Our office is full of mountain bike enthusiasts who are all too happy to watch the last patches of snow melt off the trails. Right about now, they’re as giddy as we see them all year, thanks in large part to the weekly staff rides that started up a few weeks ago. We asked the staff-ride ringleader, fat-tire fanatic Tony Wilhelms what tools he carries to keep himself out of a pickle. Here they are. Don’t leave the trailhead without them:
Hydration Equipped Backpack: Osprey Zealot
When you’re two-wheeling downhill over rocks and ruts, a pack that bounces around or throws off your balance can be a crash waiting to happen. Osprey’s Zealot is designed specifically for mountain bikers; it has a slim design that keeps it centered and close to your body. As you’d expect, it includes a hydration reservoir and has separate sleeve with a drainage spout in case the bladder gets punctured or springs a leak. Pockets galore, sure, but it’s the placement not the quantity that won Tony over. A small pouch on the shoulder strap, for example, is a good place for him to stash and easily reach his energy snacks without missing a pedal stroke. And the piece de resistance? A magnetic interface between the drinking tube and the shoulder strap that keeps the tube from flapping in your face or out of reach. Conclusion: The Osprey design team spends plenty of time on the single track and knows what riders want.
We saw the new Osprey Zealot and Syncro cycling packs at Interbike, both of which have a few bike-friendly features and are worth checking out. The new Escapist joins the 2012 lineup as the all-day pack with massive volume.
It shares the helmet attachment and short/tall size options and gets internal organizer pockets for bike specific tools and a blinky attachment loop with reflective strips all around. Straps are a breathable stretch mesh with wrap around waist belt with side pockets on the larger Escapist 30 (above, left). The main compartment has a large opening for cramming things in and a small slash/stash pocket on the top. The reservoir, which features their solid frame around it to keep the shape and help support the pack, uses a separate top loading insert slot. Various adjustment and compression straps help keep everything where it should be, and a ventilated back panel should help keep you cool and dry. And an integrated rain cover helps keep the pack dry. Two sizes, a 20 and 30 are available, both in the gray and blue colors shown.
Osprey has long been known in the outdoor industry as one of the premiere backpack manufacturers in the world. But at the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, they revealed that they’re now about more than just outdoor recreation, unveiling a new line of travel bags, luggage, totes and child carriers. However, packs are their mainstay, and new bags for biking and hiking were also showed off on the convention center floor.
Osprey Packs, Inc. is expanding their successful line of cycling packs for Spring 2012 with the addition of two new series: Zealot and Syncro.
Cycling/Hiking: Combining advanced materials and their AirspeedTM suspension, the Syncro is streamlined hydration packs designed for cyclists and hikers who value lightweight and ventilation.
Hydration Specific/All Mountain: Mountain bikers who love the descent need a hydration pack that can hold all their gear. The Zealot series carries armor, tools and full-face helmets securely and comfortably.
We like Osprey’s packs and here are three new packs. The middle on, the Zealot comes in a couple of sizes and is a full clamshell freeride pack. The full-round zip gives you access to your gear without having to undo all your pads from the outside of the pack. It also has a super-neat integral tool roll.
After the successful introduction of its trail-oriented Raptor hydration packs, Osprey developed the larger Zealot for all-mountain rippers and freeriders. The pack comes in either 10-liter or 16-liter sizes, in two torso lengths. The Zealot has space for a full-face helmet and sleeves for armor. A clamshell design allows access to the large main pocket, but the pack’s trickest feature may be the roll-up tool pouch that zips into an easily accessible pocket under the pack.
Bicycle Retailer and Industry News Interbike Show Daily – Featuring Zealot Series – September 14, 2011
INTERBIKE 2011: OSPREY PACKS GET SIMPLER, GO BIGGER
While Osprey’s entries into the bike market have all been very well built, it turns out that some riders aren’t looking for quite so much organization (or the weight and complexity that it can bring) in their packs. For them, Osprey has released the pared-back Syncro 10, 15, and 20.
On the rough & tumble side of things, Osprey’s Zealot is a freeride-oriented pack that is a bit sturdier, is fairly thin (to be comfortable while riding the lifts), and has full clamshell-style access and a cool tool roll that deploys from the bottom of the bag.
For spring 2012, Osprey is pushing harder into the gravity realm, as well as into adventure biking. For the former there’s the Zealot series of freeride packs, with the 16 and the 10. Both have anchors/sleeves for a full-face/body armor while maintaining access to side- and top pockets as well as the heart of the pack. The entire back panel clamshells open, with your pads or body armor or jacket still attached to the outside, so you can gain access to the center without removal of all that gear. Another clever addition is a removable, roll-out tool pouch that gets its own pocket at the base of the pack.