When it comes to mountain biking ergonomics, Ergon is arguably the market leader hands down. I’ve personally been using Ergons GE1 grips for the last 3 years because of how comfortable they are and how well they fit my grip, so I had high expectations of the BE3.
Did the BE3 backpack live up to expectations?
In short, yes! It’s not perfect, but its damn near close.
Let’s start with the ergonomics and comfort as after all that’s what it’s primarily all about. The design of the BE range is simply about keeping the pack moulded to the changing curvature of your back and the distribution of weight. There are a number of areas they have focused on to make this work.
1 | Adjust where the pack sits on your back
An adjustable “back plate” enables riders to set the height position of the pack so that it sits in the best position for your body height. I didn’t realize how important this was until using the BE3.
2 | Turning the pack into a knee
Just like a knee, the BE3 bends but it does so with your back and is done very simply by cutting a V into the design. Essentially you don’t have a single bag unit running the full length of the back plate but rather 2 separate units with plenty of space between for movement.
As a result, the pack sits firmly aligned with the curve of your back throughout your ride. This means less movement and straps not cutting into you because of tension when bent.
3 | Keep the water low
Typically, you find that the bladder is longer and sits right up against your back. As a result, the bladder can have some effect on how the bag sits. It makes sense to have the bladder positioned at the bottom-front of the bag as it then does not affect how the bag fits and also plays a part in weight distribution. Keep heavy weight low.
4 | Add in some extra bits for more comfort
Most of this is the typical stuff but important to get right. Padded support for your back, air pockets for good airflow, and adjustable straps. The shoulder straps can also be adjusted to where they sit on your shoulders and not just limited to length. A nice touch.
All of the above make the BE packs very comfortable and when setup correctly ensure that you’re limiting any additional stress on your back/spine when riding.
So Ergon’s BE3 is ergonomically sound as expected but that’s not where the story ends.
These packs are designed around enduro with the support of team rider Fabien Barel.
A variety of simple clip straps located on the top, mid and bottom of the packs make it easy to mount any type of helmet and potentially anything else. This makes hauling a full face up stages less cumbersome.
Inside the pack you have a removable foam plate which provides a little stiffness (although does not limit the movement) and even a little protection. This can be replaced with the BE100 protector which is designed specifically to reduce injury to your spine/back in the event of the inevitable.
The bladder system is pretty cool as well. It’s easy to setup and I particularly appreciate that the tubing has a quick release from the bladder which, when released, wont leak even when full. You no longer need to remove and re-guide the hose through the loops every time you need to empty and fill up.
The BE3 is the larger of the series and offered plenty of space for the usual, pump, multi-tool, spare inner-tube and phone with plenty of space for extras.
Retailing typically in the UK for £120, it actually comes in cheaper than many of the market leaders which I found pretty surprising. This is a well-built product which although was designed for enduro riding is suitable for pretty much any discipline.