ABLOC Arrive bidons (water bottles)
Every now and then a piece of completely unessential yet desirable cycling kit comes along. It’s what the UK military calls “Gucci Kit”: non-standard issue and something they’re either willing to pay for personally (or more likely, brazenly steal from other units).
The new range of “Arrive” bidons / water bottles from ABLOC seem to fit right into this category. At nearly £20 for a 710ml bottle (a smaller 550ml bottle is also available and both sizes are currently discounted) they are significantly more expensive than your average water bottle.
For the extra money you get what ABLOC claims to be a “balanced design” that reflects the essence of cycling. You also get a very clean look with a complete absence of logos and a range of 10 different colour nozzle options (the body is always black).
I opted for the boring-but-safe “black on black” combination (I wanted to be able to use the bottles on a variety of bikes) in the 710ml guise. Why 710ml and not the more common 750ml? Well, the unique shape of the bottle ‘robs’ it off that little extra capacity.
Out of the box, there’s absolutely no doubt that the ABLOC bottles look sharp. On a black frame, they really add to the ‘stealth’ look. On my main road bikes, I tend to use Elite bottle cages (either the Elite Race or Elite Race Plus depending on bike). I have noticed that, after only a handful of rides, that lovely shiny finish on the black bottle body has started to scratch and dull already. Maybe other bottle cages are kinder on the bottle body, but I think within six months the ABLOC bottles are going to look as scruffy as any other bottle in my cupboards.
ABLOC claims a non-drip and high-flow silicon nozzle on its bottles. And to be fair, it does seem to work very well. I haven’t noticed any leakage on the frame and the nozzle does indeed deliver a good gulp of drink when the lower portion of the bottle is squeezed.
There is a small issue in so much as the shape of the bottle (and perhaps the cages I use) mean that I typically grab the upper part of the bottle when extracting it from the cage. As such, to get that squeeze on the lower part of the bottle, I have to adjust my grip between extraction and getting a drink. It perhaps sounds a bit pedantic, but it adds to the time required to get a drink and the risk of dropping the bottle.
I’ve also found the ABLOC bottles more difficult to extract from the cages on my bikes than other bottles. Probably a great thing for keeping the bottles on the bike across bumpy stretches (cattle grids etc.), but again it doesn’t always make for the fastest grab-drink-go manoeuvres.
The narrow opening at the top of the bottle also means you need to take extra care when filling the bottle with powders such as energy drinks (electrolyte tablets seem to fit fine).
Although the bottle body is marketed as ‘black’, it is in fact a very dark smoke colour, with enough transparency to be able to quickly see how much liquid is still inside the bidon.
There’s no doubt the ABLOC bottles look good on the bike. If you’re not a fan of a bottle advertising your favourite nutrition supplier or bike shop, the all-black logo-less body looks super sharp (at least when brand new).
At the discounted price currently (at time of writing – late May 2018) shown on the website, I’d say these bottles are a good investment for ‘Gucci Kit’ days. But at the full RRP they are perhaps an unnecessary extravagance (but then, when was Rapha kit ever ‘essential’…?).
For more information, visit https://www.abloc.com/