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Shimano Tokyo Urban rucksack review

23 Mar 2018

While this ticks all the boxes of your usual bag, it falls short as a backpack for riding

Cyclist Rating: 
Plenty of storage including clever ways of storing lock and helmet, comfortable off the bike
Rigid spine of bag makes wearing it while riding difficult

I've had this bag for about a month now and I am still finding new pockets. Honestly, I will delve into one of the main zips, rummage my hand around and end up finding a completely new pocket or zipped compartment. By the time I finish this review I will have probably found another.

Was this how Mary Poppins did it? 

Take the front pocket for example. It looks inconspicuous from the outside, like it will be your usual, small front pocket big enough for a pair of gloves or a small cafe lock. But not on the Shimano Tokyo Urban rucksack.

Buy the Shimano Tokyo rucksack from Amazon for £123

Open the zip and you will find seven, yes seven, extra compartments. This includes a zipped pocket, a netted area, a deep front section and even two pen pockets.

It honestly feels as if Shimano has considered every combination of item that you may want to store in a bags front pocket and designed accordingly.

Moving on to the sides of the bag, one side is zipped and just so happens to be the ideal shape for a 330ml can of beer with the other having three loops. These are in place for you to attach a D-lock which it does perfectly. 

The main body of the bag contains three sections: two large and one smaller netted compartment. The largest section has ample room for most items and can easily carry an entire set of cycling kit including shoes for example.

The rear compartment is tight to the bag's back but acts as a safe haven for items such a notepads and laptops, keeping them flat and secure. 

If you want to keep your laptop away from the main body of the bag you also have a separated padded area that can be accessed via a side zip which easily accommodates most laptop sizes. 

Although a bag designed to be ridden with, Shimano has thought hard about your time off the bike. For example, the trio of straps across the front of the bag are designed not to carry your skateboard (although it could) but to store a helmet. 

Unfortunately, where Shimano seems to have failed in its thinking is when the bag is worn while riding, which is worrying.

Straight away I noticed that riding a road bike with this bag was very uncomfortable. Due to the rigid spine of this bag, there is no give making the bag quite long.

In turn, when riding on the hoods or in the drops you will feel the bag thrust itself into the back of your helmet pushing your head down. 

Fundamentally, it feels as if this is quite a big design flaw for a bag designed to be worn when on a bike.

I must admit when riding in the less-aggressive upright position of a town bike the issues were not as prevalent but needless to say most of us commute on road bikes, for which this bag simply does not suit.

This was quite annoying because aside from that, this bag was very comfortable to ride in. Shimano made sure that the rear of the bag is sufficiently padded and offers a spongey layer between you and your stuff.

The straps have seen the same attention and a secure strap across the front does the trick at keeping everything in place.

Buy the Shimano Tokyo rucksack from Amazon for £123

I'm still using the Shimano Tokyo urban rucksack for my commute to work. It's too cold for me to ride in at the moment so I'm on the train.

For the train, walking and even the occasional hire bike this bag is spot on.

However, when the clocks go forward this Sunday and I start riding in to work again I doubt that I will be using this bag.