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Verdict: 
Good idea, keeps drinks hot and cold, but a bit of a pain to get back on the bike when on the move
Weight: 
129g
Contact: 
Fabric Insulated Cageless Water Bottle
6 10

The Fabric Insulated Cageless Water Bottle is an innovative design that keeps your drinks cool or warm, but there are a couple of frustrating issues with the attachment system.

Rather than using a traditional cage, the bottle is held against the frame on two knobs that screw into the same holes used for a traditional cage. The bottle then has two slots that slide over these knobs to hold it in place.

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The system has been in place for a while, but it's the first insulated bottle in Fabric's lineup. It holds 525ml of liquid, is BPA free and can handle liquid from 0-70°C.

The bottle itself is well made and easy to use given its squeezable nature, although because the attachment system necessitates a solid side, it limits how much pressure can be exerted, and the flow of liquid while drinking could perhaps be a little better. It isn't like it's a trickle, but it's not at the same level as those without the harder side. The nozzle itself is simple to open/shut, through simply lifting/pressing down.

In terms of insulation, I used it for warm and cold drinks, with both managing to stay warm/cold for a couple of hours. The bottle has a 'construction of double walled foil and closed cell foam' – which seems to do the job.

As far as the attachment system goes, it has some really good elements, but also a couple of frustrations.

It is easy to fit, given that the knobs are hollow and you just screw the bolts in through the centre. All in, it was a minute's job to fit them. Once on they keep the bottle in place really well with very little movement, even managing to stay in place on bumpy Kent roads.

The setup is also considerably lighter than a typical bottle and cage, given that there is no cage – so is ideal for the weight-weenies out there.

> Find more road.cc reviews of bottles here

In use, the bottle is simple to remove, simply by pulling up with a bit of force to release it, but I found it a little frustrating to replace. You have to be considerably more precise with the positioning of the bottle than a traditional cage, and I found it almost impossible to get it right without looking down while doing it. This limits how effective it is when trying to drink at speed, as nobody wants to take their eyes off the road for several seconds while going full pelt.

This design also limits you to Fabric products (what happens to all of your existing bidons?) and given that water bottles are one of the most frequently lost pieces of kit, you'll have to spend £15.99 every time you leave it on a wall or drop it midway through a ride. Even though that RRP doesn't seem bad value for the innovative attachment element, ultimately few people will want to pay this every time they buy a new bottle.

Overall, it's a decent bottle and the attachment system is appealing, but it also has some drawbacks in terms of the difficulty in replacing the bottle while on the move, the expense if you lose it, and the limitations it places on the use of other bidons.

Verdict

Good idea, keeps drinks hot and cold, but a bit of a pain to get back on the bike when on the move

road.cc test report

Make and model: Fabric Insulated Cageless Water Bottle

Size tested: 525 ml

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

An insulated water bottle that doesn't require traditional cages to carry on the frame.

Fabric says: 'Our revolutionary cageless water bottle completely does away with the need for a cage by mounting directly to your frame. The ultralight-weight 1.5g studs are secure, remove unnecessary parts and improve the clean lines of your bike.'

This is accurate, the studs are light, secure and aesthetically pleasing. It doesn't mention getting the bottle back on after you've had a drink though...

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Fabric says:

The Fabric insulated bottle combines all the advantages of our unique cage-less system with the benefits of an insulated system that regulates temperature.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Well made, secure, and a nice choice of material that doesn't leave a plastic taste.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

Stays on the bike well, but the single solid side makes it difficult to exert as much pressure as with traditional bottles.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Seems durable and well made.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

No cage required...

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

It is more expensive than most, but also includes the mounting system. However, if you lose a bottle, you need to buy the entire system again...

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It performs relatively well, but could do with the ability to put a bit more pressure on the bottle when drinking, and getting the bottle back on after drinking is a pain.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Insulation works well and because of the lack of cage it looks great on the bike.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The fiddling needed to get the bottle back onto the frame is frustrating, and I couldn't do it at top speed.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe for slower/leisure rides.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Depends on what they were using it for.

Use this box to explain your score

A well-made bottle and great mounting idea in theory, but it does suffer from the fiddliness of getting the bottle back onto the frame while on the go, which isn't ideal.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 29  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.  

8 comments

Avatar
zzk [48 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Would have to say was v disappointed with mine. Despite being "securely" slotted in and you know it is from a very positive "clunk" when putting in, the bidon jumped out on a run of imperfect road surface on my first ride with it. By no means the worst our roads have to offer, but never troubled conventional bottle cages. The bidon split between the attachments so an expensive do. Not to be disheartened with the system and the slight difficulties with placement on the go I bought another bottle. A bit better second time, second ride out the same happened. The theory and design are great. In practice for me, a simple wate of money.

Avatar
kevvjj [285 posts] 7 months ago
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£13 for a 600 mL water bottle. A system where you can only use one type of water bottle. Seriously?

Just take a look at the reviews for this product and you can see there is still some way to go before it actually stays on your bike at the first sign of bump. Probably perfect for commuting on billiard table smooth roads but for Britsh roads this is clearly unsuitable for purpose.

 

Avatar
DoctorFish [74 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I have no understanding of what the advantage is over a conventional cage and bottle.

Avatar
Man of Lard [338 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
DoctorFish wrote:

I have no understanding of what the advantage is over a conventional cage and bottle.

Might save 15g over a standard bidon/cage combo. Or, gain the same advantage by removing 3 teaspoonsful of liquid from your bottle before you set off.

 

Avatar
lio [8 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I was thinking about something like this for the time trial bike.

Put the bottle on for training rides and then take it off again for club 10s where you don't need it.

I don't really care about the weight difference but this system would hopefully be more aero and less faff than removing an empty bottle cage.

Avatar
SoliD [26 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
lio wrote:

I was thinking about something like this for the time trial bike.

Put the bottle on for training rides and then take it off again for club 10s where you don't need it.

I don't really care about the weight difference but this system would hopefully be more aero and less faff than removing an empty bottle cage.

This is what I use mine for both CX and Time Trials where I don't need anything for the race but need something whilst warming up.  Both bottles I have have failed either at the base or on the mount points. Not exactly hardy as rarely used. I'm now probably just going back to bottle in my back pocket...

Avatar
lio [8 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
SoliD wrote:

This is what I use mine for both CX and Time Trials where I don't need anything for the race but need something whilst warming up.  Both bottles I have have failed either at the base or on the mount points. Not exactly hardy as rarely used. I'm now probably just going back to bottle in my back pocket...

 

That's sad to hear.  Oh well, guess I'll stick with the same.

Avatar
Chris Hayes [174 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I really don't see the point in these.  Took a look at them in my LBS - cannot imagine them staying on during a bumpy ride and putting them securely in place is fiddly when riding at speed. Cheap water bottle cages are light, secure and can take a variety of bottles: including these and I'm guessing there'll be plenty of them lining the route of my next sportive at GBP 16 a throw  1