Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Let's move on to water bottles...

I received a water bottle in the mail recently. It kind of confused me. There was a top and there was another top. The second top was on the bottom and you couldn't drink out of it. What the... Then I read the literature. Yes, it had literature - for a water bottle. The bottom top was so the bottle could be cleaned. Clean water bottles? I removed both the top top and bottom top and tried cleaning it, but still couldn't get my hand inside to clean it.

Which end up? One too many parts.

I've been a fan of Specialized water bottles since day one. We sold them at the shop I worked at in the '80s. I sell them in my shop today. I'm not a Specialized dealer, but I sell Specialized water bottles. They just feel right. They fit into King Cages perfectly. The top screws down and doesn't leak. The poppet closes with no leaking and opens easily with my teeth. And most important, when you squeeze the bottle fluid drains into your mouth (provided it's aimed into your mouth). And when you squeeze it, it has just the right feel - not hard plasticy, not too soft, just right.

There's lots of bottles folks use out on the bike. From 1l store bought plastic bottles fit into vintage Blackburn/WTB Bomber cages to stainless bottles, there's lots of options. However, both of those options don't work that great for me on the bike. The purpose of the bicycle mounted water bottle is to drink on the fly. Reach down, pull out, squirt, swallow, reinsert. The method of securing the 1l bottles requires an additional rubber loop fit around the top. Technically, you can reach down, unloop, pull out, squirt (with "sports top"), swallow, reinsert, fiddle with rubber loop, and continue riding. By that time, I've probably wandered off road or off trail or crashed.

The stainless water bottles are supposed to fit into a standard water bottle cage, but metal on metal - the scraping sound of the bottle out of the cage is like fingernails on a chalkboard or teeth on popsicle sticks. And then there's the rattle of the bottle in the cage. There is a custom cage that fits the stainless bottle nicely. But there's still a problem. Reach down, pull out, squirt - oh wait, you can't squeeze a stainless bottle, you have to suck. And while I'm riding, I'm already sucking wind and combining that with trying to suck water out of the top usually produces oxygen deprivation followed by blacking out and then wandering off road or off trail.

So there I am, using the same bottle type I've used for closing in on 3 decades. I can reach down, pull it out, hydrate, and reinsert without looking. It's intuitive and fast. It just works. It's easily cleaned without having a bottom top. Just a bit of hot water, some dish soap, shake vigorously, squirt out the top to clean that too, rinse, and it's ready to go another round. And if you do find yourself negligent in your bottle cleaning duties and a bit of grunge starts growing that isn't removed by standard cleaning forms, a spot of clorox in a bottle filled with water and left standing for a few hours will clean out that bottle just like bleach cleans your whitey-tighteys. No streaks. And if you rinse thoroughly, there's no bleach taste. Well, at least none that bothers me.

And all this leads up to the sales portion of today's post - Black Mountain Cycles water bottles made by Specialized are still and will continue to be for sale. Large bottles are $7 and small bottles are $6. Get 'em now. And if you order a road or cross frame, I'll throw in a bottle, gratis.

img 075

And then here's a Black Mountain Cycles bottle in the wild that's sure to be the envy of every bottle out there - mounted to a classic 1984 Bruce Gordon on the flanks of Mt. San Bruno overlooking San Francisco and the bay yesterday. Thanks to Robbins for the use of the photo of his bike.
1984 Bruce Gordon

(What's playing: Joe Jackson It's Different For Girls)


Guitar Ted said...

That BG is awesome! One of my favorite colors for a bicycle too.

You know, there are not too many items one can say has been around in cycling, arguably at the "Best Of Class" level, for 30 years. Brooks saddles maybe, and what else?

I'm with you though- there is no better "mouse trap" when it comes to water bottles than a Specialized made one.

Anonymous said...

Like the Specialized bottles "feel" but the taste is awful... You just know that can't be that great for you.... So, it is Soma BPA-free bottles for me. They don't squeeze well, but do a bit. When they get near the bottom it is harder to squeeze out what you want, so I usually take the lid off completely and down what is left. I stop now and again to pee or whatever and don't feel I always have to be drinking on the fly like you do though.

blackmountaincycles said...

The Specialized bottles are BPA-free as well

Taste? Haven't eaten one yet, but maybe with a bit of Cholula sauce...

blackmountaincycles said...