Looking for a pair of women’s mountain bike pants for the downhill bike park or for the cooler days of autumn? You’re in the right place (and the right time).
It was only a couple of years ago that most of the pants on this list didn’t exist. Like most mountain bike apparel companies just forgot that women (and cooler weather and aggressive riding) even existed.
Fortunately, that’s not the case today. There are plenty of really excellent options.
To help you choose amongst them, we’ve personally tested as well as surveyed our community to figure out which ones are best. Of course, no one pant is the best for all types of riding or all body types.
For that reason, we’ve tried to include a wide range of women’s mountain bike pants–ones for downhill riding, trail riding, wet and cold riding, ones for skinny women, curvy women, and tall women.
Read on to find the best pair for YOU.
July 2023 Update: Removed the Club Ride Overland and Fly Racing Lite pants which have been discontinued and added the new Peppermint MTB Overall.
Our Top Picks
|Wild Rye Freyah
|Pactimo Range Pant
|Club Ride Joannie Capri
|Revel Rider Flow
|Peppermint MTB Overall
|Trail or downhill
|Pearl Izumi Trail Launch
Wild Rye Freyah
I’m pretty crazy in love with all things Wild Rye, so it’s not a surprise that the Wild Rye Freyah is at the top of this list. This is a slim pant and is designed primarily for downhill bike park riding, but can go over fleece leggings for winter trail riding as well.
Like all things Wild Rye, the Freyah is designed specifically for women–instead of being a shrink it and pink it affair. The pant fits women of all leg lengths thanks to the cute, rollable cuffs.
The material is the same stretchy nylon that I love on my Wild Rye Freel shorts. It’s comfortable, fits well, and is great at repelling dirt. So you can wear these several times before they need to be washed.
The only thing to be aware of is that these pants have faded over time and much faster than I would have preferred. I still wear them but they’re not quite as cute as they once were.
Read Our Review: Wild Rye Freyah
Pactimo Range Pants
The Pactimo Range Pants are very well the most comfortable mountain bike pants around. Or maybe just the most comfortable pants around, period.
These are a looser fit than many of the other “moto style” pants listed here and are great for trail riding or bikepacking. They can also easily be worn off the bike for hiking or other outdoor activities.
They do a great job of shedding dirt and rain, and can be used like a rain pant in light drizzle.
My only complaint was that they could be quick to wrinkle if you don’t grab them from the dryer right away.
Read Our Review: Pactimo Range Pants
The Dharco Gravity pants are tight, yes, but they’re also super stretchy. Think of them kind of like your favorite pair of pants you put on after you’ve eaten too much.
The material isn’t only stretchy, it’s also durable and water-repellant. That makes these great for long, wet rides in the PNW.
I also really appreciate that the waistband is a separate tapered panel and that the back comes up high enough that you don’t ever have to worry about plumbers crack.
Do be aware that these pants fit a little tight, and it can be tricky finding the right size on their fit chart.
Read Review: Dharco Gravity
Club Ride Joanie Capri
Somewhere between a short and a pant, the Club Ride Joannie Capri provides just another warmth and coverage for shoulder season riding. In fact, these are my go-to bottoms for autumn riding.
The pants are loose fitting and unlike many mountain bike pants that claim to work well with knee pads, these ones actually do. The bottom cuff is feminine and cute as well.
If you plan on wearing the Joanie around town, it works well for that as well. There are reflective accents for added visibility on the road, and the pants don’t scream “bike” pants, so they can be worn to the pub or the store and still look good.
They do show dirt easily, but are easy to dust off.
Read Our Review: Club Ride Joannie Capri
Revel Rider Flow 2.0
The Revel Rider Flow 2.0 pant is fitted but not tight. This means that they work well with knee pads (thank you!) and you can actually fit stuff in the zippered pockets as well.
The back is cut higher (no plumbers crack) and the waist cinches down easily. We found that these were cut perfectly for women who have more athletic thighs and bums–that’s mountain bike ladies, yo!
There is actually a zipper at the ankle so it is possibly (artfully) to get your knee pads off without undressing.
Read Review: Revel Rider Flow
Fox Defend Women’s Pants
The Fox Defend women’s pants are designed for serious, aggressive downhill riding. They are durable and water resistant. Both the knees and bottom are reinforced for added longevity and protection in the event of a crash.
The pants are loose enough to wear pads underneath (even more bulky ones) but tapered so that you don’t have to worry about them getting caught. Like other “race” pants, these have a ratcheting waist that ensures a tight fit.
One thing to be aware of is that they have a shorter inseam length and may not work great for taller ladies.
Read Review: Fox Defend
Leatt 4.0 Women’s
At first glance, the Leatt 4.0 pants are quite similar to the Fox pants listed above. They have a similar design, work well with knee pads, and have a ratcheting waist.
Where these pants really differ from the competition is that they have a slightly looser, longer fit. This makes them a good choice for tall and/or curvy women.
The fabric is thick (which some may not like), but it also means that the pants are durable and will offer good protection even in the event of a crash.
Pearl Izumi Women’s Launch Trail Pant
Designed for trail riding, the Pearl Izumi Launch pant is equal parts comfortable and functional. These pants work so well, you’ll forget you’re wearing them.
Our favorite thing about the Launch pant are the large, usable pockets–something we don’t see a lot of with women’s mountain bike clothing. The pant has a looser fit but is tapered at the bottom with an elastic cuff.
While these pants work best for shoulder weather riding, there is enough room underneath that you can wear leggings for winter riding.
Con? It only comes in one color (grey).
Read Our Review: Pearl Izumi Launch Trail Pant
Peppermint MTB Overall
I’ve received more compliments on the Peppermint MTB Overall than any other piece in my bike wardrobe. The overalls are both unique and playful.
The fit is flattering and comfortable, and the stretchy, adjustable straps make it easy to tailor to your shape. The lightweight, elastic material allows for easy movement and comfortable long rides. With generous pocket space, these overalls also ticked the box for practicality.
However, there were a couple of drawbacks that came with the design. For one, using the restroom outdoors was a bit tricky given the one-piece nature of the overalls. Also, there was a lack of reinforcement in the knee and butt areas that could’ve offered added protection for more challenging rides.
Overall, I was more than happy to put up with these minor drawbacks for how cute and comfortable they are.
Read Our Review: Peppermint MTB Overall
Bonus: MTB Pants For Wet Weather
You know that saying that there’s no such as bad weather, only poor clothing choices? These pants will at least help make it seem like that’s a thing…..
Patagonia Dirt Roamer Storm Pants
We LOVE Patagonia. There pieces are sustainably and ethically made, and they last forever.
The Patagonia Dirt Roamer Storm pants are all that PLUS they allow you to ride year round. They work well in rain, snow, cold, and otherwise miserable conditions.
Unlike many pants that are “water resistant” these pants are fully water proof. They have a 3-layer waterproof shell that’s basically bomb proof.
Endura Women’s Spray Trouser
The Endura Spray trouser has DWR treating throughout making it highly water resistant. These are a great pant for rainy days.
If things get a little hot, there are plenty of vents you can open to aid with airflow. We also appreciate the zippered ankles so you can actually get socks on and off under the tapered ankle.
Showers Pass Women’s Refuge Pant
Shower’s Pass is known for their high quality cycling rain gear. And the Refuge pant does not disappoint.
These pants are HIGHLY water resistant for the worst weather days. And they are fairly baggy so you can do plenty of layering underneath if needed.
About The Reviewers And How We Tested
Kristen Bonkoski was the lead tester and is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist. Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and an avid mountain biker. IG: @kristenlbonkoski
Jane Gerritsen bought her first mountain bike at age 52 as “retirement prep” and since that time, the mountain bike community has opened up her world to new goals, new adventures and best of all, new friends. She is most grateful for her time at home, where she is learning to renovate her garage, try new recipes, write, and of course, plan her next mountain bike adventure.
Malorie Gage has been mountain biking, road, gravel cycling for many years. She lives in Colorado where she’s raising two tiny humans and balancing biking and motherhood.
We’re all mountain bike obsessed, so we tested these pants by just going about our regular lives. Kristen lives in Idaho and has traveled to bike parks all over the west, including Whistler, putting pants to the challenge on downhill runs. Jane lives in Ontario and bikes year round, testing pants on snowy trails. And Malorie tests pants for us by riding high alpine trails in Colorado.
You can rest easy knowing these pants have been crashed in, traveled with, and put through numerous wash cycles in our testing.
Things To Consider When Shopping
Still not sure what pair of pants are best for you? Here are some things we like to keep in mind when making a purchase.
Type Of Riding
Like most things in life, no one pair of pants is really going to do it all. Therefore it’s important to consider what the primary use these pants are going to get.
Are you planning on racing BMX? Do you have a season pass the downhill bike park? In these cases, you want to look for more tailored pants, with plenty of protection, that still offer room for knee pads.
If you’re planning on trail riding, you may or may not need room for knee pads, but you probably want a more casual, comfortable vibe.
If you are going to be riding the bike park or BMX track in the summer, you want a pant with plenty of breathability (like the Fly Racing Lite). For autumn riding, I really love a casual capri like the Club Ride Joanie. And for winter, I want something that’s treated for wet weather and that offers enough room for layering.
Just like with mountain bike shorts, a good waist closure is imperative to loving a pair of pants. We prefer bottoms that have an adjustable waistband.
With mountain bike pants, these are likely to be a velcro strap, though on race-oriented pants, you’ll also find some pants have a ratchet closure.
Finally a higher panel at the back is preferable so you don’t have to worry about plumber’s crack.
Room For Knee Pads
Do you want or need to wear knee pads with your pants? If you do, make sure to take this into consideration because a surprising number of pants do NOT work well with pads.
Additionally, if you’re trail riding and plan to take the pads on or off you’ll want a pant with a wider ankle. Many downhill oriented pants, require you to put the pads on BEFORE putting your pants on, which means it’s no small feat to get the pads on or off on the trail.
Room For Chamois And/Or Layers
Do you want to wear a chamois with your pants? Or wear a pair of leggings underneath for colder weather. If so, you’ll want to steer clear of some of the tighter fitting pants which are designed not to wear additional layers underneath.
The heavier the fabric, the more durable it will be and the more protection it will provide in a crash. That said, heavier fabric can also be hotter and less comfortable. Pick your poison.
The other thing you might want to look for are reinforced knees and bottoms. This can offer a good balance between durability, protection, and comfort.
Our favorite bottoms are designed specifically for women (think Wild Rye). Way to many “women’s” mountain bike pants are actually smaller versions of their best-selling men’s pants. This doesn’t always result in a great fit for females.
Similar to the point above, we appreciate company’s that offer a wide range of sizes for women. Mountain bikers don’t come in just one size!
We’ve found we get the best fit from brands that offer true clothing sizes (2,4,6,8, etc) as opposed to those that only offer small, medium, and large.
More Stuff You Might Like
- 5 Best Women’s Mountain Bike Shorts & How To Choose!
- 7 Best Women’s Mountain Bike Helmets
- 9 Women’s Mountain Bike Jerseys You Will Love
About The Author
Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.
An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.
Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life. Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son. If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.
Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.