I never considered backpacks for protection until running across the Alpinestars’ Protection Pack. An easily removable CE certified back protector slots into an external pocket allowing it to snugly bend around the spine without any discomfort. When buckled, side armor adds additional protection, a feature I discovered first hand after hitting the deck in a slow canyon corner as mentioned in the June issue. The bag took some scuffing but stayed intact.
From a storage standpoint, it also hits the mark. The separate laptop compartment is a good place to store paper items that would otherwise be smashed amongst heavier items like shoes or a tire plug kit in the main compartment. I’ve maxed it out to the point it felt like I was lugging around a glacial rock and the hump design still kept a degree of aero when riding—it’s not the most aero option out there but it performs well at speed. My one notable complaint is the wide-set shoulder straps. Unless the bag is uncomfortably tightened there have been instances when one of the straps slipped off my shoulder. The bag has never come off but it could benefit from straps that are placed more vertically on top of the bag. Thousands of travel miles later and this bag definitely held up. I recommend it for the everyday rider or the weekend canyon carver who has free cash to spend.