Some dance floors are replete with fancy foot scratchers, due in large part to the fact that the DJ also loves to dance. Similarly, some mountain bike apparel is designed for racing down to the last stitch, and any gear from UK-based Flow Style is undoubtedly cut in the shape of fast. The brand sponsors a World Cup downhill racing squad, and owner Harry Molloy has also spent some seconds in the start hut. While they also make custom kits for teams, Harry recently shipped over some of the Flow Style in-line goods for a test run.
I’ll start off with the FS Labyrinth Jersey, since it’s the least technical element. The material is stretchy in all directions, moisture wicking, and quick drying just as you would expect from a mountain bike shirt. What sets it apart from a load of other gravity tops is that it’s fairly tight. The size small I tested is clearly cut for svelte athlete bodies, with skin tight sleeves and a slightly looser torso. There is no excess material to “sail” in the wind and add seconds to the descent. Additionally, there is no goggle wipe at the hem or lift-pass pocket on the left flank. It’s a dead simple lightweight layer with aerodynamics high on the designer’s necessity list.
The fabric is thin, and feels as durable as most other lightweight summer jerseys. There are raised golden ribs of material between the larger swaths of cloth that give it a somewhat regal look up close. I have pulled this long sleeve on during some super hot bike park rides and was happy to have the extra layer of material over my scar-laden skin.
Moving down this downhill kit, the FS Flow Line Trousers are almost as race-cut as the matching jersey. If you like to ride the bike park in pants on sweltering August afternoons, these pants are worth a look. They use mesh fabric above the knees and inside the thighs to cool bits off where it counts most, and the rest of the material is as tough as any good motocross or DH pants. The butt section is made of an even thicker Kevlar-like layer that should help them endure multiple seasons of chairlifted good times.
Internally, the Flow Line Trousers have a mesh slide-guard that resembles looser fitting fishnet stockings, sewn into about the same place a liner short would cover. This loose layer gives the pants something to slide across as you hit the deck, instead of them rubbing immediately against your skin. This is one of the many elements of mountain bike technology that we can directly thank our motorcross cousins for.
Keeping with the racing theme, there is only one right hip pocket in these trousers. If you’re racing downhill, there’s a good chance you don’t need to carry more than a lift pass and a small snack. I managed to fit my iPhone 11, a snack, lip balm, and a lift pass inside, but it was a tight squeeze. The pocket is waterproof, as we would expect from a UK apparel brand. I’m not familiar with how chair lifts function in England, but the pocket would make more sense on the left hip for any park I have been to recently, as that’s the side the lift-pass is read on. Alas, you get to do a little spinning dance before getting on the lift with this right-side pocket, which adds to the fun.
Like most modern gravity pants, these fit tight, but not skin tight. I tested the size small, which has a few inches of extra material to move around in from the waist to ankles. Beneath the knees and shins, there is plenty of room for whatever length knee protection you choose, and you could also squeeze hip and coccyx protection in if desired. The vented panels add stretch where you need it, and the crotch is short enough that I didn’t manage to catch it on my saddle once. The widely adjustable waist sits high to keep the dirt out, aided by internal silicone grippers at the waistband, and the 30″ cut that I tested fits true to size.
FS Flow Line Trousers come in the bright blue and pinkish color shown, or a black and grey colorway, retailing for £119.99.
Finally, I did test out a piece of Flow Style gear that’s not solely DH race designed. The AirCon Shorts are a pocket-strewn pair of short pants made of tough material for rough riding. On the size small, the stretchy lumbar material helps these shorts move well, and the additionally stretchy waistband gives them a forgettably comfortable fit. The 32cm (12.6″) inseam hangs plenty low to overlap kneepads with my 76.5cm (30″) inseam. The legs are quite baggy, and with a series of fourteen vent holes inside either thigh, they breathe well.
Either of the hand pockets is large enough for a modern cell phone, and I have been using them to keep my action camera handy. The two zippered hip pockets are roughly the same size, making a nice spot to stash snacks and tools if you don’t want to pack a bag.
The thick shell material is made of 85% polyester, 10% nylon, and 5% spandex. The internals are comprised of 92% polyester and 8% Spandex.
These Flow Style Air Con Shorts are only available in black, retailing for £74.99.
We would like to thank Flow Style for sending this kit along for testing and review.