Zefal's Sense Pro water bottle is easy to drink from, doesn't affect the taste of your drink, and has a clever pull seal that has resisted our attempts to make it leak.
- Pros: Good seal, available in large-volume option, excellent value
- Cons: Not quite as 'squishy' as the competition
The Sense Pro bottle's key feature is the push/pull mouthpiece which both delivers plenty of water and seals the bottle very effectively when you push it into the cap. How effectively? I tested it by standing on it and it took most of my 100+kg to pop the valve. The same test on a Camelbak Podium bottle produced a leak from the cap thread. I've been throwing full Podium bottles in bags for years without problems, and I'll happily do the same with a Sense Pro.
The rest of the Sense Pro is nicely executed. The neck is wide for ice cubes or drink mix and the cap screws firmly into place. Water flows freely when you give the polypropylene body a squeeze and even after a couple of days your water doesn't taste plasticky.
It's also made in France, which is good. Buying a water bottle that was moulded in, say, China means you're paying for three-quarters of a litre of air to be shipped round the planet in a hulking gert polluting container ship. That's an admittedly small but entirely bonkers addition to global warming.
The Camelbak Podium is the obvious rival when it comes to premium water bottles. The seal is more or less equally effective, and the Sense Pro scores on being a bit cheaper and a bit larger. This one is 650ml vs the 610ml of a small Podium and the bigger versions are 800ml vs 710ml. A pair of the bigger bottles therefore gives you an extra 180ml of water, and that's got to be worth having on a hot summer day.
However, the Podium is slightly easier to squeeze, so if glugging down your water very quickly is vitally important to you, that might be the way to go.
A major feature of the latest Podium is that the valve is straightforward to dismantle for cleaning. To take apart the Sense Pro you simply prise the mouthpiece out of the cap, then you can pop the parts in the dishwasher.
Overall, then, the Zefal Sense Pro is a worthy rival to the Podium, and cheaper too.
Good size, well-priced bottle with a very nice mouthpiece
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Zefal Sense Pro 65 bottle
Size tested: 650ml
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?
"The Sense Pro bottle has been designed down to the last detail to offer cyclists the very best. Its over-moulded cover offers better grip on the bottle and its double-closure Pro-Cap system makes it 100% watertight for easier carrying. No more spilled drink on the bottle and on the bike! The silicon push offers a pleasant sensation when drinking. The quick-opening valve provides better-regulated control of the liquid consumed without spillage due to overflow. Like the Sense and Shark bottles, it is manufactured with our specific polypropylene material, which is light, more flexible, and odourless to keep your drinks clean and pure."
I can't really argue with any of that. It works, and it doesn't leak.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Double-closure system for 100% watertight transport.
Soft push for a pleasant sensation while drinking.
Over-moulded cover for better grip on the bottle.
The polypropylene material keeps water clean and pure.
No Bisphenol-A, phtalates or other toxins used.
The silicone mouthpiece is very pleasant against your lips and teeth.
This is probably the cheapest 'posh' water bottle around.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ease of use; price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Significantly cheaper than rivals such as posh bottles from Camelbak and Specialized.
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
It's hard to get too excited about a water bottle, but the Sense Pro does its job very well. It scores for being nice to use, very good value for money and made in the EU, but loses because the cap can't be dismantled easily for cleaning.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.