MTB/Trail bikes and Roadies lycra. Is that a NO?

To all MTB riders here.
I am a roadie who is about to make a transition to a MTB/Trail bike.

I would like someone please explain to me the deal with MTB’ers wearing loose shirts, baggy shorts and helmets with visors.

Aside from pure aestetics, are there any practical reasons for that ?


Wear whatever makes you comfortable! I suspect the baggy thing comes from MTB’s connections with BMX and skateboarding. I’m primarily an MTB’er - I got the lycra shorts under the baggy shorts (I like pockets and it rains a lot here). Merino wool hiking gear up top. I’ll wear the same for commuting and road riding. Ignore any “rules”, just ride!


Cheers! Good to know there is a hope for me then. The last thing I wanted was to replace my whole wardrobe.

Baggy shorts provide a bit of extra protection when you fall off. More pockets. More sun protection. You can wear knee pads and not look weird. No one will call you a dirt roadie.

I normally roll with baggies and briefs for short rides. It’s cool and dry. Lycra for rides over 4 hours maybe. More comfort on the saddle and cooler.


Extra protection is a good point. I suppose it also helps with protecting legs from surrounding bush, etc.

Also mtb clothes is in general more rugged. Ive wrecked two very nice bib shorts crashing on the trails.

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UCI rules require mountain bike clothes to be baggy. That’s why they are baggy. If you’re not racing, wear what you want but realize road stuff isn’t designed to deal with off road demands.

Clothing preference will depend a lot on the type of MTB you’re doing. Stuff that’s primarily dowhill focused tends to prefer the downhill MTB asthetic. Stuff that’s primarily XC tends to wear a lot of lycra.

Most all of my MTB rides count as either XC or trail. I’m pretty much always in lycra, and have never felt like it was out of place. I’ve always been a MTB rider. Never really got into the road thing.

And @ErickVH, the rule you mentioned is for downhill MTB. If you look at UCI XC races, pretty much everyone is in lycra.

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That rule is for DH so they could ban skin suits. XC guys and gals are still lycra’ed up.

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Most mountainbikers will be in baggies. It’s just more comfy and the pockets are good for storage. A majority of those will have bib shorts or lycra shorts on underneath as a chamois still goes a long way.

Tops are looser generally for comfort and being cooler (heat wise) - MTB is slower so less tight fitting clothes allows the clothes to breathe.

That being said, XC people are generally in lycra. Nothing wrong with that at all.

What is wrong is lycra and knee / elbow pads / full face helmets. Don’t be a Joey!

Peaks on helmets are for a few reasons - 1) they just make the helmets look cooler, 2) the provide shade over your eyes, and 3) they aid in deflecting branches and bracken away from your eyes. But mainly 'coz they look cooler :stuck_out_tongue:

MTB apparel has evolved to be fit for purpose. It’ll handle the falls. It’ll handle getting snagged on branches. It’s functional.

Get yourself some understated gear - you don’t have to look like a Fox advert! Actually, that’s another reason for a lot of mtb existing originally - people didn’t want to be a Banesto ad!

Heaps of different styles of wear out there - I’m sure you’ll find something you like.

But no knee pads and lycra…capisce? :cowboy_hat_face:

Gotcha! Thanks mate!

Now, all I need to do is to buy that Fuel EX8.

I’ve heard good reviews of that bike. Possibly the perfect amount of squish for 85% of riders, yet only 40% ride that amount. Everyone want’s to be Sam Hill on 160mm of travel, which is usually way over-biked for the trails that they ride.

Yup, that’s what your fellow Kiwi at the Trek store told me as well.

*UCI Downhill rules

The XC guys all wear skin suits

I switched from more baggy clothes as i started riding more. I don’t think baggy stuff is cool at all and baggy shorts get caught on the nose of your seat much easier. This is moot now with the advent of dropper posts but they are still cooler when you are soaked in sweat.

Might be an east coast thing since it is so much more humid here than most of the west. Sun exposure is also not an issue since we’re usually in the trees where it is even more humid…