Osprey has designed a range of commuter/cycling packs that are loaded with great features.
Two of the most popular are the Osprey Radial and Momentum.
They are actually very similar backpacks in a lot of ways, but there are also a few big differences (including the price :>).
So, in this comparison review I am going to show you those main differences, why they matter and also what is the same on both.
26L and 34L
26L and 32L
26L - 3.02 lb
34L - 3.32 lb
26L - 2.38 lb
32L - 2.67 lb
420D x 400D Nylon Dobby
420D x 400D Nylon Dobby
Airspeed Suspended Mesh
Airspace Back System
Front Stash Pocket
Kickstand (for upright stand)
Water Bottle Pockets
1 (on right)
2 (both sides) with Compression straps
Yes (with key pull)
Bike Light Slot
Separate Bottom Compartment
Yes (permanently divided from main compartment)
Front Extra Pocket
Yes - Dual side-zipper access
Black, Lava Red
Black, Orchard Green
Osprey Radial & Momentum - Main Differences
The first big difference that is worth mentioning is that harness back system.
- The Radial uses the Airspeed
- The Momentum uses Airspace
The Airspeed system creates a gap between the backpack and your back allowing for far more airflow - result: less sweat.
The Airspace has wicking material and some flow gaps but is nowhere near as effective.
Osprey has developed a cool new frame for their latest commuter backpacks called Kickstand.
The aim is to stop that annoying situation when you put your bag on the ground and it tips over! (Don't know about you, but happens to me all, the, time!)
With Kickstand, there are two extra (stiff) points of contact on the front of the bag that keep it upright in almost any situation.
You just put it down, and it does the rest.
Only the Radial comes with Kickstand.
Front Stash Pocket
Not a deal breaker by any means, the Radial series comes with a front stash pocket that you won't find on the Momentum packs.
This is a handy addition for a rain jacket or other thin piece of gear that you want to store and access quickly.
So, although these are very similar packs, the way your gear is stored and distributed might be a little different.
Radial: Extra Front Pocket
The Radial 34L (not 26L) also comes with an extra pocket on the front which is below the stash pocket and accessed via two vertical zippers.
This pocket could be used for things you want to get at quickly or just keep separate from your main gear. Perhaps you have some shoes (which as we all know ain't smelling of daisies) you could throw in there (for work / cycling).
You can see these pockets in the video below at the 4:55 mark.
Momentum: Bottom Compartment
The Momentum packs split the main compartment into two distinct sections.
There is the main part accessible via the big / main zipper at the top.
And a 1/3 compartment at the bottom, which is great for less often used gear like shoes or a rain jacket. (see video below at 2:10 - where you can see this bottom pocket)
The Radial differs here because it has one big main compartment instead.
Side Pockets & Compression Straps
The Momentum packs come with two large stretch side pockets which you could easily put a large water bottle in or even you bike lock.
There are also two zig-zag style compression straps along the sides to help hold things in these pockets or compress the bag in general.
The Radial packs on the other hand, come with only one elastic pocket and on the other side a hidden / small side pocket. This pocket is actually pretty handy as you can get to it while wearing the pack. So, perfect for your phone (in case someone calls while you are wearing it - I always miss such calls!) for even your keys. And, speaking of keys, there is a long elastic pull cord for your keys right in there!
Shared Features Worth Highlighting
There are a tonne of features on both these packs that are worth spending some time on. But, to save you a little time, I have summarized them below...
- Padded laptop compartment (at the rear for better load distribution)
- Large internal compartment with document holder and mesh pockets
- Top scratch-free pocket (great for phone, sunglasses etc)
- Front organization pocket (lots of mesh pockets for gear)
- Padded shoulder straps with elastic load holders (great for moving with you as you do sport/cycle)
- Elastic hip straps (also intended to move with you)
- Sternum strap with whistle: great to secure your load and the whistle is great should you get into trouble
- Cycling specific : Rear light holder, reflective tape, bright rain cover with specific area for light attachment
Osprey always puts a lot of thought and effort into making their packs as easy to use and comfortable as possible. And both these packs do this.
Don't forget they also have a lifetime warranty should the backpack fail to endure what you put it through. And these guys are pretty serious about covering a warranty no matter where you are when it happens!
Which Is Best For You? The Radial Or Momentum
Price aside (because the Radial is more than the Momentum - usually) there are a few things to think about with these packs.
If you are using it for serious exercise/commuting on a bike then the Radial is head and shoulders above because of the harness. It will stop you sweating all over you pack!
The Radial also has a bigger internal compartment (because it is all one compartment) so is easier to stuff lots of things into. But, if you like the separate access to the bottom (for shoes etc) the Momentum is a good bet. However, you can get almost the same thing with the Radial 34L extra front pocket.
The only other area they really differ is the stash pocket and the side pockets. I like the Radial side pocket because I always find it a pain to take my pack off to get my phone or keys. If that is not an issue for you, then maybe two water bottle pockets (on the Momentum) is better?
No matter which you choose, I am sure you will love both the Radial and Momentum packs from Osprey!