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favorite bottles?(28 posts)

favorite bottles?DougSloan
Apr 7, 2003 1:19 PM
I've grown to be very picky about water bottles. I hate getting messy, sticky gunk spilled down my chin, chest, and bike. Some features bug the heck out of me, and all bottles seem to be a compromise of the best and worst features. Anyway, I can't recall this having ever been done, so here's my water bottle analysis:

Qualities:

1. size (generally, more is better)
2. opening diameter (wider = easier to fill with powders)
3. security of closing (no accidental opening)
4. nozzle opening and closing (ease and comfort on the lips)
5. leakage (some dribble down your chin or on the bike)
6. durability (won't fall apart)
7. ease of cleaning
8. aesthetics
9. ergonomics (grip, pliability, on-bike comfort)
10.insulation
11.price

Here's my run down, with those qualities in mind.

Best: Tacx/Campy



Large size (750 ml); easy opening and closing; won't leak; medium wide opening; high flow rate; stays in cage; narrow top won't chafe legs; looks good initally, but white gets scuffed up a bit; moderate cost. I have dozens of these.

Second best: Polar



Insulation reduces some capacity, but other qualities very good; spout works well, but harder to clean; insulation good for about a hour, at best, though; good function even without considering insulation; expensive.

Third best: Specialized

I think these are made by Specialized, and sold with hundreds of different graphics. Not bad bottles, but sometimes the nozzle is hard to work if it gets gunked up a little; advantage of clear ones is ability to see how much left in bottle; range of prices; I have a ton of these from Hammer products.

Forth best: Zefal



Zefal 32 ounce. The only bottle in the huge 1 quart size; great if capacity is the priority; downside, the large diameter top with ribs around the outside rubs my legs when in the seat tube cage, pretty bad, actually; hard to unscrew the lid sometimes, too; tends to dribble down my front, so I now use these for water only.

Worst:



The "old" type with a press on small diameter lid. Dozens of times I've pulled on the nozzle with my teeth and had the whole bottle contents dump down my front; very insecure lid; small nozzle that works horribly; small opening hard to put powders in; can get these in various logos pretty cheap, though, sometimes under a buck a piece.

Any more nominations?

Doug
This is amusing -- apparently total personal preference...TJeanloz
Apr 7, 2003 1:36 PM
The funny thing is that I would have put my line-up in almost exactly the reverse order from yours.

My favorite is the small, traditional bottle, with a "california" top. Two nozzle positions (open and really open), good size for throwing at people, powerful nozzle for spraying people, and cheap. One person can carry enough bottles for an entire team. In all my years, I've never had one prematurely open and dump it's contents -- I've seen it happen to other people, but I think they just have poor technique.

Those ones with the soft nozzle, ala some Specialized and that Zefal one, never close completely. Hold a full bottle upside down, and I guarantee that it will leak. A sure receipe for Cytomax all over your bottom bracket. Blech.

The Polar bottles keep your goods cold, but they're too damn bulky. My calves rub up against them, and they're unweildy to handle. And it seems like you're carrying a two liter bottle with the carrying capacity of a teaspoon.

I've never used the Tacx ones, so I can't comment, but the small, simple ones work for me.
technique?DougSloan
Apr 7, 2003 1:44 PM
Technique? Maybe you could clue me in. I put the nozzle in my teeth and pull to open (and the whole top pulls off and dumps on me). Now, may only happen 1/100 times, but that's enough to spook me. Embarrassing, too.

Maybe road racers have different preferences than ultra riders? On long, solo rides, little things can be more aggravating than on shorter, faster rides when pain is your primary concern. :-)

Doug
Two tips:Matno
Apr 7, 2003 2:55 PM
1) I always pull the top open BEFORE I turn the bottle upside down over my head! :^) I have actually had the same problem you have, and I hate those little snap on lids too.

2) I only fill the bottle with water. This doesn't avoid getting it all over you if there's a problem with tip #1, but it's usually refreshing rather than sticky. Sports drinks are pretty much only worth drinking as a recovery drink (according to some top nutritionists/trainers). Most of the time, water is hands down better. The so-called "nectar of the gods." The only exception I can think of is really long rides. If I'm riding longer than 3 hours, I'll take one water bottle and one filled with electrolyte replacement fluid.

Oh, and one other tip in case you ride more rural areas or mountain bike, I always carry a water purifying straw in my Camelback when I go offroad. Works great for drinking out of streams if I run out of "man-made" water...
What?AaronL
Apr 7, 2003 3:43 PM
"Sports drinks are pretty much only worth drinking as a recovery drink (according to some top nutritionists/trainers)."

Hmm, that pretty much runs counter to what most others say. Even in a sub-one hour event a CHO drink can delay the onset of fatigue.

Those "top" trainers may be talking about a CHO drink for non-endurance sports like weight training, but for cycling a constant supply of CHO is a must to sustain peak power output, especially at high (constant) power outputs.

AL
My bad...Matno
Apr 7, 2003 4:13 PM
I went back and looked for where I read that. I thought there was something more recent than the 1984 recommendation that water is best. Turns out that what I said only applies to drinks with really high carb loads (more than 70-80 calories/8 oz supposedly impedes total water absorption) or for people who are trying to lose weight. Guess I'd better start drinking more Gatorade on my rides! (Darn. Water is free...)
I keep the nozzle open all the time.MikeBiker
Apr 7, 2003 4:11 PM
They don't leak sitting in the bottle cages and the only time any unwanted water comes out is if I hit a railroad track or pothole early in a ride when the bottles are full. Just enough comes out to mist my calves a little, but not enough to make me think that I am going to run short.

I have had problems with some cheap with mouth bottles whose caps come loose when I squeeze them.

Mike
A drinking primer...TJeanloz
Apr 8, 2003 7:32 AM
You pull the bottle out of the cage by its neck (which, I think is probably the only way to do it), wrap your index finger over the top of the lid, use teeth to open valve to the desired position. I can't believe I'm actually describing this...
that's pretty much how I've done itDougSloan
Apr 8, 2003 7:40 AM
I think what I was getting at was whether there was a secret to opening these bottles and never worrying about the top coming off. You seemed to imply there was.

Doug
Is your index finger too weak to hold the top on? (nm)TJeanloz
Apr 8, 2003 8:15 AM
re: favorite bottles?purplepaul
Apr 7, 2003 1:44 PM
I like the Polars as they don't drip at all. But that insulation doesn't work long on a hot day. And they are heavy for weight weenies.
re: favorite bottles?CFBlue
Apr 7, 2003 2:34 PM
My favorite is the polar. I've got two, I add the sport drink powder in each, fill one 3/4 full and the other 1/2 full and freeze. Before the ride, I top them off and go. I have had the ice last close to four hours on warm, not hot days. I will look into the zefal for some extra capacity. i find the old style small one only useful for very short rides.
My silver one and my blue one.PseuZQ
Apr 7, 2003 2:40 PM
Both by Specialized, and although I've got more than a dozen bottles, I *have* to use the silver one and the blue one. They don't even match the bike.

The R4 always goes in the blue and white G-Push bottle.(Note that actual G-Push does not go in the G-push bottle...)

Oh, and I hate those wimpy little bottles as well. Good for drinking in the car on the way to a ride but that's it. My only comment about the larger bottles is that sometimes they're hard to fill up using a bathroom sink.
Translucent 24 oz. screw topPdxMark
Apr 7, 2003 2:44 PM
Kinda like this Performance bottle, but "clear." I like the volume, low price, ease of cleaning in the dishwasher, ease of seeing how much (or what flavor) is left. THe WORST have a "DuoFlow" top that is perfect for dribbling down your chin and chest no matter what you do.
Screw tops and racingAaronL
Apr 7, 2003 2:52 PM
I hate seeing screw top bottles in the peloton. Why? Because when one gets launched from the holder and you run over it, you'll crash because, unlike traditional style bottles, the top won't pop off under the pressure of the wheel. I've seen it happen many times.

Just my little rant.
Like Tacx Campag alot, but:Spunout
Apr 7, 2003 3:49 PM
One of mine had the lid snap off of the tether. Another had the inside seal (underside of the lid) get flipped onto the wrong side of the mouth, so now it is my 'dribble' bottle.

Other than that, big mouth for easy filling, soft and pliable. Cleans very easy.
Ah yes- that performance oneRich_Racer
Apr 7, 2003 4:04 PM
The one PdxMark posted above is currently my favourite. UCSD bike shop (my LBS!) have a ton of these on sale for almost nothing. Or they did.

Anyway - it has a wide lid, squeezes well, and the top has never accidently come off! Although - this has never happened to me either, with any bottle!! Doug - you must be a very violent drinker! I think I pull the insert up with my teeth but with bottle head still pointing mostly up.

It's a bit like the Zefal Magnum although maybe not quite as big.
Oh this reminds me of a story!Rich_Racer
Apr 7, 2003 4:10 PM
I was ambling up to the start line of a race. By bike had been wrapped in bubblewrap to protect it while it was transported on a truck. So I had supplies such as food and drink in a plastic bag. As I cycled to the start area, I was holding the bag over the handle bars. (I still hadn't taken all the bubble wrap off yet) I swerved to avoid a pot-hole and the bag swung into my front wheel. The spokes sawed the top off of one of my water bottles and sticky orange liquid sprayed all over me and my bike!! Fortunately most of it peeled off with the bubble wrap! I raced with one less bottle!

Still haven't just poured it down myself though!

yours,

Rich.
elite bajijimike r
Apr 8, 2003 2:58 AM
the ones with the patao cages, very slim, don't rub my legs.
only problem is other bottles don't fit the cages
and those bottles don't hold much water eitherColnagoFE
Apr 8, 2003 5:57 AM
good for looks and function, but unless you are getting handups from your domestique as often as you need them I'd rather have a bigger bottle.
I agree - they're sitting in the parts bin now..nmMariowannabe
Apr 8, 2003 8:20 AM
My fave..GeekRoadie
Apr 7, 2003 4:29 PM
Insulated Polar water bottles.. The spout, IMHO, is the best "feature" of the water bottle. It's tight enough where I never had to worry about a leak and loose enough to open easily. The insulation qualities are not too shabby, either. These are the bottles that I prefer even if it is 35 degrees and raining. Relatively expensive and bulky but I never have to worry about Cytomax mucking up my frame or BB.

The smaller Tacx bottles are my second choice. Nice, wide neck with a snap on lid is easy to clean. Doesn't leak and opens and closes easily. Squat and compact shape is really easy to take out of cages even on CG frames. I've had the cap tether break off a few, though. Actually prefer them this way now.

I have rotten luck with the wide mouth Specialized bottles. Do not know why, but the half dozen that I have leak at the spout. Inverted, they drip at a pretty good rate.

Mike
Amen to the Tacx Campag bottleslonefrontranger
Apr 7, 2003 9:46 PM
The poppet glides open/closed very easily and they hold a ton. I have both sizes and a crapload of 'em. The only problem I've had is in cold weather the "leash" on the lid snaps off; no prob I just cut 'em off with scissors. Since the lids are sturdy and secure, having them leashed is kind of unnecessary.

Can't beat the cosmetics, either. Oh, and they match my bike :)

For TJ: no they don't leak. About the only bottles I've ever found that don't. And they don't have that godawful polypropylene smell/taste that the cheapo lameo ones do. The s**ty ones from Excel (cheap Cali style like you like) refuse to close properly and have gotten energy goo all over the BB shell of the Morgul. Nasty - you have to chisel the stuff off.
best & not bestJS Haiku Shop
Apr 8, 2003 4:59 AM
my favs are the magnums and several free bottles i received with orders from specialized.com. of course, totally the opposite of your post, i abhor the tacx bottles--the tops seem cheaply made and flimsy IMHO, and the retaining plastic piece (the one that holds the top to the bottle) has broken on both my USPS bottles. :(
..seems they break only when 30F and colder; hence our problem.nSpunout
Apr 8, 2003 7:30 AM
750 ml. Alesmith Speedway Stoutmickey-mac
Apr 8, 2003 8:30 AM
Mmmmmm . . . . beer.
Tacx are great - Nashbar aren't bad, either.jw25
Apr 8, 2003 9:24 AM
I have probably 8-10 Tacx bottles, all in the smaller size. I ride a compact frame, and they're the perfect size for the seat tube cage - easy to get out, and no calf rub. When the cap's tether snaps (when, not if), I trim the sharp edges down with a razor blade. I haven't lost a cap yet. The nozzles actually seal when they're closed, and you can twist them to lock them in place. Great for traveling to races - nobody wants a bottle to open in their team bag.
My second favorite are these, from Nashbar. Simple, secure, no leaks. The mouths could be bigger, but the tops don't leak, and the nozzles snap into place securely.
I've used some Specialized bottles, and they're good but the soft nozzle seems to leak. Try squeezing an empty bottle with the cap screwed down and the nozzle pushed in. If you can hear air escaping, that bottle's going to leak. It's also annoying when drinking - you'll get drips down the chin, unless you tilt your head and squirt. Maybe it's technique, but I don't like them.
As for bottle ejecting in races, well, all you can do is hope people know enough to bend their cages a little, to keep their bottles in.
I love my Zefal Magnums, too.look271
Apr 8, 2003 11:09 AM
My new favorite small bottle is the Elite TdF bottle. Got it as a "peace offering" from Bicyclehub.com because they screwed up an order of mine. I think I'll go out and get another one. About the Zefals rubbing your legs-never has happened to me.