Better than the competition
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
18.5" torso, S/M
I got a 34L M/L for Christmas, which is what I originally wanted. After using that for a couple weeks, it seemed too big, so I had a pack fitting done and ended up sizing down to the S/M. After two more weeks, I decided the 34L version was just too big, so here I am with the 26L.
I love the pocket selection, kickstand, and ventilated back-panel. The zippered side pocket is too small for my phone, but it holds a tube, hex set, and a couple levers just fine. I found the zippered tablet pocket holds my larger-than-normal pump without affecting the laptop at all. I keep my coffee inside the main compartment and use the stretchy pocket for keys and building pass.
I hate the stretchy load-lifters. Some people like them, but I found they bounce when going over bumps and amplify the side-to-side motion when pedaling off the saddle (think climbing a hill where your body naturally goes side-to-side a little). I also really wish they had a hip belt with pockets like most of their other technical packs. It would be a great spot for keys/building pass and wouldn't dig into my side like the current one. I may end up removing it because it's fairly uncomfortable.
I spent a couple weeks debating whether to pick up a Manta 28 because the suspension is so good, but ended up with the Radial because I carry a laptop everyday. I can't decide if I've made the right choice though...
Jon, for computer carry, you definitely made the right choice! The stretch on the harness is there to allow you to move better, but I can hear what you are saying. I just hadn't heard that feedback before. I will give the feedback about the pocket on the hipbelt, although my guess is that if we had big pockets there, they would get in the way of your hips when you pedal.
Thank you for the feedback!