Aero Water Bottles – Review

It has been hard work finding an aero water bottle. My first one kept falling out, which makes it no good. I’ve recently bought an X-Lab Aero TT bottle, which hopefully will stay put, and save the odd couple of watts.

Specialized S-Works Aero Water Bottle

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This was a very cheap way to improve aerodynamics. Only £14.99 for bottle and cage. It’s quite thin and fits on to frame nicely. The capacity is 600ml, which is fine for most time trials. Though on longer ones like 100 mile time trial, you may prefer 800ml which will reduce need to pick up bottles.

It was easy and intuitive to pick out of bottle cage and just as easy to put back in. It felt fairly solid, but then on two occasions it jumped out on a bumpy descent. As I often race on bumpy roads (which UK roads are not bumpy?) I couldn’t trust this bottle. Also, on one occasion when jumping out, it got smashed. I think I ended up buying a second one, but this one jumped out too, so I’ve completely given up on this bottle.

 ‘X-Lab Aero TT’

I bought this X-Lab Aero TT because it had good reviews for staying in place. You can definitely understand why it stays in place – it is actually hard to pull the bottle out of its cage. The first time, I thought this is pretty difficult. However, there is a good trick for getting the bottle out, you have to lift the black cap at the top of the bottle, and then it comes out OK. Putting the bottle back in, also, requires practise. You have to put the end in first and then push it down. I’m confident of its ability to stay in place, I’m less confident of my ability to seamlessly get the bottle out during the pressure of a race (when racing, taking a drink is often really hard work). It is made in the US and comes with those outdated US imperial measurements of 20 oz (or as we say in the rest of the world 585ml.)

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X-Lab Aero TT

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Other points

  • Weight of bottle and cage 90 grams
  • Taste free. BPA Free Polyethylene
  • There is an easy grip groove to help withdraw from Hi-grip cage. I didn’t find this useful thought, the best way to get it out is to pull by the neck.
  • Looks relatively good
  • Cap is strong and solid. Easy to fill with powder / liquid.

Fitting bottle

The cage is longer than your typical water bottle cage. Fortunately, it comes with quite a degree of flexibility where you place it on the down tube (or seat tube)

x-lab-aero-tt-bottle-cage

I needed this flexibility when putting on two bottles.

X-Lab Aero water bottle £40.49 (RRP – £44.99( at Chain Reaction cycles

Elite Crono CX

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Another bottle I looked at was the Elite Crono CX. The non-carbon fibre version is quite reasonable at £24.99. It has go faster dimples. I can’t remember why I didn’t get this. Reviews are generally positive.

How much does an aero water bottle save?

I’m not sure how much an aero bottle save. Manufacturers are keen to throw out figures, such as saving 20 watts compared to a standard water bottle. X-Lab claim their bottle can save 20 seconds in a 25 mile TT. I tend to be somewhat suspicious of this kind of claim, because if I added up all the claimed aero savings of manufacturers, I would be tackling the World Hour Record this weekend.

Tests by Cervelo suggest that a water bottle was of significance. Removing a water bottle saved 2.8% at 250watts, removing an aerobottle saved 1.6%. 1% of 250 watts, is roughly 2.5 watts, which sounds feasible.

UCI Regulations

I didn’t bother with an aero water bottle last season, because I reasoned professional cyclists never seemed to bother either – just using standard water bottles. However, a very quick inspection reveals that UCI regulations have actually banned aero water bottles.

I believe the UCI regulation is question is that – ‘bottles themselves must not exceed maximum cross-section dimensions of 10cm or less than 4cm.’

So there you go.

Related

4 Responses to Aero Water Bottles – Review

  1. Greg March 12, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    I’m sure I’ve read that putting a standard bottle between your tribars actually reduces drag by filling up the gap between your arms. If an aero bottle still adds drag (as per the figures from Cervelo), is there any reason you don’t mount one on the bars?

    • tejvan March 13, 2015 at 9:15 am #

      I’ve heard that too, though there is conflicting reports. SOme say they can actually increase drag – it depends no how mounted. I’ve bought one so will be reviewing soon.

  2. Jan-Willem van Soest May 15, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Uci regulations got verry strict after cervelo integrated their bottles into their frames.

    Regulations:

    Bottle must be placed INSIDE frame (traditional places).
    Bottle behind seatpost or on handlebar is not allowed.

    400 – 800ml
    Cross section between 4 and 10 cm

    Credit card must fit between bottle cage holder and frame (same as wheel) so the bottle cant seemless connect to the frame.

    I do use the shiv bottle, as it fits perfectly in my tt frame, and actually makes it more aerodynamic.

    I barely drink diring time trials. However it is an illegal case, several dutch riders started with it on national championship. And only in a belgian prologue it was forbidden, i had to remove the bottle before start. (for me, a belgian rider was allowed to start with same cage)

    If you do not race in elite or higher, i would not worry too much about uci rules. However there are some uci legal aero bottles out there

  3. Alex March 29, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    If you see someone with an aero bottle in a lower category race, would you say it’s not worth mentioning?

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