Best mountain bike shorts from new brands

Look beyond the established players for innovation

For years, there were only a few major players in the mountain bike short world. While Fox, Pearl Izumi and Race Face still dominate, there are now a number of options from established companies and start ups that cover the range from pure XC racing to enduro charging and every type of riding in between. 

This collection of mountain bike baggy shorts all serve different riders. Some are tough, downhill-capable, heavy-duty bottoms, others fall into the go-fast, cross country realm and a few encompass most off-road riding disciplines. Each short was reviewed with its end user in mind, and not compared to one another.

Conation Collective Baggy shorts

$139.99 

BikeRadar score4/5

Start-up Conation Collective is doing some innovative things with MTB baggies
Start-up Conation Collective is doing some innovative things with MTB baggies

Are you a died-in-the-wool spandex warrior, but maybe a bit curious about the increased livability that baggy shorts offer? Rider-owned, Colorado-based start-up Conation Collective has the solution in their Baggy shorts. 

They're almost unbelievably light, so much so, it's very easy to forget you're wearing baggies. That is until you re-enter civilization and have to order a sandwich amongst the non-riding public. The featherweight material delivers huge stretch and works best when paired with Conation's equally interesting mesh merino wool bibs. And everything is made in the USA.

Read our full Conation shorts review

Qloom Avalon shorts

$139.95 / £139.95 

BikeRadar score4/5

Surf the trail and mellow out with Qloom's surf-inspired Avalon shorts
Surf the trail and mellow out with Qloom's surf-inspired Avalon shorts

Qloom's motto is "surf the trail." This Swiss brand and these enduro-aimed shorts are all about taking riding a little less seriously, but with zero compromise in performance. Yes, it can be done! The Avalons are built tough, and are ready for hard, gravity-fed riding. And in a surprising twist, Qloom's Hey Dude liner shorts buck a really unfortunate trend and are actually fantastic. 

They're sold separately from the Avalons, but come standard with most Qloom baggies and should be the prototype for baggy liner shorts going forward. If your rides are social events and you're stoke runs deep, check out the Avalons.

Read our full Qloom Avalon shorts review

7mesh Recon shorts

$200 / £130 

BikeRadar score4/5

Low-key looks and a serious gray color belies the high-tech craftsmanship in 7mesh's Recon shorts
Low-key looks and a serious gray color belies the high-tech craftsmanship in 7mesh's Recon shorts

Are you the type of rider that goes shredding no matter what the weather is doing, or might do while out there? 7mesh has your back. The founders have experience in high-end mountaineering clothing, and that expertise shows in the subtle designs and impeccable build quality. Gore-Tex's Windstopper is the material of choice and gives the Recons an attitude of invincibility. Going above treeline? All day epic in questionable weather? Off-season slop riding? 7mesh's Recon are the answer.

Read our full 7mesh Recon shorts review

Elevenpine Crankitup shorts

$99.99 

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Right leg shows zipped into lycra mode, left leg is unzipped in casual/baggy mode
Right leg shows zipped into lycra mode, left leg is unzipped in casual/baggy mode

Spandex and baggies, want the best of both worlds? It's one step closer with Elevenpine's Crankitup shorts. These baggies feature zips on the thighs to transform into snug-fitting spandex lookalikes. But then, when you're off the bike, you don't have to parade around like a superhero while non-cyclists whisper behind your back. Elevenpine's founder Jeff Curran states, "these shorts are for 75% of riders." 

Read our full Elevenpine Crankitup shorts review

Alpinestars Pathfinder shorts

$114.99 

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Knee pads or not, Alpinestars' Pathfinder shorts fit and pedal beautifully
Knee pads or not, Alpinestars' Pathfinder shorts fit and pedal beautifully

With an impeccable fit, just-right material weight, and looks that win with this crew, Alpinestars' Pathfinder shorts are about everything you could want in mountain bike baggies. They're tough enough to smash through overgrown trail, yet light enough to crank out the miles. Ride a bit of everything, including XC, trail, and enduro? The Pathfinders do, too.  

Read our full Alpinestars Pathfinder shorts review

Pactimo Apex shorts

$90 / £65 

BikeRadar score4/5

Pactimo can do more than road kits, their Apex MTB shorts are proof
Pactimo can do more than road kits, their Apex MTB shorts are proof

XC light and trail tough, Pactimo's Apex shorts have a stretchy trim fit that's ready to rack up the miles. The road brand did their homework with nicely placed pockets, proper inseam length and an outstanding fit, as long as your prefer trim. If cross country riding is your jam, the Apex are definitely worth a look. 

Read our full Pactimo Apex shorts review

Sombrio Pinner shorts

$120 / £89.99 

BikeRadar score4/5

Freeride or enduro, Sombrio's Pinner shorts are durable, stretchy and pretty much awesome
Freeride or enduro, Sombrio's Pinner shorts are durable, stretchy and pretty much awesome

Sombrio proudly hails from Vancouver, BC and their unabashed mountain bike style and commitment shows. The Pinners are billed as freeride shorts but we feel they're almost as good at pedaling thanks to stretchy material, strategically placed venting, and not overly baggy fit. The stetchy material is tough, the pockets well placed and the zipped thigh venting works. Live for the downhills, but have to pedal on days when you can't get to the bike park? The Pinners are your shorts. 

Read our full Sombrio Pinner shorts review

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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