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review

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack

8
£130.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Excellent build quality and durability, with loads of features, though the chest/shoulder straps could be better
Very rugged
Plenty of options for additional external storage
Stable and comfortable to carry
Expensive
Some issues with shoulder strap comfort
Weight: 
1,580g
Contact: 

The Muc-Off Lab.94 Ride Pack is a well-considered and impressively rugged rucksack with enough volume for a daily commute and flexibility for more thanks to additional external options. It's a bit pricey but should last for years.

Produced by king of bike cleaning, Muc-Off, the Ride Pack is a 20-litre rucksack with a roll-top closure and oodles of technical features. The main roughly rectangular section has a few internal organiser pockets for bits and bobs and a Velcro fastening tab at the top as well as the roll-top and clip closure.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy this online here

It gives enough storage for a day's commuting kit (shoes at a push), and also comes with a decent quality removable laptop sleeve that will take a 15-inch laptop. 

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - laptop sleeve.jpg
Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - laptop sleeve inside.jpg

Thanks to this design, and the tough and durable nature of the 1,000 Denier Teflon-treated Cordura, it's a very water-resistant pack, although if the weather is as bad as bad can be, there's a waterproof cover squirrelled away in a pocket at the base.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - rain cover.jpg

It's reflective, too.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - rain cover reflective.jpg

In addition to the main compartment, the pack has numerous options for extra storage, thanks to military style webbing straps and optional extra packs and pouches available from Muc-Off. Since the webbing follows the military MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) standard design, it's possible to buy pouches and extras from third party stockists. I found an external pouch to be particularly handy for tools and the like, and very easy to fasten to the bag securely.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - webbing.jpg

As well as key pockets on the waist strap…

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - strap pocket.jpg

…there are two soft-lined pockets externally accessible on the sides, also closed with waterproof zips, one with a key-ring in it. Both are notionally 'device' or 'phone' pockets, but not quite big enough for one of the modern, slightly larger smartphones, particularly if you keep your phone in a protective case of any bulk.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - side pocket.jpg

Running the width of the pack at the bottom is another pocket, this one well sized for tools or wash kit or other accessories, again with a waterproof zip.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - front pocket.jpg

In the centre of the MOLLE webbing is a small Velcro-closed pocket designed to hold a lightweight Hiplok FLX cable-lock, but this pocket isn't really big enough to hold much else securely. The webbing straps do secure a D-lock nicely too.

> Beginner’s guide to cycling luggage – how to carry stuff on your bike

To top off the carrying options, there are webbing straps on the bottom to which extra stuff can be lashed, like a waterproof jacket maybe. Overall, there are more organisational and storage options than you can shake a stick at.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - front pocket zip.jpg

The bag has a faux-military style to it beyond just the webbing straps, with an urban camo grey and black pattern and a Velcro patch on the back for a 'morale' patch, a rectangular attachable statement of the individuality of the user, designed around the patches on military uniforms to allow for name-plates, unit identifiers or national flags to be attached.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - velcro patch.jpg

Muc-off supplies three with the bag to give you a choice, but many more options are available from third-party suppliers should the mood take you.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - patches.jpg

Between the main body of the rucksack and the harness is a separate, insulated compartment for housing a hydration bladder and/or back protector (both of which Muc-Off supplies as optional extras).

> Buyer’s Guide: 17 of the best cycling rucksacks

The insulation seems a little surplus to requirements and contributes to the rucksack, empty, being a little heavier than necessary. However, this compartment is nice if you use a bladder, and effectively provides another option for storing a laptop, albeit without the padded sleeve. This compartment is secured by a waterproof zip that extends around a full three sides of the bag, meaning it can be opened fully to allow easy access.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - sleeve for hydration pack.jpg

The back panel is vented, as are the harness straps, to make the rucksack more comfortable to wear.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - back mesh.jpg

The harness is pretty comfortable, with soft padding in the straps, a chest strap and a (removable) waist strap. A minor niggle is that while the chest strap is adjustable in height, the webbing it attaches to is itself only attached to the shoulder straps at two locations, quite far apart, so these webbing sections can deform and pull together as you tighten the chest-strap. The straps also have a tendency to bend to intrude on the chest area.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - chest strap.jpg

The removable waist strap is very comfortable, and I continued to use it as it definitely helped stabilise the bag on the back. .

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - waist strap.jpg

In use, the bag was very comfortable. With light loads, it flexed with the back and almost felt like it wasn't there. With heavier loads, it was more noticeable – but the load was held close to the back and stable, so caused no discomfort even on longer rides. The slightly flexible back panel helped with comfort levels on a stretched-out road bike as well as on a more upright commuter, tourer or mountain bike.

Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack - side.jpg

Price-wise, it's definitely at the expensive end of the spectrum, although in the same ballpark as some similar recently tested packs such as the Shimano Tokyo 23 at £119.99, and the Braasi Industries Webbing 18 at £105, but the Muc-Off's rugged build makes cost per wear better value than it would initially seem. It's a bit more versatile than either the Shimano or Braasi, too.

Verdict

Excellent build quality and durability, with loads of features, though the chest/shoulder straps could be better

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Muc-Off LAB.94 The Ride Pack

Size tested: 20 litres

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?

Designed to be a technical cycling-specific pack, but also doubling as a commuter and lifestyle pack.

Muc-Off says, "Introducing the ultimate ride pack for your life on the move. Designed and build to protect and serve you in the toughest riding environments, the LAB.94 Ride Pack is the result of 100's of hours of rider input, testing and painstaking R&D work.

"This pack doesn't stop performing at the end of your ride. Its modular design means you can seamlessly slide out the back protector and hydration system and add in the flight friendly laptop/tablet protection sleeve and your pack is instantly transformed into the ultimate commuter/life pack. The military grade Molle system also means you can rapidly attach other packs from our series to increase its storage capability. The roll top design also means you can all of the 20 Litre storage whist maintaining a slim line aesthetic, all while staying cool and comfortable thanks to our LAB air conditioning system which ensures constant air flow to all critical contact points.

"What ever you can throw at it, our Ride Pack has you covered."

Manages to straddle these two genres nicely.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Muc-Off lists:

Drying hook

Roll top security clips1000 Denier Teflon coated Cordura® fully modular daypack for expandable storage

Helmet carry loops

Adjustable and removable hip straps

Adjustable external storage straps

Waterproof rain cover compartment

Easy access front storage pocket

Military 'Molle' attachment system

Hiplok® FLX compartment

Ventilated shoulder straps with hydration clip

Adjustable chest straps

Shoulder strap adjustment

Padded waist protection

Rear panel with climate control system for riding comfort in all climates.

Side key/money pockets in hip band

Adjustable tension strap

Microfibre lined sunglass/tech pockets

20L Storage capacity

Insulated hydration compartment for systems up to 3L

Removable protective 15' laptop/tablet Pocket sleeve

Velcro® reflective omnitape

YKK waterproof zips

Reflective rain cover

Internal pump storage

Length 45 x Width 35 x Depth 10 cm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Bombproof tough fabric and components built to last.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Comfortable, secure, stable and effective.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The tough nature of the fabric and components suggest this bag should last for years.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10

Fairly heavy for its size, but this is down to the rugged nature of the fabric and materials and the insulated lining.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

Contours well to the back in use, even in a stretched-out road bike position (without the optional back protector panel), and hip/waist belt is comfortable. The shoulder straps and harness could be better shaped – these have a tendency to dig into the chest a little when the chest belt is fastened.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

£130 is quite a lot of money for a rucksack but this is extremely tough and durable so cost per wear should be low (it should last for years). It's versatile too, good for urban or travel use as well as cycling.

If you buy third party accessory pouches etc rather than Muc-Off's own then that could reduce the possible outlay.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Performed very well indeed and has quickly become a favourite commuting pack.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Volume, stability, comfort, versatility of both internal and additional storage pouch attachment options.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Cost, contouring of shoulder straps.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Definitely at the expensive end of the spectrum, although in the same ballpark as some similar recently tested packs like the Shimano Tokyo 23 and the Braasi Industries Webbing 18, but the rugged build makes cost per wear better value than it would initially seem.

It's a bit more versatile than either the Shimano or Braasi, too.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably. If the friend was well-heeled and looking for a bombproof do-it-all pack.

Use this box to explain your overall score

A well-made and extremely well-featured pack, good for commuting and other cycling, as well as general urban use. Comfortable and effective, with plenty of storage, though the shoulder straps and harness aren't quite perfect.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling. 

Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other. 

She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting. 

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