Last October Jim gave high praise to the Skratch Labs version of the Camelbak Podium 710ml bottle, his only criticism being that the shape didn't work with some bottle cages. This latest version looks to have addressed that – though the price has gone up by a chunk.
- Pros: Lockable & pull-apartable-for-cleaning Jet Valve nozzle; new shape suits a host of cages
- Cons: Bit pricey; scope for gunk to hide in the nozzle?
The new shape works with every cage I've tried it: Tacx, Lezyne, Cannondale, fancy retro Velo Orange one, old no-name standard one... Unfortunately I couldn't try it with my old Elite Pave cage because someone nicked it after last year's RAB (though they kindly put the bolts back in, which was nice).
As you can see from the photos, the bottle now tapers rather than having indents, and I've yet to find a cage it doesn't work with. (And it should be fine for left and right-handed riders – which one left-handed commenter suggested wasn't the case with the indents.) Some cages are a tighter fit than others, but no ejections so far...
The Jet Valve nozzle works as well as Jim described – easy to suck on, squirt liquid out of, lock for when in transit... and pull-apartable for washing.
There's no plasticky smell to taint your drink, which you can get with some cheapo bottles – courtesy of the 'Trutaste Polypropylene with Hydroguard' – and like Jim I'm a fan of being able to see how much is left in your bottle. (Two solid colour options are available too, as well as other highlight colours.)
The only question I have is whether the nozzle design makes it more susceptible to catching dirt than a typical simpler one, where you pull the top bit up with your teeth. I guess you don't have to pull anything up with your teeth – so if/when it is a bit grubby, you can just squirt out some liquid to clear it, then squirt into your mouth. Or buy a Mud Cap for £5.99...
I'd agree with Jim, too, that you don't need to lock the nozzle when it's on the bike – it doesn't leak, maybe just a smidge as you squeeze it into place initially if it's very full. But the lock is great for transporting your drink to the start of a ride/race – turn the bottle upside down and give it a shake or squeeze and nothing comes out.
Twelve quid is a bit of a price hike from the £7.95 of the Skratch Labs one (or there's a 620ml version for £10.99), but it's hardly going to break the bank. Forgo the slice of Victoria sponge at the next cake stop to make up the difference and do your waistline a favour at the same time.
Excellent bottle that should fit most cages now, easy to clean, easy to drink from, but the price has gone up
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Camelbak Podium 710ml bottle
Size tested: 24 oz
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?
Camelbak says, "A new design and improved cleanability maintains the Podium bottle's position as the best-of-the-best within the cycling industry. This premium bike bottle prioritizes performance and excellent cage fit above all else for both professional and recreational users. Easy to squeeze and always BPA free, the Podium is the ultimate bottle for rapid and reliable hydration."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Camelbak lists these features:
Optimized Cage Fit: Engineered to securely fit in a variety of bottle cages
Easy Squeeze: Get more fluid with less effort
High Flow, Self-Sealing Cap: Maximizes flow rate while eliminating splatters and spills
100% free of BPA, BPS and BPF: Ride clean, drink clean
Easy-to-Clean Interface: All parts can separate for thorough cleaning
Positive Lock out: For leak-proof transport
TrutasteTM Polypropylene with HydroguardTM: Taste your water and nothing else, time after time
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
No horrible plasticky smell to taint your drink; great flow from the nozzle; squeezable for extra flow/avoiding lips touching dirty nozzle; lockable when transporting a drink; nozzle can be taken apart for cleaning; indented bottle fits in all cages I've tried it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The lack of plasticky smell that can spoil some drinks bottles. No need to pull open a lid with your teeth to drink.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's a nice fancy nozzle, good flow and easy to clean, but there seems more scope for collecting dirt on a ride than simpler designs.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Not cheap, but hardly breaking the bank.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Jim scored the Skratch Labs version 8/10 and it hasn't got any worse – in fact it's got better, able to fit more cages now. It's a fair bit more money though, so I think the overall remains the same.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.