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 packs – 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!
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 above.
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.
Further details about their other sizes can be seen below and you can also check their links to see them on Amazon:
Weight: 0.56 kg (M/L)
Dimensions: 45 (l) x 26 (w) x 23 (d) cm
Main Material: 100D Nylon Mini Honey Comb
Weight: 0.63 kg (M/L)
Dimensions: 45 (l) x 26 (w) x 23 (d) cm
Main Material: 100D Nylon Mini Honey Comb
Weight: 0.73 kg (without the reservoir)
Dimensions: 50 (l) x 22 (w) x 22 (d) cm
Main Material: 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.
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.
*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.
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. :>
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 accidentally. 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.
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 sternum strap and you’re done.
If you often ride your bike during the night, then you are aware of 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.
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 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.
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. :>
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).
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.
This time, I won’t tell you to get one or the other. In fact, I will let you decide for yourself. Head over to Amazon and check them out in more detail. And check out their prices – surprisingly enough they are pretty close in that respect as well.