Why Are Mountain Bike Shorts Baggy?

Last Updated on October 28, 2021

The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to cycling is the fitting outfit that bikers wear. Well, they’re called lycra, the stretchable spandex-like material that is most of the time, awkward-looking for the average person.

But that’s not much of a big deal when you’re in the world of mountain biking because you don’t need to wear one!

In fact, these lads have a whole different set of biking outfits!

One good example of this is the baggy mountain bike shorts.

But why are they baggy in the first place?

That is what this article is about. Here, we’ll explain why mountain bikers don’t wear lycra, along with the benefits of wearing proper mountain bike gears.


The first best thing about these shorts is that they are functional. Unlike the fitting lycra that takes the shape of your hips and legs, mountain bike shorts have a lot of pockets where you can store various things such as your phone, wallet, tools, and other stuff.

You can’t do any of these when you’re wearing lycra because what you get is a very thin piece of cloth that conforms to your hips. Bikers need a functional outfit because they usually ride in the unknown and they need to have fast access to necessities most of the time, aside from the fact that you need to change your riding position all the time.


Another top reason why these shorts are baggy is because they are durable. Mountain biking is different from road cycling because you are riding on offroad trails most of the time.

This means that there is a high chance that you’ll crash later on and fall to the ground. Or maybe hit a tree or slip off when roosting some corner roots. And what happens when you fall? Your skin scrapes the ground.

But that isn’t much of a problem when baggy shorts because they are thick enough to protect your skin. You can also wear knee pads comfortably along with shorts that have a padded liner and waist band. Just make sure that you wear premium knee pads to get the best protection possible for trail riders.


Some die-hard road cyclists might argue that lycra is the most comfortable type of shorts for biking. Well, there might be some truth to this because it’s very thin that it becomes breathable. However, it sticks to your skin and takes the shape of your hips and legs.

With these, however, you have loose shorts made of soft material that allow you to make whatever movement or maneuvers you want, depending on your riding style, whether it be cross country riding, enduro, or downhill, without getting the feel of tight liner shorts restricting your movement. Note that there are already many liner short also already have a waist adjustment feature


Another nice thing about these shorts is that they are very good when it comes to insulation. They are thick enough to provide warmth especially that you are usually in high-altitude places where the temperature is cooler.

You are also most likely riding through strong gusts of wind when you’re on ridgelines or at the peak.

Well, the thick and tough material of mtb shorts with belt loops and waist adjusters will surely protect you from the elements. On the other hand, they also do a great job in blocking out sunlight if you’re riding on a hot summer’s day on a fire road. Also, note that there are already many lightweight fabric and sonic welded seams shorts out there.


There is no doubt that the shorts bikers wear look way better than the fitting lycra shorts road cyclists wear. Based on our own opinion, lycra shorts make a biker look like a ballerina or some kind of dancer.

No offense to the roadies who wear these, but that’s what it is. Compare that to baggies, and you’ll see that they are casual shorts that aren’t just for biking and trail riding, but also can be worn on any other occasion you can think of because they also have an adjustable waist feature and chamois liner, ideal for any riding season.

They’re very versatile, so you don’t have to feel shy, awkward, or out of place if you’re stopping by for a drink in a coffee shop after a bike ride with your shorts on.


Mountain bike shorts are baggy because aerodynamics is not a big factor in your riding. What you need to focus on instead is protection, functionality, and comfort, especially that you are riding out in the trails and into the unknown.

Mountain bikers aren’t also as competitive as road cyclists because they prioritize fun and enjoyment over the statistics that roadies have a strong obsession with. So, you don’t really need to be as fast as you can and get as aerodynamic as possible.

Remember that it’s different when you’re out in the woods because wind resistance isn’t your biggest problem. What you need to prepare for are the tight trails, slippery rocks, and steep dropoffs. Well, wearing a versatile pair of the best mountain bike shorts or these so-called baggy shorts make it easier for you to prepare for those things.