The Endura Urban Coolmax short sleeve polo shirt is probably the closest I've found to a social chameleon jersey that looks genuinely fantastic across all situations whether they call for riding or street attire. Probably the greatest surprise was discovering it's actually only 10% merino; polyester (53%) and CoolMax (37%) are the main ingredients in the fibre mix.
Having recovered from the shock, some may feel indignant, possibly cheated. Others (myself included) will consider this a blessing since it can be bunged in with the regular wash load and accidental tours de tumble drier are less likely to result in it fitting next door's Siamese.
Speaking of fit, it's figure hugging in the flattering sense and features a slimline polo collar. It's loosely on par with contemporary race jerseys, allowing similar, if not superior airflow without a 'technical' look. In fact, it could double as a base layer during winter. Emphasis is on subtle, rather than stealth.
The logo is a case in point. Even the snootiest of party hosts would be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and many designer labels.
We've seen a steady trickle of polo shirts entering the market in recent years but the Urban is the first I've encountered that successfully incorporates a concealed zipped 'security' pocket within the rear panels.
This is the only part that stirs mixed emotions in me. On the one hand, you can slip a slim wallet, phone or similar valuable in sideways without you, or anyone else being remotely aware of it. Equally, that's all you'll manage and my key stuffing manoeuvre earned a few quizzical glances.
Right from the word go, the Urban's fibres offered that distinctive caress, stretching as I alternated between tops, drops and tri bars. Wicking prowess isn't quite as seamless as pure wool, though hot on its heels and light years ahead of better quality race models.
A familiar glow begins to form around the chest, lower back and pits given 30 minutes spirited canter but pretty much evaporated five minutes hence. Unbecoming odours are another moot point, even after a day's wear alternating between longish commutes, business and pub meets.
Lovely jersey that looks and performs brilliantly in all contexts
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Make and model: Endura Urban Coolmax SS Polo shirt
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Great style on and off the bike
The Endura Urban Riding collection, is the antithesis of the stock Hi-Viz and Black commuter uniform. Minimal, detailed, confident, yet supremely practical and versatile, without being elitist. Perfectly suited for city cyclists, this line combines functionality with subtle, contemporary, office-compatible chic. Clean lines and discrete, subtle details play together with the latest fabric technologies. Each garment is beautifully finished, and the sub-toned colours make them timeless every-day favourites. The Endura Urban Riding collection is styled to look as great off the bike, as it works on the bike." This seems to apply rather convincingly to their polo shirt.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Short sleeve jersey with polo in CoolMax® / Merino blend stretch fabric
CoolMax®/Merino blend stretch fabric
Cycle specific fit but still looks good off the bike
2-piece polo collar
Concealed long line buttoned placket
Concealed zipped security pocket on rear
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Most street styled "urban" ranges are pretty good these days, although Endura's take on the polo shirt theme seems superior to others I've used thus far. While not wool in the purest sense, you'd be hard pressed to tell, it looks great in all contexts, washes easily and the rear pocket is well conceived.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A second pocket would've been handy.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)