I’m a big fan of bottles that work in a similar fashion to the Camelbak Podium bottles. I’ve used them forever, and although it’s invariably slower to get the water out, I never have to think about making sure the top is closed. So, when I fell down the rabbit hole of bike parts late one night and ended up at the Vincero design site, I was really intrigued. There aren’t actually a ton of companies that make those bottles with the valves and finding a new company, that I’d never heard of, making a bottle with a valve design top was a bit surprising. Not only is the top different from most, but the mounting system is entirely unique. Time to look at the Vincero Design Stratus 20/24 Full Bike Kit.
Fast forward a few months, and I’ve been riding with the Vincero system for long enough to talk about it a bit. Let’s get the big question out of the way. Does it work? Yes, yes it does work. In fact, it actually works better, as defined by ease of getting the bottle off the bike and back on the bike while riding, than the Blackburn cages I’d been riding with previously. It’s a very simple affair to get the bottle off the bike, and I think I’ve only had trouble getting the bottle back on once. When I’m standing next to the bike, I frequently misalign the bottle, but from the saddle, it essentially never happens.
In fact, Vincero has cleverly designed in ridges and depressions that help you orient the bottle by feel, so that you are less likely to have an issue. I’ve never actually relied on those touch clues, but it’s a nice detail anyway. For me, it works quite well to kind of slide the bottle down along the downtube. The other big question the design elicits is about security. Will you lose the bottle? Not a chance, from my experience. The thing is totally solid on the bike. Vincero even says it will work well for mountain biking.
For me, a big plus to the system is that I don’t have to worry about cross threading the frame mounts when taking my cages on and off all the time for races. The bolts they supply are nice, high quality aluminum, bolts that wouldn’t damage the frame anyway. But being able to essentially remove the cage with the bottles means once you’ve installed them the first time, you’ll likely leave them alone for a long time to come.
The bottom line on this one is not clear-cut for me. This is a high quality piece that does work very well as it’s designed. It relieves a bit of worry about cross threading bottle cages and gets rid of the need to constantly screw your cages on and off for races. It was also designed, according to the guys at Vincero, to make your bike look better when the cages aren’t needed. If that sounds good to you, then go for it.
The thing I struggle with a bit is the weight/price formula. A pair of Blackburn Design Slick bottle cages plus a pair of CamelBak Podium 24 ounce bottles comes in at around 230 grams and costs about $50. The Vincero Design Stratus 24/Edge16 system is $90 and weighs around 280 grams. That means you pay about $1.25 a gram but in the wrong direction. Don’t stop here, though, because I’m wildly inconsistent in recommending things that cost more than they have to depending on how I personally feel about a product. Fifty grams are nothing. Your socks likely weigh more. Take one swig of a bottle, and you’ve probably taken 50 grams out.
So, it all really comes down to style, and on that note, I’ve got to let you make that decision. I actually find that they look a bit odd on the bike. Cages are a classic design feature of a road bike, and I find I miss having them there. If you like the look of the minimal mount and the ease of visually erasing the mount when you leave a bottle at home, then this is a good option for you. No need to worry, it works.
A small note if you do decide to pick up a system. On the site, you’ll see the option for the edge pro mount or the edge 16 mount but no real explanation about the difference. The edge pro has a slightly longer lip and requires you pull up just a bit more to get the bottle loose. Primarily, this is meant to be paired with the soon to be released aero bottle. The aero bottle has a bit more leverage on the mount, so the longer lip helps keep it secure. That longer lip can also help keep bottles secure in the face of high frequency vibration on the road. Based on my experience, I see no need for that, but perhaps your roads are rougher. It is not meant for mountain bikes. The edge 16 mount can handle the kinds of forces that a mountain bike is subjected to, and the added lip, coupled with a smaller frame triangle, can make it hard to get the bottle out.
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