Sports

Shimano's hydration pack crisscrosses the shoulder straps

Shimano's hydration pack criss...
Shimano aims to create a more ergonomic biking pack
Shimano aims to create a more ergonomic biking pack
View 11 Images
Shimano aims to create a more ergonomic biking pack
1/11
Shimano aims to create a more ergonomic biking pack
The Unzen pack comes in several colors
2/11
The Unzen pack comes in several colors
A felt-lined pocket protects contents
3/11
A felt-lined pocket protects contents
Some Unzen models include armor storage
4/11
Some Unzen models include armor storage
Keep things neat with the integrated tool organizer
5/11
Keep things neat with the integrated tool organizer
Stretchable fabric provides plenty of storage versatility
6/11
Stretchable fabric provides plenty of storage versatility
A side zipper provides quick access
7/11
A side zipper provides quick access
A clip on the harness keeps the drinking tube in place
8/11
A clip on the harness keeps the drinking tube in place
The Hydrapak reservoir is stored in a dedicated sleeve
9/11
The Hydrapak reservoir is stored in a dedicated sleeve
Shimano shaped the Unzen to fit comfortabl on the back
10/11
Shimano shaped the Unzen to fit comfortabl on the back
Stretchy side pockets keep snacks within easy reach
11/11
Stretchy side pockets keep snacks within easy reach

Shimano is one of the most well known names in cycling thanks to a component line that appears on bicycles around the world. The company is determined to appear on bicycle riders as well. Its new Unzen hydration pack line rethinks pack design in an effort to make it less restrictive and more comfortable.

The main feature that separates Unzen hydration packs from competitor offerings is the Rider Fit Cross Harness. Typical backpack straps loop straight around your shoulders and underams, a route that Shimano says can restrict the pectoral muscles actively used during mountain biking.

The Rider Fit Cross Harness re-routes the shoulder straps so that they meet on the chest. Shimano says that running them across the center of the pectoral muscles eliminates restriction and empowers more aggressive off-road riding. The harness is fully adjustable, letting you get a snug, personalized fit.

The configuration of the straps eliminates the need for a waist strap, which Shimano says promotes freer breathing. By pulling the straps out from under the arms, the design also aims to keep the underarms cooler and drier.

The pack itself is designed with what Shimano calls ACCU3D technology, which aims to create an ergonomic shape that hugs the body and limits bouncing and rustling. The 3D design also raises the center of the pack up off the body to promote air circulation and cooling.

Other Unzen features include a stretchy body that expands around its contents, a side zipper for quick access and a felt-lined pocket for storing sensitive items. The pack comes with a Hydrapak water reservoir that uses an open clipped top, making it reversible for cleaning.

Shimano's system certainly sounds interesting, but after years of mountain biking with a regular hydration pack, I can't say I have ever felt all that restricted by the shoulder straps. I think a full head-to-head comparison would really be necessary to identify the Rider Fit Cross Harness as superior to standard shoulder strap systems.

The Unzen is part of a greater bag line that Shimano announced earlier this year. It will be hitting the market in the coming weeks in several different sizes.

Source: Shimano

3 comments
The Hoff
I wish they had put more thought into filling it. Source Universal Tap is the best system so far but you still have to fill a bottle, then attach it, and then hold it up while it fills. When someone comes up with a better way the rest of them will have to pay them to sell it. How about a second short fat tube that can stick up out of the bag that is just for filling but then tucks into the bag. Anyone have a better idea?
TheSplund
A pair of nice wide mouthed 75cl bottle is probably the quickest things on earth to fill and load onto a bike. I appreciate that this only gives you 1.5l of fluid capacity but you also don't have to wear a backpack. Bring back the saddle bag I say - it'll keep you cooler and lowers your centre of balance.
nigeatsolarbusiness
Nice work Shimano but a little slow Kriega developed a cross body harness backpack for motorcyclists some years ago which is incredible; mine is 5 years old and still going strong. I can honestly say regular backpacks feel totally awkward and unfomfortable now.