Review: Hydrapak Gel-Bot Water Bottle

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BIKERUMOR.com REVIEW: Hydrapak’s Gel-Bot is a tall waterbottle that combines a standard waterbottle with a gel-loading cylinder and a dual-valve spout.  It allows you to load up to two gel packs (3.2oz) into the cylinder and have 24oz of fluid in the bottle.

I’ve used it on road and mountain bike rides, and it works flawlessly.  Perhaps too good, you don’t realize how fast you can suck down two gel packs until you have them locked and loaded in a quick dispensing unit!  It’s perfect on fast group rides when the pace is unrelenting and it’s all you can do to grab a bottle on your way to the back of the paceline.  Some of our group rides as so fast and furious that there’s simply no way I’m digging around in a jersey pocket for a gel, riding one-handed long enough to tear the top off, holding the gel pack between my teeth while I stuff the tab under my shorts leg then squeeze the goo into my mouth.  It just isn’t happening.  But the Gel-Bot saves the day because all you have to do is squeeze.

In fact, the only thing I didn’t like is it makes me feel a little dirty…which I’ll explain after the break…

HOW’S IT WORK?

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First, you squeeze your gel into the cylinder (left).  This is one packet of Carb-boom Apple Cinnamon gel, and I can almost get two full packets into the cylinder.  There’s a little left over in the second pack for a little pre-ride treat.  Then you pop the cylinder into the cap, press the bottom up to remove excess air…

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…fill the bottle up to the line, then screw the cap onto the bottle.

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The spout has a dual valve.  The green central section is where the gel comes out.  Squeeze the bottle without opening the rubbery blue valve and…

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Voila!  Gel!  This is where it gets a little dirty.  Suck on it while you’re squeezing and you get more gel in your mouth.

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This is where it gets really dirty.  See how big the spout is compared to a normal water bottle?  Yeah, it feels a little awkward wrapping your mouth around it.  I like the water bottle and all…just not in that way.

BIKERUMOR RATING:

All kidding aside, the spout is a bit oversized, which I presume has to be the case since there’s a whole separate valve in the center of it.  Make the gel valve too narrow and it’ll be too hard to squeeze the gel out.  As is, it’s perfectly usable and an extremely convenient way to get gel into your mouth mid-ride…and even better for racers. The bottle never leaked fluid or gel during a ride, even when it was angled on the downtube.  For me, it’s the perfect first bottle, and I used an insulated bottle for the second one.  It’s BPA-free, dishwasher safe and retails for $14.99. If they could just get the spout to be a bit smaller, it’d be perfect.  I give it 4.5 Thumbs Up.

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NOTES: If you clean it out immediately after a ride, it’s easy to get any last bits of gel that remain in the spout valve by filling up the cylinder with water, popping it into the cap and pushing the bottom piston up.  Repeat this a few times and it’s clean.  I’ve run the entire bit through the dishwasher several times and it all still seals and works perfectly.  The blue valve spout is removable for more hardcore cleaning, but I haven’t had to pull it out yet.

Comments

J. Charles - 11/30/09 - 4:58pm

I got one of these last month. it’s pretty cool, but it doesn’t work all that well in cold weather. It’s reeeeeally difficult to get any gel out when it’s cold!

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