Osprey Packs was founded in 1974 but until recently was only known in the outdoors market for its climbing and hiking packs. That changed in 2009 when it launched its first bike-specific hydration pack, the Raptor – reviewed by Bikemagic in November.
That went down a storm, and Osprey have responded by launching a host of new packs for spring/summer 2011 – we were given a first look at the latest goods to hit the shelves earlier this week.
Most interesting is the men’s Viper series. We exclusively revealed the new Viper last year, but it is now hitting shops around the country. The Viper’s USP is a pack that’s lighter on features than the Raptor to keep the price down, and is also available in smaller sizes: four, seven, 10 or 13-litre capacity, making it ideal for those rides when you only need the minimum of kit.
One key difference with the Viper is that it doesn’t feature the Raptor’s AirScape back panel – but, with the 10-litre pack priced at £65, that makes it £15 cheaper than the Raptor. Still, the lightweight spacer mesh back panel promises to be comfy on day rides.
It’s still packed with some impressive features, including Osprey’s impressive HydraForm anatomically shaped reservoir, HydraLock reservoir stabilisation, LidLock helmet attachment clip, 20mm detachable webbing belt, hipbelt closure, mobile phone/MP3 pocket on the shoulder strap and a pocket designed specifically to hold an easy-to-access bike tool.
It’s available in three colours – Thunder Cloud, Electric Sky and Supernova. The Viper is also available in the female-specific Verve series, which has all the same features but with a fit designed for women and different colours/graphics.
Other packs new for 2011 that caught our eye include the Escapist – designed for day-long rides or overnight hut to hut adventures. We’re told it’s also popular with professional photographers.
Available with a 20, 25 or 30-litre capacity (which start from £64.99), the Escapist is available in two colours – Grit or Fjord. Features include Osprey’s Bio-Stretch ventilation harness – 70 per cent foam, 30 per cent air (the foam essentially has holes cut out of it).
The LidLock takes centre stage again, while there’s also reflective detailing on the front and base of the pack, as well as an integrated high-vis raincover. Osprey’s blurb says the Escapist is a panel loader with zipped access – although we can’t make head nor tail or that until it lands on the Bikemagic desk to test.
The Escapist doesn’t come fitted out with a reservoir, but the AirSpace back panel has an external hydration pocket if you wish to add your own.
Finally, the 26 (£74.99) or 34-litre (£79.99) Momentum (colours – Carbide or Bamboo) is a new commuter pack with a padded laptop sleeve, integrated raincover and a tuck away harness which converts the bag into a, albeit casual, briefcase.
All three packs will be arriving at Bikemagic to test, so we’ll report back once we’ve had a closer look.