Mountain Bike Styles for Summer ’23: New Clothing for Men and Women

Peep this feature-packed mountain bike clothing to feel good and ride good this summer!
Artilect Utilitee. Photo: Leah Barber

Seasons change, and so does mountain bike clothing. And it’s not just the styles; new and better technical materials are being introduced all the time, and upstart apparel brands are constantly shaking things up.

Singletracks tests piles of mountain bike jerseys, shorts, and socks every year and these are some of our favorites for spring and summer 2023. We’ll continue adding to this article during the season as we find more pieces we love, including both men’s and women’s styles.

Mountain bike jerseys

Sure, riding in a t-shirt is always an option, but dedicated jerseys generally dry faster and stink less. Not only that, most jerseys are fitted to perform well on the bike, and may offer technical features like pockets and ventilation not found on a standard t-shirt.

Artilect Utilitee (pictured above)

Tester: Jeff Barber. Height/weight: 6’3″/160lb

This is the mountain bike jersey I’ve been looking for. A lot of technical t-shirts are polyester based, which compared with cotton, tends to dry quickly but sticks to the skin when it’s wet. The Artilect Utilitee is made from a blend of 20% polyamide, 40% merino wool and 40% Tencel, a fiber that’s derived from wood. The result is a jersey that’s lightweight and not sticky yet durable at the same time.

I love the classic shape of this jersey and unlike many basic tech tees, it doesn’t feel like a pajama top. The solid color is a plus too, making it one of my top choices off the bike as well.

Photo: Leah Barber.

Cognative MTB Catalyst button-down jersey

Tester: Jeff Barber. Height/weight: 6’3″/160lb

If it were socially acceptable I would mountain bike shirtless in the summertime. OK, maybe not — I definitely need some protection against crashes and poison ivy. The Cognative Catalyst looks super casual, but it’s also one of the coolest jerseys I own thanks to the lightweight fabric, the light tan color, and the button front that lets cool breezes inside.

The Catalyst features a mostly polyester blend that’s spiked with touches of spandex and silver for its anti-microbial properties. In addition to the breast pocket, there’s a zippered pocket at the back of the jersey for stashing a wallet or car key.

Photo: Leah Barber.

Pearl Izumi Elevate jersey

Tester: Jeff Barber. Height/weight: 6’3″/160lb

The Pearl Izumi Elevate jersey is a simple, lightweight jersey for staying cool on the trail. Compared to darker colored jerseys, the Mystic Blue version shown here doesn’t get nearly as hot in the summer.

The long-ish sleeves pair well with elbow pads on park days and the minimal collar ensures maximum ventilation and minimum irritation. Men’s jersey available in 5 colors.

Photo: Leah Barber.

PNW Components Ozone Tech Shirt

Tester: Jeff Barber. Height/weight: 6’3″/160lb

The PNW Components Ozone looks like a pretty basic t-shirt style jersey, but it’s much more than that. For starters the Ozone shirt blends 80% polyester with 20% wool for a breathable fabric that dries quickly and resists stink. For additional ventilation PNW Components incorporates triangle-shaped, laser-cut ventilation holes down the side underneath the armpit.

I’m digging the classic fit of this jersey and the earthy colors like the Alien green shown here. The triangle-shaped PNW label along the bottom hem is a nice detail that blends into the understated look.

  • MSRP: $49 (on sale for $15 most of the summer!)
  • Buy from Amazon (men’s), women’s style also available.

Mountain bike shorts & pants

Shorts are a natural choice for riding in summer, but don’t sleep on lightweight pants for park days and high elevation rides.

Photo: Leah Barber.

Cognative MTB Guide Trail shorts

Tester: Jeff Barber. Height/weight: 6’3″/160lb

I’m picky about mountain bike shorts, and I suspect most readers are too. A good pair of mountain bike shorts needs to be lightweight and durable but most importantly, they need to stay out of the way on the bike. The Cognative Guide Trail shorts definitely fit the bill.

The shorts I tested are one size larger than I normally wear so I was worried they would slide off my waist, but in fact the adjustable waist system allows the shorts to fit a wide range of sizes. The generous hand pockets are convenient for short-term storage, while two zippered pockets are great for storing important items like a wallet or car key. The rear waist comes up nice and high so you can just say no to crack and the leg cuffs are shaped for easy movement. Men’s shorts available in three colors: indigo blue (shown), gunmetal grey, and black.

Ornot UV Trail Shirt + Lightweight Mission Short

If you’re looking for a pair of technical, tailored bike shorts you can show up to the in-laws’ house in, these might be right for you. Pair them with the lightweight UV Trail Shirt for all types of sunny biking adventures. Designed & sewn in the U.S.

  • MSRP: $66.00 (shirt) and $118.00 (shorts)
  • Buy from Ornot

Related: The Best Mountain Bike Shorts for Men and Women, 2023

Pearl Izumi Elevate pants

Tester: Jeff Barber. Height/weight: 6’3″/160lb

Where I live, mountain bike pants in summertime isn’t generally a thing. But the Pearl Izumi Elevate pants are some of the lightest, most breathable I’ve tried, making them a great choice for summer bike park sessions and even poison oak protection in the backcountry. In addition to the lightweight material, there are large, laser-cut ventilation holes along the inner thigh to keep things cool.

The tapered legs end in elastic cuffs to stay clear of chainlines and the shaped knees are pre-bent for the perfect pedal position. An integrated nylon belt makes waist adjustments quick and easy, though it should be noted the belt doesn’t go all the way around the waist. Zippered hand pockets double as storage space.

As someone who is tall I was worried the size 32 waist Pearl Izumi Elevate pants wouldn’t be long enough, but it turns out they’re just right.

Peppermint Cycling Women’s MTB Overalls

Tester: Leah Barber. Height/weight: 5’0″/110lb

These mountain bike overalls are made for riding trails, not a trip to the feed store. While there are a few brands that have released “technical overalls” recently, this pair from Peppermint Cycling Co may be the first to have nailed technical performance with actual style. Gone are the clunky brass buttons, buckles and zippers of your typical workwear. Instead the wide elastic suspenders have a minimal plastic fastener for adjustment and a long zipper on just one side that is discreetly hidden for a smooth, clean look.

The 4-way stretch of the fabric combined with the small elastic waist band in the back make these the ideal riding pant. They even fit petite women! Regardless of which riding position you’re in, the waist is never too tight or baggy and there are no worries of pants riding up or down. And down the leg, the knees are articulated for easy movement while the ankles are tapered safe from a chain’s grasp. The two zippered pockets, one on the thigh and one at the chest, keep a phone or other slim items close.

The Peppermint MTB overalls are a bit hot for summer in the south, but this pair will happily be worn for three seasons. The overalls have a water-repellant coating and a light- to medium- weight that does not snag easily. Look elsewhere for rugged, canvas trail workwear because these are best suited for active trail riding. Available in dahlia (shown), spruce green, and black.

Peppermint Cycling Women’s MTB Tech Shorts

Tester: Leah Barber. Height/weight: 5’0″/110lb

The evolution of women’s cycling clothing is ongoing. Of course, great women’s MTB apparel brands do exist and we’re constantly demanding more features (ahem, pockets), sizing and length options, quality and affordability. The women’s team at Quebec’s Peppermint Cycling Co quietly launched in the US earlier this summer and their mountain bike clothing options are exceptionally well designed.

The Peppermint MTB Tech shorts are made of a lightweight, 4-way stretch quick-dry fabric and land above the knee, with the front-side a touch longer than the rear. According to the Peppermint website, the inseam on these shorts is 12″ for a size small. The extra-small pair I have measure just shy of 11″ inseam, which is either a coincidence or smart design. I can’t confirm, but I’m leaning towards the latter because nearly everything else about these shorts is on point. The Peppermint tech shorts have become a favorite because they are so lightweight and comfortable.

The sizing for waist and hips are true to size and the waistband on the Peppermint MTB Tech short allows plenty of adjustment and comfort. The 2.5″ tall elastic waistband stretches almost the full width of the back and keeps the shorts snug and in place. The two-button snap with zipper closure keeps the front of the shorts nice and neat. These shorts have a low rise, which tends to be more comfortable when leaned over in riding position. Velcro closures on both sides are wide and easy to use if needed for tightening things up.

The three zippered pockets are on the small side offering plenty of room for trail snacks or keys, but you’ll have to stash your phone in a handlebar bag or hip pack. Available in four colors: dahlia purple, twilight blue (shown), tie-dye rosemary, and black.

Rapha Trail Lightweight shorts

Tester: Matt Miller. Height/weight: 5/8″/165lbs

Rapha’s Trail Lightweight shorts have quickly become my latest favorite shorts for every day, pedally trail rides. The inseam sits naturally above the knee and stays out of your way, as does the crotch. Nothing is more annoying than constantly having to adjust your shorts, especially on XC rides. 

The shorts have narrow, zippered pocket on the right hip, perfect for a cellular communications device; the bonus is that it puts your phone out of the way too. 

The Trail Lightweight shorts have an adjustable waist band to get the perfect fit quickly too. These shorts are light and perfect for summer riding and letting your tan creep from your shin onto your thighs. Like other Rapha shorts, these haven’t torn anywhere after months of riding.


Danner Shelter Cove slip-ons

Bike shoes are great, but who really wants to wear them any longer than they have to? In the summer, bike shoes go in the back seat, and I wear a pair of sandals on the way to the trailhead. 

If you’re not familiar with Danner, they make some of the best hiking and work boots in the country. They also make these rugged, knobby treaded Shelter Cove slip-ons. Danner calls them a “recovery sandal.”

The size 8s are true to size for me. I like the simple but tough look to the slip-ons and Danner is usually a name you can trust when it comes to footwear. 

The Shelter Coves took a while to break in—like a good pair of boots — but once they did, they actually felt made for my feet. If your trailhead doesn’t have a restroom, and you’ve got to walk in the woods, they do have a grippy tread on them and will bite down through a little gravel and loam. They’re perfect after a long ride when you can’t wait to rip your bike shoes off.

Stay tuned for more MTB clothing reviews as we continue to test items over the summer.