A while back, Vincero Designs sent us their original Stratus water bottle system to play with and we were pretty impressed. Almost immediately after we published a first look at it, they informed us they had a newer, stronger version coming out with mountain bikers in mind.
Well, I’ve been running the latest and greatest on my mountain bike for quite a few rough rides and have to say it works flawlessly.
There’s a lot to like here. First, the aesthetics are great. When the bottle’s not on the bike, there’s virtually nothing to see, which keeps things looking clean. Singlespeeders and fixie riders will totally geek out over this. Second, the spout valve operates hands (and teeth and butt) free…there’s nothing to open or close, just squeeze and drink. Not a single drop spilled out during testing.
Lastly, there’s the operation, which takes all of two tries to get used to. Check out pics and more reviewy-ness after the break…
The system works by mating an angled base plate that mounts where your normal bottle cage would. To put the bottle on, you use virtually the same movement as you would with a cage, then you’ll feel the magnet pull it into place. It’s plenty strong and never once ejected the bottle accidentally.
This latest version has three improvements over the original. First, the magnets are stronger. We never had any problems with the first version, but Vincero Design said on super rough trails there was a chance the bottle could launch. I belive they’ve fixed that.
Second, there’s now a bit of wiggle room in the bolt holes, making it easier to install when the mounts on your frame are perfectly lined up with the holes on the base plate. The original didn’t have any room to wiggle and ended up making me very nervous that it was going to break the mount loose in my frame. Once the bolts are tightened down, the unit is tight, but the wiggle room makes installation smoother.
The second improvement is that it’s a gram lighter:
The original was 21g with both bolts, now it’s 20g. Yay!
The spout works great and is super minimal.The only (very slight) downside is that when the bottle’s really full and you grab it to take a drink, it may spray a small mist of sports drink onto your frame…but that’s only when it’s super full and only because you have to grab it convincingly to remove the bottle.
Getting it lined up for “re-entry” is easy because there is a raised logo to help you orient it and because, in reality, you’re usually putting it back the same way you grab it.
As a system, the only downsides remain the same: You’re limited to using their bottles unless you want to swap between cages and their magnetic base plate. The upside is that additional (or replacement) bottles aren’t really any pricier than other good bottles…and they say they’re working on an insulated bottle, too.
Other things that make it cool:
- Food grade plastic doesn’t soak up flavors or odors
- 100% free of BPA, DEHA, and DEHP
- Proposition 65 Compliant and made of 100% FDA food-grade material
- Safe for the top rack of your dishwasher
- Wide mouth opening for easy filling, cleaning
Additional bottles are available in a 24oz ($9.95) size, and the systems, which include the magnetic rail mount and one bottle, sell for $46.95, which is less than you’d probably pay for a high-end bottle cage that still doesn’t match that weight. They’ve had renderings of an aero and 20oz bottle on their website since we first found these guys but nothing concrete yet…so I’m not holding my breath for the insulated model.
Overall, I’d highly recommend them. They look good, work good and are lightweight (bottle weight is just 85g). What more do you want from your water bottle?