The Short Answer is:
Most modern mountain biking shorts or bibs do have a built-in padding called a “chamois.” It's made of cushioning foam or gel sewn into the crotch area of a trail biking short. However, not all mountain biking shorts are padded, and it depends on which ones you purchase.
Mountain biking is a popular outdoor activity that requires specialized gear to ensure comfort and safety. One of the most important pieces of equipment for mountain bikers is shorts.
While there are many different types of mountain biking shorts available, one common question that riders have is whether or not they should choose padded shorts.
In this article, we will answer the query “Are Mountain Biking Shorts Padded?” and explore the benefits of padded bike shorts for mountain biking and help you decide if they are right for you.
Table of Contents
What are mountain biking shorts?
Mountain biking shorts are a type of shorts designed for use by mountain bikers. They are typically baggy, knee-length, and made from stretchy or tear-resistant materials.
Mountain biking shorts often have a padded crotch liner to reduce friction and wick moisture. They may also have zip pockets to keep items secure while riding.
These shorts offer strategic stretch and cuts, added durability, and dry quickly compared to other athletic or casual shorts.
Types of mountain biking shorts with padding
There are different types of mountain biking shorts with padding. Some options include:
- Mountain bike shorts with a padded liner or chamois
- Shorts designed to work well with knee pads, such as the POC Infinite All-Mountain Shorts
- Longer shorts that provide coverage for knee pads, like the Specialized Demo Pro Shorts
Benefits of padded mountain biking shorts
Padded mountain biking shorts can provide several benefits to riders. They can help reduce pressure points, prevent chafing, and disperse road vibration.
The padding in the shorts provides cushioning and support to the rider, which can help prevent saddle sores. Padded cycling shorts also keep pressure off the points of contact with your saddle and absorb vibrations from your bike tires on the asphalt.
Additionally, they can wick away sweat and provide a bit of extra protection in case of falls or scrapes.
How to choose the right padded mountain biking shorts
When choosing padded mountain biking shorts, it is important to consider the fit, durability, and whether or not they have a liner. Look for shorts with sturdy fabrics and plenty of pockets.
Padding in the seating area is the most important feature of bike shorts. Beginners typically want a thicker chamois, while long-distance riders prefer a dense pad.
The best way to purchase bike shorts is to try them on first, and you can use sizing guides to help you find the perfect size and fit for your ride.
Caring for your padded mountain biking shorts
Padded cycling shorts can make a big difference in comfort while mountain biking. To properly care for them, wash them in cold water with a gentle cleanser like Nikwax BaseWash®, avoid harsh detergents, and use a heated setting on the dryer.
Frequently Asked Questions related to Shorts Padded Mountain Biking:
How thick should the padding be in mountain biking shorts?
The thickness of padding in mountain biking shorts can vary from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch. Thicker pads offer more cushioning in case of a fall but come with added weight.
For short distances, a thin wicking foam chamois should suffice. Beginners may need thicker padding as their bodies adapt to the pressure against the saddle, but beyond beginner level, thinner but still effective padding is recommended.
The cycling shorts you wear should be quite tight yet comfortable and not too restrictive or too loose.
Do you wear underwear under mountain biking shorts?
No, it is not recommended to wear underwear under mountain biking shorts. The chamois inside the shorts are designed to fit next to your skin and prevent chafing, and wearing underwear adds seams that can cause chafing and fabric that holds in moisture. It is best to go commando when wearing cycling shorts.
Can you wear padded mountain biking shorts for road biking?
While mountain biking shorts can be worn for road biking, it is not recommended. Mountain biking shorts have integrated padding that is slightly thinner than road shorts because the riding position is more upright.
However, padded cycling shorts are highly recommended for road riding as they make cycling much more comfortable and efficient, and help you ride faster and longer.
Conclusion on Shorts Padded Mountain Biking
Mountain bike shorts are designed with padding on the inside for comfort and support. Padded cycling shorts provide a cushion between the saddle and the rider, reducing bum pain. Shorts are generally considered superior to bib shorts as they are more form-fitting.