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Subtle changes have turned the latest version of the Pro-Viz hi Visibility Rucksack into an extremely capable bag cum safety aid for commuting, utility riding and less extreme mountain biking. To be fair the original version was pretty good but better internal organisation now includes a dedicated laptop pouch, wallet and phone pockets leaving more room for a change of clothes and other, everyday essentials which adds to the useability. As do the inclusion of sternum straps and a hydration bladder caddy making it an option for mountain bikers or road racers whose commuting doubles as training.
Made from water resistant rip-stop polyester, the retina scorching yellow is tempered by grey panelling and mesh pockets. Common to the brand's pannier cover, the electric blue luminescent strips are limited to the triangular section, which also house the small battery pack. Thoughtfully, this simply unclips from the main bag, meaning it can be machine washed when things start looking grubby.
Opening the zippers rewards with a series of sensibly proportioned sub compartments. Coming from a diet of luxurious messenger satchels, these feel distinctly low rent but keep keys, wallets, cards, patch kits etc tidy while the mesh pockets running shotgun either side are perfect for spare lights, energy bars and other useful overspill. Like its predecessor, 28litres sees efficient packing achieve an A4 folder, change of clothes, spare tubes, small frame-fit pump and a U lock without feeling over burdened thanks to the heavily padded shoulder straps and back panel.
Five miles or so at a steady 20 mph with the mercury nudging a moderate nineteen degrees induced a very pronounced damp patch across my shoulders and lower back. However, despite being laden to the brim, the newly introduced sternum straps greatly eliminate sway when powering away from the lights or honking on the climbs and it's never proved restrictive when glancing over my shoulder or performing sharp turns in congested traffic. Speaking of which, the electro-luminescent technology doesn't seem quite so potent as it's predecessor-although most traffic acknowledged me to a maximum distance of 150 yards. Torrential downpours have made negligible impression on the fabric, contents or electrics but I'd still be inclined to pack a bin-liner just in case.
Practical bag cum safety aid with applications beyond commuting.
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Make and model: Proviz Hi Visibility Rucksack
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"New and updated light-emitting rucksack
Includes our unique and removable battery powered, light-emitting system" I would describe the rucksack as "commuter plus" in the sense it meets the needs of those unable to fit/ not wanting the encumbrance of rack and panniers yet hardy enough for light mountain biking too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Unique airflow system to help keep your back cool
Manufactured in fluorescent yellow rip-stop nylon
Reflective logos for added visibility
Chest strap for added security and stability
Hydration bladder compatible
2 AA batteries required
Seems hardy enough for occasional trail riding too.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
There's no doubting this year's model is a marked improvement over it's predecessor thanks to sensible compartments and detachable electrics. For moderate commutes-say around five to ten miles, comfort isn't too much of an issue but hammering along at race pace results in the usual sweat patches. However, the fabric seems hardy enough for occasional cross country mtb/cross fun and the sternum straps pretty much eliminate annoying sway. It's also got to be said that not everyone is going to put the hammer down as much as me plus of course some of us run hotter than others.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very little to dislike given the asking price and it's nice to see Proviz have listened to and moreover, acted upon feedback.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, although the internal compartments felt a little low rent.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Generally speaking, yes
Age: 37 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)