The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

Flylow Women’s Carter Shorts, Hawkins Shirt, and Susie Tank

Intro

Flylow, the maker of some of our favorite ski jackets and pants, released their first women’s spring apparel line this year. It’s billed as a “mountain lifestyle” line, but includes some bike-specific products.

So I tested out a few of the new pieces on singletrack — the Flylow Carter Short, Hawkins Shirt, and Susie Tank — to see how they’d hold up to the more rigorous demands of riding, and to see how they compare to dedicated kits from more established mountain bike companies.

(You can also check out our reviews of the Flylow Maclean Jacket, Cash Short, and Nelson Shirt from their Men’s summer line.)

Carter Short

Julia Tellman reviews the Flylow Women's Carter Shorts, Hawkins Shirt, and Susie Tank for Blister Gear Review.

Flylow Carter Short

Size Tested: 30

  • Stated Features:
  • 90% polyester, 10% spandex
  • 40+ UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor)
  • Quick Dry
  • Flylow Intuitive IQ fabric featuring Peaks technology
  • Two plastic snaps on the waist
  • Fifth panel gusset
  • Zippered thigh pocket

Inseam: 14″

MSRP: $85

Sizing

I’ve got to start by saying that Flylow’s stock product image for the Carter Short isn’t great — they look short and wide on the web, but the shorts are actually longer and have a much more flattering cut than the stock image might make it seem. I hover somewhere between a 28 and 30 but typically like to size up to accommodate chamois. The size 30 shorts are comfortable if a bit loose on me, so they hang low on my hips which isn’t necessarily ideal for biking but is great for lifestyling.

Still I’d say that the Carter Shorts are the best length bike short I’ve found — they’re not too baggy through the thighs but they have a slight flair at the knees, so they’re perfect shorts to wear with kneepads.

Materials and Durability

The lightweight material brings to mind board shorts, with similar comfort, breathability, and fast-drying capability. They’re also advertised as having a 40+ Ultraviolet Protection Factor, which is a feature I appreciate even if I don’t notice a difference.

I’ve been fortunate not to wreck in these (yet), but I imagine that the fabric will lose a fight against a tree or boulder — these aren’t thick, burly DH shorts these are not.

Julia Tellman reviews the Flylow Women's Carter Shorts, Hawkins Shirt, and Susie Tank for Blister Gear Review.

Julia Tellman in the Flylow Carter Short.

I have experienced some issues with the stitching on the shorts; the belt loops are reinforced with stitching below the actual waistband, but that stitching has already pulled out of almost every belt loop. It doesn’t change the effectiveness of the belt loops but the stitching shouldn’t be pulling out. The waist snap closures are really strong, which is great, except that I get a little worried that they’ll pull out of the fabric when I’m wrenching the shorts open to water a tree while on a bike ride.

Pockets

The hand pockets are spacious, but they’re loose, wide, and shallow, so objects are prone to slip out. I.e., the hand pockets aren’t safe stash pockets. But for stashing, there is a long, diagonal zip pocket on one thigh that’s unobtrusive and is great for money, a phone, or other accessories.

Hawkins Shirt

Julia Tellman reviews the Flylow Women's Carter Shorts, Hawkins Shirt, and Susie Tank for Blister Gear Review.

Flylow Hawkins Shirt

Size Tested: Small

Stated Features:

  • 94% polyester, 6% spandex
  • 50+ UPF
  • Quick Dry
  • Long fit

MSRP: $60

Fit and Fabric

I initially intended review the Hawkins Shirt in a size Medium, since I wear size Medium tops from just about every brand. But I found the Hawkins to be enormous on me in a Medium. It was as long and as baggy as a Medium men’s DH jersey, so I’d definitely recommend sizing down.

The size Small Hawkins fits me perfectly: its’ long and loose, but very flattering. The fabric is silky and soft, but not as light as some of the technical shirts out there. And FWIW, the shirt is rated at a 50+ Ultraviolet Protection Factor.

The sleeves of the Hawkins have a little bit of stretch, probably just enough to cram some elbow pads under there.

Performance

I’ve worn the Hawkins on a variety of rides, including one on a cool day that turned humid and warm as a storm rolled in. I soaked it through with sweat and rain, but it didn’t feel too heavy, and it dried quickly. It seems like DH runs would be a great application for this top, as it’s warm enough for lift rides, but breathes well.

Julia Tellman reviews the Flylow Women's Carter Shorts, Hawkins Shirt, and Susie Tank for Blister Gear Review.

Julia Tellman in the Flylow Hawkins Shirt.

I’ve also worn the Hawkins several times casually because it’s so comfortable, but it definitely gets armpit patches, if you’re prone to perspiration.

Susie Tank

Julia Tellman reviews the Flylow Women's Carter Shorts, Hawkins Shirt, and Susie Tank for Blister Gear Review.

Flylow Susie Tank

Size Tested: Small

Stated features:

  • 94% polyester, 6% spandex
  • 50+ UPF
  • Quick Dry

MSRP: $45

Fit

I also tried the Susie Tank in a Medium initially, and the neckline hit somewhere around my rib cage. So I swapped out for a Small, and while the feel of the fabric and the length of the tank is great, the neck and arm holes still leave a whole lot of sports bra hanging out. Your might not mind this kind of breast-baring, and I think the Susie works great as a running tank. But for mountain biking, I’m looking for more coverage, as well as a tank that interfaces better with hydration pack straps. I’d call the fit “festival friendly,” although that’s not normally what I’m looking for in a $45 technical tank top.

Julia Tellman reviews the Flylow Women's Carter Shorts, Hawkins Shirt, and Susie Tank for Blister Gear Review.

Julia Tellman in the Flylow Susie Tank.

Material

Tank tops breathe pretty well in general, but I did notice the Susie’s quick drying characteristics after one ride full of creek crossings and mud wallowing. The fabric feels more technical and wicks better than your average casual tank top.

Bottom Line

I’d call Flylow’s foray into women’s casual summer apparel a success. The Carter Shorts, Hawkins Shirt, and Susie Tank aren’t pieces that are best suited for big days in the saddle, but they’re all lightweight and flattering, and work well for shorter rides or when you’re just out and about. Some of the minor details may need some smoothing out, but Flylow got the most important things right: short and shirt length, comfort, fabric, and looks.

This Flylow kit won’t be replacing your bike-specific apparel, but these are comfortable and attractive summer clothes that work for playing outside.

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