Published on September 15th, 2021 | by Boris



I clearly need to be painted like one of them French women…

You know the bearded, brown-seat-loving hipster she-boys did not invent the flanno shirt, right? People like me were rockin’ flanno shirts under our colours decades ago.


It was The Look back when motorcycle outlaws were legal.


The only other Look that was even cooler in those halcyon days was a Hawaiian shirt and running from the cops at 2am in a Saturday morning, but few could carry that Look off. You needed a good deal of tattooed skin to make that work with any dignity.


But for any self-respecting biker, the flanno was the go.


And now, thanks to people like Merlin, this true biker classic has returned to us in a vastly improved iteration.

Those days when your shirt matches the bike and the warning signs.

Instead of being made from fast-fading weakness, Merlin’s Axe shirt is made from strength and honour. On the outside it is baby-soft brushed cotton. You can hug your soft-skinned girlfriend without giving her a rash.


But it is lined with mighty DuPont™ Kevlar®-fibre twill with a meshed overlay. And it is fully armoured with CE-approved armour at the elbows, shoulders, and back.


It’s is actually as much a shirt as it is an actual jacket. Because it is zippered (YKK quality) at the front – and has a small zip at the back so you can zip it to your pants if you’re that kinda bloke.

Give your puny shoulders some manly breadth…

And as summer approaches, I’m thinking the Axe is quite the thing on those 27-degree-and-up days – of which there are many in Australia.


The benefits of the Axe are many.


If you have puny little shoulders, they will instantly look broader and more manly when you put the Axe on. If, like me, you are already shouldered like a man, then you will look even mightier.

Quality press studs and a fat YKK zipper…and a Serbian saint for extreme protection…

Should the unthinkable occur, then the Kevlar® and armour will certainly mitigate what happens after you get up, brush yourself off, then sit down again because bits of you are starting to sting. Having slid down the road in an ordinary flanno many years ago, it’s not an experience I can recommend.


And while the Axe will never replace full leathers or high-end textile bike gear in fending off gravel rash, its Kevlar® is light-years better at fending it off than an ordinary flanno – especially given its also armoured and thus better at staying crush injuries than an elbow joint that is not armoured.


You know this. I’m just reminding you.

The important cuff stuff…

So it zips at the adjustable cuffs, and you get two pockets on the chest, and an internal Velcro-sealed pocket you can stick your phone in. It’s also been coated with water repellent, so you will get soaked, but not as quickly as you might think.


And being blasted by a summer thunderstorm is both refreshing and romantic, so don’t be turning up your nose tat that experience.


I normally shove my keys and my wallet into my jacket, but was unable to do the same here. This is not a deal-breaker and simply requires a re-think. So the wallet went back into my boot, and I just took the house-key instead of every key I own on a key-ring the size of a clutch.


I felt better and smarter for it.

This is the good stuff inside the shirt.

Comfort is the thing here. I am already stylish beyond the scope of many, but I do seek comfort where and when I can find it. The Axe addresses both of these issues with aplomb, because it is far and away more comfortable than a jacket.


But it still kinda is a jacket. As well as being a shirt. I am a little in awe of how it multi-tasks such a thing, and I like the hell out of it. As a stylistic alternative to a mesh jacket, it’s excellent.

Better and smarter and totally Plague-bearded and haired…

It comes in all the required colours – green, grey, red, and dark blue, and it will set you back $229.95.


All that remains now is for some genius company to create a Hawaiian shirt with the same qualities as this flanno, and I’m all over it.


WHERE DO I GET IT? Check out or your nearest Merlin dealer.


About the Author

is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.

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