Can you wear jeans for mountain biking? – GoMTBiking

Published by Praful N on

I have been talking about mountain biking shorts and other protective gear for mountain biking. But what about the newbie riders who don’t own one. What if you go with jeans for mountain biking?

Can you wear jeans for mountain biking?

Yes, you can wear jeans for mountain biking to some extent and it also depends on the fabric material you used in jeans. If the fabric is more similar to MTB shorts and pants which are waterproof and perfect sized flexible, then yes you can for it. 

If you’re hitting jeans for smaller street rides there’s no argument for not using jeans while you’re riding. That’s a different scenario when it comes to mountain biking the requirement changes for performance and comfortability in mountain biking.

In this article, I’ll discuss everything about how can you use jeans for mountain biking and other related queries which are frequently asked about this topic.

Are jeans a good choice for mountain biking?

Yea jeans can be a good choice for a street ride or riding for a short cross country. But for technical terrains don’t prefer jeans because they’re not designed for them which I’ll discuss later part of this article.

When you talk about jeans, the first thing that comes to your mind is denim jeans which are completely made up of cotton. You’ll know that cotton is a great fabric when it comes to daily wherever you go you’ll be having a cotton material outfit on your body. But for typical mountain biking, I don’t think they’ll be worth it here’s why.

Cotton is great at absorbing fluid, water, or moisture. This can be irritating for hot summer climates of America but in the cooler regions like northern Europe, I don’t think it’s going to be big trouble when it comes to moisture.

So if the denim jeans become wet because of moisture, rain, or from any other source it takes a lot of time to dry off.

Imagine yourself on a ride where you have only jeans mountain biking and it gets wet. That’s why it’s not a great idea for technical or challenging terrains. Even if you’re sweating moisture can be very disturbing for you while riding.

Mainly when it comes to genital regions or regions around your thighs and jeans, they can be very irritating and can also cause rashes in the long run.

Skin irritation or rashes can indirectly affect your performance in mountain biking because it’s more about pedaling and having better control over your bike.

Also, it depends on what type of jeans you’ll be wearing for rides. There are so many types depending on the fit for example skinny, slim, regular, and super skinny. Some of them can be really tight and will give you much room for better-pedaling efficiency. Your knee region will be less flexible.

If you’re hitting some aggressive technical terrains which need to have an upright position or attack position then going with this kind of jeans can hammer your comfortability and control over your bike in this kind of terrains.

These can be some of the drawbacks of going with jeans for mountain biking. I think you’ll not be okay with these drawbacks, but still depends on you if you’re hitting small rides or streets there’s no issue with it.

Let’s take a look at stretchy and flexible jeans for mountain biking.

What about stretchy or flexible jeans for mountain biking?

If you look at the typical jeans which are made up of denim(cotton), it’s going to be an issue for mountain bikers when it comes to things like irritation, skin rashes around your hips, etc. All these drawbacks are because of the cotton fabric used in the jeans.

So I think it’s not a great option for mountain biking when it comes to performance and better control over your MTB. What about the alternative for this?

In recent years, you might have noticed the new quality of jeans which comes up with a material called elastane for better flexibility and stretch.

This material is not new to road bikers or many of the mountain bikers. It’s basically known as spandex or lycra which are extensively known for road biking shorts and also for some of the mountain biking shorts.

When it comes to jeans, they’re used to increase the stretch at a maximum level.

In the last 5 years, there are so many companies that came up with this idea for their jeans. Mainly Levis, wrangler, and many more came up with this idea for their jeans.

In my opinion, this is a better alternative for traditional jeans which are 100% cotton. Especially you can somewhat compare these jeans stretchability to the spandex biking shorts.

So yes they can be good when it comes to performance. Those jeans will be much better waterproofing so there are fewer chances of getting issues like rashes or skin irritation.

Are there any jeans made for cycling?

Yes, some jeans are designed in such a way that it can be also used as cycling jeans.

If you’re into mountain biking, go with cycling jeans. As mentioned in the previous section of this article, the quality with waterproofing is much better than the traditional jeans.

The stretchy jeans can work great for mountain biking because of spandex, they’ll give you more room to pedal because of the stretchability.

These jeans are designed for cycling and mainly designed especially for streets or commuting for shorter rides. They’ll not good at higher challenging terrains so that’s still a disadvantage.

But still, as of now, this was the best option to go if you’re looking going for jeans for mountain biking.

Here are some of the examples of stretchable cycling jeans that you can choose from.

  • Levis commuter 504
  • Ralph cycling jeans
  • DUER performance slim jeans
  • Swrve cycling jeans
  • Osloh traffic bicycle jeans
  • Resolute Bay slim fit cycling jeans
  • Club ride apparel cog jean

Let’s look at some of the stretchable cycling jeans for women. 

  • Ralpha commuter jeans
  • Levis commuter
  • Betabrand Bike to work jeans
  • Prana kara denim pant
  • Ligne 8 simone cropped jeans
  • Creux slim fit women’s jeans

These were some of the best picks that you can look for in cycling jeans.

When should you completely avoid wearing jeans for mountain biking?

As I have talked about jeans for mountain biking in my previous sections, I have been mentioning jeans are not good for technical terrains. Here’s why

When it comes to a sport like mountain biking which is challenging, the accessories and gears are designed especially for mountain biking because mountain biking needs more comfort and protection.

Talking about pants or shorts which are designed for mountain biking are super comfortable and work as great protection covering the lower body.

Whatever jeans you choose whether it is cycling jeans or the traditional 100% cotton denim jeans, they’re not good at flexibility and giving you more space around your knees and hip. This applies mainly to technical terrains where you need 100% control and comfort over your MTB to have a perfect ride.

You’ll need to be changing positions every single minute that’s I don’t recommend you going with jeans for technical terrains. For moderately rough trails or streets, it’s totally fine. But for typical mountain biking terrain with bumps and jumps, my recommendation would be to go with typical mountain biking shorts or pants. 

Are jeans better than MTB shorts and MTB pants for mountain biking?

Heck no!! Jeans are nowhere near MTB shorts or pants. Cycling jeans can be a good option but when it comes to comparing them to typical mountain biking shorts or pants they’re not designed like them. 

As I have mentioned above about the jeans, the normal ones have many drawbacks because of the material used. When it cycling jeans, they can work better when it comes to performance but these are only good to some extent and will not have a match with the typical mountain biking shorts which are designed for these purposes.

What fabric material should be used for good mountain biking pants?

As you know jeans for mountain biking is not a great recommendation for hitting the technical terrains. To some extent, they’re totally fine for moderate trails and roads. So when it comes to mountain biking they’re designed to have better room for a ride to change their positions while riding technical terrains.

Most of the mountain biking pants are a mixture of some synthetic materials such as nylon, spandex, and polyester. You can see that pants designed for mountain biking do not include cotton and that’s the major advantage of it.

Let’s look at some MTB pant requirements for producing the best mountain biking pants.

  • Flexibility: This is the most important part for any rider hitting technical terrains and corners. This factor mainly focuses on the comfortability of the rider.
  • Moisture-wicking and waterproof: They’re should not be good at absorbing moisture or any fluid and should easily get dried compared to normal cotton/denim jeans. This mainly helps to stay dry in the moistured or wet conditions.
  • Durability and strength of material: Also they act as protective gear by avoiding crashes and small wounds because of their material strength and durability.
  • Better airflow: The material for mountain biking pants should be good at providing proper comfort when it comes to overheating.

The above-mentioned requirements we’re mainly based on the quality of the fabric.

There are some other additional requirements and specifications which give it a mountain biking gear look which includes zips in the required places, having a tapered leg fit for your pants, a proper pocket system to store the required portable things, and many more. 

It all depends on the brand and also the quality of mountain biking pants you choose. They differ with each model but the main goal is to have proper comfort, moisture-wicking properties, waterproof, strength, and other factors that I have mentioned above in this article.

Let’s look at some popular mountain biking trousers or pants.

  • Leatt DBX 4.0
  • Troy Lee Designs Sprint
  • Fox racing women’s defend fire pant( for women)
  • Fox flexair
  • POC resistance Pro
  • 100% R-CORE-X DH
  • Morton’s women’s fjora flex1 pants
  • Ensure burner

Do you wear knee pads over or under pants?

Mountain bikers mostly wear knee pads over the pants/jeans because knee pads don’t fit properly under the pants because of their thick structure. 

But it’s not mandatory, having a mountain biking pant is not the only solution for your lower body. Knee pads play a major role in protecting your knees and lower thigh region. So make sure you have a good quality knee pad.

Some knee pads work better at underpants, for example, G-forms. They’re comfortable, slim, and always are great for protection. But that might be an exception because most of the knee pads which fit underneath the pant are not good at giving protection during the crash or minor accident. So make sure you buy a good quality knee pad that fits over your pants.

Related: Do you need knee pads for mountain biking? (Everything you need to know) – GoMTBiking.

My takeaway!!!

Can you mountain bike in jeans? Yes, you can mountain bike in jeans to some extent because they’re only good for moderately rough trails or commuting. For technical terrains, I would not recommend you going in jeans. So rather than going for jeans, get good quality mountain biking pants which are amazing for durability and comfort.

Also, this is suitable for every season. But that’s not the end. What else you should be wearing for mountain biking?

Get a good mountain biking jackets if it’s too cold. It acts as a protection for your upper road with other protective gears and also provides you comfort by keeping your upper body warm.

Also, make sure to have specific elbow pads and MTB gloves that are as important as knee pads. Mountain biking long socks play a vital role in protecting your lowest section of the body and also is a comfortable option in cold regions.

If you enjoyed reading his article about jeans for mountain biking, share it with your friends and colleagues. 

Keep riding😉