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Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op's range of Stow rucksacks have been around for a few years now and are much loved by the two wheeled community. This Stow Expert is the biggest of the family, with a capacity of 25 litres and an extra 5 litres available at the tug of a zip. It shares the excellent Aeroflex frame system with its little brothers and that guarantees a less sweaty back than your bog standard backpack, plus you don't get poked in the back by awkward loads.
First impressions are that this is a very busy looking bag with more zips and straps than a fetish fan's rubber trousers. I'm not a huge fan of compression straps on backpacks, with small loads sitting close to your back they aren't really necessary and just add extra complication and expense. The many zips conceal a healthy number of pockets, so your stuff can be neatly stored. Just keep a note of which pocket you've put everything in or you'll be spending an age looking for it. You also get two mesh side pockets, which are just about reachable on the move. Ideal for keys, passcards, cereal bars and loose change.
It's obvious that this bag has been designed specifically for use on the bike. Not only do you get the Aeroflex harness, you also get lots of other bike friendly touches, like reflective logos and piping, a built in rain cover, a separate helmet harness with attachment points, an exit hole for a drinks bladder and a loop for a rear light. The latter puts the light in exactly the right place once you're on the bike, but exactly the wrong place when you drop the bag on the floor. Any other position would compromise the value of a supplementary bag-mounted light, but it's something to be careful of.
It's a cool looking bag in black and grey ripstop fabric with subtle reflective Edinburgh Co-op logos. It isn't waterproof but did a decent job of resisting a prolonged downpour and if you get caught out there's always the built in rain cover.
Everything you would want from a cycling specific backpack.
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Make and model: Revolution Stow Expert 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?
According to Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op - "The Stow Expert, our biggest rucsac, is recommended for self-sufficient awaydays on the bike." If you want a comfortable long distance daybag then this does the job nicely.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lots of tech for your cash. The Aeroflex frame keeps your back clear of the bag and is adjustable for size via a sturdy velcro strap at the base. The Ripstop fabric is light, tough and water resistant. You also get reflective piping and logos plus a light loop.
It's made for Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op by Vaude, well known for making quality luggage. Build quality is tight, with no loose threads or saggy stitching and nothing feels cheap or compromised.
Very good. It's a very comfortable bag for long rides.
Feels well made and should last.
The sprung frame adds weight, but not much and the lightweight material used on the rest of the bag compensates. It tips the scales at just over a kilo (1100g).
Mostly it's good. The main selling point is the sprung frame which sits nicely on your back, allowing air to circulate. I did find the padding on the waist straps a bit intrusive though.
You get a lot of features for your money and the build quality is excellent.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very good. It's comfortable although the deep and narrow main compartment isn't ideal if you are the kind of commuter who needs to do some shopping on the way home.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Sprung frame keeps your back nicely ventilated. Some really nice touches, like the built in rain cover and the helmet net. I really liked the purposeful but understated looks too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The main compartment is deep, narrow and compromised by the Aeroflex frame, which makes access to your stuff a little awkward and means that it's not ideal if, say, you need to do a load of shopping on the way home. The light loop is almost underneath the bag, not so great if you forget and drop the bag. I'm not convinced that all of the straps are really necessary either.
In fairness these are all niggles rather than serious faults.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Well thought out and designed bag.
Age: 40 Height: 5\' 8 Weight: er....86kg
I usually ride: GT Rave - singlespeed conversion My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
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: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,