The dhb Slice 25 litre rucksack is the beautiful offspring of a passionate tryst between commuter bag and hydration pack. Yes, I liked it.
A sleek profile and clever design means it tracks seamlessly with the rider without detracting from a frisky road bike's character en-route to the office or on day rides, while also doubling as a capable trail companion too. Ditch the (optional) hydration bladder, and it will entertain small tablet computers along with a change of clothes, shoes, lock, stationery and other bike/ridr/commuter essentials.
A hardy 600denier nylon/polyester mix mightn't set pulses racing but covers all the bases in terms of price, durability and weather proofing. Splashes of day glow and Scotchlite bring the otherwise ultra practical black to life in low light/under vehicle headlights and the sturdy LED tab is perfectly positioned for maximum effect when hunkered low on the drops. Thoughtfully, there's also a neon yellow rain cover secreted in the base that adds extra visibility on foggy days if you need it.
The outermost compartment is ideally given to mini pumps/Co2 inflators/patch kits/spare tubes and multi-tools. The next one in is fleece lined and a good place to stash smart phones, GPS units and other valuable gadgetry - ours managed a compact system camera with 18-55mm lens
Elasticated zipper tags open and close the smaller compartments easily wearing gloved hands but I much preferred the chunky rubberised affair that did the job for the main compartment. Flanked by a sleeve pouch for hydration bladder, there's plenty of room in here for commuter/ride essentials and a bit more. The side of the pack featrues mesh pockets with elasticated collars cater energy bars and other generic overspill.
Broad shoulder, sternum and waist straps with intelligent padding keep heavier loads under control, whether you're charging along bridlepath, powering up the climbs or snaking through those lines of stationary traffic on the way to work.
The waist staps feature nifty pockets for keys, change, mobile phone and cards hidden from artful dodgers, yet close to hand, while a labyrinth of similarly well-executed pockets optimise the 25 litre capacity. That's extra useful because not everyone uses rucksack waist belts, a fact recognised by dhb who've made the one on the Slice removable.
The Slice is designed to sit lower on your back with tailored padding adding even greater comfort, that lower position gives more efficient airflow without compromising over the shoulder checks, better still the Slice incorporates an air channel between your back and the main part of the pack so reducing the risk of finishing a ride with a wet back.
Torrential downpours and malicious attack from overhanging brambles have made negligible impression on fabric and contents over the past few weeks of testing, and I would expect it to survive several years of hard use before retirement.
Innovative and well thought out rucksack that transcends road and mountain bike genres beautifully - an absolute bargain.
road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Slice 25L Rucksack
Size tested: Black/Green
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?
"The middle brother of the dhb SLICE pack family. This mid-sized, 25L pack is suited for riding the trails or commuting when you wish to carry a decent amount of gear. This pack option includes 2L Hydration Bladder".
Does just this and very well.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Air mesh channel back system
Dual density foam harness with anatomical shape
Main Zip entry compartment
Internal sleeve for 2-Litre hydration bladder
Fleece lined top zip pocket for valuables
Lower front tool zip pocket with internal elastic retainers
Stretch mesh side pockets - with elastic loop retainers
Reflective web light loop
Reflective print details
Elasticated, adjustable chest strap
Removable mesh hip belt with pockets
YKK external zippers
600D + Nylon Ripstop fabric
Lime green rain cover
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The slice 25 is one of those products that comes along and genuinely crosses both commuting and mtb genres with nominal compromise. Inteligent use of space and design means it neither feels over burdoned, nor burdensome on longer outings-although obviously, anything worn against the body will eventually induce mild discomfort and/or feel sweaty.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Inteligent layout, solid construction and improved airflow compared with standard rucksacks.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing of note.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 38 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)