Earlier this year, Birzman introduced the BottleCleat alongside a ton of new accessories, pumps and bags. This is their take on a cageless water bottle, using a combination of peg and clip to retain your drink. The system puts a peg on the bottom of the mount, then has a clip-in opening for a smaller peg on the bottle itself to snap into. The beauty of it is that you can flipflop the mount to set it up for right or left hand entry.
The bottle weighs in at 97g empty, and it has a 21oz capacity. The clip adds 13g to your bike. Zach got an early version and had some issues with getting it to stay on the bike, but this full production model has worked well for me. Zach, who typically rides a small sized bike, also noted that because the bottle has a slightly larger than normal diameter and the bottom isn’t tapered, that it’s hard to get two bottles inside the front triangle – the bottoms bump into each other and prevent proper fit. Birzman mentions this on their packaging, but the upside is that it’s side-entry mounting means you can still fit a single full size bottle in smaller frames that wouldn’t accommodate traditional top-down entry.
On the size 58 Specialized Crux shown here, I don’t imagine I’d have the same issues despite a very low mounting position on the downtube…pretty sure I could get two bottles on this bike if I wanted.
The lower peg bolts over the mount, with guides to keep it solid. On the bottle is a female slot to catch the peg, then you twist the bottle inward to snap it into the upper trap. I’m still glancing down to get it started, but as soon as the bottle lands on the peg, I’m looking forward again and snapping it in blindly. It’s fairly intuitive and easy, and on my rooty, bumpy cyclocross test routes, the bottle stayed in place. I kept it full for most of the ride to put the highest load on it, even jumping off a few curbs, but I couldn’t shake it.
For mountain biking, I use a hydration pack. And for road, I’m usually running insulated bottles because it’s hot…and I like to keep my drinks cool. But for cyclocross, I like this concept a lot. Something to drink on training rides and during warmup, then a clean look when it’s time to line up.
The bottle has a wide opening and soft TPR (thermoplastic rubber) tip that imparted no flavor. It’s easy to pull open and push shut, and flow is generous. The bottle itself is non-toxic LDPE and doesn’t seem to impart any flavor either. They list it as FDA approved without specifically citing that it’s BPA free, but LDPE is generally listed under “safe”, non-BPA plastics. I noticed that it’s particularly soft and easy to squeeze, which is good if you (like me) will end up using it for cyclocross when it’s freezing cold and fingers aren’t working as well.
Retail is $10, available through QBP in the USA.