Monday, April 07, 2008

Product Review

On March 2nd, I attended the open house at County Cycles in the roll of volunteer. While there, I spoke with the product rep from Camelbak. He gave me his pitch for their new Podium Bottle due out any time soon.

Well, I was back into County Cycles about 2 weeks ago to pick up some supplies. While accumulating a pile of goodies, I spotted the new Podium Bottle in stock. On a whim I picked one up. My wife will be quick to remind me that about the last bicycle-related product that I NEED is another waterbottle. I have a huge Rubbermaid tote full of bottles that I use.

When riding off-road in the summer, my most common destination is Lebanon Hills regional park. It is not uncommon for me to fill a dozen bottles and bring with me and park a tote full of bottles somewhere along the course. With each lap, I’ll drink a bottle or even two. I sweat a lot and therefore drink a lot.

The new bottle promised all sorts of innovative features:
  • Innovative New Valve that allows you to drink from any direction. – Drink from any direction? It’s round, it’s a bottle. How hard did the marketing team have to dig to come up with this one?
  • Innovative new valve: Sorry to break it to you, but your “innovation” was available on Specialized bottles years ago. They have since dropped it. This little valve is the same thing incorporated into the sippy-cups that my 10 year old used when she first learned to drink from a cup. This little innovation is a rubber valve with a + cut into it. When forced, the little valve opens up and out comes the water. Unfortunately, it’s a pain in the rear. While it may reduce dripping, it does restrict flow.
  • No Sticky Frame: Medical grade silicone valve to reduce splatter. Okay, fine… see the point on the innovative valve. Evidently, this is such an innovation, it warrants two feature points.
  • Leak-Proof: Positive shut-off with 90 degree turn of positive lock. Drink-proof is more like it. Fine, works if you need to stash the bottle somewhere and do not want it to leak. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the direction of turning logical OR convenient. It takes two hands to open. Not something you want to monkey with while riding.
  • High Flow Rate: Squeezable bottle. Perhaps it is the low temperatures that I have been riding in. Perhaps it is the fact that I had surgery on my hand and have lost some “squeeze” strength. I find the bottle more difficult to squeeze than the classic standard Specialized bottle.
  • TruTaste plastic: supposed to be some special formulation of plastic that will not leach into your water. Supposed to not pick up the smell or flavor of sports drinks. Wrong and wrong. Water left in the bottle for a week of commuting (I seldom drink water on my commute) had a noticeable taste when compared to a fresh glass of water from the same source. After housing a bottle full of left over ½ bottle of sports drink from Saturday, the bottle still smells like “orange” even though it has now been washed twice.

Summary: $9.00 for a flippin' water bottle. Twice the price of a typical Specialized of the same capacity with no features that are of any benefit. Do yourself a favor, pick up any ol’ other bottle from your local bike shop.

In other news:
Damp, raining, then more fresh snow on the bike ride into work today. Big heavy flakes without any accumulation. Found a $20 bill on the side of the road this morning. Found a quarter somewhere else too. Lots of planning and work to do before this weekend's long ride.

5 comments:

Me said...

The 20 is mine...

seriously. I dropped it somewhere, a while back, on some road.

If you think I'm full of BS, check it out:

I bet it's got like a greenish sorta color on it, no?

See. Told ya.

-Me

mnultraguy said...

I switched from plastic bottles to metal bottles. Never have any icky after taste.

Matt said...

Camelbak's website cracks me up - they take themselves way too seriously.

Hopefully it is meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

(Note: I have their "Better Bottle" in green - free gift for becoming a member of public radio. So I am paying $10 a month for a flippin' water bottle.)

-d said...

camelback gave me that bottle in it's first generation. sorry kids, ain't any better. Specialized DOES make the best water bottles.

Having a hard time finding people to join me on my last long ride before TI. So if you wanna come to Nashville sunday, I have minimum 120 (prob more) in mind with a lunch stop.

-word verification: holrn
n. hol-ern .the "new bite valve" on the Camelback bottle that doesn't really work.

Reflector Collector said...

Here I go and disclose in public that I am a big enough fool to purchase a $9 waterbottle! Let my experience serve as a warning to the rest of you!

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