At first glance this looks like a normal drinks bottle with some sort of cooling device in the middle and a hefty price tag. In reality it is quite a nifty idea, especially for multi-eventers or long distance cyclists.
I would imagine that any cyclist or runner who uses gel’s as part of training or racing has their own horror story of opening a sachet, the gel going everywhere wasting half the contents and coating your bike and face in a weird, gel wash. The gel-bot DOES eliminate this problem.
It is a water bottle with an integrated gel flask, hydrapak who manufacture the gel-bot bottle have patented something called ‘energy-core’ technology which allows you to drink water and consume gel from the same bottle without the two mixing.
Using the bottle is ingenious, the function of the bite valve has been adapted to allow a gel flow when in the traditional closed position simply by squeezing the main compartment, when the valve is in the normal open position you get a clear flow of water. It works perfectly as well, on the 215km ride that Dave and I did a few weeks ago this bottle performed faultlessly.
There can be variations in performance based on the viscosity of the gel used, for example, my normal zip vit gel is quite thick and takes a bit more effort to get out of the bottle, a couple of torq gels that I have used recently are of a thinner consistency and flow a bit easier.
It’s a lot to spend on a bottle but with brands such as Camelbak branching into ‘high end’ bottles such as the podium or chilled bottles it seems clear that, at the top end of the sport at least, there is a demand for these products. How beneficial they are for this level of spend to the majority of us is for individuals to decide, I like it but forking out this amount (£26 from Exposure Sports) for a drinks bottle seems a bit steep.
A nifty product that does deal with the main annoyance of using energy gel's but it isnt a cheap solution.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Hydrapak Gel-bot bottle
Size tested: n/a
Did you enjoy using the product? It worked
Would you consider buying the product? Not for the price, I can deal with a normal bottle and a seperate gel.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? a long distance rider or triathlete yes
About the tester
I usually ride: felt ar4 My best bike is: i like my felt and my orbea ora tt bike equally
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, triathlon