We round up the best shorts you can buy for women mountain bikers. Whether it's raining, dry, hot pretty chilly we've got a recommendation for a good pair of ladies shorts. In no particular order here's our list of the kit we think is the best we have tested.
ION Scrub Amp Women's Bikeshorts
The ION Scrub Amp Bikeshorts are a surf inspired but trail ready, tough pair of shorts for any trail adventure. Reaching over the knees and with a good deal of stretch, these are the ultimate women’s short, but that performance does come at a lofty price. At £105 the Scrub Amp’s aren’t cheap but our tester Rachael owns 3 pairs now from various years of production and each look as if they have just been unpackaged despite a lot of use. For a well-fitting, stretchy short for use in all seasons, take a look at the ION range, you won’t be disappointed.
Nukeproof Blackline Women's Shorts
The Nukeproof Blackline women’s shorts are a great value pair of women’s shorts that are true to size, comfortable and crucially, long enough, for trail and enduro riding with knee pads. The Blackline shorts are a fuss free pair of shorts that fit well, are pleasingly long enough and are comfortable for all day rides whilst being tough enough for muddy bike park laps too. At £60 the shorts are good value and with subtle branding I think they’ll be a great purchase whether or not you ride a Nukeproof.
dhb MTB Women's Trail Baggy Short
The dhb Women’s Trail Baggy Shorts are tough, hardwearing, well-fitting and comfortable. At a price of just £50 they set the bar pretty high where value for money is concerned. If you are looking for a decent trail short that will withstand all the trail abuse you can throw at it without spending a shed load of money then the dhb baggy short is the one, as long as you don’t mind getting a little hot in the summer. It’s comfortable, fits well, covers knee pads and looks set to last more than a few years!
Morvelo Women's Rise and Descend MTB shorts
Morvelo’s Rise and Descend (R.A.D.) shorts are supremely comfy our tester reports. Despite the tailored, flattering cut they offer totally unrestricted freedom of movement, thanks to the four-way stretch fabric and multi-panel construction. And this all comes at a reasonable price for mountain bike baggies. The R.A.D.s ooze quality – you can see the attention to detail in the neat stitching – and their understated looks mean they transfer well to off the bike too. They’re only available in black currently but the men’s versions come in blue or green as well.
Scott Trail 10 Loose Fit Women's shorts
The Scott Trail 10 shorts are a relaxed ladies all mountain short that have ticked all the boxes where style and performance are concerned. It refreshing to see a short that is long enough in the leg to prevent any nasty thigh gap, there’s not much we don’t like about these shorts! At £100 for the shorts and liner, these are great value too. The Trail 10 shorts are a robust, good-looking number for ladies who ride hard in all conditions.
Race Face Charlie shorts
The Race Face Charlie shorts are a lightweight, casual trail short ready to hit both long days in the saddle and short stops in the cafe. At £75 the Charlie's slot into the upper end of the price bracket for trail shorts and we think you'll be happy with the return on your spend. We've given these shorts a pretty hard time, we've met the ground a few times, we've raced in two enduro races under starkly different conditions and I've drunk a fair few post ride cuppa's in the Charlie shorts. They have proved themselves to live up to the quality I expect from Race Face kit and to be a hardwearing short that, elastic niggle aside is prominently at the top of my drawer ready for the next ride.
Gore C5 Women All Mountain Shorts
The Gore C5 Women All Mountain shorts steps away from the road and cross country bias of the brand and dishes out a quality pair of trail shorts that will look just at home at an enduro race as they will on your local bridleways. At £99.99 the C5 All Mountain shorts are pretty pricey, especially seeing as they don’t come with a liner. For comfort, fit and performance there are on par with my other favourite shorts the ION Scrub Amp Women’s Bikeshorts which come in at a similar £105. If Gore fixed the waist adjuster retraction niggle, these shorts would be near on perfect.
Shorts for the winter
Madison Zena Women's 4-season DWR shorts
It’s a pleasure to hit the trails on a cold winter’s day wearing Madison’s Zena DWR shorts (DWR stands for Durable Water Repellent). You can splash through muddy puddles with abandon, confident that your bum won’t get wet, while your thighs – and knees – are kept cosy and dry too. Their bombproof construction (quality fabrics and lots of triple stitching) and great cut and comfort make them worth the £80 price tag – yes, it’s a lot of money, but you can pay that, or more, just for regular trail shorts if you want – because it’s no fun being cold and wet and these should last you several winter seasons.
Madison DTE Women's Waterproof shorts
New for this year, Madison’s DTE waterproof shorts are, more than likely, the shorts our tester will wear most of the winter she told us. The DTEs come in men’s and women’s versions, with the colour range and sizing the only obvious differences. They have proved themselves invaluable on recent rides – in particular, a cold, rainy and windy epic in the Brecon Beacons, where they lived up to their description of being waterproof, windproof and breathable.
Scott Trail MTN Dryo 50 waterproof shorts
Big bike brand Scott produces a full and hearty range of good looking bike gear, with these Trail MTN Dryo 50 Women's Waterproof Shorts being no exception. They bring colour and, importantly, a dry bottom to winter riding. Given a couple of stretch panels to combat the rising of the short up my legs when pedalling, these would be a damn good pair of reliable shorts. Without it, they still make good roads into fending off the bad weather just with a little dampness occurring at the knees. The MTB Dryo 50’s are light and packable, making them a great over short to chuck in the bottom of your pack in case the weather turns sour as well as being one I’m happy to ride all day in. At £86 they are pretty pricey but as the material used is of a robust nature and of superior technical quality they will likely last a few seasons without letting you down.
We will add to the list once we have test more shorts, and of course, remove those that are no longer available, watch this space for more!
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