Long a dominant player in bicycle components, Shimano is now extending its reach into softgoods. For 2013, Shimano will have four styles of cycling bags: a hydration pack, two day packs and a messenger bag.
True to Shimano's corporate culture, the bags seem to have been designed for function over flash.
BikeRadar had a chance to try out the 25-liter $110 Osaka messenger bag. (A 35-liter Osaka bag will also be available for $120.) We did a few rides with a laptop and a camera — including two hours in the rain — and came away impressed.
The padded shoulder strap has a cool quick-adjust feature that tightens down for a high-set riding position or loosens to take it off over a helmet. There is also a big buckle on the shoulder strap to disengage completely.
A stabilizing strap keeps the bag firmly in place while riding, and ample padding on the back panel does its job.
Reflective piping is quite visible at night, and there is a loop for a light, too.
A 15in laptop fits snugly in a padded compartment
While the top cover and main exterior panels are waterproof — our laptop and camera stayed perfectly dry throughout rainstorms — the bottom section, or at least the seams, are not. We only noticed this after we hosed down the bag after a long rainy ride.
The 25-liter version has a padded laptop sleeve with a nice hand that fits a 15-inch laptop snugly. There is another sleeve for documents in the otherwise open main pouch. With a laptop in the bag, you can fit a helmet, just barely. (Yes, you should be wearing the helmet while using this bag - we're just giving you spacial context here.)
Style-wise, this is no Chrome or BaileyWorks bag. But it does seem to be a classic Shimano product — well-tested and quite functional.
Other bags include three sizes of the Unzen hydration pack ($90-$110) with a Hydrapak reservoir, the Rokko day pack ($70) and two sizes of the Tsukinist bike commuter bag ($100 and $120).
The Unzen hydration pack features connecting straps Shimano calls a Cross Harness