water bottle review
Makes your water taste like nothing
How hard can it be to make a water bottle? Apparently harder than you'd think, because there are so many crappy ones out there. I have had bottles that are hard to close, hard to open, some of them leak, and many of them give the water a plastic flavor in some degree.
After drinking plastic tasting water on 3 day trip from a leaking bottle I decided to look for something better.
The most obvious solution against plastic flavor is a metal bottle, however I don't care much for metal bottles, you can't see what is in there. They cannot be squeezed, but do get dented.
You would think that a company like Camelbak, who's core business is hydration, or Tacx, show sponsors the Tour de France with their bottles would make some good ones. But some internet searching pointed me towards the "Purist" bottles from Specialized. They are one of the few manufacturers who actually put some effort into something as "easy" as a water bottle and made a good one.
The Purist bottle are made out of plastic, but have a silicone layer on the inside, which prevents outgassing, which causes the plastic flavor of the water.
Since I was about to leave for a two week trip soon I wanted to get one as soon as possible. Of course, non of the online shops where I usually order from sells them, but thankfully a Specialized dealer nearby had them in stock. A quick cycle after work got me two. At about 11 euros each they were not cheap, but worth the promise of good tasting water.
The appearance is not very exciting, they come in the blandest of colors: transparent white, white and gray. None of them really appealing or matching my bicycle color scheme, I chose the clear one so that at least I can see how much is in there.
The darker bottles also have a clear vertical strip which allows you to see how full it is, but that requires a closer look.
Specialized does offer customized colors and prints, but you have to order large quantities. They are available in 500 ml (22 oz) and 750 mL (26 oz) sizes. On the internet you can find some rebranded bottles with different color schemes and logos, usually for an even higher price for the pretty ones.
Using the bottle
The outside of the cap smooth, but is made out a material that is easy to grip and provides a good seal without having to apply to much force.
The Purist bottle has a larger poppet than other bottles I have used, with a one way valve. Specialized calls this a "WaterGate". There are also Purist bottles with a "MoFlo" poppet which allows even more water through.
With the poppet pushed in no water can come out. Once you pull it out, either bu hand or with your mouth it still won't spill. You can hold the bottle upside down and shake it around as much as you want without water spilling.
To get water out you have to squeeze it rather firmly, and then it squirts out with a pretty big stream. Sucking the poppet also works, the trick is to squeeze gently and suck at the same time. You can take in big gulps of water very quickly, more so than with many other bottles.
The bottle mounts in bottle cages without problem, I have used it with both aluminum (Tacx) and plastic (Zéfal) bottle cages without problem. Aluminum bottle cages often cause scratches on the sides of bottles, but after several months of use the Purist bottles still look pretty good.
Cleaning the bottle
Clear bottles are not always recommended because algae can grow in them when left in the sun, which I also experienced after leaving water in the bottle for several days. You are not supposed to scrub the inside of the bottle, as it will damage the silicone layer.
The recommended cleaning method of shaking it with soapy water was not completely effective. The green algae remained on the bottom Around the seam of the bottle. I eventually pot a small sponge in there to remove the algae, since then I did not notice the flavor of the water being different.
There was a also some algae in the top cap where I could not reach it. Although the poppet can supposedly be easily be removed I found it to be not the case, despite Specialized instructional video. My fingers would slip when attempting to twist it, and it seemed like pulling requires a lot of force and it I fear it would damage the poppet. I found that sticking a q-tip through the valve from the top was very effective for reaching that unreachable area.
After using the bottle for several months there is no noticeable plastic flavor, even after leaving the water in there for days. Leaving the clear bottle in the sun for several days did give me algae growth, but that was expected.
At one point I had apple juice in the bottle on a long ride, without washing the bottle in between with soap the apple juice flavor went away after a few days of drinking water, with other bottles flavors can stick around for years.
Most expensive water bottle I ever bought, but the best one I ever used. It doesn't leak around the cap or the poppet, the water never tastes like plastic and there is a large, but easily controlled water flow that allows you to take big gulps of water. The bottle is easy to clean, even the poppet is easier to clean than most bottles.
I now use the bottle not just for cycling trips, whenever I need to bring some drinking water. I would definitely recommend this bottle for anyone who is bothered by the plastic flavor that some bottles give off.
- Specialized's product page for the Purist water bottle
- Purist water bottle review on BikeRadar
- Purist water bottle review on Jarred's Cycling
- Specialized Purist bottle with MoFlo valve on Amazon.com (500 mL)
- Specialized Purist bottle with MoFlo valve on Amazon.com (750 mL)
- Comparison of various water bottles, including a Specialized HydroFlo bottle