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The Evoc FR Enduro Team is one of the lightest backpacks with integrated back protector in the wide range from Evoc backpacks, while still maintaining most of the features. Going over the lineup you’ll see that the differences between these backpacks aren’t that big. Looking specifically at enduro backpacks, which are the Enduro, Enduro Team and Enduro Blackline, you’ll see that the differences get even smaller. Over the standard Enduro model the FR Enduro Team features additionally a hip belt pocket and stronger branding on the backpack. The Blackline model has improved ventilation over the Team model and also features a flexible hip belt.
Now that the differences are clear it’s time to look at the features of the FR Enduro Team. Starting from the outside you have possibility to strap a full face helmet to the backpack or alternatively store your XC helmet. At the bottom you find a hidden zipper that exposes two straps that you can use for your knee and elbow and protectors. The sternum strap is height adjustable and the buckle doubles as whistle. On the right shoulder you find a hydration clip which can also be switched to the other side. The wide hip belt has a Velcro strap combined with a buckle and features the small hip belt pocket.
The top pocket has a soft lining suited for your sunglasses but also a clip for your keys. This compartment is just big enough to put even your goggles in it. The whole front flap can be completely folded down, keeping everything stored in the flap in place with closeable storage pockets. This also gives easy access to the tool compartment with numerous other pockets to keep everything organized. Inside the main compartment you have a pocket for a 3-liter hydration bladder and the Liteshield back protector installed behind it. This still leaves enough room for a jacket, other extra clothing, spare tubes and other stuff you want to take along for the ride.
The complete backpack including back protector but without hydration bladder comes in at around 1150gr which is 100gr more than the clamed weight of 1050gr. The LiteShield back protector by itself weighs 162gr which is just a small weight penalty and comparable to bringing an extra banana on your ride. The FR Enduro Team is priced at € 170 retail and the quite similar regular enduro and the blackline are priced at € 160 and € 180 retail. Note that the backpack does come with a hydration bladder and can set you back another € 20-40.
Anyone can put the label back protector on something but that doesn’t really mean anything unless it’s tested and certified. Only this way you can expect a certain level of protection. The LiteShield back protector in the FR Enduro Team is EN 1621-2 certified what seems good, but let’s quickly go over what this means.
The EN 1621-2 is a standard that states the requirements and testing methods for motorcyclists back protectors. There isn’t a specific standard for mountain bikers this comes close enough to be significant.
The important function of a back protector is to reduce the forces of an impact so that the residual forces that are transferred to your back are kept to a minimum. The EN 1621-2 defines 2 levels of protection and are based on those residual forces which in this case are a result of specific tests. In one of the main tests a weight of 5kg that falls from 1m height on specific parts of the back protector. If the average residual force is below 18kN the backprotector complies to level 1, If its average is below 9kN complies to the higher level of protection; level 2.
Evoc states that their LiteShield back protector achieves in these tests a residual force of 9,75kN which is close to level 2 but it is well within the level 1 requirements.
Evoc includes their Liteshield and Liteshield Air back protectors in their crash replacement program. This usually mean that you can buy a replacement at reduced cost but Evoc will send you a new Liteshield back protector if after inspection it does need replacement at no extra charge.
ON THE TRAILS
When riding with the FR Enduro Team it quickly becomes clear that it’s a stable backpack. The low profile and the large contact area of the Enduro Team definitely contribute to this. With a full face helmet on the backpack you would expect that it pushes the backpack from side to side in the corners, but this is not the case. You can even hardly tell the difference between a full face helmet or just packing your backpack a bit heavier. On rough terrain, you will notice minor instability with a full face helmet but with a much lighter xc helmet this is not the case.
The straps for your knee and elbow protectors are easy for quick access. However, they tend to loosen a bit during a long ride. I would recommend putting the straps through the loops of the protector if possible.
With the large number of pockets it’s easy keeps everything well organized and it’s easy accessible so you can quickly get something out of your backpack and continue your ride again.
The backpack has a wide hip belt, which in my opinion could be a little smaller to improve comfort. But the overall comfort of this backpack is great. Only in hotter circumstances, 30 degrees Celsius and up, is where the large contact area and somewhat lack of ventilation causes it to be somewhat hot on your back. And these two points happened to be somewhat addressed in the FR Enduro Blackline with improved ventilation and a flexible hip belt to improve comfort.
The Evoc FR Enduro Team is a versatile and feature rich backpack suited (but not limited to) enduro. One of the main features is the integrated back protector that, at just a small weight penalty of 162gr, can protect your back and reduce the chance of serious back injuries. The backpack itself features 16L of well-organized storage space. On the outside of the bag you can mount your XC or full-face helmet and knee- and elbow protection. Inside you find lots of pockets with some of them conveniently closeable. The large compartment allows you to store more various bigger things, this is also where the removeable back protector and the hydration bladder reside. The bladder is not included.
On the trails it performs like a backpack should, largely unnoticeable. It’s stable and not that heavy with an empty weight of about 1150gr. Fully packed it still performs really well due to the large contact area and its low profile. The Evoc FR Enduro Team is hard to fault feature wise and the points that I have are minor and from a more personal perspective. I found the hip belt a little too wide for my liking and it tends to get hot during rides above 30 degrees Celsius.
What’s left is the price and at €170 retail the Evoc FR Enduro Team its quite expensive and for that price you still have to buy a hydration bladder which adds another 20-40 euros. But this does mean you can use your existing bladder or chose one you like. Don’t forget that the FR Enduro comes with an integrated back protector. Buying a back protector separately would cost about €100, looking at it this way the €170 for this backpack seems a lot more reasonable. The excellent quality of the Evoc FR Enduro team, the convenient features and the certified back protector make this a nearly complete backpack that is very well suited for enduro racing and versatile enough to fit other styles of riding.
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