Water Storage & Transport Part 2

Image: Francesco Marino

 

In this series of posts we’ll examine different ways of transporting water on a bicycle and focus on the solutions we plan to implement during our global cycling expedition.  This is the 2nd of 3 posts.

 

In this post we’ll talk about:

MOUNTING CONTAINERS

 

“Traditional” water bottle cages

Constructed of nylon, plastic, aluminium, stainless steel and, most recently, carbon fiber, the traditional water bottle cage securely holds containers up to .75 liters in size and works quite well given its universal design.  However, if you’ve ever had a plastic cage catch on a pant leg and break, experienced the sickening feeling of an aluminium cage fatigued beyond its life [regularly bending the cage to more securely hold a bottle is effective only so many times; eventually the cage – usually at the weld – will crack and fail] or dream about eliminating the noise generated by a metal water bottle banging around in a metal cage, you might be interested to know there are other options for transporting water on a bicycle. ModulaCageXL

Larger and/or adjustable versions of traditional cages

Two cages sold under the Sigg brand are designed to hold .75 liter and 1.0 liter Sigg bottles (but may hold other brands as well), respectively.  Still available, but on a very limited NOS (New Old Stock) basis, at SJScycles or MetalWaterBottlesStore, these nylon/composite cages were manufactured in Switzerland.

Three cages sold under the Topeak brand allow the transport of up to 1.5 liter plastic bottles.  All three cages are manufactured in China and look a little weak in their design and construction and only two are designed to hold cycling specific bottles.  The cages are the ModulaModula EX, and the Modula XL.

Integral Pannier “Holster”

My first set of rear panniers, the Jandd Mountain Expedition Pannier, manufactured in San Diego, California sport two integral water bottle holsters built right into the bag (one holster per bag) that accept up Ortlieb Bottle Cageto .75 liter bottles.

New this year, Ortlieb is offering an accessory bottle holster but also have a mesh pocket you can mount onto panniers.

Tourtech sells solo bottle cages plus a two bottle version that could be mounted on hard-sided panniers like the Cobbworks Oyster Bucket panniers (yes, panniers made out of oyster buckets!) or a hard-shell trailer like the BicycleR Evolution bike trailers.  By the way, Sheila & I both own BicycleR Evolution trailers and they have proven indispensable for grocery hauling, trips to the hardware store, hauling mulch, delivering rain barrels, touring, hauling a window, and lots of other tasks that would ordinarily be done using a car or truck.  We wholeheartedly recommend them.  If you decide to get one, please mention our names and our site during the ordering process!

I originally thought about simply attaching some fabric pockets/water bottle sleeves to our panniers but couldn’t find any that would allow anything larger than .75 liters.  I considered sewing my own until I came across the next option.

Our Final Choice: the BikeBuddy

Several of the bottles we’ve gone with have capacities of up to half a gallon.  They’re great, but big and ungainly.  How will we carry such large containers?  Why, on our frames of course!  More than a year and a half ago, while researching the various products currently on the market that allow bottles to be mounted to the frame of a bicycle, I came across a single reference to an ingenious expandable bottle “cage” made in England while perusing a website, cycletourer.co.uk,  maintained by a couple of experienced cycle tourists.  The site included some enticing pictures and listed the name of the product as “BikeBuddy”.  Unfortunately, while a quick search produced the product’s website, most of the images on the site at the time wouldn’t open and the majority of the pages within the site, including the “purchase” link, were out of order.  It looked hopeless.  Six months passed and regular searches failed to turn up any new information about the BikeBuddy.  Not willing to settle for inferior products and inspired by Lucian Bercovici‘s example (below) I continued to explore the web for larger bottle solutions.

During this time, the BikeBuddy site remained unchanged and at least one email sent to the address listed on the site apparently fell on deaf ears; no one replied.  So, in desperation, I ended up emailing the UK couple whose site displayed images of the cages.  Success!  Apparently Jon from cycletourer.co.uk was acquainted with the gentleman who manufactured the cages and he offered to track him down (thanks Jon!).  In the meantime, with renewed hope, I placed a cell phone call to the Essex, UK number listed on the site.  After leaving a message, I received a call from the owner himself who was quick to apologize for the state of the site and for not returning our email(s).  Apparently, the BikeBuddy site had long been plagued by technical problems – the source of the failed images and the broken links – but production was soon to be ramping up and the site soon to be re-done.  In short order, I ordered four MK3 versions.  Two BikeBuddy’s are already installed on Kai’s bike (see pics below) and two more are awaiting the arrival of Sheila’s frame.

For more information on the BikeBuddy, read our Full Review .

BikeBuddy on Kai's touring bike

BikeBuddy on frame

This is Part 2 of a series of posts in which we examine ways of storing and transporting water on a bicycle and focus on the solutions we plan to implement during our global cycling expedition.  To read Part 1 or Part 3 of this series click on the links below:

Part 1 : Storage Containers for Potable Water
Part 3 : Large Capacity Storage Containers and Filtration

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