'If it ain't broke, don't fix it', right? Well the Vincero Design Stratus20 bottle/mount system thinks it can improve on the traditional model with a cageless magnetic system. It certainly makes for a nice party trick at the cafe stop, but is it really a better option?
You get an idea of the design from the photos but a simple male (bike) and female (bottle), slot and groove connection is held in place by two magnets - about the size of a 1p coin - in the bottle and mount recesses. If you're sitting there with your pessimist hat on, take it off, these little magnets are hugely powerful; installing the mount, my allen key kept sticking to it on each tighten and I often had to separate pots and pans from the bottle in my drainer.
The true test of the magnets' strength though is when riding and I can say they are up to the job. Not once did I lose the bottle or even have it rattle - the slot is designed such that the magnet pulls into a triangle, preventing a loose fitting. I also tested it on my mountain bike with equally impressive results: even on the rockiest of descents, I didn't notice the bottle until I got to the bottom to find it was still there.
Reaching for the bottle is much easier than one in a cage: because it isn't clamped, you can pull the bottle away in any direction. Replacing it is even easier: simply hover in the general direction of the mount, the magnets attract and guide it in; you don't even have to look down.
To help soften the £33.99 RRP, a Camelbak style 'medical grade' silicone valve is included in the bottle. I haven't used one of these for a while but it works well and should mean the bottle will last longer since the valve isn't becoming chewed up (the valve doesn't require opening and closing, just suck). They are a bit harder to clean but thankfully, the 'stratus' bottles can go in the dishwasher - just keep them on the top shelf with the temperature low.
On test was a 591ml (20oz) and a 710ml (24oz) is also available. This bring us to one of the obvious disadvantages of the system - you have to use one of Vincero's bottles. The bottles themselves are good, priced at around £7, but aren't going to be as easy to come by as normal ones. If you lose one on a tour or something, you probably need to buy a cage along with a new bottle.
Kitting your bike out with the mounts is £65, and if Vincero change their design or go out of business, they'd become useless. Whilst £65 sounds a lot for bottle cages, remember that a lot of carbon cages go for £40 or more, so for a neat system it isn't bad value.
And a neat system it is. The beauty is that the mounts are barely visible so the clean lines of a bike aren't ruined. What's more, it's an unobtrusive option for those who like a second bottle for long rides but don't need one every day.
Impressive magnetic design with clean lines, easy removal and an excellent valve.
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Make and model: Vincero Design Stratus20 bottle/mount system
Size tested: n/a
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?
'We have developed an integrated system offering cyclists, regardless of discipline, the ability to quickly, easily, and efficiently mate our water bottles to their bicycles. The system's patent pending design is comprised of a combination of complementary geometries as well as a magnetic pair of rare earth metals. These two features provide a cyclist with an unparalleled user experience with many advantages over other bottle & cage implementations.'
Summed up pretty well. Works off-road as well as on, lots of advantages and adds a bit of polish.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Wide mouth screw top is 63mm and seals tight every time.
Medical grade silicone valve requires no manual opening and closing, delivers excellent flow without any drips.
Physical cues to ensure easy mating to the edge16 rail mount.
Easy-to-handle, non-slip shape, yet compatible with traditional bottle cages.
Food grade plastic doesn't soak up flavors or odours.
100% free of BPA, DEHA, and DEHP.
Proposition 65 Compliant and made of 100% FDA food-grade material.
Safe for the top rack of your dishwasher.
Good sturdy bottles and a well designed mounting system. The top and valve feels like it should last a long time too.
Better than your average bottle and cage system. Removal and insertion is a breeze and the silicon no-drip valve is a pleasure to use.
The bottle should last a while, made of thick plastic and without a cage to rub on it, doesn't get all scratched up. Our magnets didn't lose any attraction during test and we're told they shouldn't if kept below 150deg (shouldn't be hard in a British summer!)
74g is fairly competitive for a bottle and cage system.
The Camelbak style valve is nice for drinking on a ride. Ergonomic shaping of the bottle is also a strong point.
£33.99 is expensive for a proprietary system but some wouldn't think of spending £40 on a carbon cage - which doesn't include a bottle. I personally think it is a honest price point and good value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It worked well; not once did the bottle drop from my bike, even off-road.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The magnetic mounting system: pull the bottle away in any direction and simply hover in the general area of the mount to replace.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I couldn't use any other bottle but of course, this is unavoidable and in truth, there is no need to want another bottle unless you lose Vincero's one.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A very neat little system, which is certainly better than the standard bidon and cage system. Better but not revolutionary.
Age: 23 Height: 184cm Weight: 66kg
I usually ride: Orbea Onix (Carbon) - Summer, Orbea Asphalt (Alu) - Winter My best bike is: Orbea Alma G10
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, club rides, mtb,