. The goal here is to forget that you’re wearing shorts.
The other type is more typical. These are often adjustable, and, as highlighted, tend to resemble cargo shorts.
Think of it this way – the sports style emphasizes performance, while the mountain style is focused on performance with a hint of practicality.
There are also bibs, which go over the stomach and the back and include shoulder straps. They’re the extended versions of sports bike shorts. We think that bibs deserve a rundown of their own, which is why you won’t find any bibs on our list above.
Related: Best Bike Shorts for Women
The five models featured here make for some of the best bike shorts on the market at the moment. Nevertheless, the Hiauspor Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts take the cake here. They offer ideal adjustability, accompanied by belt hoops and fantastic storage options. They are also water-repellant and fast-drying while remaining comfy and compatible with a wide variety of biking events.
Unless you’re looking for a regular tight-fit pair of sports shorts without any storage options, the Hiauspor model is the best option overall.