Soma Fabrications' 1,120ml Further water bottle is just the job if you want to carry huge amounts of water on long rides, and while it's not what you'd call sophisticated it does its thing with fair aplomb.
The Further's capacity really is huge. A typical small bottle is 600-650ml, a large one 750-800ml and the previous title holder for World's Biggest Cycling Bottle, the Zefal Magnum, is 1,000ml. By comparison, the Further goes up to eleven and a bit, almost twice as big as some.
The body is made from soft, squeezable low-density polyethylene and the pull-cap has a nice big opening that makes taking a big gulp very easy.
A neck halfway roughly up the body gives your bottle cage something to grab on to, and it went easily into all all the cages I tried, from cheap and cheerful aluminium jobs to swanky carbon numbers. It fitted best in a Topeak carbon fibre cage and a Bontrager side-entry cage, both of which are a bit snugger than your typical aluminium cage. The Further bottle is 73.5mm wide at its fattest point, where a Podium bottle is 76mm, so the Further can be a slightly loose fit in some cages and you'd probably want to bend them slightly to grip it a bit more firmly.
The height of the Further is going to be an issue in some frames and locations. It's 295mm tall, so if you take a small frame, if your down tube cage is a bit high or if you use a bag under the top tube, you're going to have issues. Topeak Alt-Position Cage Mounts might help drop your cages down a bit so it'll fit, maybe in conjunction with side-entry cages.
If you don't go in for summer epics, you might still have a use for the Further. For example, do you want to carry a frame-fit pump in its traditional place along the seat tube? With a Further bottle you can pop a pump there and still carry plenty of water in your down tube cage. If you've got cage mounts under the down tube too, then a pair of Further bottles carries almost as much water as three standard bottles.
Where the Further loses out in comparison to some high-end bottles is in the conventional mouthpiece, which is the kind of pull-to-open design cycling bottles have had almost since Tour de France racers stopped putting corks in aluminium bottles. Compared to a Camelbak Podium mouthpiece it's not as nice to drink from, and you can't lock it closed. Unfortunately the thread for the cap is different from Camelbak's, which is a pity; it'd be nice to be able to just slap on a Podium cap.
It's also a bit expensive, considering you can get Science in Sport's 980ml bottle for a fiver.
Those niggles aside, the Further bottle is the only game in town if you want to carry more than two litres of water in just two bottles that are designed to fit standard cages, and it does that job very well indeed.
The largest cycling water bottle in the world does exactly what it says on the tin
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Soma Fabrications Further water bottle 38oz
Size tested: 38oz
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?
It's a very, very large water bottle.
Soma Fabrications says:
The Soma Further is the largest water bottle designed to fit a standard water bottle cage! More water means more riding. Ideal for bikepackers riding full-suspension bikes with only one set of bottle bosses. A must-have for riders who put long days in the saddle and don't like hydration packs.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* 38 oz. capacity (1,120 ml)
* Graduation marks to assist with hydration mixes
* Easy to grip
* Easy to squeeze LDPE plastic
* High flow sip valve
* 30mm tall (11-5/8")
* Frosted Clear allows you to view how much liquid you still have
* Made in the USA
Performance, for a huge water bottle, falls into a number of categories. The Further scores full marks for 'ability to carry loads of water' but loses a point for ability to fit snugly in unmodified cages and the slightly basic mouthpiece, though it still works well.
Over a tenner is a lot for a standard, albeit extended bottle. Science in Sport's 980ml bottle (that's actually more like 1,040ml according to road.cc readers) is a fiver, and you can pick up a Zefal Magnum for just three quid. You're going to have to really want that extra 100ml to justify the Further's cost.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Fine. You put lots (and lots) of water in, you drink it. Nuff said.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The large capacity.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
A 710ml Camelbak Podium bottle has an RRP of £11.99, but you're paying there for the clever lockable mouthpiece. The Further's premium price gets you its large capacity, but Science in Sport and Zefal both have bottles in the same ballpark for a fiver or less.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but I'd probably end up buying one of the cheaper but slightly smaller rivals.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
If you want to carry spectacular amounts of water without resorting to a water-carrying backpack, then the Further bottle is currently your biggest option. It loses points for its high price, a mouthpiece that's rather basic for an expensive bottle, and for not fitting as snugly as it could in some cages.
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, mtb,
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.