Ergon BX2 Review

by Brian Mullin on July 21, 2011

European pack companies have always made their products comfortable and conformable, with excellent weight carrying attributes and incredible amount of fit adjustment, and Ergon has been at the forefront of this type of technology. The BX2 is the epitome of this ergonomic thinking, and it’s exceptionally comfortable, ventilates well, carries its load balanced and close to the back and hips, and has vertical adjustment for different torso lengths, and uses a unique free floating shoulder strap. The Ergon BX2 pack is available in two sizes (regular and large) and two colors (Black or Team Edition Green), and has a storage capacity of 8 liters, with an expansion to 9.5.

BX2 Features
The BX2 pack is a multi piece unit, consisting of the main section, and then a secondary shoulder unit. The main uses a thin flexible plastic sheet for its frame body, with padded mesh back and hip covers, waist strap, and an attached nylon storage bag with two compartments. The secondary unit also uses the same thin plastic flex frame material, and attaches to the main pack with multiple large Velcro straps. It has padded shoulder straps, which attach to its upper frame with a free-floating system, allowing the straps to adjust, angulate and undulate as required. The lower strap connects to the main section’s trapeze, which extends around the bottom of the pack, helping to compress and pull up the load for better weight distribution and tighter center of gravity.

The pack comes in two sizes, regular (heights 155 – 175cm/5’1 – 5′ 9 ) and large (170 – 195cm/5’7 – 6’5), and each of those has an additional adjustment for four torso lengths, small, medium, large and x-large. The torso alteration is accomplished by detaching and reattaching the three Velcro points, which consist of the two back pads and the main center size adjuster. To change the length, you open the back mesh pads, and loosen the shoulder flex frame, and then back out the center strap. Choose the proper sizing for your torso using the pack’s instruction manual, although it will sometimes require some trial and error to get things worked out optimally. Starting from the back of the shoulder system frame, insert the center Velcro webbing up through a slot that is above the chosen lettered size (S, M, L, XL), and then insert the strap down into the next lower slot, covering over your size. Snug the center strap tightly, and push the Velcro down, and then roll the back pads over and push and snap them in place. The sternum strap is length and height adjustable so you can position as desired. Ergon refers to this entire system as the ‘Perfect Fit Backpack’.

The shoulder frame pokes out with A shaped ending in which the shoulder straps fit, and the straps are then attached through their webbing onto a set of D-rings, so the entire system is free floating, allowing for varying shoulder widths and sizes, and pack and body movement. The included rain cover upper straps get attached by sneaking them under the frame sheet and shoulder strap, and the bottom portion wraps underneath the pack with elastic edging.

The back and hip padding is quite soft and thick, and the mesh uses a nice open weave for maximum comfort, ventilation and wickability. The padding is rather tall (3/8-1/2 inch), and due to its separation, it creates a large and wide air channel, so the back and waist have great ventilation, keeping thing’s more comfortable and drier (no wet spots).

The nylon bag of the pack is divided into a smaller upper pocket and a large voluminous main compartment (8 liter) with an expansion section (1.5 liter) controlled by zipper (total 9.5 liter). The main has a long thin rectangular shape, and has a pouch for a hydration reservoir (not included), and two pump sleeves. On the top of the main is a mesh zippered pocket with two soft padded sleeves. The upper outside pocket is roomy, and adds some nice organization attributes, and is comprised of two zippered mesh pockets, and a small pump sleeve. The hip belt has two zippered small pockets.

The main compartment has a decent amount of room, especially towards the bottom of the pack. The mains flattened interior shape can make it tough to pack things properly, especially in the middle section, which is exacerbated by the bowing out of a full hydration reservoir. It’s best to jam the contents as much as possible towards the bottom of the pack, for stability, and organizational purposes. The long clamshell zipper is really nice, and allows easy access to almost the entire pack. Due to the shallow nature of the compartment, when the zipper is opened, it works best to lay the pack on its back to prevent items from flopping out. The upper inner pocket is nice, and the soft slots are handy for a music device and tools, keeping the latter from banging around. Access to the pocket can be somewhat convoluted due to the routing of the hydration hose over the top of the pocket. I do wish they had made the egress port underneath the pocket instead? The two pump sleeves are functional and easy to use, and they sit nicely right next to the reservoir, held snugly in place by the bladder itself.

The exterior top pocket is also roomy, and the two side loading zippered pockets are useful. The mini pump slot is nice, although I usually put something else in there instead. The upper pocket is great for flatter items, wallet, snacks, camera’s, etc. The pack also comes with an adjustable bungee cord system, which clips to four attachment point on the circumference, and it’s handy for helmet and jackets. The side hip pockets were handy for small snacks and tools, but they need to be slightly larger in size, as an iPhone is pretty hard to squeeze into them. The trapeze panel forms a pseudo open pocket, and is accessible by either of its sides, and is useful if the pack isn’t overstuffed with gear.

Impressions
The back adjustment system is an excellent feature, and since everyone has a different torso length, it’s great for matching and fitting to your body shape, making the pack become one with your back. The system is simple and intuitive to use, and easy to adjust, and any changes are discernible. The free-floating and self adjusting shoulder straps is a wondrous, simple and innovative feature, which conforms with the pack to your shoulder’s width and shape, and lets it move and fluctuate with your body as you ride and bump along the terrain. It’s quite noticeable while spinning, as you regularly rotate your shoulders for the maximum drive, and when doing wild body contortions on difficult terrain, and the pack remains stable and steady during any of these movements. The bottom trapeze system which attaches to the shoulder straps really works well, and it’s like a set of hand’s cups the bottom of the pack, securing it from beneath, and compressing the load and pulling it up close, so that the weight is in tight, for better balance and stability, and center of gravity. Like the other packs in Ergon lineup, the high sitting shoulder strap system feels like your doing a deltoid’s contortion dance when you wiggle your arms into the opening.

The rear padding system is not only supremely comfortable, but it ventilates well and conforms excellently to your back, helped greatly by the flexible frame system. I got the optional 2 liter Hydrapack reservoir (BH200), which worked like a charm, but I think it needs to be part of the package, especially considering that it makes the pack more expensive. I really liked all the pockets and sleeves, which were useful and functional, and it’s great to see a European company start to have some additional organizational features in their packs, as a plethora of useful pockets and sleeve has always been lacking in their designs. The bungee cord was handy for helmets, armor and an occasional jacket, and it really helped with the small storage capacity.

Measured Specs:

Weight

  • Pack (w/ bungee and rain cover) – 725 grams
  • Reservoir – 136 grams
  • Total – 861 grams

Size

  • 20 (length) x 9 (width) x 6 (depth) inches

Bottom Line
The Ergon BX2 is a pretty amazing pack, and its design combines ergonomic practices with Ergon’s engineering know-how and knowledge base. The packs adjustable back system, which allows alteration for different torso lengths, is innovative, easy to use and works, and when combined with the unique free-floating shoulder straps, they create a phenomenal synergistic pair, that becomes one with your back. The trapeze at the bottom of the pack and attaches to the shoulder straps, and helps compresses the load up and close to the back, for better balance and a tighter center of gravity. The flexible frame provides exceptional conformability, and the soft thick back and hip pads offer supreme comfort, and the pads separation gives excellent ventilation channel.

The hydration hose annoyingly covers the main compartments upper pocket, and lack of an included reservoir is a major faux pas. The flattened shape of the main compartment combined with the bowing out of a full reservoir, can make packing the small capacity unit problematic.

Ergon has created an exceptional product with the BX2, and the adjustable back system, floating shoulder straps, conformable frame, and an overall comfortable and well ventilated pack, make for a stable, connected, and synergistic package.

Strengths

  • Torso adjustment system
  • Free floating shoulder straps
  • Trapeze support system
  • Flex frame
  • Mesh back and hip pads – comfortable and ventilates
  • Organizational pockets and sleeves

Weaknesses

  • Hydration hose obstructs main’s upper pocket
  • Longevity of flex frame (unknown)?
  • Flattened shape and bowed reservoir make for tough middle section packing
  • Lack of hydration reservoir

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

MSRP: $89.95 and optional BH200 reservoir ($25.95)

Ergon BX2 Specs:

  • Visit Ergon BX2 website: http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/bx2
  • Name: Ergon BX2 Backpack
  • Sizes: Regular or Large
  • Weight: approx. 700 grams
  • Capacity: 8 (9.5 when expanded) Liters
  • Colors: Black and Team Green
  • Material: Nylon, Polyester
  • Options: bladders BH200 ($25.95) and BH300 ($29.95)

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: