4.04.2012

Speedfil Standard Aero Bottle [Gear Review]

Speedfil standard set up on my new Felt DA4W = AWESOMESAUCE!
Please note: This review is based on my personal experience on an item I purchased myself. I was not contacted by the manufacturer or paid for this product.

In every triathlon, the bike is where you spend the most time. Whether it's 25 miles in an Olympic, 56 miles in a Half-Ironman or the full 112 in the Ironman - it's a lot of riding. This time is your best opportunity to refuel and re-hydrate from the swim and get ready for the run. Depending on the distance you're riding you may also require consistent intake of nutrition and that's not always easy in a race. Racing presents different obstacles to nutrition/hydration intake than training such as: nerves, increased speeds, more cycling traffic, and possibly unfamiliar routes or rough roads. Having a solid timing strategy for hydration and dependable equipment can make or break your race.

The most common setups I see are: 
  • Bottle cages on frame
  • Bottle cages on rear of bike under saddle
  • Standard Speedfil setup as shown above
  • A2 Speedfil or similar bottle between aero bars + back up bottles
First, I would like to point out that while I see the point of rear mounted bottle cages (or saddle mount) I wonder if all ya'll get tired of losing your bottles all over the road on race day and creating high speed obstacles for everyone else? Ejecting your full bottles at 20mph into whoever's behind you sucks for you (you're out of hydration) and it sucks for those behind you (now they've got a roving grenade to try to dodge while also trying to avoid other cyclists).

Now, I do plan on checking out some rear bottle cages so I can carry more liquid on long rides for Ironman training later this year. But in a race scenario, I use my Speedfil only. It carries all the liquid I need (and a little more) to get me from aid station to aid station. It takes TWO seconds to fill. It allows me to hydrate while keeping both hands on my bike and comfortably tucked in aero position. It does not create litter nor accident causing situations. I know every single time I go for my water, it's where it belongs and it fits neatly on my bike. 

Checking out the galleries from last weekend's races IM Texas 70.3 and IM California 70.3 and you'll note that not only a huge array of age groupers are using the standard Speedfil but a growing number of professionals. If you're looking for a solution for long rides and races, this is an absolute MUST HAVE.

Pros:
  • Not fussing with bottles
  • Easy to fill (just squeeze into the top and go)
  • Doesn't splash out!
  • No causing accidents or pissing those off behind you with your ejected bottles
  • No losing your hydration
  • Aerodynamic design
Cons: 
  • Envious looks on long rides as people screw around with their bottles or watching their little hands go back to their rear mount bottles and grasping at (doh!) nothing as their bottles are gone.
Note: 
If you know any GOOD rear mount bottle cages, let me know! I watched a guy lose his bottle four times on the way to transition before the race. Each time, he nestled it back in the cage and I chuckled as he ejected it time and time again. I'm willing to bet that bottle was gone in 5 minutes on the race. 

5 comments:

Chris S. said...

I have just started using the speed fill this season just for not having to get out of aero to drink, and the fact that the straw is staring me in the face a s a reminder to drink. I used rear mounted cages for a while and the only one I had luck with was fro profile design. Nothing fancy, no carbon, but there cheapest bottle cage they sell seemed to work and I don't remember a bottle ever falling out. I tried nice carbon cages and bottles kept flying all over the roads. Expensive does not always equal best.

Rose said...

It *is* a good reminder! Thanks for the heads up on the profile design!

captkimbo said...

Good point of view Rose. I will definitely try this out. I recently competed in my first Half in NZ, and I was running the ever popular xlab rear mount, with Gorilla cages (which are of high design to prevent bottles ejecting). They are cumbersome to reach behind and get a drink of, moreso in getting them back in. I had to get out of aero for every drink. Although I never have experienced them bouncing out whilst there was liquid in them, I did lose them after they were empty (yes i did run out of nutrition towards the end of the race!!). So yes, NZ now has 2 of my nice insulated camelbak bottles. I love the fact that if you dont want the straw poking your eyes out during the race, I can fold the Speedfil straw back until I need it again. Not ever getting out of aero.

Amy said...

Hello, I stumbled onto your blog looking for customer reviews on the Felt DA4w. I'm struggling with the decision on the Felt vs a specialized ... don't ask how I narrowed it down to those two. It sounds like you love the bike. I love your pink seat too.

Jason said...

Specialized Mtn/Rib Cage are the best cages for rear mount. They don't launch a thing and I have practically launched myself off the bike but not the bottles.