While at € 30 the Deuter Pulse 2 is the cheapest hip bag in test, it doesn’t compromise on quality. Does it sound like a Best Buy Tip? The answer is no. Unfortunately, the Pulse 2 has one major flaw – it’s not designed for cyclists… and you can tell.
Like its big brother, the Deuter Pulse 2 is aimed at generic multisport applications, where cycling is just one of them. And especially with the small version this is quite evident. The layout is almost identical to the Bontrager Rapid Pack, with a bottle holder as the central element and one compartment to each side. But this is also where the similarities end.
The bottle holder works very well and is at a slight angle to allow for easier access. The holder relies on a rubber retaining ring to hold the bottle in place. This, however, tends to slide down into the pocket when you push in the bottle. And once this happens, you have no choice but to stop as you have to use both hands to pull the retention ring back out over the bottle. If you don’t use the ring, the soft flexible material of the Deuter Pulse 2 combined with the inclined riding position could cause the bottle to move and slide out of the holder.
The two compartments on the left and right of the bottle holder are generously sized and made of stretchy mesh. While this compartment could easily accommodate a mobile phone, the horizontal position would cause the phone to press against your hips. Unlike the Bontrager, both compartments have no partition and heavy compact items such as a mini tool or CO2 inflator will fly around inside the pack. Also, water and dirt can penetrate through the thin mesh material, which might not be an issue with standing sports like running or XC skiing, but could become a problem when cycling.
The fit reveals that the Pulse 2 was designed for standing sports. While the hip pack is still comfortable when you’re walking, as soon as you bend over to reach the handlebars on a bike, the pack feels uncomfortable and slides all the way up your back and doesn’t sit snug anymore. To compensate for this, at least partially, you’ll have to tighten the adjustment straps very tightly, which in turn affects the comfort and impairs abdominal breathing.
While the Deuter Pulse 2 might not be suitable for cyclists, it’s still a pretty good option for other sports and applications. It’s light, built to a high standard and quite comfortable when standing or running. In addition, the large perforation holes make for a pleasant climate and the padding doesn’t absorb any sweat. If you’re mainly into upright sports, like running and XC skiing and only cycle from time to time, the Deuter Pulse 2 might be an interesting option. If you’re after a more cycle-specific fit and compartment layout, you should consider investing a little more money and get the Bontrager Rapid Pack or Mavic Crossride Belt.
The Deuter Pulse 2 is an affordable, high quality and very light bum bag with a very pleasant climate – just not for mountain bikers, unfortunately. The lack of cycle-specific compartments, the odd fit when you bend over to reach the handlebars and the increased susceptibility to muck and water are just a few of the reasons that speak against it. The Pulse 2 might be a good option if you’re mainly into upright sports like running or skiing and only ride a bike from time to time. Full time cyclists, however should look for a different option.
- Inexpensive and high quality
- Well ventilated
- Doesn’t absorb sweat
- No cycle-specific compartments
- Odd fit when bending over the handlebars
- The mesh of the compartments doesn't stop water and dirt
For more information head to deuter.com
The test field
Click here for an overview of the best MTB hip pack in test
All hip packs in review: Bedrock Bags Greysill Hip Pack (Click for review) | Bontrager Rapid Pack (Click for review) | CamelBak Podium Flow (Click for review) | CamelBak Repack LR 4 (Click for review) | Dakine Hot Laps 5L (Click for review) | Dakine Hot Laps 2L (Click for review) | Dakine Hot Laps Stealth (Click for review) | Deuter Pulse 3 (Click for review) | Deuter Pulse 2 | EVOC HIP PACK PRO 3l (Click for review) | EVOC HIP PACK RACE 3l (Click for review) | EVOC HIP POUCH 1l (Click for review) | EVOC RACE BELT (Click for review) | High Above Cascadia (Click for review) | High Above Lookout (Click for review) | High Above Das Radpack (Click for review) | ION Hipbag Traze 3 (Click for review) | Leatt Hydration Core 2.0 (Click for review) | Mavic XA 3L Belt (Click for review) | Mavic Crossride Belt (Click for review) | Mavic Deemax Belt (Click for review) | Race Face Rip Strip (Click for review) | SOURCE Hipster 1.5L (Click for review) | SOURCE Hipster Ultra 5L (Click for review)
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Words: Photos: Andreas Maschke, Christoph Bayer