Hydration on the bike

I have problems taking on fluid whilst on the bike and whilst I was at a Tri today I was looking around to see what other people were doing.

A couple of people had the Speedfil Complete System.  I quite like the fact that it holds 1.2 litres, but am somewhat shocked at the price tag.  So I have hunted around and found this Speedfil System which will sit in my existing bottle mount, but still carries a hefty price tag considering it is just another water bottle with a pipe attached image.

Then I found Handlebar Cage Mount.  The item description clearly states that this is for use with the A2 system, but I was wondering whether it would work with a standard water bottle.  Also, some websites are claiming that it is used on aero/TT bars only. From my novice perspective, I cannot see how that would be the case but I may be wrong.

The first system I linked to would be good from a capacity point of view, but it is costly.  The final link would be ideal as a trial due to the price, but it would limit me to the amount of fluid I could take on a long ride (this is of course dependant on whether it will take a standard bottle and mount on an ordinary handlebar stem.

It would be great if anyone who has any experience of these Speedfil systems could let me know the advantages and pitfalls of the system they use to help me reach a decision.

Thanks

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Comments

  • I have the big speedfil. Found it invaluable for IM long training rides, and the big day. Especially the ability to fill it up on the go. I got mine for about £55 at Christmas. I liked that it was a constant reminder to hydrate, and I didn't have to come off the TT bars to hydrate.

    One downside, was that it filled the bike frame, so with the speedfil and deep wheels I was susceptible to side winds. It also takes a few minutes to clean up after use (tubing). The rest goes in the dishwasher. If you over fill it, it splashes on to your leg and bike. Some cling film over the 'lid' stops this.

    You can mount any old bottle cage on to a stem with cable ties.

  • I used the Speedfil in Ironman Germany 2010 on a Ceepo Venom.  From what I recall the main drawback was you can't add a electrolyet tablet to the bottle.  You also have to grab a bottle, squirt the contents into the speedfil and dispose of the bottle within a few secs which can also be a problem for some.

    If I still had it (I sold it with the Venom) I'd use it for Olympic-distance and races and Half Ironmans with a 500ml bar mounted bottle.

    Personally i think it's a shame they have created TT frames with only one frame bottle mount now....limited options.  The 2 x frame bottles was always very aerodynamic and better than having bottles behind the saddle (where the wind zipping down the back would hit) or on the bars (liable to jump out over a speed bump lol - I have experience of that!)

     

     

  • A £55 price tag for the big speedfil would make it comparable price wise with the second system I linked to. Happy to pay a little extra to be able to carry the extra fluid

    I had read about side winds but not sure I would really fall victim to that given the speed (or lack of) I go image

    And I don't have a dishwasher image

    I have just looked at my existing mount and it wouldn't look as pretty with cable ties compared to the mount I linked to image

  • Daz wrote (see)

    I used the Speedfil in Ironman Germany 2010 on a Ceepo Venom.  From what I recall the main drawback was you can't add a electrolyet tablet to the bottle.  You also have to grab a bottle, squirt the contents into the speedfil and dispose of the bottle within a few secs which can also be a problem for some.

    If I still had it (I sold it with the Venom) I'd use it for Olympic-distance and races and Half Ironmans with a 500ml bar mounted bottle. Personally i think it's a shame they have created TT frames with only one frame bottle mount now....limited options.  The 2 x frame bottles was always very aerodynamic and better than having bottles behind the saddle (where the wind zipping down the back would hit) or on the bars (liable to jump out over a speed bump lol - I have experience of that!)

    I had a double bottle carrier behind the seat as well as the speedfil. 1 was for a storage bottle. The other was a buffer for topping up the speedfil. Grab at station ans tow until safe. Refill speedfil then put empty bottle behind seat.

    I guess if you took the funnel out you could put electroyte tablets in, as they'll fit through the flaps.

    Like you I'd use it for Oly and above. Didn't take anything with me on today' sprint (though it was cooler than last Sunday!).

  • Daz - why can't you put an electrolyte tablet in?  Can you put pre-tableted liquid in?  This issue is quite important for me as I sweat a lot and tend not to have plain water but something like Nuun

    PS In case it affects anything, my bike is an ordinary bog-standard road bike

  • Schmunks... what problem do you have taking on water?  Is it that you can't drink from a bottle, or the whole drinking/pedalling/staying upright thing is not possible, or something else....?   

    Options are a bit limited:

    1. Conventional bottle(s) on frame.
    2. Speedfill on frame.
    3. Various types of Aero Bottle.
    4. Behind the seat bottles.
    5. Camel Back (pack or belt)

    Is it a practice thing, or are you desparate to spend money on bottle-bling?  ;)

    If it's that you don't like bending down to grab a bottle then a aero bottle solution might be the way to go as probably better value for money.  The only downside with the aero solution is that you (a) give yourself a frontal lobotomy if drinking and you hit a pothole, and (b) often get soaked in sports drink unless you can devise some way of capping off the bottle to stop the fluid bouncing out!  I was impressed with the design of the speedfill, but IMHO it is grossly over-priced.

     

  • You mention in your first post about using the handlebar mount bracket with a standard water bottle. This would still mean taking the bottle out of the mount like a regular bottle, but there is no reason it wouldn't work with a standard bike.

    The only reason it may be more aimed at tri bikes is because there is evidence to suggest that a bottle between the arms at that separation is better aerodynamically than no bottle at all.

    I personally completed Outlaw with one between-the-arms bottle cage, and it was fastened on with zipties - cheap and cheerful! Worked for another guy I've heard is pretty good at tri... http://www.saltstick.com/media/reviews/InsideTri_Macca.pdf

  • PSC- i have a visual impairment which means I hyper-wobble to the extent where I either veer into the kerb or into incoming traffic.  I have spent the last two years practicising and it's not coming good, so I am thinking of something where I can just drink from a tube without having to take my eyes off the road or something that is right in front of me so I can see exactly where to put it back

    1. Conventional bottles -  don't work for me because I need to take my eyes off the road
    2. Speedfil - expensive
    3. Aero bottles - I don't have aero bars
    4. Saddle bottles - I have tried these and the 'side effects ' are worse than conventional bottles
    5. Camelback -  not keen on the idea of something making my back sweat

    Engineer - as the bottle would be in front of me I would be able to see where it had to go to put it back

    I do like the speedfil system, but cannot justify the price considering I am not Tri training at the moment.  I think I will trial an ordinary mount with cable ties to see how I get on first,  I can afford two cable ties (especially when I can pilfer them from my mentors cupboard image)

  • Schmunkee, Id recommend using x2 bottles on the fram then, but getting used to reaching down without looking.  I don't think I ever had to look down to grab a bottle - plenty of practise and you'll be fine.

    I dont know what PSC is on abut unless it's tongue and cheek.  Some people need electrolytes more than others, and its essential over the coure of a hot half or full IM distance unless you want to struggle to the finish.

    I can't remember the exact problem with trying to get tablets into the Speedfil.  The flaps were not the issue, there was a plastic grip beneath this I believe, that a standard sized nuun or zero (or the like) tablet would not penetrate through unless broken up. A speedfil witll NOT splash on your legs if correctly fitted.  Only the profile aero bottles used to do that with the mesh, but I believe they have created a speedfil type cover now.

    Electrolytes - there are ways of getting around having to add tablets to liquid if you want to have a play.  If aid stops are regular and you don't mind losing a few secs then take a 750ml bottle of water from each and have the other bottle holder on the bike containina strong electrolytes solution.  Take a few swigs on approach to the station, throw the old water bottle and get a new one.

    Always wash down solids, gels etc with water if you can help it, and then have the electrolyte sparingly also with water.  Of course you miss out on energy drinks but I'd alternate if I were you.

    Ive seen all sorts of bottles being used over the years but you can't beat x2 on the frame.  And the extra side wind affect of a speedfil would be marginal.  Lets face it its probably a little better than having extra weight on the bars from a stem mounted bottle.  And bottles behind the saddle have to be low - if they are high then the wind hits it hard as it comes off the bike.  I love seeing IM cyclists in skin tight tri tops with no pockets and in almost a flush aero position only to ruin it with high rear mounted bottle lol.

     

  • Speedfil for sale on Tripetalk for £50.

  • Daz - not sure what you mean...  I wasn't taking the micky at all.  For some folks grabbing bottles or even tipping the head back to drink is a problem - Schmunks is not the first person I know who is looking for a solution to this.  My post was entirely genuine, and I agree that you do need fluid and electrolites during a long ride.  image

    Schumnks, you could fit some aero bars to  your normal bars and then fit an aero bottle.  You don't need to actually use the bars for cycling.....

     

  • Daz - 2x bottle on the frame simply does not work for me.  I have persisted for 2 years and the time has come to admit defeat.  I am not being a girly-wuss here, it is impossible for me to take on fluid this way and cycle safely as my mentor will testify.  And PSC has mentioned something that I was too embarassed to admit before, but tipping my head back to drink also makes me veer (drastically) to one side

    And to be clear, it's not the grabbing of the bottle that is an issue, but the returning of it to the cage, whether that be on the back of the saddle or on the down tube

    Cat - thanks for the tip-off.  I shall have a think about that.image

     

  • Just on the tipping your head back bit - you shouldn't really have to - just stick the bottle in your mouth side on and squeeze it a bit - maybe the bottle is angled up a bit but not your head.

  • Fair enough schmunkee.  If bottles are out (frame and behind saddle) then I guess you are left with the mounted, bladder or the speedfil.  Mounted for you requires some tri bars so extra cost and a set-up you're not used to(?).  Bladder can be a nightmare - extra weight of liquid to cover the distance, warm rather than cool.  I suppose you could keep stopping to top it up lol.

    Leaves the aero frame bottles with straws.  Have a look around, there are a few more than just the speedfil now.  You need to ensure it sits well in the frame too.  If its flush up against the down and seat tubes then great for aerodynamics.  If using speedfil then be careful you dont overcut the straw, turn the forks 90degrees and cut to fit.  tie it close to the frame and up in front of the bar stem clamp.  Speedfil 'straw' is sturdy and adjustable....it wont catch you in the eye.

    You coud probably munt a 130ml bottle of concentrated electrolyte liquid on the bar stem (or elsewhere, pockets etc) should you wish to top the speedfil up with just water.  

    Just be careful at aid stations and remember you have 1200ml in the speedfil, so could top up with 500ml bottles every 45-60mins regardless of what is in the speedfil

  • Hi Schmunks

    I'm glad you asked this, because I also really struggle with grabbing and replacing a bottle while on the move. 

    Does anyone use a Camelbak backpack when cycling?  I have one, but hadn't thought of cycling with it.

  • I've seen people using camelbaks, but, as Schmunks indicates above, they will warm your back up and in turn warm the drink up too.  Each to their own...

     

  • For the £50 ish could you not get some cheap clip on bars and one of teh aero mounted drinks holders?

  • If putting the bottles back is your only problem, maybe its your drink holders are the problem? Are they solid cages or is there any give in them? The ones i have on mine now are very flexible so once i get the bottles near the cage, they go in really easily but are held securely.. similar to elastic laces on shoes.. these are the ones i got and are on a good sale now - http://planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/BOPXPCPRG/pair_of_planet_x_pro_carbon_bottle_cages___gloss_black

  • Schmunks - if you can get to the point where you tip the bottle up, and you keep your head straight, go for the handle-bar (stem) mount you found earlier. Use a normal cage to carry bottle#2, and swap when needed (and stationary).

  • On my road bikes (and mtb) i go for 2 bottles on the frame

    On my TT bike i have a double profile bottle in the bars and a bottle on the frame

    On long training and off road I quite often go for a hydration pack 

     

    not realy a consistant aproach ... i know image

  • I have a problem with drinking on the bike. I'm not the most confident cyclist anyway and start to wobble when trying to taking a bottle out of and putting it back into a bottle cage.
    I picked up a bottle cage from Halford and some cable ties this week and fastened it to the top of the handlebars last night, I hope that was what was meant by the earlier comment about fastening a bottle cage to the stem.
    Went out this morning and it was easy to get the bottle in and out of the cage, for the first time I managed to drink almost the entire bottle without having to stop to do so. image OK I was still wobbling a bit while drinking but I'm sure that I'll get over that with time and practice.

  • Well done. That's exactly what I meant. Cheaper than the manufactured version too.
  • IronCat5 in the Hat wrote (see)
    Well done. That's exactly what I meant. Cheaper than the manufactured version too.

    image

  • Just out of curiosity, doesn't almost a kilogram weight of cage, bottle and water mounted on top of the stem rather spoil the bike's handling?

  • Pethead wrote (see)

    Just out of curiosity, doesn't almost a kilogram weight of cage, bottle and water mounted on top of the stem rather spoil the bike's handling?

    I didn't notice any difference to be honest but then I'm not a great cyclist and wasn't going that fast, averaged 14mph over the whole ride. 

  • Pethead wrote (see)

    Just out of curiosity, doesn't almost a kilogram weight of cage, bottle and water mounted on top of the stem rather spoil the bike's handling?

    Yes and no. When you consider the change in overall CoG of the bike and hydration, it's a big relocation of weight. It's also locating the fluid (and its associated inertia) to a location with a greater degree of freedom. This is partly the reason why you don't see many handlebar mounted drink systems in the Pro Tour.

    The question then becomes whether you'll notice it. I'd suggest that if you're weaving when using a regular bottle cage, then you may well not.

    In an IM bike leg, however, there are a lot of differences we must consider - the goal is to time-trial as efficiently as possible, which means: 

    • Aero is king
    • Wild movements and throwing the bike around aren't common 

    Both points have double significance: Firstly, a between the arms (BTA) bottle has been shown to be more aerodynamic than no bottle at all. (http://cervelo.com/en_us/news-blog/article/ask-the-engineers-hydration-and-aerodynamics/2930/) In addition to this, the penalty for coming out of the aero position to drink is reduced as one can drink more quickly.

    As the most efficient way to ride is to keep as still as possible, the penalty of raised weight is negligible. This is even more so when we consider that BECAUSE we won't be throwing the bike around, we can consider the body on top to be part of the overall static weight - meaning that as a percentage, the delta for CoG is small.

    So I'd stick with a BTA bottle for IM, but wouldn't use one for training or for bicycle races. The caveat here is the reason it was brought up in the first place - some people just find it easier!

  • EP, have a look on the bottle cage that attaches behind your seat, holds two bottles i think...pros's used to use on the TT bike till they got banned, but sure there still ok for us mere amateurs

  • Lindi had a tiny frame and she got 2 bottles on. The one on the seat tube was a side entry one. Much cheaper and easier than messing with bottles behind your seat.



    To overcome problems with bottles - practice is key.

    Find a quiet road. Take bottle out. Put bottle back. Hands back on bars. Repeat.

    And keep repeating until you can do it without looking down.

    For drinking - keep looking at the road ahead and tilt the bottle slightly above horizontal and squirt into your mouth.

    Only one gulp. Any more and you'll be compromise your breathing.
  • I really wanted a Speedfil / aero mounted at one stage but now I don't -

    1. Having a bottle to drink out of gives me a chance to come out of the aero position and give my back a break

    2. I get to use my pirate bottles (in training anyway), which actually are great cos they're not too tight in the bottle cage so are really easy to get out and put back

    3. I don't reckon I'm cool enough to be not feel just a little bit silly with all that bling when I'm pedalling so slow ...!



    BTW - why were seat mounted cages banned? Seems like a great place for a bottle or two???
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