Cyclists are a contradictory bunch. For example: we will spend an extra $1,000 to save 100 grams off our bike weight… then finish off a long ride with forty flat whites and a plateful of danishes. We love saying that road cycling is a hard man's sport… where those hard men shave their legs, bleach their hair and wear gold jewellery. And we pride ourselves on riding a clean bike and wearing crisp white socks… while our drink bottles harbour more plant life than a tropical aquarium. My drink bottles are pretty skanky. I don't think I'm alone in this. So when Scott from Clean Bottle contacted me to ask if I wanted to review his new bottles for Ride Happy, I couldn't reply fast enough.
First - a disclaimer: This is not a paid review. I was pretty curious about Scott's product and impressed that he'd taken the initiative to contact a blogger in Australia about it. And given that 2012 is the International Year of the Non-Biohazardous Bidon*, I thought Ride Happy readers might be interested in it.
What it is: Clean Bottle addresses the problem of stinky, mould-ridden bidons by introducing 2 things that make cleaning easier: First, a screw-off bottom; and second, a removable nozzle. It also uses non-toxic plastics and donates 10% of its profits to eco-friendly charities that help preserve the environment we enjoy riding in.
It's hard not to like.
Performance: The bidon does what it says, which is making cleaning easy. The pieces screw off easily (although you need to make sure you screw them back up tightly to avoid leakage mid-swig). The plastic is stiff and strong. It's a decent size (around 650ml). And the nozzle is a nice soft plastic one.
The good bits: The quality is excellent. This bidon will last a long time without poisoning you, either by toxic plastic or mouldy nasties. The nozzle makes it nice to drink from. Size is perfect. The design is an awesome idea.
The bad bits: The removable bits mean there are a couple more places for water to leak from. I had a few awkward spills (fixed after I tightened the bottom). The high-quality stiff plastic means it's hard to squeeze water out if you want a drink in a hurry on the bike. And, finally... you still need to clean it! I know this one is obvious... but an awesome design doesn't mean much if you don't use it. These are pretty minor concerns though.
Conclusion: A great design and a great unit. If you are not the type who has a soigneur running after you giving you new bidons every day, I highly recommend it. At around $15/bottle, they're not cheap, but you get what you pay for. The plastic is a little stiff to be race-perfect (I'd love to see them bring out a softer version for racing) but to tell you the truth I'd have a hard time throwing this one away in a race so maybe it's not such a bad thing. A great training companion.
Where to buy: Go to www.cleanbottle.com and they'll sort you out. Tell them Ride Happy sent you and I'm sure Scott will find some special deal for you.
Why you should buy one: Anyone who is behind this YouTube video deserves your cash! I love it.
*The Royal Mint tells me that it's too hard to put all that on a commemorative 50-cent piece so they're going to go with The Year of World Peace or human rights or stuff like that.