Protect your legs from mud spray and scratchy bushes with a pair of the our recommended riding pants.

The best mountain bike trousers, or pants for our US friends, are not only trendy, they are hugely practical as well. Whether to protect your skin from grazes in a crash, or to keep them clean when it’s wet, a pair of good riding trousers can work all year round. We’ve tested stacks of both waterproof winter options and lightweight summer models, and here are our top picks.

Looking for women-specific riding pants/trousers? Check out our guide to the best women’s mountain bike pants.

The best trail trousers/pants

Rapha Trail Lightweight

The Rapha Trail Lightweight Pants are top quality and brilliantly comfortable.

1. Rapha Trail Lightweight Pants

Best summer riding pants

Weight: 269g | Sizes: XS – XXL (28 – 40in) | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Superlight
  • Comfortable, soft fabric
  • Stretchy
  • Good temperature regulation

Reasons to avoid:

  • Two zip pockets, but you can’t rest your hands in them
  • Lighter fabric isn’t as durable as the regular Trail Pant

Rapha’s lighter, summer-orientated trail pant is exceptionally light at under 270g in size medium. It’s also stretchy, so doesn’t impede your pedalling action, and the fabric is both beautifully soft and remarkably breathable, regulating your temperature on warmer days.

To make that headline weight, Rapha has ditched a few features from the burlier Trail Pant, but there are still two useful pockets that keep your phone stable, a secure fly, and ankle reinforcement on the driveside leg. With the added peace-of-mind that comes with a patch kit and excellent aftercare service, we think it’s worth the small premium at the checkout.

Read our full review of the Rapha Trail Lightweight Pants

Endura MT500 Burner Lite Pant

Endura’s MT500 Burner Lite Pant will keep you looking and feeling cool in the Summer heat.

2. Endura MT500 Burner Lite Pant

Best budget summer pants

Weight: 268g | Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Lightweight and airy
  • Great fit and comfort
  • Well priced considering the quality, fit and performance
  • Women’s version also available

Reasons to avoid:

  • Potentially less durable than the DH-orientated MT500 Burner pant

Endura makes two versions of the MT500 Burner pant, a heavyweight version that emphasises durability and protection, and the Lite model, where breathability in summer and freedom of movement for pedalling are prioritised. And while a riding pant is always going to be warmer than shorts, these Enduras come closer than most to that bare-legged breeziness. The reason for this is the excellent, lightweight fabric and the copious laser-cut holes perforating areas such as the inner thigh.

Great value considering the build quality, and available in loads of colourful hues, these pants are a great budget buy.

Read our full review of the Endura MT500 Burner Lite Pant

Rapha Trail Pants

The Rapha Trail Pants are our top choice of bottoms.

3. Rapha Men’s Trail Pants

Best three-season riding pants

Weight: 389g | Sizes: XS – XXL (28 – 40in) | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Quality fabric
  • Comfortable, relaxed fit
  • Nice range of features
  • Excellent pockets

Reasons to avoid:

  • Might not be tight enough for some riders
  • More expensive than some options

While Rapha might be a brand more often associated with road cycling, its trail mountain bike range is impressive, and we couldn’t get enough of its Trail Pants, finding them brilliantly comfortable. The fabric is relatively thick, with four-way stretch and a DWR coating to ward off drizzle and splashes. Inside, a soft facing sits nicely against bare skin.

Sizing is true-to-size, with a generous cut that’s not too baggy. Waist adjusters allow you to customise the fit, while there are two deep, open hip pockets and two zip thigh pockets so you can separate valuables without them rattling around. The price is higher than most, but this is partly offset by an included repair kit and free crash repair service. Excellent, high-quality riding pants that are comfortable and practical.

Read our full review of the Rapha Men’s Trail Pants

YT Trail Cordura Pants

YT’s Trail Cordura Pants are excellent value.

4. YT Trail Cordura Pants

Best pants for all-day comfort

Weight: 319g | Sizes: 28-38in  | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Lightweight
  • Keep you cool on a hot summer day
  • Unrestricted movement
  • DWR finish offers some shower protection
  • Perfectly placed pockets

Reasons to avoid:

  • Ratchet waist closure is secure, but adds weight

YT has hit the bullseye with its first shot at a pair of riding pants – these Trail Cordura models managing to be comfortable, breathable, lightweight, and practical. All for a price that undercuts most options from established clothing brands. Choosing a Cordura fabric was a wise move on YT’s part, as this forms the backbone of the garment and ensures it ticks all the boxes for performance, fit, and comfort.

There’s a secure ratchet fly, three zip pockets for valuables, and a DWR coating that wards off spray and light summer showers. YT might not be the first brand you think of when shopping for riding pants, but these Trail Cordura models are worth seeking out.

Read our full test review of the YT Trail Cordura Pants

The best waterproof mountain bike trousers/pants:

Fox Ranger 3L Waterproof Pant

The Fox Ranger 3L is seriously comfortable and keeps you dry when the trails are filthy.

1. Fox Ranger 3L Water Pant

Best balance of performance and value

Weight: 365g | Sizes: 28-40in | Waterproof rating: 10k | Breathability rating: 10k |Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Great on-bike comfort
  • Decent waterproofing
  • Stylish

Reasons to avoid:

  • Slightly short in the leg

You might not be able to tell from the pictures but the Fox Ranger 3L Water Pant doesn’t have that typical nylon trouser construction; it’s more of a soft shell. The face fabric contains a high percentage of Spandex, which means it has a four-way stretch, and this cuts down on noise and increases flexibility and comfort.

Performance in the wet is still effective though, thanks to the 3-layer fabric and DWR outer coating. Pockets add a degree of practicality, and the ratchet fly is tough and secure. A favourite waterproof pant of many mbr testers.

Read our full review of the Fox Ranger 3L Waterproof pant

Rab Cinder waterproof pants trousers

Rab’s Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Pants are pricey but the performance is on another level.

2. Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Pants

Best for waterproofing and breathability

Weight: 314g | Sizes: XS-XL | Waterproof rating: 10k/20K | Breathability rating: 35k |Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Proflex fabric has class leading waterproofing and breathability
  • Saddle panel is effective at reinforcing the bum area for longevity
  • Thicker, tougher material where you need it, lighter elsewhere for breathability
  • Not too crinkly and softer to the touch than Gore-Tex
  • Two leg lengths available

Reasons to avoid:

  • Expensive: for £200 you could outfit a small school
  • Could be tighter below the knee to prevent minor sagging

Rab has a long history in making outdoor gear, but only got into mountain biking wear recently. And what an entrance it has made, with these remarkable Cinder Kinetic Waterproof pants blowing us away with their performance in the worst winter conditions. Built from Proflex three-layer fabric, the lofty lab-testing figures for waterproofness and breathability are completely believable from the saddle. By using more impermeable fabric in high soak areas, the Cinders manage to keep out heavy rain and bow wave puddle crossings, while managing heat better than almost every waterproof pant we’ve tested.

While the cut is mostly good, there’s a bit too much room around the knee to be perfect. It’s also a stack of dosh, which will leave it out of reach for most pockets. But if yours are deep enough, then dive in; you won’t be disappointed.

Read our full review of the Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof pant

Troy Lee Designs Resist Pant

Troy Lee Designs Resist Pants have a racy look and a coveted logo.

3. Troy Lee Designs Resist Pant

Most stylish waterproof pants

Weight: 373g | Sizes: 30-40in | Waterproof rating: 10k | Breathability rating: 10k |Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Nice stretchy fabric
  • Good cut
  • Useful pockets

Reasons to avoid:

  • Premium brand means a premium price
  • Ankle cuffs can be quite tight when removing over wet socks

For a brand based in sun-kissed southern California, Troy Lee has nailed the winter trouser brief with its Resist pant. It fits well with plenty of mobility, so it doesn’t actually feel like you are wearing a waterproof pant. In fact we’d happily wear these on cool spring and autumn days, even when it wasn’t raining – there are zip thigh vents you can open if you get too warm. Zipped hip pockets and well-placed reinforced panels add to the practicality. Only the price washes a little of the lustre away.

Read our full test review of the Troy Lee Resist pant

Know your mountain bike trousers:

We’ve tested a whole load of mountain bike pants, and all of the ones we’ve selected above have scored highly enough to make our list of the very best out there. They’ll all get the job done, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the more expensive options will be a bit more durable and comfortable to wear.

Troy Lee Designs Skyline pants

Waist adjusters are useful to tweak the fit.

Waist Adjusters

These are just simple Velcro tags that allow you to fine tune the fit. They are often supplemented by some belt loops and some trousers also have an adjustable fly, which is often a ratchet buckle borrowed from motocross pants.


This stands for Durable Water Repellent and it’s a coating that’s sprayed onto the fabric surface to boost pooling, so water runs off rather than being absorbed. None of the trousers here are fully waterproof, but this coating helps ward off trail splatter and also makes the trouser easier to clean.

Troy Lee Designs Skyline pants

Zipped hip pockets will ensure your phone doesn’t fly out on descents.


They add bulk and complexity but they’re a must have for keys, phone, cash and multi-tool. A zipped security pocket on the rear is a feature on some trousers, but it’s often tiny and hard to get to.


This is either a full regulation zip or it can be a simple flap – the advantage with the latter is it can’t break. A waterproof zip, extra press studs (if one fails you’ve got a back-up) and Velcro tabs are a bonus.

Driveside Reinforcement

Often on the bottom of the right ankle area on some trousers there is a reinforced piece of leather or Cordura, the purpose of which is to stop the chain/chainrings cutting the trouser when you’re laying it over in a corner or pedalling.

Fox Ranger pants

Some riding pants have zipped vents that can be opened and closed as desired.


Like shorts, full trousers have perforations in the crotch area and extra mesh panels at the back of the knees for breathability. We’ve seen zipped vents, but another zip is just something else to go wrong.

Knee Articulation

Some trousers are cut roomier in the knee, so they don’t tighten up as you pedal and also allow you to wear knee pads underneath. A few trousers even have reinforced material over the knee, so if you do skin your knees you’re less likely to put a hole in the material.

Waterproofness and breathability ratings

Most quality waterproof trousers are built from a laminate fabric, which consists of a waterproof/breathable membrane which is either sandwiched between two nylon layers or stuck to the inside of one. The membrane is the bit that keeps you dry and Gore-Tex is the most common brand.

All waterproof fabrics are rated for waterproofness and anything over 10,000mm is pretty watertight in normal conditions. Breathability is also rated – look for the MVTR (Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate) figure. Above 20,000g/m²/24hr means good breathability.

Fabric construction

Manufacturers describe their garments as having three two or layers but what does this mean? A two-layer fabric is made up of an outer face fabric bonded to the waterproof membrane, usually with a mesh liner hanging inside. On a 2.5 layer, the mesh liner is replaced with a micro (or half) layer, which is either bonded or printed onto the membrane. A three-layer garment has the membrane sandwiched between two Nylon layers.


To be honest, on legs, vents are generally unnecessary but some of the pants here do have them.

watrproof trousers adjusters

Ankle adjusters are a rarity now, with most using tapered legs and an elasticated cuff.


Adjustable cuffs and hems stop water getting in but also help regulate airflow the inside of the garment. To reduce weight, Velcro cuffs and ankles are often replaced with simple elasticated band.


Pockets are a must on any riding pant.


Pockets are handy on trousers but a waterproof zip is a must if you intend stashing a phone down low.


On waterproof trousers look for a baffle gutter behind the fly to stop water ingress.