Since I bought my all mountain bike (On-One 140mm), I’ve been doing uplift days on the trails. But, since the lock down started, the trails were closed, so I started putting some miles on the saddle.
One thing I noticed extremely quickly, is DH/AM bike seats are ridiculously uncomfortable. So, I decided to buy some padded bike shorts, that are designed for men (the fit is slightly different for women), and specifically for mountain biking.
Like any product I buy, I phoned a few mountain biking friends, and did hours of research before settling on my shorts. Below is what I consider to be the best padded bike shorts for mountain biking.
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The Best Padded Bike Shorts for Men
After much procrastination, I eventually picked Endura. If you’ve not been into mountain biking for too long, Endura are one of the most popular brands when it comes to MTB activewear and protection, and they’ve been making padded bike shorts for years.
Endura Cairn Baggy Cycling Shorts
As we mentioned, our pick for the best padded bike shorts is specifically related to mountain biking, hence them being baggy and comfortable. If you’re looking for something specifically for road cycling, we’ve added an alternative just for you, after this quick review.
The Cairn baggy padded bike shorts are by nature, ridiculously comfortable, and breathable; I didn’t sweat much at all. And the combination of the button up front and elastic waist band ensure the Endura padded bike shorts are a perfect fit.
It has a built-in padded bike short liner which whilst is a snug fit, offers plenty of protection in all the right places.
One thing worth mentioning here is the fit. In my opinion, they come up extremely tight. Typically, I’d be a 32 waist in most mountain biking and motocross gear. However, I went for a Medium which Endura state is suitable for a 33-35” waist; they’re still a fairly snug fit. So, if you’re on the border line between sizes, always go for the bigger one.
Endura Shorts Sizing Chart
I struggled to find the Endura sizing chart for shorts, but eventually I did, so I’ve included it below:
|Shorts Size||Size in Inches|
(Source: Endura Sport)
As mentioned, on this chart, I should technically be a small. I went for the medium, and even those are tight, I’d be able to fit in a large.
I’ve only used these padded MTB cycling shorts around a dozen times. Unfortunately for me, I ride to hard and crash a lot. I’ve had 3 crashes in these shorts already, and they’ve held up well. One crash resulted in some grass stains I thought might not come out (but they did); no rips or tears to date!
And, that’s probably since the outer fabric is a soft feel (but extremely tough) Nylon, it’s going to stand the test of time.
Endura do something called a Clickfast Mesh Liner. From what I can see, this is essentially like briefs with integrated padding (but doesn’t include the overshorts). The Cairn padded shorts have the Clickfast mesh liner built in, and that means they always stay in the right place.
And, when you do have a bail, the 200-series pad is going to keep you from injury. During saddle time, it keeps you from getting a sore butt!
In terms of protection, fit and durability, they tick all the right boxes. And, they also offer hand, side, and leg pockets (all zippers), which are useful for carrying various bits and pieces. Not a lot of padded bike shorts have any pockets at all, so this is something I really liked.
As I’ve picked Endura as the best padded bike shorts for men, you might be forgiven for thinking they’ll be incredibly expensive. In fact, they’re not.
There are plenty of other brands offering MTB shorts, such as Fox Racing, Troy Lee Designs and Dakine. But, they’re all much more expensive when compared to the Endura Cairn. You can check out the price here.
I’ve been happy with all my mountain biking gear I’ve purchased from Endura, and the Cairn padded bike shorts aren’t any different.
Although they come up a little tight (so it’s worth going a size up), they are breathable, comfortable and incredibly protective.
Better still, they offer excellent value for money, being a lot cheaper than alternative brands. If I was buying a new pair of padded cycling shorts, the Endura Cairn shorts would get my cash again.
The Best Padded Bike Short Liner
If you’re not looking for mountain biking specific padded shorts, you’ll probably be more suited to buying a liner.
Baleaf Padded Cycling Short Liner
Our pick for the best padded short liner for cycling, are these ones from Baleaf.
In comparison to the Endura liner (inclusive of shorts), you’ll be saying around $15-20, so straight away that’s a few extra bills you can be spending on your bike.
The Baleaf’s are made from a combination of Polyester and Spandex. Within that is moisture wicking material. That means that these aren’t just comfortable in terms of general fit, they’ll reduce the amount you sweat, which in turn is going to mean chafe free riding.
Like the Endura padded cycling shorts, you’ll get plenty of protection thanks to the 3D padding which fits into the contour of the saddle. That makes them great for both short and long distance cycling.
Review Verdict: Who Are They Suitable For?
This is a more generic short than the Endura’s mentioned above, that are specifically designed for mountain biking.
If you’re just after a liner, then the Baleaf shorts are going to suitable for anyone that’s involved in:
- Road cycling
- Mountain biking
- Spinning classes
- ATV riding
- Road going motorcycling
Ready to ride?
Thanks for reading my guide to the best padded bike shorts. Enjoyed what you’ve read so far? I regularly write up reviews on mountain biking gear (such as this guide to mountain biking hydration packs), so be sure to check back soon!