The Tech Team encourages those who need a bike worked on before a big race to get it in asap — we fill up fast prior to big events!
Those of us who have been racing since the mid-eighties still remember the Campagnolo Aero Water Bottle. Now 20 years later, Profile has brought that concept back with the Razor Bottle ™. The concept is relatively simple so I’m kind of surprised that it took so long for a major manufacturer to re introduce such a product (Bontrager actually came out with a similar product about 1 year ago). You simply squish a bottle into a more aerodynamic shape and develop a cage to accommodate it. For years wind tunnel gurus have been debating the best place to carry liquids on a bike. Despite most agreeing that a round water bottle on an airfoil shaped down tube is not the most aerodynamic set up, when you look at bikes in the transition area you still see a prevalence of water bottles mounted in the front triangle of a bike. It may be that riders still prefer the convenience of reaching forward and down (and somewhat being able to see the process) than reaching for a bottle behind the saddle. It may be that most still need more liquids than the popular aero-bottle in between the aerobars can supply.
When our employees first saw pictures of this product, the reactions were mostly that of total approval. However, when the product arrived it was met with some skepticism. I’m still somewhat unconvinced whether this is a “must have” product so I will list the pros and cons that I’ve encountered with this product and let athletes decide for themselves.
As for the cons, the most obvious is the price. At $64.99 this is not an inexpensive water bottle and cage set up. Next, is the fact that once you install the special cage, you are limited to using only the matching water bottle. It seems to me that most that use a regular water bottle and cage mounted in the front triangle do so for convenience. If you fall in that category and you normally scramble for clean bottles as you are running out the door for your ride, this may present a problem. Also, remember that the Profile Razor Bottle™ holds only 20 oz so if you like carrying more in your bottles you may need to look for additional options.
As far as how it “performed”, the Razor Bottle™ is at first a little awkward to grab. The squished shape can be slippery when wet and it feels obviously different than the round bottles that we have grown accustomed to. The old Campagnolo bottle used to have a hole on the upper side in order to make it easier to grab with one hand. Profile apparently has opted to ignore this in favor of a more aerodynamic shape. Also, to get the bottle back in you just sort of place it on the bottom part of the cage and push it forward until it clicks. This was also a little different than the normal way to inset the bottle at most cages. Finally when mounted, the bottle on this one unit seemed to sit a little to one side, making it a little odd to look at.
As far as the pros, the most significant one is that it allows riders to carry a front triangle mounted bottle without sacrificing aerodynamics. In fact, some preliminary tests are suggesting that the Razor Bottle™ actually reduces overall drag in certain situations, therefore increasing the aerodynamics of the frame (don’t quote me on this one just yet though). The price is steep but when you compare to most carbon cages for round bottles in the market that sell for $50 without the bottle, the Razor Bottle™ (which includes a carbon cage) is not so out of line.
The thing that surprised me the most about the Razor Bottle™ is that it actually stays on the cage quite well. When I first saw how the bottle clips in, I was afraid it would get ejected on the first bump. I rode it over very rough roads and the bottle stayed on. I’m not sure if this will change over time but initially it was not a problem. I also thought that mounting the cage on time trial and smaller frames would be a problem but Profile included more holes than usual, allowing for several mounting options.
The mechanics of grabbing and then reinserting the bottle were a little different but I suspect I will get used to it. It was already more natural on the second ride. Finally, regarding the lack of flexibility that this bottle provides, I would equate it to aero bottles that mount between the aerobars. The user simply needs to be more diligent about washing the bottle after using it and not leaving other liquids sitting in the bottle between rides. And if the user really wants additional Razor aero bottle, these are available without the cage for $14.99.
The Profile Razor Bottle™ may not be for everyone but it is for those who like frame mounted bottles and are looking for an aerodynamic edge. They also look really cool when mounted on a time trial bike.