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.
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.
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.
Good idea, keeps drinks hot and cold, but a bit of a pain to get back on the bike when on the move
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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?
The Fabric insulated bottle combines all the advantages of our unique cage-less system with the benefits of an insulated system that regulates temperature.
Well made, secure, and a nice choice of material that doesn't leave a plastic taste.
Stays on the bike well, but the single solid side makes it difficult to exert as much pressure as with traditional bottles.
Seems durable and well made.
No cage required...
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.
About the tester
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.