2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Bike Hydration Systems

Four bike hydration systems featured in the 2013 Triathlete Buyer's Guide.

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Four bike hydration systems featured in the 2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide. More from the Buyer’s Guide.

Profile Design H2 Aero

$73, Profile-design.com
The draw: Front-end straw system that sits low and out of the way

If you like drinking from a straw while riding but hate a front-end bottle that can move around, the Profile Design H2 Aero is a solution. It attaches to a solid metal mount that replaces a steerer tube spacer, fixing the large 36-ounce bottle firmly in place. It sits fairly low between the aerobars, leaving room for a computer or other accessories. A nifty refill system (it involves Ping-Pong balls) allows for an easy top-off, but the liquid splashes out fairly easily.

RELATED – Triathlon Nutrition: Nutrition On Long Bike Rides

Speedfil Standard Hydration System

$100, Invisciddesign.com
The draw: Hands-free drinking

Half the battle in long-course racing is figuring out how to efficiently carry all of your fluids on your bike. The Speedfil Hydration System holds 40 ounces of liquid, which eliminates the need for a cluster of bottles on every inch of your frame, and it’s as easy to install as a regular bottle cage. After you get used to the straw—which you can cut to your ideal length—it’s a non-disruptive (and ideally hands-free) way to drink. During a race, you can refill the bottle through the top of the container, which proved to be simple enough with a little practice. The only time splashing was an issue was when the fluid was low and testers were climbing out of the saddle.

RELATED: How The Pros Hydrated At The Hawaii Ironman

Xlab Carbon Wing

$140, Xlab-usa.com
The draw: Lightweight, drag- dodging design

Hydration mounts don’t get any lighter (55 grams!) than this all-carbon base for bottle cages and more. Tested with a pair of Xlab’s Gorilla cages (also carbon), this system tucks behind the saddle in an aerodynamically optimal position. After just a couple of rides and a little practice, retrieving and replacing the water bottles felt second nature. Multiple holes on the wing allow each rider to find the bottle angle that’s most comfortable. The bottles stayed firmly in place over bumpy terrain, and a few quick turns of a 4mm Allen wrench
is all it takes to re-secure the system after multiple rides. The Carbon Wing was thoughtfully designed to accommodate other Xlab accessories that allow you to efficiently carry CO2 cartridges, tubes and tools.

RELATED – Drink Up: Front-end Hydration Systems At The Ironman World Championship

Torhans Aero 30 and Aero Mount

$55, Torhans.com
The draw: Easiest access to fluids

Drinking from this bottle is quick and easy thanks to the straw’s positioning just below the rider’s mouth. Torhans’ objective was to create a more aerodynamic front bottle, and the Aero 20 is far more streamlined than many competing options. It was outperformed, however, by a horizontal bottle mounted to the aerobars in a recent wind tunnel test conducted by the editors of Triathlete. With the solid Aero Mount bracket, the Aero 20 bottle sits nearly still between the aerobar extensions. The bottle has two notches so it can be positioned higher or lower depending on rider position. Despite the improved refillable lid, the bottle splashes a bit when riding over rough roads.

More from the 2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide.

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