Dueter have over a century’s experience in the manufacturing of bags, since their humble beginnings making post sacks in Augsburg German. The company began to develop backpacks in 1919 and in the late 60’s the company developed the first range of Nylon backpacks. Now, the Dueter product range extends across sleeping bags, hiking backpacks, business luggage and most importantly for us – cycle rucksacks. The Dueter Race rucksacks feature 3 models – the Race EXP Air, the Race X and the Race, which is the model we’ve been testing. Despite being the smallest bags in the range the Race has a lot to offer.
The Dueter Race range of are made from a combination of Hexlite Nylon and Dueter’s Ripstop 210 denier woven Nylon. In essence, this not only makes the Race rucksack lightweight, but also very strong. The 10litre version we have been using weighs a claimed 520g. The shoulder straps and back panel features Deuters Airstripes system. The back has two curved, ‘knobbly’ foam panels covered in AirMesh. These are designed to reduce the amount of contact between the bag and the riders back and also provides a channel for increased airflow.
The shoulder straps and waist-belt strap are made made from a tough 3D mesh which makes them incredibly breathable. The shoulder straps have an anatomical shape to provide maximum comfort in any riding position. There is a chest strap that is adjustable in both height and tightness across the chest. This is designed to provide a more secure and comfortable fit.
Despite its compact dimensions which measure 43H x 23W x 16D (cm) – the Deurter Race features plenty storage pockets. The main 10 litre compartment has a small net, zip pocket which is ideal for essentials that you don’t need to access in a hurry – like a wallet or cash. Hidden at the back of the main compartment there is a clever rear pocket that allows those who want to, a place to put a hydration insert system with the ability to feed the tube out through the top of the bag. The top of the bag has a zip pocket that is good for carrying a wallet or mobile phone. There are two mesh side pockets, but these are an awkward shape and size and don’t really seem to fit much in. We found them quite useful for putting gloves in or a cap case it rains. The front of the rucksack has a vertical zip pocket which has a small clip which is great for holding keys. One of the features that we really like about this rucksack is the small zip compartment at the bottom which hides a detachable, hi-viz waterproof rain cover. This is simple to remove for cleaning and is held to the back with a toggle and loop. However, despite the convenience of it, once out of its compartment, it is not the easiest this to put back as the pocket is very small.
We have been using Deuter Race Rucksack for a little while now and mainly on commutes. It’s size means that you are not going to get a full change of clothes in and/or pair of shoes in the bag – but that isn’t really what this rucksack is designed for. Instead, we found that to use the rucksack on a daily basis you need to be prepared and plan in advance. For us, this meant taking a change of clothes into the office at the start of the week in a lager bag. That being said, the Deuter Race rucksack is great for carrying the day to day essentials. We found that a packed lunch, towel, toiletries, and a note book fit nicely. The rear storage pocket also doubles up nicely as a place to carry a 10 inch mobile tablet. On the first couple of rides, the rucksack felt a little too small on the back. Deuter call this their ‘ShortBack System’. In actual fact we found this increased comfort and put less pressure on he lower back. One of the most favourable things about the Race rucksack is its shoulder straps. Despite their unusual, minimalist construction, they are very comfortable. This is in part thanks to their anatomic shape which means they curve under the arms and away from the body. They are also incredibly breathable. Traditional backpacks that have (foam) padded shoulder straps tend to absorb sweat. Even washing them regularly, they can become smelly from bacteria build up. However, Deuter seem to have understood this and come up with something that works very well.
Deuter Race Rucksack review conclusion
The Deuter Race Rucksack is a very good and very usable little bag. Its size will put some riders off, there is no doubt about that. In particular those who need to carry a lot either to work or on a weekend cycling break. But for those who are able to forward plan or don’t need a backpack the size of a small suitcase for they day, this is a great little bag. Its well made from technical materials, making it both lightweight (depending on contents) and robust. Most of the pockets are well thought out and nicely placed. Although the side pockets are ‘limited’ for want of a better word. It really feels like Deuter have thought about a riders needs with this backpack and little details like a hidden clip for keys, reflective detail and a detachable, hi-viz rain cover (that is waterproof), take it over and above being ‘just another backpack’. Not to mention the well ventilated shoulder straps and AirStripes system. Available in black, fire-red or turquoise colour options, the Race rucksack does come at a price. The RRP is £50 which, for a back of it’s size is not cheap. But you are paying for the quality. At the time of this review Wiggle, Evans Cycles and Chain Reaction Cycles all have the bag discounted.
Although its compact size won't suit every cyclist - the Race rucksack is a very well made and thought out backpack that offers enough storage compartments and features for the well-prepared commuter or the weekend adventurer.