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7749495 Let me start by saying that details are light on this particular piece. It has not officially hit the street yet. The Singletracks team obtained the sample I have at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo and I got to keep it because I had room in my suitcase. I made room for it by throwing away all my pants and flying home in a plaid towel wrapped around me like a kilt.

In the absence of hard facts, I present, instead, wild speculation on the genesis of the U4E.

All of this definitely happened

Shimano called a meeting of its chief designers and they all put on their thinking caps. They thought, hm, what would someone who is doing an Enduro race need in a race pack?

“What are they doing all day?” one junior designer asked.

“Will they need hydration?” asked a second.

“What the hell is Enduro?” shouted a third designer, who was asked to leave.

Eventually they agreed that what an Enduronaut would need from a pack is options, and that’s what they’ve delivered. Want to strap your goggles and a full face helmet to the U4E while you climb to the next stage? No problem. Want to roll up a jacket and clip it to your pack while you race, so you can be free on the descent but warm on the climb? Again, no problem. Want to use a hydration pack? You can. Or you can stick a bottle in the rear pocket. Whatever you want.

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Mine is setup with a HydraPack in the photo above, but the U4E doesn’t come with a reservoir. You’ll be responsible for getting your own if you want one. But if you’re going slow enough on the descent that you have time and a free hand to operate a drinking tube, well, let’s just say you probably shouldn’t have that kind of time.

Also note above that I have a jacket rolled up and clipped to the pack using its two bottom straps, just as you might if you’ve gotten warm over the course of the day and removed a layer. And I have a bottle stuck into the rear mesh pocket because enduro racers might find a bottle preferable to carrying a full bladder.

The U4E has some more typical features, like dual zips for the main compartment and a fleece-lined pouch for your phone or other technological delicates. But I must say, I’ve gotten my hands on some other bags in the Unzen line since Shimano started making hydration packs, and this is the most advanced one I have seen so far.

Here are some interior pockets.

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Pretty standard stuff there, but check this out. The waist strap is removable from the pack. It’s the thin black strap and it velcros around that d-ring.

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Also, the hydration bladder compartment unzips all the way up, so you don’t have to try to poke your hose through a weird sleeve because, you know, uh, who wants that?

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Again, we are light on details on this pack, so we don’t have an MSRP or a street date at this time. And we don’t really have a typical “click here for more info” link because, well, there’s not a lot of info at the link. But if and when the U4E hits shelves, if you’re looking for a pack that suits enduro racing, I think this one’s a good bet.

Thanks to Shimano for providing the Enduro Racepack U4E for review.

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