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Rear mounted bottle cages

A rear mounted bottle cage is generally a good aerodynamic place to carry an extra bottle. For long distance riding, it is a good option, though a little awkward (and unaerodynamic) to get from behind saddle.

One challenge with 100 mile time trials is working out how to carry enough fluid. I’ve done 100s on two bottles, but often felt it was insufficient and suffered as a results. A rear mounted saddle is a good place as it is generally out of the wind.

Most aerodynamic position for a bottle

I’ve seen quite a aero tests and suggestions that the optimal position for a water bottle is in this order

  1. Between the tribars at the front of the bike (Tribar mounted waterbottle)
  2. Behind the saddle (rear mounted)
  3. On the downtube
  4. On the seat tube

The first two have little aero drag. Some claim that having a bottle between the arms on the tribars reduces aerodrag. On the downtube, aerodrag could cost 45g for a standard water bottle (according to tri-radar)

Testing water-bottles depends on how the bottle interacts with the frame and rider. Some TT bike designs have been specifically designed to make the water bottle more aerodynamic.

Rear mounted bottle cages are also said to be quite good in limiting aerodrag, so I thought it would be good to get one. I did use one many years ago, it might have been my first 100 mile TT in 2005. But, the bottle jumped out and I never got to drink it. I think I threw away in disgust and have never revisited rear bottle mounts until a few years ago

Bontrager Race Lite Rear Cage Holder

I bought a Bontrager Race Lite Mount rear mounted bottle cage. It cost £35 from a local bike shop. The advantage is that you can have two water bottles, or one in the middle. It also has two places to screw in CO2 cyclinders.

profile-aqua-rear-mounted-bottle-cage

using one bottle option

I have chosen to have just one bottle cage.  It’s fairly easy to set up and fairly sturdy. (It weighed 170gram with one water bottle.

The difficulty I had is that with the Adamo saddle, there is limited room to fit. This means I had to have it at an angle of 45 degrees. I would preferred to have it at 90 degrees because the bottle would be less likely to fall out.

This is a drawback of the Adamo saddle. – A comfortable shape for long distance timetrialling, but you have to be careful which water bottle system you get.

bontrager-rear-bottle

Since I first posted this blog, I have got a new saddle. A Dash saddle, which still has a long tail making it hard to get a bottle vertical.

However, it is quite aerodynamic and easy to set up.

bontrager-rear-bottle

My concern about use long-term is that it is all held together by four allen bolts. Two gripping cage to saddle. And two holding angle of cage. I am testing in training, and its held up, though there is some small degree of slip. They really should have bolts on the other side of the side screws. You want to check pre-ride.

I chose a Gorilla X-Lab water bottle cage and ditched the Bontrager because it has extra gripping power. I think this is important for rear mounted bottle cages at an angle. The risk of bottle ejection is quite high.

The first time I used the Bontrager rear set up, I also used the Bontrager rear bottle cage, and the bottle ejected 5 miles into the ECCA 100 mile, 2014.

Bontrager Rear Bottle Mounted Cage at Evans. £36. It is relatively good value option (cheap compared to others)

Xlab Delta 400

xlab-delta-bottle-cage

I have also been testing this XLab Delta 400, hoping it would be better than the cheaper Bontrager version. Firstly, it is quite hard work to set up. You need a suitable sized spanner to hold locking nut in place. However, this time of set up gives a very strong and sturdy set up (more reliable than Bontrager). The angle of cage is also adaptable, though it is limited by my saddle.

xlab-delta-400

It is a pretty secure system. If you tighten to correct torque, you will have no problems.

bontrager-vs-xlab-bottle-cage

I got the Bontrager one to be higher up. The X-Lab Delta is more in the wind. (possibly due to shape of long Dash saddle.

Unfortunately, compared to the Bontrager it holds the bottle lower down, exposing more of the water bottle to the air. So although it is lighter, better built and a lot more expensive, I am better off using the Bontrager because it will be more aerodynamic.

 

 

X-Lab 400 rear mounted at Wiggle £79. –

The X-Lab Super Wings seems to hold up bottles higher.

X-Lab-rear-mounted-bottle

Profile Aqua rear mounted bottle cage

This has a different design and works well with the popular Adamo saddles. It is similar to the Bontrager system, but has a different fitting system which makes it easier to fit

Stopping bottles jumping out

  • Firstly have the bottle cage at 90 degrees, don’t risk anything like 45 degrees – even if it is easier to get to.
  • Choose a water bottle which is tight fitting on the bottle
  • Be wary of using carbon fibre bottle cages which are more prone to breaking. You’re better off choosing a standard sturdy bottle cage rather than a 17gram special lightweight.
  • If you think it might fall out, try putting an elastic band around the bottle. This will make the bottle wider and more sticky. (Though it didn’t work for me!)

Other points about using rear mounted bottles

  • In long distance time trialling – hydration generally outweighs any aero penalty.
  • Weight isn’t such a big issue.
  • Another issue is that in the race, you can forget to drink. When you are so absorbed in the effort of racing, it can be hard to pick up a bottle from behind the seat. This is another advantage of water bottle between the tribars – you can’t forget about it because it’s always in your face. If you do have a bottle behind the saddle make sure you don’t forget about it.
  • Test before a race! Go for a ride over bumpy terrain and see if your bottle stays in. If you test in a race you might find yourself one or two bottles down.
  • Always be prepared for mechanical mishaps. Even if you are carrying three bottles, ideally you will have a spare one by the side of the road, just in case one does fall out.
  • Make sure you tighten the bolts to the correct torque. This will make it less likely to fall out.

In triathlon community, the X-Lab rear mounted bottle system has good reviews. It offers quite a comprehensive choice of carrying options. It’s design also means it fits nearly any saddle.

I was put off by the cost £69.99. But, if you are going to be doing a lot of long distance cycling, this may be a good option.

Conclusion

I’m using Bontrager water bottle cage, but I’m not entirely happy with it. It’s not 100% secure and I had to buy alternative water bottle cage (Gorilla). But, it does OK in aero testing.

Related

 

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100 Climbs Yorkshire

A review of Simon Warren’s Cycling Climbs of Yorkshire. The book features 75 climbs from all corners of Yorkshire from the East Riding to the Yorkshire Dales and south Yorkshire climbs.

hills-yorkshireI was brought up in Yorkshire, learning to cycle amidst the dales and hills. Climbs like Park Rash and Fleet Moss were enough to create a little fear and trepidation in the average club cyclist. It was only on rare summer days, we would go ‘over the top’ to Hawes and leave the comfort of the lower Wharfedale slopes.

These days I’m fortunate to often go back to Yorkshire and I often end up searching some new hill climb challenge. There is a great variety in Yorkshire, from the big hills of the Yorkshire Dales, to the ridiculously steep 30% gradients of the North York Moors and also the short cobbled climbs of Halifax and Calderdale. It was only in recent years, I started to learn the joy of climbs around West and south Yorkshire – built up areas, but still some great hills and good for cycling.

 

fleet-moss-may-2016

Fleet Moss

The 75 climbs offer a broad overview of the Yorkshire climbs. Of course, you could easily find another 25 or 50 climbs to add to this selection, but it is still a lot to be getting on with. Continue Reading →

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DeFeet e-touch dura gloves review

I have owned several pairs of DeFeet gloves in the past years, and like to race with them on. A new version has been brought out – DeFeet e-touch dura gloves – so have bought two pairs.

de-feet-e-touch

de-feet-e-touch dura gloves. An old one underneath. White isn’t best for dealing with dirty wheels.

Advantages of the DeFeet e-touch gloves

  • Grip is very good. A big benefit of these gloves is the rubber type grip on the inside of the gloves. This is particularly useful for riding with my Trek Speed Concept bars (without any bar tape). Other wooly gloves can be really quite slippy on these carbon bars, so it is a useful addition.
  • Warmth. I get cold hands so am quite sensitive to warmth of gloves. These are quite warm without the bulk of a big ski glove. I can wear them down to 5 or 6 degrees for racing. The temp guide by manufacturer is 6-16 degrees.
  • Long cuffs. In theory, the gloves go down to the end of your wrist helping to cover up that gap between the end of gloves and the start of arm warmers. Keeping your wrists warm definitely helps keep your hands warm too.
  • Breathable. They are quite breathable and I can wear into early summer, even in double digits temperatures (10 degrees plus) without getting too hot.
  • E-touch. I do sometimes use iPhone whilst riding, the e-tap at the end of thumb and forefingers means you can leave your gloves on to swipe away. This is a useful addition to the old version.
  • Aerodynamics. Most cyclists won’t worry too much about aerodynamics of gloves, but it is an issue for me. Better than bigger stockier gloves, but it is no aero glove. Yesterday, when racing I put a pair of large aerogloves over the top of these.

Continue Reading →

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Fizik WP Winter Overshoe review

I was sent this Fizik overshoe in November, and have been using it almost every ride over winter.

It’s been quite a wet winter, with roads covered in surface water so it has had a lot of testing.fi-zik-overshoes

It is designed to be waterproof and windproof, and compared to other overshoes, it has performed very well in terms of keeping feet dry. When the roads are constantly wet – even on long rides, it keeps feet dry.

It is thinner than many of the other overshoes that I have, so a little less heat insulation. However, for me that is not a problem because I put hotpads down my socks anyway! Also, the thinner overshoe is beneficial because on my time trial bike, I have speedplay X1 which is quite a short spindle it means your foot is very close to the crank and other overshoes get stuck between pedal and crank. Continue Reading →

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DHB Flashlight Thermal Gilet

Review by Garga Chamberlain

DHB’s flashlight series is all about high-visibility in darkness and low-light conditions, so it’s aimed more at commuters and those training solo rather than the bunch-rider.

flashlight-gilletThere are lots of high-viz gilets around so why would you choose the flashlight? Well number one reason would be that it’s very weatherproof. The windslam membrane does what it says on the tin – no icy blast is going to penetrate this fabric, so the core of your body will always be warm when you’ve got this gilet on and zipped up. As with most windproof membranes, it also keeps a fair amount of rain off. Not 100% waterproof on a long ride in the rain but certainly adequate protection on a rainy commute of up to an hour in my experience. A brushed micro-fleece inner fabric adds insulation so it’s ideal for midwinter riding.

The high visibility comes from the majority of the garment being a vivid fluoro yellow, but there are generous areas of reflective scotchlight taping as well, which will shine out when hit by car headlights. These care on the rear of the gilet and around the front/neck and shoulders too.

Comfort-wise, the fit is surprisingly sleek for a bit of commuter kit, but with lots of stretch in the fabric you shouldn’t have trouble getting into it if you’re blessed with a fuller figure. There are nice details too, like a gripper around the hem to stop it riding up and a “zip garage” at the neck to stop the zipper from chafing.

In all my rides in the Flashlight Gilet so far, I’ve been warm enough in all weathers and confident that I’m totally visible (through a commute that varies from unlit cycle paths to a busy city centre). The construction seems good with robust zips and stitching so I expect to be riding to work in this for a good few years.

Buy

Continue Reading →

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DHB Aeron Roubaix Long Sleeve Jersey – Review

Review by Garga Chamberlain
With this jersey priced at £60 I was expecting something functional but basic – in fact it’s a really versatile and well-designed piece of kit that I am already wearing day in and day out.

dhb-aeron-roubaix

The thermal, moisture-wicking fabric is tightly woven with a brushed texture on the inside for warmth on the front, sides and front-of-sleeves but the underarm panels and middle of the back are a lighter and more porous mesh that lets your body breathe without allowing the chill to penetrate where it shouldn’t. I’ve found this top just right in cool to cold conditions, but the stretchy fit allows you to slip a thermal or windproof baselayer underneath for days when the temperature is right down around freezing point.
The stretchy fabric and sleek cut are what makes this jersey so comfortable to ride in – close fitting and flexible with long sleeves that leave no chance of a gap between cuff and glove, the Aeron also has an excellent gripper around the tail of the jersey to prevent it riding up when you lean down on to your drop bars or tri bars – it’s equally good whether you’re in that aero position or sitting up to recover after a
hard effort.

Continue Reading →

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Warmest socks – heat holders

Cycling at this time of the year is dominated by how to keep warm, especially fingers and toes. The warmest socks I’ve found are these heat holders – a thick pair of tubular type socks.

  • They have a thick layer of fibres to keep wthe armth in.
  • The length of sock means heat rises up the foot and ankle, keeping whole foot area warm.
  • There is no elastic to constrict the blood supply.

They are pretty chunky and in terms of aerodynamics, pretty useless, but for keeping feet warm, they are as good as they get.

Left sock (outside of sock) Right sock (inside turned inside out)

Overall Review of Heat Holders

They are the warmest sock I’ve found.

Don’t worry about sizing they are very elastic.

If you wear them around the house, they don’t last forever, and bits of fibre do start to come off. I have worn holes in the heels of some socks I’ve had for two years. But, I bought a new pair recently because they are still excellent value. If you want to keep feet warm, these are very good. As the weather warms up, they can become too hot, but they don’t get too sweaty, there is room to breath too.

As mentioned in recent post on  hotpads, I get very cold feet, so I use an inner pair of socks, a pair of hotpads and then these heatholders on top. Cold feet will never be an excuse to stop cycling.

Cycling in the 2 degrees

Yesterday, the mercury was edging just above freezing. It was just about tolerable to cycle for a couple of hours. I had several thermal layers, 3 pairs of gloves and the hot pad / heat holder combination on the feet. The feet were amongst the warmest part of the body. Continue Reading →

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Assos LS. Skinfoil baselayer review

The Assos LS Skinfoil longsleeve base layer is a top of the range base layer, designed to offer comfort and temperature control. In summary – expensive, but very good.

assos-climar-ange-2

My other career modelling for skinny cycling clothes

I bought the Climarange 4/7 Fall version, as that seemed to offer the biggest range of temperatures for the base layer to be useful. I have used it over the winter (mostly wet and mild). But, also used it this weekend, cycling in pretty chilly temperatures of 2 degrees.

Fit

I took size L, (waist 30-32) which was a good fit, allowing for my lanky body shape. I would have liked arms to be a little longer, but it felt close to the skin without being tight in any particular parts. Assos say that it is manufactured like a tubular design (rather than flat bed). This seems to mean it has better contours to the shape of the body.

They say it is important to get the right fit because if it doesn’t fit close to skin it doesn’t work as it should. Continue Reading →

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Scicon Aerocomfort bike bag review

The Scicon Aerocomfort bike bag is a soft case bag for transporting a bike. It is unusually wide at one end to minimise the amount of bike dismantling required. Although it is a soft case, it is reasonably well padded.

I spent a long time trying work out the best bag to buy. In the end I went for this. I recently used on a trip to Sicily.

See also: Taking your bike on a plane

.scicon-bag-2The bag – a little unusual shape, but not much bigger than other bike bags. It doesn’t particularly look like a bike bag.

Features

  • Separate compartments for wheels. This was a big improvement on my last bike bag because there the wheels were loose in the bag. The wheel sections are quite well padded.
  • No need to dismantle handlebars – One end is wide enough to take.
  • Weight: 8.9kg
  • External Dimensions: L 118cm x D 25cm x H 90cmFolded Dimensions: L 106cm x D29cm x H 24cm
  • Additional padding for top tube and handlebars
  • Swivel bike pump
  • 1 antishock bike frame

Continue Reading →

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DHB Aeron Roubaix Softshell Gilet

 Review by Garga Chamberlain
I’ve always used lightweight jackets and gilets before – the type that fold up to the size of a satsuma at most and give reasonable wind protection but not a lot of warmth. This softshell gilet is very different – it has a windproof / water-repellent outer fabric and a warm microfleece lining, so even when packed flat it’s about the size of a couple of thick-cut sandwiches. On the plus side, it’s been perfect for such a wide range of conditions this winter that I’ve not had to take it off and find room in a pocket for it.
dhb softshell
The softshell gilet is part of DHB’s performance range, so it’s aimed at the serious cyclist wanting good value training kit rather than the commuter or occasional rider. Having worn it for a few weeks of winter weather though, I’d say just about anyone who rides in all weathers will love this piece of kit.
Genuinely warm and windproof, this gilet has kept my torso dry in some sharp showers and sustained drizzle too. The cut is definitely sleek, with a lot of stretch and an effective gripper around the base, so when I drop down into an aero position it doesn’t sag around my middle like some jackets do. It’s great in windy conditions, with no flapping of fabric and zero rustling. The zip is robust and backed by a storm
flap which protects from wind penetration and also prevents any rubbing at the neck.
My favourite feature is the storage – 2 very large, stretchy pockets give me space to carry all the gear I need on a long ride (bananas, bars, lightweight waterproof etc.) or my winter commute (small lock, bunch of keys, wallet, etc.). Honestly you can cram a lot of gear in there and the flaps at the top of the pockets make sure it stays put while still allowing easy, fumble-free access when you’re riding.
There’s good reflective trim at the back, a reflective logo on the front and if you opt for the navy/fluoro colourway as I did you’ll be seen from miles away. If you are more worried about how you look than how well you get seen in the dark, there’s a cool-looking black version available too.
gilet-side
Verdict – warm, windproof and showerproof with a sleek, body-hugging fit and generous storage.
Related product

Buy

  • DHB Soft Shell at Wiggle
      £65   (currently on sale for under £40 – a bargain)
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