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It seems when most companies who produce smart cycling clothes start up they usually bring out a jersey/t-shirt as one of their first pieces, understandable it’s a key stable in the diet of cyclewear. Union 34 have mixed it up though and have no t-shirt in their startup range but have instead opted for a more formal approach in a traditional looking shirt. The Paragon Long Sleeve Shirt is a very smart looking shirt but has nods all around to cycling as you would expect from the Union 34 line.
It comes in 2 colours and is made of Nylon and Spandex so it’s got that stretch in it to give you the best possible movement whilst cycling. This does give it a totally different feel from normal shirts – which are mostly cotton. This is quite interesting really, would cotton and dash of spandex be an idea for future shirts Union 34 could offer? Of course Nylon has the great features of being strong and resilient. Whilst the feel of the fabric is a little unusual at first it’s certainly very comfortable and the fit is just right all over.
The shirt has further functional aspects. It’s moisture wicking and quick drying, ideal for longer commutes so you don’t turn up to work or the pub having to dish out pegs for other people’s noses. The yoke along the shoulders at the back is also vented to help keep you cool as you briskly pedal along to your destination.
Union 34 have gone out of there way here to give this shirt so much useful functions that a cyclist will appreciate being there. It’s fantastic to see them take the dress shirt and ‘cycle-fy’ it, further features include reflective strips when you turn the cuffs and collar up and it’s longer cut at the back to hide your modesty whilst you’re cycling. With the use of Nylon it’s got a higher stain resistance than a normal shirt would have so again ideal for the urban cyclist. It’s also got a slim cut which means it’s not too tight and not too big so works well tucked in or left out.
Being long sleeve is a nice idea too I feel, making it a more adaptable for situations on the bike. If there’s a bit of a chill or a light bit of rain then the sleeves go down. If it’s warmer then easily roll them up. The shirt will not last long in anything above a light drizzle of rain but it’s quick drying properties will help you not look a soggy mess all day at work. Certainly a late spring to early autumn piece on it’s own but of course all it’s functionaly properties mean’s it’s perfect for the layering system us cyclists employ.
Union 34 do say this shirt is office ready, whilst I do think it’s great for nearly every situation and would not look a miss in many a work place it probably isn’t the shirt you’d wear for a suit and tie job and this is mainly due to the colours it’s available in and the pocket just off with the button line. The colours available are black and grey, which is probably to dark for the aforementioned very smart office job. Plus the concealed pocket isn’t quite concealed enough for me to get away with and actually takes away a bit of the smart look of the shirt. A range of lighter colour shirts would probably test my opinion there and I hope to see more variations in the future.
To focus on the pocket on the shirt, instead of the standard round the back pocket you find on most cycling clothing Union 34 have kept the style and look of a dress shirt in mind and tweaked with the top pocket convention. Located just off the botton line at the same height you’d find the usual top pocket of a shirt. On the Union 34 Paragon Long Sleeve Shirt the pocket has been designed for easy access from the side so you can easily reach inside if you need to whilst you’re still moving along as you cycle. This for me took a while to get used to but now I have I think it’s a smart little addition to a smart piece of cycle clothing. Not the only pocket though, down the left hand side of the shirt is a small well concealed zip pocket ideal for a few extra things. Part of me thinks this is pocket too far and Union 34 would of been best to stop with just the one at the front but it does mean you have a extra bit of storage.
The price as usual with cyclewear is a point for discussion at £69.99 you’re certainly paying a lot for a shirt but to be considered is the fact that you’re practically buying 2 pieces in one and also getting quite a unique piece of clothing in the cycling world. There aren’t that many companies doing shirts and the one’s who are Union 34 are amongst the cheapest.
All in all the Union 34 Paragon Long Sleeve Shirt is a welcome addition to the urban cycling clothing world. Offers a fantastic stylish look that works brilliantly for on & off the bike. In Union 34’s own words stylish street-smart apparel.
Value for Money: 7.5/10