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NoahColorado's Product Reviews

Added a product review for Urge 2014 Veggie Archi-Enduro Helmet 12/1/2013 8:26 PM
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Tested: Urge Veggie Archi-Enduro Helmet

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Noah Sears

The Urge Archi-Enduro bridges the gap between traditional full-face DH helmets and all-mountain half-lids, call it the "tweener" helmet if you like. As the name implies, it's designed for Enduro racing where full face helmets are often compulsory. The granola-friendly Veggie model reviewed here features a 100% natural linen fiber in place of the fiber glass more commonly used in this and other helmets. On my scale, the size small weighs in at 820g. The Veggie model tested here will set you back $224.95, a $35 premium over the standard (fiberglass) model.

Urge Veggie Archi-Enduro Highlights

  • CE1078/ CPSC Certification
  • Linen/fiber construction
  • Special EVA foam mouth piece
  • Removable and washable pads
  • ABS visor with vent
  • Available in 2 sizes (S/M, L/XL)
  • Weight: 820 grams
  • MSRP: $224.95 USD

Initial Impressions

Out of the box I was impressed by the finish and quality of the helmet. Included with the helmet was a second pad, a bag, and some stickers. I was pleased with the initial fit - with the D-ring tight the helmet felt snug but very open and breathable. The helmet also accommodated both goggles and sunglasses well.

On The Trail

My first impressions were validated once I got on the trail. Light and airy, I never felt claustrophobic in the Archi-Enduro. Despite having only six circular vents on the shell, it never felt overly warm even during the hottest summer months. To be fair, I never wore it for a prolonged trail ride or anything with significant amounts of climbing, but it seems you could in all but the hottest climates - if you find the added safety the Archi-Enduro provides is worth the weight penalty (over a half-lid).

In action at the Angel Fire, NM round of the Big Mountain Enduro Series.

I never got to put the helmet to the ultimate test (I only seem to crash violently when I'm not wearing proper protective gear), but given the excellent fit I have no reason to believe that it wouldn't work as intended. The small chinbar doesn't quite give the facial protection that a traditional full-face would, but it is certainly better than none at all. I'm sure it would have prevented the tooth "incident" I had earlier in the year before receiving the Archi-Enduro to test (an incident that left me temporarily looking like Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber).

Things That Could Be Improved

The grommets installed in all of the circular vents found on this helmet have a tendency to pop out - especially when pulling goggles on and off. If they don't fall out completely, they at least get a little caddywhompus. I'm down to four, I'm pretty sure I started with seven.

In retrospect, I should have put a drop of super glue on these grommets the first time once came loose.

The open chin area helps with effective breathing where other full-face helmets feel stifling, but the tiny EVA foam bar is floppy to the point that I question if it is there for protection or to simulate the traditional profile of a full-face. I suppose anything significantly more substantial would cut-down on breathability, but stiffer material here would be welcomed.

Floppy lil' chin bar. Function or fashion?

Style is subjective and this helmet is definitely polarizing. Those that have involuntarily bitten singletrack loved it, but most of my peers found it a little…ummmm….euro? I consider myself "hip and with it" so I like it, though I do wish it came in a more subdued colorway (all matte black preferably, like we see Barel and Barnes rockin'). I also find the "bat wings" a little goofy.

A little Batman-ish?

Finally, there is a gaping hole in center of the visor which can let the sun pass through. It was put there to further improve air flow, but this really seems to be taking it a bit too far. The visor is already very open in its design.

Long Term Durability

Aside from the aforementioned disappearing grommets, I've had no issues with durability. Hardware, straps, stitching, and finish are still hanging tough.

What's The Bottom Line?

I see the Archi-Enduro as a great solution for those looking for a little more protection than an all-mountain half-lid offers without the full weight penalty of a DH helmet (aka people who should probably retire their current Giro Switchblade). But primarily, with its excellent breathability, solid construction, and light weight, it's a fantastic choice for Enduro racing. While it is certainly better than a half-lid or piss-pot for resort-style or pure gravity riding, I still think a safer choice here would be a traditional DH helmet.

For more info about the Archi-Enduro, visit www.urgebike.com.


About The Reviewer

Noah Sears eats, sleeps, and breathes mountain biking. During the decade he has been in the bike industry, he has managed a well-known destination bike shop, written for several publications, been a sponsored rider and product tester for various manufacturers, and is currently leading the marketing and product development efforts at Mountain Racing Products. A Colorado native and now Fruita local, there is no shortage of idyllic singletrack right out his back door. He has been racing downhill and super-D events since 2006, but thinks he has found his calling with Enduro. His hammer and plow style of riding puts the hurt on his equipment - and his body. The amount he has spent to fix broken bones and replace broken parts over the years likely exceeds the GDP of a small country. He's all but sworn off 26-inch wheeled bikes, preferring to ride wagon wheels or at least 'tweeners. He also freaking loves Strava.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Formula RO Disc Brake 10/6/2013 9:32 PM
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Tested: Formula RO Disc Brakes

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Noah Sears

The RO brake from Formula promises monster power in a svelte package. Unlike its class competitors which use four pistons, the RO uses two large oval pistons. With half as many pistons, rather puny looking pads, and a complete weight of 360g (claimed, with 160mm rotor), surely, I thought, the RO was a dainty little trail brake masquerading as a big-hit brake? Boy was I wrong.

Formula RO Disc Brake Highlights

  • Polished and anodized finish
  • Oval pistons
  • 18% claimed increase in power over "The One"
  • 160mm, 180mm, and 203mm rotor sizes
  • Removable handlebar clamp
  • Flip-flop master cylinder assembly
  • Forged lever blad with integrated tool-free reach adjust
  • Weight: 360 grams per brake
  • MSRP:$359.50 per side

Initial Impressions

I've been a cheerleader for Shimano brakes for ages, never displeased with their power, spoiled by their adjustability, and wowed by their sheer reliability. The big S's brakes have only improved over the years, and you'd be hard pressed to find a negative review of the latest generation. Previous to testing the RO's, I had Shimano stoppers on both of my daily drivers. My tried and true Tallboy LTc had a hodge-podged setup of XT 785 levers and original Saint calipers - slightly ghetto, but totally flawless in operation. My new Bronson C had just been equipped with complete XT 785s replete with fancy-shmancy IceTec rotors. My preferred lever setup is nearly touching the bar, so close that when friends feel my brakes they think they're in need of a bleed - close-in with a long pull. This is easily achieved with Shimano's generous reach adjustment and lever shape. However, this setup was impossible with the Formulas, no amount of fiddling with the reach and bite adjustments could get the levers anywhere near what I was used to. Initially I was bummed, and it took a few rides to adjust to the setup. Not wanting to mess with fluid levels, I simply lived with it and I'm glad I stuck it out. Within a week or two, and with a little bit of pad wear, the brakes began to feel natural - probably equal parts familiarity with the setup and break-in. Then I fell in love.

On The Trail

Simply put, the power curve at the lever is dialed. There is no on-off feel present here, pull hard and deep if you're panicked or gently and gradually for smooth, progressive stops. Absent of this well articulated modulation the RO would certainly be too powerful, but in this execution the available and abundant power on tap is inspiring. A 180mm front and 160mm rear has proven to be plenty strong, and fade free, everywhere I've tested it - from Enduro racing in Angel Fire, park laps in Whistler, and even a heli drop in Pemberton that would have boiled a lesser brake.

Things That Could Be Improved

Noise is not the RO's strong suit, these puppies have a tendency to howl like a wolf at extreme temperatures or when first introduced to moisture. In either case there is no accompanying decrease in performance. The noise has stayed consistent with pad and rotor swaps, and I've used both the two-piece and standard rotors. Speaking of rotors, Formula's own rotors seem to be a little tougher to source and come with a premium price tag. I guess that's to be expected from an ultra high-end brake, but it still stings. I suppose you could pick up another brand's rotor, but I personally like to keep things matching.

Alignment is a bit trickier with the ROs than with certain other brakes. There is very little space between the rotor and pads, so even the slightest misalignment yields the dreaded (and extremely obnoxious on long, steady climbs) "shing-shing" from the rotor. Even with seemingly perfect setup these brakes will occasionally rub when hot. I'm beginning to think the oval pistons may be more prone to getting cocked than their round counterparts.

Long Term Durability

In three months of testing, I've been through the stock pads already and am currently using EBC's red compound without any appreciable difference in performance. Pad wear has been reasonable given the riding environments. Seldom a week has gone by that I haven't done considerable lift-accessed riding or racing. No bleeding has been necessary and no play has developed in the lever - these brakes seem solid.

What's The Bottom Line?

If you're looking for power, modulation, and reliability in spades, the ROs have it all. Additionally, they are incredibly light for the performance on offer. The only downsides are a bit more noise and a more involved setup procedure - a trade-off I for one will gladly take. The price tag is certainly steep, but in this case, you do get what you pay for.

For more details, visit www.formula-italy.com.


About The Reviewer

Noah Sears eats, sleeps, and breathes mountain biking. During the decade he has been in the bike industry, he has managed a well-known destination bike shop, written for several publications, been a sponsored rider and product tester for various manufacturers, and is currently leading the marketing and product development efforts at Mountain Racing Products. A Colorado native and now Fruita local, there is no shortage of idyllic singletrack right out his back door. He has been racing downhill and super-D events since 2006, but thinks he has found his calling with Enduro. His hammer and plow style of riding puts the hurt on his equipment - and his body. The amount he has spent to fix broken bones and replace broken parts over the years likely exceeds the GDP of a small country. He's all but sworn off 26-inch wheeled bikes, preferring to ride wagon wheels or at least 'tweeners. He also freaking loves Strava.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Teva Pivot Clipless Shoes 8/16/2013 3:48 PM
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Tested: Teva Pivot Shoes - A Love/Hate Experience

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Noah Sears

The Pivot is Teva's first foray into the clipless shoe world. Aimed at the piping-hot enduro and trail markets, the Pivot blends skate shoe styling with cycling shoe performance.

Teva Pivot Highlights

  • Designed for trail, all-mountain and enduro use
  • PedalLINK clipless outsole
  • Composite midsole plate
  • Spider365 Rubber sole
  • Lugs at the toe and heel for off the bike traction
  • Compatible with all major 2-bolt attachment systems
  • Optional cleat attachment from top to protect hardware
  • Hook and loop strap keeps laces out of the chain
  • Sizes 3-15 US
  • Black and light grey colors
  • Weight: 446 grams/15.7 ounces (Size 11)
  • MSRP $150.00

Initial Impressions

To be perfectly honest, I initially hated these shoes with a passion, but it all came down to how they were set up. I picked them up on the last day of Sea Otter. Anxious to try them out, I hastily set them up for ride we had planned midway through the long drive home - Thunder Mountain outside of Bryce Canyon, Southwest Utah. One unique feature of these shoes (and one Teva has promoted heavily) is the option to install the cleat bolts from the inside of the shoe. Why, you ask? Good freaking question. It's probably obvious if you've thought about that "feature" for more than a split second that it sounds difficult and precarious - it is. Installing cleats involves loosening the laces, inserting a special T-handle Torx wrench supplied with the shoes through a small slot in the tongue, and desperately trying to find the bolt head in the black abyss of the toe box. Teva says this method allows for the shoe to be clipped into the pedal while adjusting the cleat which, in theory, should make cleat positioning simpler. In reality, though, attempting to get your out-of-sight cleats perfectly aligned is about as difficult as cracking the human genome.Teva advocates cleat installation from this side protects the hardware from wear, but frankly I spent way more time fiddling with this setup than I ever spent trying to remove a worn cleat installed the traditional way. Your mileage may vary though, especially if you tend to run the same cleats for long periods of time.

My first few rides on these shoes were miserable, as the cleats constantly loosened. I floundered on the Thunder Mountain ride, more than once falling over like a joey unable to unclip from my shifty shoes. I tried several times, but could not get them tight enough using the through-the-shoe install. I eventually tried longer screws and Loctite - this somewhat remedied the situation, but still, after a few rides the cleats would move. Fed up I went back to the tried and true from-the-bottom install and, viola, my experience with these shoes began to improve immensely.

On The Trail

So how do I like them now, many months in? Honestly, they're pretty darn solid. The teething issues are gone and now they're just plain old comfortable. The heel cup is the best I've found in any MTB shoe - neutralizing any slip through the pedal stroke. I also appreciate the location of the cleat slots - it's further back than most shoes, allowing you to get off your toes and onto the ball of your foot. The lace and velcro strap closure system is easy and secure, and the laces don't stick to the velcro - pure magic. Teva has really nailed the balance of efficiency and walkability with the Pivot, they are as comfy as skate shoes but stiff and supportive enough for thirty-plus mile journeys. As much as I like the idea of a buckle closure, you really can't beat the way a laced shoe fits and conforms to different foot shapes. The strap does a great job of containing the laces, though if you get a little overzealous on tightness you'll sacrifice comfort.

Another thing I've greatly come to appreciate is the weight. My size 11 Pivots tip the scales more than 300 grams lighter than my previous shoes, the Five Ten Minnaars. 300 grams is a lot of weight - that's like running an air shock vs. a coil… on my feet.

Long Term Durability

Surprisingly, these lightweight kicks are also proving to be more durable than the boat-anchor Minnaars. Upon close inspection, not a single thread is unthreading, nor any part of the sole ungluing - totally unfazed despite heavy use over a four month period.

Things That Could Be Improved

Aside from the initial setup pains, the only significant gripes I have with the Pivot have to do with the cleat interface. The recessed portion of the sole where the cleat resides is metal, just like the cleats you'll mount to it. I've found that metal to metal contact to get creaky - especially in dusty conditions. My solution to this was a thin plastic washer under the cleat, but unfortunately raising the cleat sacrificed a little contact between the sole and pedal. Also, I haven't quite nailed down whether it's the shape of the sole at the interface, the sticky rubber, or perhaps the flex in the construction of the uppers, but I have had some issues disengaging from my pedals. I've adopted a more exaggerated exit strategy which seems to have solved it, but I've been going through cleats at a faster than normal pace which I suspect might be a consequence of this. I've used the Pivot exclusively with the original Crank Brothers Mallet and new Mallet DH Race pedals, so the problem could be mitigated by a less aggressive pedal. But, I suspect most riders keen on this shoe will use it with trail or DH pedals, so it is worth mentioning.

What's The Bottom Line?

All in all, for Teva's first clipless model, the Pivots are a well executed product. Trail riders looking for something more casual and walkable than an XC model and much lighter and better breathing than a skate or downhill style shoe should check them out. Even with its quirks, the Pivot is the best shoe I've tried in the segment - I'd be inclined to pick up another set in white if Labor day weren't just around the corner.

For more details abut the Pivot shoes, visit www.teva.com.


About The Reviewer

Noah Sears eats, sleeps, and breathes mountain biking. During the decade he has been in the bike industry, he has managed a well-known destination bike shop, written for several publications, been a sponsored rider and product tester for various manufacturers, and is currently leading the marketing and product development efforts at Mountain Racing Products. A Colorado native and now Fruita local, there is no shortage of idyllic singletrack right out his back door. He has been racing downhill and super-D events since 2006, but thinks he has found his calling with enduro. His hammer and plow style of riding puts the hurt on his equipment - and his body. The amount he has spent to fix broken bones and replace broken parts over the years likely exceeds the GDP of a small country. He's all but sworn off 26-inch wheeled bikes, preferring to ride wagon wheels or at least 'tweeners. He also freaking loves Strava.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Crank Brothers Mallet DH/Race Clipless Pedals 5/28/2013 3:43 PM
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Tested: Crank Brothers Mallet DH/Race Pedals

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Noah Sears

It's no secret that Crank Brothers products have a reputation for emphasizing style over longevity, so when the new Mallet DH/Race pedals arrived in the mail I was excited yet skeptical. They looked great, but would they perform?

The Mallet DH/Race pedals debuted early this year to much fanfare, and were seen throughout the 2012 season on a number of World Cup race bikes. The original Mallets built a legion of followers, but each generation since has been less and less heralded. In their most recent variant Crank Brothers utilized a half polycarbonate two-piece design and a much smaller platform. Over the years the pedal has gotten smaller and lighter - more all-mountain, less DH. With the Mallet DH/Race Crank Brothers has gone big and metal, a welcomed return.

New vs Old. The Mallet has seen a number of revisions since the original version (right), and we're happy to see it taking a turn back toward the wide-bodied DH design with adjustable pins. The new designs is about 100 grams lighter than the original.

Mallet DH/Race Pedal Highlights

  • Extruded/machined aluminum platform
  • 300 series spring steel spring
  • Forged scm435 chromoly steel spindle
  • Q factorincreased 5mm per spindle vs most recent design
  • Needle + cartridge inner bearings
  • Cartridgeouter bearing
  • Replaceable 8mm adjustabletraction pins
  • 15 to 20-degree release angle
  • Premium brass cleats included
  • Red color only
  • 5 year warranty
  • 479 grams per pair
  • $140 MSRP

Curious what else is new and exciting, or perhaps how they came to be? Click through this First Look slideshow for a chat with Colin Esquibel, the man who took the new Crankbrothers Mallet DH/Race pedal from sketches to production:

On The Trail

First, a little backstory on me... I've been riding clipless pedals again for a little over a year. Previous to that I was on flat pedals for five years following a heinous crash that left my right elbow in several pieces, large and small. I was a little scared of being mechanically bound to my pedals after that, and it was only as I began to take Enduro racing more seriously that I decided to come back to the dark side.

Previous to this review, the only clipless pedals I'd used were Shimano SPDs. I'd most recently been riding Shimano's PD-M530 "trail" style pedal - basically a barebones SPD with a small platform. I had no complaints with the bombproof SPD system - but apparently only because I didn't know any better!

Switching to the Crank Brothers pedals, the first thing that was immediately noticeable was the increased contact between the sole of the shoe and the platform - it truly felt like the best of both worlds (clipless and flat). The cleats provided enough float that I could put some english on the pedals like I would with platforms, but I had that locked-in, efficient feel of a clipless interface. I've tried these pedals with a variety of skate-inspired clipless shoes; SixSixOne Filters, Five Ten Minnaars, and the new Teva Pivot, and they've all given that sensation. The adjustable pins only add to the stable sensation, and have the effect of making it easier or harder to unclip depending on how far out they are. I can't speak to the added width of the cage having not tried the previous versions, but the feel is quite secure and stable. When I find myself unclipped in techy situations, the platform gives sufficient traction to navigate just about anything comfortably.

Long Term Durability

Durability-wise, the pedals have taken a beating without issue over the past few months. There have been several occasions where I've pedaled squarely into a rock and thought for sure those dainty little EggBeater springs would be toast, but that hasn't been the case. The new spring is holding up just fine, despite quite a few hard hits. The anodized finish does scratch very easily, however.

The pins have worn down considerably, but they're replaceable. I do however wish all of the pins threaded in from the bottom like the better platforms on the market. As is, only four per side have allen heads that are protected, and the remaining four have tool interfaces that look pretty mangled. It'll be a joy to get them out.

Finally, the left pedal has developed a little play, but I only noticed this as I inspected these for the review. A quick turn of the wrench and it was gone. Quite a simple fix considering all the time I've had on them.

What's The Bottom Line?

So do I like them? Yeah you can say that, I'd go so far as to say I'm now a convert to the Crank Brothers system. I've even got another set of Mallet DH/Race pedals on order. The pedals seem to be the best compromise of flat pedal feel and clipless efficiency, and the recent improvements are just that - improvements. With an additional neutral color choice, a more durable finish, more robust pins, and bearings that didn't need adjustment after a few months, Crank Brothers would have a five-star product. As is, though, the Mallet DH/Race pedals are hard to beat.

For more details, cruise over to www.crankbrothers.com.


About The Reviewer

Noah Sears eats, sleeps, and breathes mountain biking. During the decade he has been in the bike industry, he has managed a well-known destination bike shop, written for several publications, been a sponsored rider and product tester for various manufacturers, and is currently leading the marketing and product development efforts at Mountain Racing Products. A Colorado native and now Fruita local, there is no shortage of idyllic singletrack right out his back door. He has been racing downhill and super-D events since 2006, but thinks he has found his calling with enduro. His hammer and plow style of riding puts the hurt on his equipment - and his body. The amount he has spent to fix broken bones and replace broken parts over the years likely exceeds the GDP of a small country. He's all but sworn off 26-inch wheeled bikes, preferring to ride wagon wheels or at least 'tweeners. He also freaking loves Strava.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for One Industries Conflict Knee Pads 5/13/2013 10:38 AM
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Tested: One Industries Conflict Knee Pads

Rating:

The Good: Dual straps // Venting // Side Padding

The Bad: Bulky // Bunching // Chafing

Overall:

by Noah Sears

To pad or not to pad, that is the question. All-mountain riders seem to come in three varieties in terms of safety equipment; those who (except for a helmet) forego it altogether, full-time knee-padders, and fully-armored warriors ready for battle or perhaps expecting to hit the dirt at some point on their ride. I'm the in the first camp, unless I'm at a resort, I'm largely unprotected.

Are these One's to buy or pass on? Read more.

Given my preference for pad-free riding (a preference that admittedly bites me in the ass from time to time), when the conditions do call for knee pads I'm pretty picky about what I strap on. I want something that doesn't interfere with pedaling, doesn't chafe, and doesn't migrate down my leg. I like a knee pad that doesn't leave an unsightly gap, exposing my pale white quads to potentially blind unsuspecting riders.Additionally, I prefer a low-profileaesthetic, I don't want to look like an 1980's vert skater.

I've yet to find the perfect set and with several enduro races now making kneepads compulsory, I've been on the hunt. The One Industries Conflict are the latest I've tried, and while they're a decent bit of kit they don't quite make the grade.

Upon they're arrival I was already a bit bummed - they were considerably bulkier than I had pictured. They consist of a neoprene sleeve with a stitched on cordura-like kneecap that houses molded CE foam. Elastic straps top and bottom handle the fit duties and the whole unit has been pre-curved to minimize bunching. The last few pairs of pads I've used had much more pliable padding or impact-sensitive materials in the kneecaps, and I much prefer that style. Compared to those, the Conflict's kneecap is quite firm and seemingly oversized. The hard kneecap and sleeve don't seem to fit together cohesively - with leg extended the cap has a tendency to pull the bottom portion of the sleeve and elastic strap up, and with leg bent it pulls the top portion and elastic strap down. This creates a bunching-effect which pushes the pads knee cap out leads to chafing on the back of the leg.

The POC VPD (original) compared to the Conflict.

Fit issues aside, I can't fault the construction or material quality of the Conflict. The ventilated neoprene keeps your knees from becoming too swampy. The tips of the elastic straps are covered in molded rubber which help them keep their shape and should reduce fraying over time. The pads also feature some nice foam side padding which helps with knee-to-toptube contact. Having taken a few whacks while wearing the pads, I can say the padding is more than sufficient - even a major knee-bonk on the stem was hardly noticeable.

Considering their bulk, and the fit and chafing issues, I can't recommend the the Conflict as an everyday pad set - unless your days feature minimal pedaling. Compared with pads that feature impact-sensitive materials like VPD (POC) and D3O (SixSixOne and others), these seem like a step backwards in kneepad evolution - although those pads do come with a substantially higher price tag.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Osprey Raptor 10 Hydration Pack 11/14/2012 8:53 AM
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Pretty solid!

Rating:

The Good: Quality construction, usable layout and tailored fit, excellent hose routing, nice "love-handle" compartments

The Bad: Zippers on the "love-handle" compartments don't fully close - makes me nervous to put important stuff in there (like keys)

Overall:

I have about a dozen hydration packs, but none of them are perfect (too bulky, cause chafing, etc.) - so they tend to get used for a half-a-season or so then put away. Lately I've preferred riding "bare-back" but that preference has bit me in the ass on a few occasions - high and dry with a flat tire in the unforgiving desert sun - so at Interbike Dirt Demo I was on the lookout for a lightweight, form-fitting minimalist pack.

I found just-about exactly what I was looking for at the Osprey booth with the Raptor 10. The helpful Coloradoans mentioned they had a slightly smaller version from the 10, but that all they had for sale was the 10 and a larger version. I don't like to carry an ERs-worth of first aid supplies, a buffet of food, nor an assortment of specialty tools in my bag when I'm riding, so I was a little bummed they didn't have the svelte Raptor 6 for purchase, but I snagged a 10 anyway.

I've been very pleased with the 10 so far and I'm now glad I've got the extra storage space. I used the pack for the Enchilada Enduro and found it to be the perfect size to stuff my knee warmers and jacket into at the summit of the climb. The bags form fits me nicely and doesn't roll around on my back whilst "getting jiggy with it". The webbed back provides a decent amount of ventilation and keeps things from getting too swampy. The "love-handle" pockets are very convenient for stashing your multi-tool or energy gels - enabling you to grab and go instead of un-shouldering one strap and swinging the whole pack around for access. The zippers on those pockets don't securely shut however, and while I haven't lost anything from them I'm afraid to keep my keys or other valuables in there for fear they'd rattle out.

For riders looking for a compact hydration pack with just enough room for the essentials, the Raptor 10 is hard to beat.

Mid-way through the 2012 Enchilada Enduro

Photo credit: Some dude with Alex Bamberger's camera

This product has 1 review.