April 07, 2008
The Gear Junkie: CamelBak Podium Bottle
By STEPHEN REGENOLD
CamelBak Products LLC touts its new Podium Bottle as an upgrade to a technology that’s been around since the 1950s. Indeed, as the company notes, bikes, helmets, shoes and other cycling equipment get better every year. But the humble bike bottle has stayed pretty much the same for decades.
ï¿½We set out to take away the bite-open, hip-slap-shut sequence that riders had to perform with other bottles,ï¿½ said Jon Austen, a product manager at the company.
The result is a bike bottle that includes several significant upgrades, including a self-sealing squirt valve; a shut-off switch for leak-proof transport; one-handed operation; and an anti-microbial lining to eschew the build-up of bacteria and fungus inside the bottle.
The Podium’s squirt valve is made of medical-grade silicone, and the bottle is a polypropylene. Water gushes out with a slight squeeze. The self-sealing valve eliminates splatter while you’re riding.
It comes in two sizes, one with 21 ounces of liquid capacity, one with 24 ounces. They cost $8 and $9, respectively. The smaller one weighed 2.6 ounces empty on my scale.
It is dishwasher safe. Camelbak (www.camelbak.com) promises no leaching of plastic taste from the polypropylene bottle. In my test at home, where I let water sit overnight in the bottle, the H2O did not seem to absorb any taste from the liner.
The company designed the Podium — which measures about 7 inches high and 2.5 inches across for the smaller version — to fit in all common bike bottle cages on the market.
It’s easy to operate with one hand. The shut-off switch is mounted under the squirt valve. It requires a subtle twist with your teeth or lips to enable.
Turn the shut-off switch 90 degrees and it’s locked closed, ready to be put in a backpack or bag for transport — something not possible with old-school bottles. I squeezed it hard in the shut position to test, and not a drop of water escaped.
(Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eleven U.S. newspapers; see www.THEGEARJUNKIE.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog, and an archive of Regenold’s work.)
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