Editor Vince Hempsall takes the Flylow Shaw mountain biking shirt for a rip. This is his honest review.

Flylow is an independent company based in Colorado that was started by backcountry skiers Greg Steen and Dan Abrams in 2005. The duo were finding it hard to get ski pants that held up to the rigours of telemark skiing and decided to create something themselves. Their first products were the Cactus Pant and the Black Coat, which, as the name suggested, only came in one colour. Since then they’ve branched out into other winter technical clothing, casual wear, and, in 2016, they introduced off-season gear for wake surfing, camping, and mountain biking. In this review, I slip into the long-sleeve Flylow Shaw mountain biking shirt and take ‘er for a rip.

Snapshot: Flylow Shaw Mountain Biking Shirt

  1. Pros: Although long-sleeved, the Shaw is super breathable and excellent for spring, summer and fall temps.
  2. Cons: Stick with short sleeves on the +30°C days.
  3. Price: US$75
  4. Who Should Buy: Downhillers, enduro riders, gravel grinders, and anyone else who rides a mountain bike.
  5. Who Shouldn’t Buy: Single-speed city commuters. Stick to your button-ups and skinny jeans.
  6. Helpful Hack: There’s a sewn-in sunglasses wipe underneath the hem.
  7. Author’s overall rating: 9/10

The Test

I took the Flylow Shaw mountain biking shirt on long enduro rides up and down fast and flowy trails in my home city of Nelson, British Columbia. I also wore it for techy short shots on old-school trails in the Mountain Station area near my house that visitors regularly balk at. (“Bro, it’s called ’13 Steps to Doom’ for a reason. Don’t let the blue square fool you.”) Basically the Shaw shirt came with me on hot lunch laps with my son on a MacRide in front of me, as well as on longer, chillier hauls with friends. I even took it to the beach to go paddleboarding.

The Verdict

I’ll say right up front that I’m a big fan of Flylow: even with all its successes, the company has maintained a grassroots core. Hell, owner Greg Steen still telemark skis! Plus the company spends its dollars on advocate programs, like supporting trail builders (see video above) as well as independent magazines, like Kootenay Mountain Culture, rather than extravagant social media buys. Plus they have a cool name that was first coined when a French skier saw owners Greg and Dan Abrams telemarking: “You don’t ski fast,” she said, “you fly low.”

Flylow also offers a short-sleeved mountain biking shirt called the Garrett. Click the above image to learn more.

Now that I’ve admitted my bias, let me say that I did have a few doubts when the company sent me the long-sleeved Shaw mountain biking shirt explaining it’s perfect for three-season riding. A long-sleeve for Spring and Fall? Sure. For the hot summer months. Not likely. But I wore it on +20°C days and was pleasantly surprised: the Shaw’s poly/spandex material and its looser fit allow it to breathe really well. I’d almost go so far as to say it felt positively airy. And it was very comfortable on cooler morning rides too. That said, I simply couldn’t bring myself to don a long sleeve on the super hot summer days when the temperature topped +30°C. On rides like that, you have the right to bare arms.

On the sunnier days when I wore the Shaw for longer rides, I was happy knowing its 30+UPF rating saved my forearms from a nuking. In fact, the shirt was so airy and good at warding off the sun, I even wore it to the beach once to save my skin while paddleboarding around with my kids. It worked extremely well, although I can’t say it was pleasant to swim in because of it’s looseness. But, hey, it’s not billed as a surf shirt.

The other thing that impressed me about the Shaw mountain biking shirt is the antimicrobial treatment. I’m notorious for rarely washing my bike gear, much to the chagrin of those tailgating me on the uptrack, but the Shaw lasted more than a half dozen sweaty rides before I started noticing a slight funk. That’s an impressive feat for a poly shirt. Plus there’s the sewn-in sunglasses wipe underneath the hem that’s a nice touch: beauty in the details.

In summary, the Flylow Shaw mountain biking shirt is an excellent all-around long sleeve that’s airy and performs extremely well in temperatures between 5-20°C. It also wards off the sun and helps protect your forearms from abrasion. Aside from those accolades, I’m happy to recommend this short because it’s made by a company that still has a grassroots soul.

The Deets – Flylow Shaw Mountain Biking Shirt

  • 92% polyester, 8% spandex
  • 30+ UPF
  • Antimicrobial treatment
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Colours: Arame-Bamboo, Thunder-Elderberry, and Agave. All are available with or without the Flylow logo.
  • Price: US$75

Author’s Note: Reviews on Mountain Culture Group are honest expressions of our opinions. If we dislike a product and feel it would score a rating of less than 5/10, we simply won’t review it.