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MBACTION.COM Review: Shimano Unze 4L Hydration Pack

Shimano is known for producing many incredible products. Everything from top-tier drivetrains to decades of pedal perfection. One thing you probably didn’t know they make…hydration packs. The newest revamp of the $90 Shimano Unze enduro race pack, is aimed at the enduro racer. One of those products that is designed to work spot-on for a specific rider, yet may not be very applicable for many others. Nothing wrong with that…simply made for riders with specific needs on race day.IMGL9606

Though it may seem like a small detail, the nifty sunglasses loop on one of the chest straps provides a simple solution for an equally basic problem. No longer did we bear through fogged up glasses on the climb simply because we didn’t want to take the time to pack our glasses away. One hand attachment and removal was a breeze. Looking to have a gel packet within reach? The other harness strap offers a mesh pocket that has you covered. IMGL9619

The minimalistic 4-liter storage is great for racers who need to carry a limited amount of gear, without additional weight or wasted space. The mesh pockets enabled us to find a home for each of our essential items, including a tube, tire levers, CO2 kit and energy gel or bar. No need for additional zippers or other luxuries in the storage area, since this would solely be our race-day pack. IMGL9618

On the outside of the pack, is a mesh pocket designed to hold any standard water bottle. This is an easy way to keep the setup slimmed down for the rider who prefers to hydrate only when taking breaks or prior to a climbing transfer stage. While a bladder isn’t included in the purchase, a Hydrapak reservoir can be bought separately and is fully compatible with the pack for those who prefer a bladder. We typically stuck with the water bottle though, for its ease of filling and ability to hold drink mixes. IMGL9616

While this is the limited edition black/yellow color scheme, it can also be purchased in a black/lightning blue offering. Its top pocket provides a soft lining that won’t damage phone screens or sunglasses. There isn’t a separate key organizer in the top pocket, but hopefully you aren’t carrying keys with you on race day. The top straps can loose up to allow room for a helmet, while the bottom straps are designed to hold protective knee and elbow pads. Many enduro races now require riders to wear their helmets on the climbs too, but this compartment can also be used to hold a rain shell that is only needed for a chilly descent. IMGL9610The X-Harness provided plenty of adjustment and allowed the pack to fit every rider who tried it on. Velcro makes everything in life a little easier and that still applies to this harness system. Readjusting could even be done while riding if the initial setup wasn’t snug enough. However, we did have an issue with the pack sliding around on our back regardless of how much we tightened down the harness. It would stay in place while standing stationary or climbing, but had a tendency to creep up on our back and bounce a bit through rowdy descents.

IMGL9609Simple and aesthetically pleasing, the blue anodized buckle on the chest of the pack made for simple removal. Sure a traditional plastic buckle would work just as well, but why not switch it up with something different? When we first saw it, we thought it would come unbuckled after a good hit, but hey, we’ve been using it for months and it hasn’t accidentally opened up yet.



Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. You can start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345. Also available from the Apple Newsstand for reading on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

Contact us via email at mbaction@hi-torque.com


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