Until not long ago bottle holders were generally excluded from the evolution of mountain bikes. While bike-designs became increasingly stylish the basic concept of ugly bottle-holders remained untouched. We selected four exciting alternatives and tested them on the trail.

The idea behind a bottle cage is to hold a water bottle on your bike, nothing more really. And of course there is a wide selection of feather light carbon holders in all sorts of funky colours too. But at the end of the day it still remains a bog standard bottle cage. For years creative minds and ingenious inventors fiddled around in their workshops to come up with a number of modified bottle holders which allow you to carry a rum-flask on demanding tours or even a Bialetti coffee-machine to the top of the mountain. Nothing will ever stop you on your epic summit ascent when you can sweeten your palate with some yummi delicacies. Also beer and wine lovers can finally carry their favourite bottles thanks to especially-developed frame attachment solutions. These are all very cool handy solutions but not a realistic option for mountain biking. In this test we tested four real alternatives for mountain bikers.

Testing four alternative drinking methods – three of which come with a frame-holder system.

How we tested

There are two crucial aspects to consider when testing a bike bottle: first off, the bottle has to be properly secured inside the holder. Secondly, the holding system needs to be compatible with as many bike frames as possible. Because of the many different frame geometries it’s important that the holder can attach in all sorts of different positions across the down tube. In combination with some odd frame designs this could otherwise result in the bottle not clicking in properly into the holder. Once this aspect is sorted and the bottle is properly sitting in its holder we want to know if the handling of the bottle is straightforward while riding. In our test we also focused on drinking comfort and on the practicality of the system when removing and re-attaching the bottle into the holder. We weren’t only interested in the attachment system itself but also wanted to find out how easy it is to drink from the bottle and whether harmful substances were used to produce the bottles.

Overview of the tested drinking systems

Model Capacity BPA-free What’s in the box Weight Price
Fidlock TWIST Bottle 600 600 ml yes 1x Bottle, 1x Mount, 2x Screws 114 g € 34.99
Fabric Cageless Bottle 600 ml yes 1x Bottle, 4x Mounts 74 g € 14.90
Birzmann Bottle Cleat 650 ml yes 1x Bottle, 1x Mount, 2x Screws 110 g € 11.90
CamelBak Quick Stow Flask 500 ml yes Drinking bladder with lid 39 g € 24.95
The three different attachment systems in our test: Fidlock, Fabric, Birzman (from left to right).

Our conclusion

The CamelBak Quick Stow Flask is outside the competition because it doesn’t include a bottle holder. Still it is the first choice for everyone who can’t or doesn’t want to install a bottle holder on their bike. The Birzman model – which features the worst mounting system in our test – and the system from Fabric are within the same price range and both cost less than € 15. Between these two cheap models there is also a significant difference in weight: with a total weight of 74 g The Fabric system is the lightest in our test and can almost compete with the outstanding Fidlock TWIST Bottle 600 in terms of bottle fit and handling. This makes it our buying recommendation although the bottle material is the hardest in our test. The overall concept of the Fidlock with a strong magnet attachment system and easy handling characteristics totally nailed it. Despite the high price of € 34.99 it is our undisputed test winner.

Model Installation Bottlefit Handling Drinkingperformance
Fidlock TWIST Bottle 600
Fabric Cageless Bottle
Birzman Bottle Cleat
CamelBak Quick Stow Flask n. a. n. a.
Best in test – Fidlock TWIST Bottle 600
Best value – Fabric Cageless Bottle