There is no doubt that Osprey is one of the top backpack manufacturers, both in Europe and in the United States. That remains true when we are talking about hiking backpacks, travel backpacks, but also biking backpacks. And in this review, we will check out two great such pack – the Syncro and the Raptor.
Both of these Osprey backpacks are really good, and they have similar price tags. And they have a lot of shared features. So, we will begin this review by talking about what they have in common, and then we’ll move on to those features that are unique to each backpack.
If you are already trying to decide between them, this review will be very helpful to you. Scroll down to find out all you need to know about the Osprey Syncro and Raptor biking backpacks!
Osprey Syncro vs. Raptor: Overview Of Specifications And Back Panel Information
0.50 kg (M/L)
0.56 kg (M/L)
0.63 kg (M/L)
45 (l) x 26 (w) x 20 (d) cm
45 (l) x 26 (w) x 23 (d) cm
45 (l) x 26 (w) x 23 (d) cm
100D Nylon Mini Honey Comb
100D Nylon Mini Honey Comb
100D Nylon Mini Honey Comb
Before we get into details about all the cool features of these two Osprey backpacks, I will first show you all the different sizes that they come in. You can see that the Syncro comes in three sizes, and all the information about their dimensions is in the table below:
The Raptor, on the other hand, is available in just two sizes, and the numbers in the names are indicative of the respective capacities of the backpacks:
0.64 kg (without the reservoir)
0.73 kg (without the reservoir)
45 (l) x 22 (w) x 19 (d) cm
50 (l) x 22 (w) x 22 (d) cm
70D x 100D Nylon Shadow Check
70D x 100D Nylon Shadow Check
So, you can see that none of these backpacks are too big. And that’s actually good, because it also means that none of them are too heavy, which is very important for their purpose. Riding a bike is tiring enough on its own, let alone when you have a pack full of gear on your back.
I also wanted to talk about the back panels of these Ospreys in this section. That’s because those are the two most important parts of the backpacks, as they influence your comfort and overall back health the most. And the good news is that both backpacks have ventilated back panels, so you literally won’t sweat on the trail. Or at least you won’t sweat because you have 5 pounds worth of gear on your back.
The Syncro features an AirSpeed trampoline suspended mesh back panel, which we also saw in Osprey’s Hikelite. This type of back panel allows for excellent airflow, and it will always keep you cool and dry.
On the other hand, the Raptor is equipped with a foam padded AirScape backpanel, which sounds just a little bit more comfortable. But at the same time, it provides slightly worse ventilation than the back panel of the Syncro.
Those differences in performance are, however, barely noticeable. But they do exist, and knowing all the information upfront is key to making an informed decision about purchasing one of these Osprey backpacks.
Osprey Syncro vs. Raptor
The Differences Between The Packs
We’ve seen that both of these Osprey backpacks actually have a lot of things in common. But, now is the time to see where exactly they differ, and to see which one has the upper hand over the other. However, I have a feeling it’s going to be a very close call.
Advantages Of Osprey Syncro
- Integrated rain cover. If you were worried about not getting enough value for money, you’re wrong. All three of these backpacks come with an integrated rain cover, which retails for about $20. And not to mention that it will save all your stuff from getting completely soaked if you get caught in the rain unexpectedly.
- Internal organizer for tools. This is actually the frontmost compartment of the backpack. Once you open it up, you will find several stretch mesh pockets inside, as well a zippered one. You are supposed to keep your bike tools in them, but you can just use them for whatever you would like. So if you decide to use bring this backpack on a trip with you, these pockets could also serve as excellent organizers for chargers and cables.
- Stretch side pockets. All three Syncro backpacks are equipped with side stretch pockets, which is not the case with the Raptor ones. Whether you use them to store tools or water bottles is completely up to you, but it’s always good to have the option of quickly and easily accessible storage space.
*Note: The smaller Raptor doesn’t have side stretch pockets, and so the Syncro has the obvious advantage there. However, the Raptor 14 also has side stretch pockets, which is something to keep in mind.
Advantages Of Osprey Raptor
- 3L Hydraulics Reservoir is included. Even though both of these backpacks are fully compatible with Osprey’s hydration reservoirs, the Raptor is the only one that comes equipped with a 3L one. That’s a big benefit, especially if you don’t own any hydration reservoirs, because this one would set you back some $40.
- Integrated ToolWrap. This compartment is cleverly hidden at the very bottom of the Raptor backpack, and takes up virtually no space. This roll-out “tool belt” features several zippered pockets, and you can use it to carry along all of the tools you might need during the ride. Which is particularly great, because most tools are so small that they sink to the bottom of the main compartment. So if you prefer to have your tools organized rather than scattered inside the backpack, you will love this feature. You can see how to find and utilize this compartment in the video below:
- Front quick-access compartment. This is one feature that the Syncro backpacks obviously lack. This is a compartment where you can easily stash a spare layer of clothing if you get too hot, but also quickly get to it if you need that layer again. To access this compartment, just undo the buckle that it as the very front of the backpack.
- Pockets on the hipbelt. There are some things that you always need to have at your fingertips – some cash, a candy bar, bike lock key etc. Well, the Raptor backpacks cleverly feature pockets on the hipbelt harness that are one of my favorite inventions ever. Why? Because sometimes you just don’t want to undo all the straps, take off your backpack and rummage through it just to get to a candy bar. And with the Raptor, you don’t have to.
Osprey Syncro vs. Raptor: The Common Characteristics
There are some features that both of these backpacks share, and I will talk about them first. If you are more interested to see which features are unique to each of them, feel free to scroll further down. Or even better, scroll up and just use the quick navigation. :>
BioStretch Hipbelt And Harness
A hipbelt is basically a necessity when talking about backpacks for hiking, biking and travel. That is because of two things; one, you tend to carry a lot of items with you, and the hipbelt helps distribute the load of the backpack evenly among your torso, so that your shoulders aren’t carrying all the weight.
And two, it helps further secure your backpack to your body, and ensure that it won’t slip off accidently. Additionally, the harness on these two backpacks means that there is some padding and your hips, which some other brands don’t think to include. So, if comfort is your main concern, either one of these is an adequate choice.
Sternum Strap With Magnet
A sternum strap is that neat little thing that allows you to buckle both shoulder straps of your backpack together, so that one of them can’t slip off. But you probably knew that. Both of these backpacks have it, as well as a little magnet right next to the buckle.
The magnet is supposed to complement the compatibility of these Ospreys with the hydration reservoirs. That is because Osprey’s reservoir hoses have little magnets on them. What that really means is that you can have ultimate hands free hydration; just let the magnet on the sipper connect to the one the sternum strap and you’re done.
LED Light Attachment
If you often ride your bike during the night, then you are aware how important it is to make sure that cars and people will notice you. So, it’s a great thing that both the Syncro and the Raptor have an LED attachment point.
Just put a LED light on your backpack, and everyone behind you will see you and be able to avoid you on the road. And, if you also stick a headlamp on your helmet, you will illuminate the path in front of you without a hitch.
Internal Hydration Sleeve
We all know how important it is to stay hydrated on the go, especially when you are engaging in exhausting activities. Biking is definitely such an activity, and drinking enough water is crucial if you don’t want to get tired too quickly.
So, it’s a great thing that both of these Osprey backpacks have an internal hydration sleeve. And that sleeve is compatible with Osprey’s Hydraulics Reservoirs. You will particularly find that useful if you own such a reservoir. If not, it’s a good thing that one of these backpacks comes equipped with it. But, I won’t tell you which one just yet.
Although I am personally not a fan of anything reflective on my gear, I have to admit that this is a great inclusion for a biking backpack. And especially for those of you who don’t mind riding in the dark. The reflective materials on these backpacks are actually all those little white lines that are integrated into the sleek design of the backpacks pretty well.
And, these also make the backpacks a bit more versatile. Say you’re out camping and it’s dark out, and you are desperately trying to remember where you left your pack. And then, out of the corner of your eye, you notice something glowing in the dark – boom it’s your Osprey. So, don’t disregard these reflective graphics just yet; you never know when you might need them.
LidLock Helmet Attachment
This is one of those features that truly makes both the Raptor and the Syncro biking backpacks. The helmet attachment point is at the front of both these backpacks, and it is incredibly easy to use. You can see how in this video:
Also, the LidLock is just big enough to keep your helmet firmly in place, but it is small enough that it doesn’t take up too much space. And it virtually doesn’t add any weight to the backpack, which is always a benefit. Well, until you attach the helmet, that is. :>
Zippered Scratch-Free Pocket
If you’ve checked out any of my other Osprey reviews, then you probably know that this is a very common feature in Osprey backpacks – as it should be. A small zippered pocket is always convenient to have, particularly when talking about these outdoorsy backpacks.
Since it’s a scratch-free pocket, it’s perfect for keeping your phone or sunglasses safe. And it’s at the top of the backpack so you can still easily access it when you need to. Just remember to not keep your keys in this pocket, to really keep it scratch-free (learn from my mistakes).
Osprey Syncro vs. Raptor: Which Biking Backpack Is The Better Option?
Well, this comparison really is a close one. And this time, I actually don’t have a clear recommendation for you.
Both backpacks have their advantages, but they also have a lot of shared features. Some of you will prefer the included hydration sleeve, and others will prefer the integrated rain cover.
Also, some of you may just want to get the largest backpack you can, and that’s why you will go for the Syncro. And then other will just love the more pockets on the Raptor 14 and get that one.
- Dedicated hydration compartment with included BPA-free Hydraulics LT 2.5L reservoir by Hydrapak
- Magnetic sternum strap bite valve attachment
- LidLock bike helmet attachment holds standard helmets and side compression straps double as full face helmet carry
- Zippered, scratch-free slash pocket for sunglasses and stretch mesh zippered hipbelt pockets
- Dedicated lower compartment holds an included roll-up tool pouch to organize bike tools
This time, I won’t tell you to get the one or the other. In fact, I will let you decide for yourself. Head over to Amazon and check them out in more details. And check out their prices – surprisingly enough they are pretty close in that respect as well.