Thursday, June 11, 2009

Product Review: Camelbak Podium Bike Bottle

As you've might have heard I love bike bottles, in fact I almost shed a tear when one of the many that I own gets old and I have to throw them away. It feels a lot like saying goodbye forever to a really good friend. In fact, I'm getting choked up just writing about it right now.

I own tall ones, short ones, skinny ones and even some fat bike bottles but I've never owned an official Camelbak Podium bike bottle before now. When I completed the 100 miles of nowhere trainer ride a couple of the items that I received in my goodie bag from the fat cyclist himself were a couple of Camelbak Podium bottles. Other than the t-shirt this was the product that I was the most excited to try out because of the new design, it had a cool argyle print, and of course it was a bike bottle.

Official New Design Description
To give them a fair shake, here is what the Camelbak website has to say about their bottles.
* 100% BPA-Free
* Jet Valve(tm): Lets you sip from any direction, or squirt to cool off on long rides. Eliminates the "bite open, hip-slap shut" steps.
* No Sticky Frame: Made from medical-grade silicone, the Jet Valve eliminates splatter on your frame or jersey.
* Leak-Proof: Positive shut-off for leak-proof transport. At base of valve, turn bar 90 degrees to stop water flow.
* High Flow Rate: Squeezable bottle offers more water when you needs it.
* Better Taste: Made from custom-blended TruTaste(tm), which lets you taste your water, not your bottle. Also lined with HydroGuard(tm) to prevent bacteria build-up.

My Explanation of the New Design
The bottle itself is your basic run of the mill plastic bike bottle. The holy cow super cool new design is all in the cap of the bottle.
First of all the bottle has a dial on the top of the lid which opens and closes the flow of liquid. It's basically an on/off switch for your bike bottle. The other new feature is the valve device. Here's how it works, if the bottle is switched to open and you tip your bottle upside down no liquid will flow out of it. This could really come in handy if you have a problem spilling liquid all over the place while getting the bottle from your bottle cage to your mouth. I must be the Bob Roll of recreational cyclists with a talking with my hands problem because I always seem to be cleaning a sticky mess off of my top tube. This being the case you would think this would be the prefect bottle for me. Although the bottle won't spill even if it's in the open position once you squeeze it liquid will squirt out. Not rocket science but this is a pretty cool feature. For a bike bottle I guess this is pretty high tech.

My Honest Opinion of the Bottle
I love the thought of not spilling any liquid while waving the bottle around wildly but once you get it to your mouth you have to squeeze pretty darn hard to get the liquid out. Thus, when the liquid finally does come out it's in a really wide stream and has a ton of force behind it. Maybe I'm just a spaz on a bike but every time I tried to squirt a drink into my mouth it ended up going everywhere. So in order to not look like I have a drinking problem I resorted to placing my lips tightly around the nozzle before squeezing. This works fine if you're just cruising along but once you start hammering away and breathing hard this technique just doesn't work unless you like passing out while riding due to lack of oxygen.

My Recommendation
I think the design of the Camelbak Podium bottle is cool and I know a lot of people really like them but I think they are a pain to deal with while I'm riding. I guess they just aren't cool enough to come on rides with me mainly because of my own spaz factor. These bike bottles are probably great for people with a lot more coordination than me. So for me these bottles got cut from the Varsity Squad and got moved down to Junior Varsity. For now they are only invited to come along when I mow the lawn where it's safer.


331 Miles said...

You are officially in the 5th %ile of the market. I LOVE MINE!

Linda said...

"I must be the Bob Roll of recreational cyclists with a talking with my hands problem because I always seem to be cleaning a sticky mess off of my top tube."


I gotta stop reading these blogs at work. I guffawed out loud. I was imagining the Gatorade shower. Good thing the Madone is yellow.

jeff said...

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Buttsy said...

Excellent review of a drink bottle that you were obviously very excited about....but can I just ask that if you review a product, can we get a picture of the product.....I have a cupboard full fo bidons (translated a cupboard full of various bacteria....)

Lizzylou said...

I noticed the same thing that it takes a strong grip... but I've had a pair of podium bottles for about 6 months now and over time the valves do loosen up so that it's easier to drink. They don't loosen too much that they leak, but it does get easier. I promise.

Mike J said...

Buttsy - Good point. I just posted a picture on the review. I wrote this post up in a parking lot waiting for my kids and I wasn't connected to the internet at the time so I spaced off getting a picture.

Richard said...

I agree with your assessment of the bottle. I prefer the basic Specialized bottles and the Polar bottles if it's really hot out.