I’ve been trying out the Fabric Cageless Water Bottle and thought I’d blog my thoughts!
Instead of a traditional system where a bottle is held in place on the bike by an alloy, plastic or carbon fibre cage, the bottle has grooves which clip directly to the frame via two small studs. I remember a similar idea a few years ago but with magnets instead of studs. Fabric say that magnets didn’t work as well as studs in their tests.
The advantages of this are:
- Cheaper. For £9.99 you get a bottle with two sets of studs to allow you to put a set on another bike.
- Very low weight. At just 3g for the studs its much lighter than even a carbon cage, so one for the weight weenies!
- This is the part I really like: Its nice and minimal - I really like how my bikes look without the cages.
When installing, I found it very easy to overtighten them. Using a torque wrench I expected it to stop but the stud just starts to collapse and obviously makes it harder to clip in the bottle. Simple answer: it just needs a gentle hand-tighten.
Using them was a bit hit and miss at first, but like all things clippy on a bike, you soon get used to it. While I would say that a traditional system is still be easier to put a bottle back when at speed, the bottle was always solid - it never came out, even over things like cattle grids.
For me the downside of the idea is not the mechanism, it’s the bottle itself. It takes more effort to squeeze and get water compared to others like my normal Camelbak Podium bottles. I found it works best if you take it out and turn it 90º, but its still not as easy.
If ever there was a product where ‘your mileage may vary’ it’s this. For my usage, the benefit of the cleaner look was outweighed by the design of the bottle itself. I’m still a huge fan of other Fabric products - especially the Saddles and Bar Tape, but this is one that isn’t for me.