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Comparing Two Front-End Hydration Options

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Aug 15, 2014

Aerodynamics experts agree: The space between the forearms is one of the most efficient places for a water bottle. Options to mount a bottle cage in that precious space continue to grow. We tested a pair of new front-end bottle systems, each capable of mounting a single bottle between the aerobar extensions.

Speedfil Z4

$40, Invisciddesign.com

Zipp Vuka Alumina BTA Mount

$65 (without cage), Zipp.com

Mount

Zipp: Bolts can’t be beat when it comes to mount security, and this clamps firmly to the aerobar extensions—no wiggling or rattling. The adjustable clamp can be spread to fit wide and semi-narrow bar positions.

Speefil: Four slits along the sides of the cage enable a solid zip-tie mount for bars with a narrow gap between the extensions. The ties, however, occasionally need to be replaced. With a wider space between the extensions, the zip ties aren’t effective. In that case a mount such as the X-Lab Torpedo Mini is required.

RELATED – 2014 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Cycling Hydration

Computer Compatibility

Zipp: To see the computer from the aero position, the mount must extend toward the front of the bike. The elevated mount blocks the bottle, so the cage has to point toward the rider. Sliding the bottle rearward from the cage is easy but different from the more typical front-facing orientation.

Speedfil: Integrated into the top of the cage is a Garmin computer mount, which is positioned barely in the rider’s field of view. While Zipp’s mount makes a computer easier to read, the Z4 cage can be set facing forward, with the bottle going in and out with ease.

Zipp’s system is the most sturdy front-end system. It locks the bottle into place without any fuss. The z4, however, also gets the job done, but is a less elegant fixture on the aerobars. For narrowly set extensions, both systems are solid options. The vuka alumina bta is a better match for wide bars but is substantially more expensive.

RELATED: What Is The Most Aerodynamic Way To Carry Three Bottles?

The Verdict

Zipp Vuka Alumina BTA Mount wins by a narrow margin. The Z4 is a good value at a lower price.

RELATED: Nutrition On Long Bike Rides

FILED UNDER: Bike / Gear & Tech TAGS:

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at Ahersh@competitorgroup.com.

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