MTB-specific shorts seem to be currently made in the following guises:

  1. Shorts from special rip-resistant fabrics and strategically placed pockets, with no padding. Rider can size up and wear padded liners (or road shorts, or road bibs or liner bibs), underneath if they like.
  2. Shorts as above (#1), but sold bundled with padded liners similar to road shorts, but the liners are made from a fabric so thin they resemble undergarments more than road shorts.
  3. Shorts with padding built into the seating area, but that are not to be worn "commando". Athletic or some kind of undergarment go underneath.
  4. (For men) Shorts with padding built into the seating area (as #3 above), but with a sewn inside mesh akin to that found in swimming trunks. At least one maker seems to have devised a mechanism (velcro? snaps?) to make the liner detachable, perhaps in the interest of washing one part more often than the other, or replacing it.

Are these categories, especially #3 and #4, accurate? Did I miss any?

This is a sequel to an earlier question.

  • I've got some that are unpadded, lycra inner, baggy outer. They're meant for mtb use, and weren't expensive, but I'm more likely to use them on the unicycle. Padded cycling underwear and non-bike-specific baggy cargo shorts are another option
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 15:25
  • 1
    Rider can size up and wear padded liners --> there's no need to size up to wear bibs/shorts underneath
    – Paul H
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 19:07
  • Also FWIW, I've never seen #3 or #4, but I exclusively shop for #1
    – Paul H
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 19:08
  • Not really an answer, but I'm also not sure if #3 is a thing. What differentiates a no-underwear pair of cycling shorts from a yes-underwear one? And I thought the general advice was to never wear underwear underneath. #4 definitely exists though.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Aug 25, 2023 at 1:58


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