One of your most trusted and relied on pieces of your XC mountain bike apparel are your Cross Country mountain bike shorts.
That being said what are the best pairs to slide on for race day?
Best XC Mountaini Bike Short with Liner vs. Spandex Liner Only
Most UCI XC Worldcup Mountain Bike racers are wearing an all spandex short without a shell. A handful of the XC mountain bike riders are wearing a baggy outer shell.
Perhaps you prefer this option as well. Less can be better if it’s a look you feel comfortable wearing. After all, a dedicated XC mountain bike short with a shell, generally has a spandex liner on the inside, it just offers some pockets and banana hammock coverage.
As far as aerodynamics are concerned, I highly doubt the outer shell is going to suck away enough speed off your lap times to cost you the race win.
For me, I prefer the baggy shell on the outside, at least for my training rides. I always end up stuffing something in the pockets.
Sadly, not many manufacturers are producing a quality XC mountain bike short with an outer shell over the liner, but there are a couple options.
Best XC Mountain Bike Short Inseam Length
Generally a dedicated XC mountain bike short with a shell is going to be shorter than an Enduro or DH short. 9″-10″ is an average length. This will probably leave 5-6″ of leg exposed before your knee. This is pretty close to an XC MTB spandex short, but sometimes they go a bit longer.
XC mountain bike riders are doing so much climbing, the short inseam can pay dividends as it is nice to have a tighter fitting short with a shell that isn’t dragging over your knee and leg for 50 miles. Look at how purpose built a runner’s shorts are as well, that have so much constant leg movement.
Best XC Mountain Bike Short Comfort
It is imperative the fit and feel of your XC mountain bike short is spot on. Even small amounts of irritation repeated in the same area can turn into very serious health problems.
Just like running in a poorly fitted or broken down running shoe will wreak havoc on your body.
Most XC mountain bike shorts attempt to hide the seams and stitching that can cause aggravation. Sometimes the short just breaks down and this begins to happen while other times a pair of shorts that seems great in the fitting room, tears you apart on the trail.
While others require a short break in period.
The rule of thumb is don’t waste your money on any product that fits poorly or you even think it might irritate you. Spending more money doesn’t always mean you will get the best short, but it does apply in many cases.
The bigger brand XC MTB bicycle short manufacturers that have actual race teams or that at least sponsor riders will have better feedback from the racers themselves and hopefully be producing a superior product.
Best XC Mountain Bike Short Reputation
Yes, almost everything is made in China, but some companies still provide better quality control and have demands on construction. The truth is you can probably visually inspect some shorts and see the quality difference to discard the ones that are no good. Material weight, seaming, the type of stitch can all be a good guide.
Obviously some name brands are known for better quality, but this often comes with a higher price tag.
Best XC Mountain Bike Short Style
XC mountain biking doesn’t have the bling that the gravity, BMX, Enduro and DH mountain bike guys / gals have. Mostly because we don’t want our XC mountain bike shorts that far out there.
There are still plenty of color options with very tasteful designs savailable to match your kit / bicycle.
As of late I really like what Troy Lee Designs, Fly Racing and Fox XC mountain bike apparel. They seem to be on the upper curve of stylish.
Best XC Mountain Bike Short Price
XC-MountainBike.com is a great place to start if your looking for higher end XC MTB shorts that have been discounted / are on sale.
Hopefully we have something that catches your attention.
XC Best Bike Apparel Review Articles
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- Best Racing XC Bib Short Review
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