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Best Bike Water Bottle

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You shouldn’t need us to tell you the importance of staying hydrated when exercising.

Cycling water bottles, commonly known as bidons in the pro-peloton, are perhaps the most important bike accessory and one you should never leave the house without.

As with most cycling accessories, what might seem like a simple choice soon becomes complex when you start to delve into the different features.

In this article, we look at what you need to know to get the best bike water bottle for your epic rides.

Top Picks:

Top 5 Best Insulated Water Bottles

1. CamelBak Podium Ice

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Capacity: 21 fl. oz
  • Weight: 5.4oz

The CamelBak Podium Ice shares many of the same great qualities as the CamelBak Big Chill but with twice the insulating performance. According to the marketing blurb, this means it keeps the drink cool for four times longer than a regular uninsulated bottle.

It is easy to choke on your drink when you see the price tag of the Podium Ice but it comes down to how much you value a cold drink on a hot day.

Features:

  • Aerogel Insulation – one of the best-insulated bottles for a cool blast of water.
  • Jet Valve – extremely easy to use nozzle for drinking as well as self-sealing so that you don’t accidentally lose fluids to the road. The nozzle can be locked for transport so that nothing leaks even with pressure applied.
  • TruTaste Polypropylene – at the top of a climb you need a refreshing drink and not water tinged with plastic.

2. CamelBak Podium Big Chill

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Capacity: 24 fl. Oz.
  • Weight: 4.3oz

The double-wall construction of the CamelBak Podium Big Chill Insulated Water Bottle is designed to keep your water cold on hot days in the saddle.

Aside from doing an admirable job at keeping things cool, several other great features justify the price tag.

Features:

  • Double-wall insulation – the water stays cooler for longer.
  • Jet Valve – extremely easy to use nozzle for drinking as well as self-sealing so that you don’t accidentally lose fluids to the road. The nozzle can be locked for transport so that nothing leaks even with pressure applied.
  • BPA- free – at the top of a climb you need a refreshing drink and not water tinged with plastic.

3. CamelBak Podium Dirt Series Chill

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Capacity: 21 fl. oz
  • Weight: 3.7 oz

The CamelBak Podium Dirt Series Chill is one for mountain bikers who prefer their water not to come with a side order of trail dirt.

The Dirt Series shares similar features with other bottles in the Podium range but also has a Mud Cap to keep the drinking nozzle clean.

Features:

  • Mud Cap – keeps dirt out the nozzle.
  • Double-wall insulation – water stays cooler for longer.
  • Twist lock cap – prevents any accidental leaks and provides extra security when transporting in a bag.

4. Salsa Insulated Water Bottle

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Capacity: 23 fl. oz
  • Weight: 3.1oz

The frosty polar bear logo and artic design tell you everything you need to know about the Salsa Insulated Water Bottle – it keeps things cool.

It does a good job at keeping drinks cool for longer and the MoFlo cap design helps deliver that cool water thanks to a wide channel.

Features:

  • Great taste – BPA-free and treated with a silicon dioxide layer to prevent odors and mold.
  • MoFlo Cap – high volume flow rate and can be locked down for transport.
  • Insulated – as befitting a bottle with a polar bear design it keeps water cooler for longer.

5. Polar Bottle Breakaway

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Capacity: 24 fl. oz
  • Weight: 5.3oz

The visible Tri-Layer insulation in the Polar Bottle Breakaway Insulated Bike Water Bottle uses reflective materials to keep the sun out and keep water cool. Polar have been perfecting this for a while and now it had been packaged into a lightweight water bottle.

Features:

  • Tri-Layer Insulation – for a lightweight water bottle it does a better than expected job of keeping the water cooler for longer.
  • Surge-Cap – easy to use and an impressive flowrate with a gentle squeeze of the bottle. The cap is self-sealing so you don’t have to worry about leakages during transport.
  • Fit – it stays put in the bottle cage and the slightly textured fell to the plastic makes it easy to grip on the bike.

Other Cycling Water Bottles (non-insulated)

1. Elite Fly 

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Capacity: 25 fl. oz
  • Weight: 1.9oz

The Elite Fly is a water bottle made for any cyclist that is obsessed with shaving every gram from their set-up. If you are lucky enough to catch a bottle from the pro peloton then it will likely be one of these.

The thin plastic walls of the bottle might feel a bit flimsy, but they do save an impressive amount of weight compared to other bottles.

Features:

  • Lightweight – favored by the pro-peloton for the obvious weight savings.
  • Every drop -the smooth cap profile means no more removing the cap to get those last precious water drops.
  • BPA-free – even in the hot sun, the plastic is taste-free.

2. Specialized Purist Watergate

CHECK PRICE AT COMPETITIVE CYCLIST

  • Capacity: 26 fl. oz
  • Weight: 3.3oz

The inner walls of the Specialized Purist Watergate are infused with a silicon dioxide coating that effectively prevents staining to provide an untainted taste.

This means that you can switch from sweet energy drinks to pure water with no residual taste with only a quick rinse.

Features:

  • Taste – the internal, glass-like finish prevents any residual taste.
  • Shape – the narrow neck is easy and secure to grip when taking a drink.
  • Heart Valve – self-sealing valve to prevent any leakage and provides a good hit of water when you need it.

3. CamelBak Podium

CHECK PRICE AT COMPETITIVE CYCLIST

  • Capacity: 24 fl. oz
  • Weight: 2.9oz

The CamelBak Podium Water Bottle shares the same great Jet Valve nozzle features as the insulated version; leak-proof, lockable, and easy to wash.

The tapered neck of the Podium means that it works well with the majority of bottle cages and makes it easy to replace in the cage once you have had a drink.

Features:

  • Jet Valve – self-sealing so you don’t lose a drop of water on the bike and provides a decent hit of water when drinking.
  • Hydroguard – no strange plastic taste to the water.
  • Lockable nozzle – twisting the cap completely locks the nozzle to prevent any leaks.

4. Specialized Hydroflo

CHECK PRICE AT COMPETITIVE CYCLIST

  • Capacity: 23 fl. oz
  • Weight: 3.1oz

Apart from doing everything you would expect in a water bottle, the three-sided shape of the Specialized Hydroflo Water Bottle makes it one of the best for grabbing from the cage.

The ergonomic hold makes it much less likely that you will drop the bottle.

Features:

  • Fit – the tree-sided shape is almost invisible to the naked eye but it makes the bottle much easier to grip and prevent accidental drops.
  • Flexible Walls – the walls of the bottle are extremely flexible and all it takes is a light squeeze to deliver water.
  • Taste – the Purist technology that does a great job of preventing odor and staining.

5. Fabric Gripper

CHECK PRICE AT COMPETITIVE CYCLIST

  • Capacity: 25.4 fl. oz
  • Weight: 2.6oz

The Fabric Gripper Water Bottle lives up to its name. The dotted texture at the neck of the bottle makes it easy to pull from the cage and there is no danger of accidentally dropping it as you take a hit of water.

The nozzle is activated easily with a quick pull using your teeth and the water flows freely without having to suck or squeeze.

Features:

  • Grip – the dotted, textured surface around the neck prevents accidental dropping and makes it easy to pull from the cage.
  • Cleaning – the entire nozzle pulls away with ease for cleaning.
  • BPA-free – there is no horrible, chemical-taste to the water.

Why You Need To Bring A Water Bottle When Cycling

Any cyclist who has ever experienced the crippling effects of dehydration on the bike knows the importance of staying hydrated.

What starts as some mild confusion quickly turns to total exhaustion and the inevitable phone call to an understanding partner to rescue you.

By the time you feel the symptoms of dehydration, it is too late. This is why it is not just important but necessary to carry water when cycling.

We all know that as we work our bodies hard, perspiration helps to keep us cool. You need to be able to replace these lost fluids.

To make things a little more complicated your body also loses sodium and potassium in the sweat which can compound the effects of dehydration. For harder or longer efforts, it is important to replace these by using electrolytes.

When out on the bike, the best practice is to drink little and often as soon as you start turning the pedals.

A good rule of thumb is two or three sips from the bottle every 10 to 15 minutes. This should help you stay on top of the 500ml to 1000ml of normal fluid loss.

Video: Cycling Hydration | Why Use A Sports Drink

Water Bottles: What Features To Keep An Eye Out For

Size

The size of the bottle dictates how much fluid you can carry and by extension how often you might need to stop on your ride.

There is no point obsessing over a few grams on the bike (or kilos on the body) if you are then going to ruin it all by filling up a large bidon even for a short spin. That 750ml bottle is now a 750g dead weight on your bike.

Nozzle And Flow Rate

The nozzle design can vary significantly between bottles. At one end you have the simple push-pull nozzle that can be opened with your teeth on the bike but is prone to leaks and poor flow rates.

At the other, more expensive end, you have nozzles that are self-sealing, leak-proof, and provide a decent flowrate for very little effort.

Another feature to look for is whether the nozzle can be locked to completely seal the fluids, even if the bottle is squeezed accidentally.

Getting water from your bottle shouldn’t take a lot of effort. A bottle that is easy to use and provides a decent volume of cooling water goes a long way to stay hydrated on the bike.

Insulation

Insulated bottles help to keep liquids cooler for longer.

Apart from tasting better, studies have shown that people who drink cold water during exercise experienced a slower rise in core body temperature compared to drinking lukewarm water.

Lids

If you do a lot of your riding on dirty, dusty trails then it might be worth investing in a water bottle that has an integrated lid to cover the nozzle and keep it clean.

No one wants to drink water with a sprinkling of dust.

The drawback here is that it is a little harder to access the fluids on the bike.

Cleaning

If you fill your bottles with a sports drink or electrolyte tablets it is important to clean the bottle and cap regularly to prevent mold and bacteria.

As nozzles have become more complex, so too has it become harder to clean them properly. To get around this, look for caps and nozzles that can be completely dismantled to give them a proper clean.

Bottle Cages

Thankfully bottle cage and bottle manufacturers put their heads together years ago to standardize bottle diameters for cycling. This means that you can be confident that any bottle you buy will fit in the bottle cage on your bike.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Bike Water Bottle?

Our favorite insulated bottle is the Camelbak Podium Ice bottle, due to its superb cooling performance.

The Elite Fly hits the number one spot for other, non-insulted water bottles. They are very light. Every gram counts!

Why Is The Cycling Water Bottle Also Called A Bidon?

For historical reasons, the language of cycling, particularly road cycling is littered with French words. The French word bidon is itself derived from the Old Norse word Bida which means container or vessel.

Do Water Bottles Come In Standardized Sizes?

Most cycling bottles come in standard sizes so that they fit securely in a bottle cage. Pro-riders and amateurs alike typically use bottles between 500ml and 700ml

How Do You Install A Water Bottle Holder On A Bike?

Most road bikes have cage mount bolts on the down tube and the seat stays meaning that you can fit two cages. Remove the bolts with a 4mm Allen wrench and position your cages before fitting and tightening the bolts again.

What Water Bottles Do Pro Cyclists Use?

Most teams in the pro peloton use team-branded Elite Fly bidons due to their low weight. In the world of professional cycling, every gram is important.

How Often Should I Clean My Water Bottle?

For bike water bottles, good practice is to wash after every ride, especially if you have been carrying sports drinks.

How To Clean A Cycling Water Bottle?

Wash with soap and warm water and then rinse with fresh water. Let it dry overnight or even better, stick it in the fridge when not in use as this prevents bacterial growth.

A brush helps to clean hard to reach places and make sure to thoroughly clean the cap and nozzle.

Are Bike Water Bottles Dishwasher Safe?

It is certainly convenient to stick water bottles in the dishwater but the high temperatures can deform and damage them.

What Is The Best Water Bottle For Bike Touring?

With a bike fully laden with racks there is little sense trying to shave a few grams off in a lightweight water bottle.

Most touring cyclists, therefore, prefer to use insulated stainless-steel water bottles that keep fluids cool (or warm) and taste good.

Can You Use A Bike Water Bottle For Hot Drinks?

Standard cycling water bottles are designed to keep water cool and typically don’t do a great job at keeping anything warm.

Are Cycling Water Bottles Safe?

As long as you clean them properly and ensure that it is BPA-free then cycling water bottles are safe to drink from.

If you are drinking on the move then it is a good idea to practice grabbing the bottle, taking a drink, and getting it back in the cage somewhere quiet and free of traffic.

Drink Up! – Conclusion

As you try to find that extra gear on a big climb with every pedal stroke seemingly taking you closer and closer to the sun, the only thing you want at the top is a hit of cool, fresh-tasting water. 

To keep your drink cooler for longer, the CamelBak Podium Ice is an excellent bottle. The insulation does a good job and the now-standard CamelBak Podium features, like the great non-leaking nozzle and twist-lock, work great.

If you want to emulate the pro-riders and are a slave to every gram on the bike, then go for the Elite Fly. It is hard to imagine a water bottle getting any lighter than this without having holes in it.

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Bike Push - Mark W
Mark W
I’m a cycling enthusiast, and the founder and chief editor of Bike Push. If I’m not working on this website, then I’m out on the bike clocking up the miles. I want to help others get the most out of cycling.

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