Ergon BP1 Protect Backpack – Review
When I was preparing for the summer trip to the Alps I started looking out for a great protection solution, or rather Mr Betty made me look for one. I wanted to make sure that when I started going fast downhill I would not end up with a serious injury. I already own a pair of knee pads, helmet and elbow pads so I had the limbs and the brain bit covered, but I was worried about spinal injuries.
Once again Ergon came to my rescue with the BP1 back protector backpack. The tagline for the Ergon BP1 is “less risk, more fun”, which incidentally is why I added the slip mat to the shower recently. It is a very minimal backpack with a removable back protector (BP100) built in. The backpack is minimal but It features a hydration bladder, space for a few tools and maybe some food. If you are familiar with Ergon’s products then you will expect innovative solutions.
Quite how they have got so much into a small space is beyond me. I like the side pockets on the wrap around belt and the tiny “key compartment” which is great for lift passes. The solutions for the storage were smart, I even managed to fit the jawbone from my Giro Switchblade, which on first impressions I didn’t think would be possible.
The BP100 back protector is approved for UCI Enduro races and it can protect to a force of 13.5 kN, which I do not think with my speeds I would be able to generate. Whilst the BP100 offers a lot of protection it does not hinder movement too much, this is down to the use of flexible materials. Very importantly, you can adjust where the protector sits on your back, as the 5-fold length adjustment makes sure, that you can position the protector correctly for your height.
Apart from the length adjustments riders can also tighten the backpack with arm straps and with an adjustable waist belt. The waist belt sits in a good place and hugs you well to make sure it does not slip when jumping (or slightly lifting your wheel, not even two). The real selling point of the BP1 is that it sits very secure on your back and is not prone to moving or shifting the weight around. For example if you start descending and throw your weight back, or go over a jump, you won’t find the Ergon BP1 hitting you in the back of the head. The only thing I was not very fond of with the fastenings is that the rough velcro sits on top against the skin, and was rubbing against my (brand new!) jersey, leaving it bobbled after just one ride. Not a major gripe in the grand scheme of things.
There are a few finishing touches I would love to see on new versions of the BP1. This ranges from the simple; like rubberized ends to the zips to stop them jangling and leaving you thinking you have a mechanical all the time, to better air circulation between the backpack and the rider. To date it feels like other manufacturers like Camelbak and Osprey have made greater strides with increasing air flow between pack and rider. Finally I would like to see a more permanent method for clipping a helmet (or a part of a helmet) to the BP1, one that involves a buckle or clip ideally to ensure your beloved helmet doesn’t break free at any point. That said the BP1 is Ergon’s first foray into the world of back protector / pack combos and there is no doubt Ergon will improve the BP1 in the coming years.
Overall the BP1 is a great backpack for a short ride at the bike park or an enduro race where you need to ride light. These days if I am entering a race or heading out for a more gravity-focussed ride I reach for the Ergon BP1 as I know it wont let me down or cause me to lose my balance or position. This is not an adventure backpack, the amount of things you can take with you is very limited, although if you are anything like me you are prone to carry everything but the kitchen sink. That said, you can fit the essentials and carry a big item like a pump or part of a detachable helmet. If you are looking for back protection with a simple and understated bag, and vast amounts of adjustability, then the Ergon BP1 is definitely worth considering.
September 5, 2017