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New Hydration Packs and Messenger Bags

When one hears “Shimano,” visions of sleek derailleurs and dependable pedals come to mind first.  Hydration packs and messenger bags?  Not so much.  Shimano, however, wanted to capitalize on that fact by producing the first line of cycling specific hydration packs along with a commuter line of bags, both of which just launched with their new 2013 line.

“Camelbaks have a corner on the market, but they are very general,” said Matt Thompson, a Shimano sales rep based in Colorado.  “We wanted to make a cycling specific pack that was easy to ride in, and had cycling specific storage compartments; something that was going to give the riders a benefit when on the trail.”


To that end, they have created two lines: the Unzen “U” series, and the Rokko “R” series.  What sets them apart from other packs on the market is their exclusive Rider Fit X-Harness design, which consists of a single clip which snaps together in the center of one’s chest.  This pulls the straps away from the shoulders, and allows for easier movement and range of motion while in the saddle.  Also, the bladders and other storage compartments are easily opened through the side, not the top, which means one doesn’t have to completely remove the bag to gain access.

The U series is available in three sizes: 6, 12, and 15 liters (the size refers to the space of the entire compartment, not the bladder capacity).  The R series, which is made for all day in the saddle types of endurance rides, comes in a 12L size, and has more options for storing food, ipods, and other necessities.

If you don’t need a hydration pack, Shimano has you covered with their Tsukinist back pack and Osaka Messenger bag, more easily referred to as the “T” and “O” series.

The T Series is available in two sizes, 15L and 30L, and both come with storage for a laptop.  The T Series also features a built in rain cover, which is easily accessed through a special pouch at the bottom of the bag.

The O Series (“My all time favorite bag,” shares Thompson) is available in both 25L and 30L options, each with a very generous, very padded laptop section in addition to a separate storage section for iPad type devices.  A single front buckle makes on/off a snap, and there are multiple compartments for pens, wallets, and anything else one needs to get through the day.