I’ve got a new bike. A Knolly Endorphin. I wanted to run a bottle inside the frame, but it’s fairly tight in there and someone online suggested trying a Fabric cage-less water bottle. I’ve got about 4 months of use from this setup and so far it’s been great.
The Fabric bottle is a 600ml or 750ml bottle that has some grooves built into it that mate with a couple mounting studs which you bolt to your normal water bottle cage mounts. The bottle slides down onto the mounts when you are riding and then slides up off the mounts when you want to drink. It’s a simple and effective way to get a bottle mounted to your bike.
Since you don’t have to deal with the cage the bottle can sit lower, which allows it to fit frames that otherwise wouldn’t have room for a bottle. For example – so far this is the only bottle I’ve found that will fit a medium Knolly Endorphin. Fabric claims this setup is lighter than a normal cage + bottle. I haven’t bothered verifying this since that amount of weight savings is not of interest to me.
My gold standard for water bottles in the Camelbak Podium. I like pretty much everything about it. The nozzle works great. The plastic has no nasty aftertaste. The bottle is tough, but easy to squeeze for a fast blast of water. It comes in many sizes and colours to match any application. Compared to the Podium the Fabric bottle is not as nice in a couple ways. The plastic of bottle is stiffer since it needs to be the cage as well as the bottle. The nozzle offers less flow than the Podium.
The Fabric bottle is also nasty aftertaste free, which is essential for me. I’ve got the mounting studs setup really tight so taking the bottle off is not easy. On the other hand it’s never bounced free despite a lot of rough fast descending. Given the trails I ride I don’t need to drink while riding so this is not an issue. I’m hoping the plastic they made the Fabric bottle from will survive a tumble in the rocks okay, but so far I haven’t managed to eject it yet. If the bottle does get damaged you can’t slam any old bottle on the stud mounts so you better have a spare bottle on a road trip.
I like to freeze my bottles between rides so they provide cold drinks along the way. So far the Fabric bottle has withstood many freeze-thaw cycles without complaint. I do leave enough room for the ice to expand…if you don’t something will break!
If you care about looks once the Fabric bottle is off the bike the mounting studs are pretty much invisible.
All in all I’m pleased with the Fabric bottle. It does what it’s supposed to do with no muss or fuss. I wouldn’t replace a normal bottle + cage with it, but if it solves a fit issue on a bike with a tight frame I’m happy to pay a few $$ to get one.
BTW – a friend uses the Fabric Keg to hold water on his bike because the container is shorter and fits better inside his frame. The Keg is water tight, but lacks a nozzle so drinking is definitely a two handed affair at a stop.