Why go low? Understanding the CamelBak Low Rider

Positions water and cargo weight on hips, lowering center of gravity

CamelBak Low Rider Hydration Sponsored
The new CamelBak Low Rider positions water and cargo weight on the hips, reducing weight on the shoulder harness, and more importantly, delivering a lower center of gravity with greater freedom of movement.

The new CamelBak Low Rider positions water and cargo weight on the hips, reducing weight on the shoulder harness, and more importantly, delivering a lower center of gravity with greater freedom of movement (click to enlarge).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Mtbr Guide to hydration packs, featuring the new CamelBak Low Rider line. To see all the articles, head over to our Low Rider hydration pack hub page. This article and the articles in this section are courtesy of CamelBak.

The property of gravity is arguably the greatest influencing factor on any mountain bike ride. It’s the proverbial wall that we must ascend when climbing. It’s the physical fuel that propels us down the trail. And it’s the center point that determines our stability and balance on the bike. Without gravity we would never know the joys (and pains) that define fat tire exploration.

We as riders have little control over the first two factors. Earth’s gravitational pull is what it is. Deal with it. But our center of gravity is another story. This, to a certain extent, we can control. But why does it matter so much? Let’s start with a quick video.

To further comprehend this concept, step outside of cycling for a second and consider the beautiful game. Whether you call it soccer or football, there’s no denying that many of the sport’s best players would never make it in the NBA. Indeed, from Pele to Maradona to Messi, you see a pattern. None stood over 6-feet tall — and all benefited from a lower center of gravity that gives them better balance and more stability than taller opponents. Simply put these tiny titans can change direction (and the direction of the ball) faster — and that is how goals are scored.

Now return to the woods and consider the traits required to navigate twisty technical trail. Exactly! You need to be able to change direction quickly at speed. And how do you enhance that ability? You lower your center of gravity. And while we can’t change our height (or required frame size), we can opt for equipment that gets that key balance point closer to the ground.

The pack's unique design reduces the upper portion of the pack, allowing your back to breathe and move freely, and the lowered weight distribution delivers more G-forces in tight turns.

The pack’s unique design reduces the upper portion of the pack, allowing your back to breathe and move freely, and the lowered weight distribution delivers more G-forces in tight turns (click to enlarge).

That can mean a lower bottom bracket — or a hydration pack that positions water and cargo weight on the hips, reducing weight on the shoulder harness, and more importantly, delivering a lower center of gravity with greater freedom of movement. And that is precisely what CamelBak’s line of Low Rider hydration packs achieve. By utilizing a lumbar-located reservoir and cargo pockets, water and gear weight is moved off your upper body and onto your hips.

This reduces the upper portion of the pack, allowing your back to breathe and move freely, and the lowered weight distribution delivers more G-forces in tight turns. Or put another way, your tires, bike, and body all stay closer to the trail, allowing you to rail berms like never before. Indeed, you gain increased stability for fast aggressive riding.

The Skyline 10 LR redistributes weight where you want it, away from your upper body.

The Skyline 10 LR redistributes weight where you want it, away from your upper body (click to enlarge).

Of course there’s more to it than just weight distribution. Each of these full-featured (and award winning) packs have expertly placed, easy-to-access pockets, and a tool roll to keep gear organized. They also include helmet hooks and compression webbing for storing soft armor, and come with 7 liters of cargo capacity and an 100oz Antidote lumbar reservoir with magnetic tube trap for easy drinking and fast tube securing between sips. That reservoir is held in place by a cinch belt and webbing that tightens as water is consumed, all but eliminating unwanted sloshing. The Low Rider Skyline 10 LR and women’s specific Solstice 10 LR packs also feature XV back panels for improved ventilation.

The Palos LR is a revolutionary reservoir-based waist pack designed specifically for mountain biking.

The Palos LR is a revolutionary reservoir-based waist pack designed specifically for mountain biking (click to enlarge).

And if your ride time doesn’t necessitate a full pack, you can opt for the Palos LR, a revolutionary reservoir-based waist pack designed specifically for mountain biking. With its 50oz reservoir and 2.5 liters of cargo capacity, it’s the perfect option for aggressive riders who need more than just a water bottle, but who don’t want to carry a full backpack. The Palos keeps water and cargo securely centered around your waist, leaving your shoulders and back free. And once again this lowers your center of gravity, meaning more stability, balance, and speed on the trail.

Who says you can’t control gravity?

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Mtbr

Mtbr.com is a site by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We are the best online resource for information for mountain bikers of all abilities, ages and interests.


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  • Smitty says:

    Lower center of gravity sounds right, but in practice, and on a bike where you are using your weight to balance and control the bike, it doesn’t always work out to be better.

    What if you and the bike could switch weights? More weight towards the bottom, more stability, but with the bike being the big man, you’d have a hard time controlling the bike. For a practical example, take a baseball bat and balance the small end on one finger. To keep it balanced, you’ll move the bottom around a lot, but the top (with its greater mass) will resist the movement allowing you move towards the lean when it starts to fall and to balance the bat longer. Try the same thing with balancing the lager end on your finger. Lower center of gravity, but harder to dynamically balance it by moving the bottom. Try something longer, like a broomstick with one end heavier than the other. The difference is even more obvious, it is easier to balance with the weight at the top.

  • GuyOnMTB says:

    I used to ride with a fanny bike pack over a decade ago. It’s comfort surpassed that of a backpack at the time. It was just for small endeavors, but I could pack a lot of things in it. Then one day my ego was challenged by another biker, he made fun of my pack while I drooled over his bike and tried to keep up with him down trails I’d never seen. It was an embarrassing disaster!

    So I ditched the pack thinking it would be better for me. So I looked for a half-day pack and found one that is a hydration system that fit and did not slip/migrate. Since that point I was seriously considering using only a backpack. Now with this article, I’m not even sure if I should have eggs with breakfast anymore?

  • Tom says:

    I had the Palos near-identical brother nearly 15 years ago, called the Bandido.

    It was great, and it’s still kicking around in a garage cabinet somewhere. Maybe I’ll take it out for a ride!

    But I’ve grown to like a small, high pack that allows me to use the pockets in a jersey.

  • Finch Platte says:

    What does the tool roll look like? Is it connected to the pack, or does it just go in the pack with everything else?

    • Jason Sumner says:

      Included tool roll is a removable pouch with three zip pockets to aid in staying organized. Each pocket has roughly the capacity for two full size multi-tools.

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