So I already had an aero bottle – why on earth should I get a new one? Well, because my coach said so. And to be fair, I didn’t exactly like my existing one. My previous one dumped out half the contents of the bottle in the first 1/4th of a mile at Wildflower – as well as any other time I hit a bump*. Plus, it only held one beverage type. This new fangled bottle held TWO beverage types – and it kept the stuff from bouncing out.
So what is it? The Podium Quest Aero Bottle. It costs about the same as most other bottles, and is available from a slew of places. At first look it appears a bit chubby. But, in reality it’s less chubby than you or I. Plus…remember the most important thing about front-mounted hydration systems:
They aren’t going to be more ‘aero’ than nothing at all – but they are more aero than you bonking on the run or the bike.
What does that mean? Well the purpose of most of these bottles is to put the straw in front of your face so you actually DRINK liquid. Because if you’re like me (and most others), you’ll likely find all assortment of excuses to not reach down and grab that water bottle in the middle of the race: Over the next hill, after I pass this person, around the next corner, oh – you mean 17 minutes ago – I’ll just wait till the next water stop… I’ve thunk of them all!
Without further ado, let’s get started. After a quick two-piece assembly (Straw: meet bottle), I was ready for the ‘before and after’ shots with the existing aero bottle.
Yup, it’s chubby. But…it has TWO chambers. One is on the lower half, and one is on the upper half. Each of those chambers is connected to a straw. Each chamber has a little lid on it to keep anything from sloshing out. The upper chamber carries 23 oz, the lower 27 oz.
The lid has some rubber thingy (technical term) which allows you to stick a standard water bottle inside of it and then squeeze it out. Normally at water stops on the bike they are handing you a bottle, simply take the bottle – turn upside down and squeeze. We can all handle that.
Next comes the mounting piece. This was a fairly fatal flaw with the previous bottle. The rubber bands needed to be taken out and shot – they were horrible. The bottle ended up all sideways half the time.
But the Podium Quest has got craploads of velcro. If I tried to rip it off with all my force – I would still lose the battle. There is a bit of a fine art to getting it on and taking it off, once you figure it out it’s not too bad. But it doesn’t move a millimeter during the ride. No clunking, bonking or other odd noises either. It fits perfectly on both my Fuji road bike (with Profile T2 bars) or my P2C.
After you slide the loops on, you just button the hatches by Velcroing it all tight.
Finally… here ya go – on the bike and on the road:
The straws are flexible and attached together via connector, but easily turn and slide out of the way. The coolest part is they are always just about 2-3” from my mouth – easy access! And the back is flat on the thing, so I’ve been able to tape my nutrition/route stuff on the back for me to easily see (and not screw up).
In short – I can’t recommend this thing enough. I can keep basically two water bottles in it (one for water, one for non-water), and then super-easily refill from a stock of bottles either in cages behind me, below me or at aide stations. Simple and easy.
It costs about $45 and is available all over da place.
(*Note: I noticed recently that my previous aero-bottle from Profile Designs is now available with the same nifty lid as the Podium Quest, which does help solve one of the major problems with it.)
Thanks for the bottle review. I have the Profile bottle and I took the yellow piece that they provide and jammed it on the bottom of the bottle. Then I added a new piece of the type sold for use with body wash to fill the top hole. The yellow piece now acts like a baffle (similar to the foam baffles in water beds of old) which really cut down on sloshing and causes no loss of fluid capability.
I’ve considered using the double chamber aero drink systems (Profile Design now has one too), but one thing I always wondered was how it affects your steering. Having 50 ounces of water up front adds significant weight to front load the bike, which has got to alter your ability to steer, no? I’d be interested in your experience with that so far.
Those one with the sponges always seem like disaster waiting to happen – what if your bike tips over! Anyway, I’m always the nerd who uses a Camelbak because the straw is close to my mouth there too so I drink a lot. That and I drop bottles like no other when I try to ride and drink…
I know you’ve already switched, but for anybody else reading: there is a TRICK to the yellow sponge thingy.
I learned this after I LOST it (like everybody else does) and at a tri expo I asked the Profile Design reps “hey, can I have another one, and while you’re giving me one, could you please show me how it’s supposed to work? Because I don’t think it works.”
So they showed me (the instructions fail to do this, which is why everybody makes the mistake). You’re not supposed to just pluck it in and hope it works. You’re supposed to unravel it and then roll it back up like a sock so that all the mesh is kind of broken up and it helps prevent spash AND it keeps the thing from coming out.
The only issue I see at that point is, if it doesn’t really come out, then how are you supposed to pour stuff IN? That’s the whole purpose of the open top, right?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m frustrated by the thing and may think about this new one…
Thanks for the review!
Hey Rainmaker. This is helpful b/c I need to put a hydration system on my tri bike as well and I don’t know which one I”m going to pick.
Also, per your last post on transitions, that’s interesting b/c things like that always remind me that this is a sport with skills and not just about fitness. I always seem to forget and don’t like working on that stuff 🙂
Misc answers to questions:
Q: “Having 50 ounces of water up front adds significant weight to front load the bike, which has got to alter your ability to steer, no?”
A: So far, I haven’t seen any issues with it. Because I started off with it on the new bike from scratch – I kinda got used to it all at once. However, I did have it on my other bike (road bike) and it didn’t affect it any.
Q: Open top issues with sponge on other bottle.
A: If you do it right (which, is plausible with the reverse wrap thing), you’ll still be able to just dump water in, it just in theory prevents splashing. Al’s idea is much better though – as it’s more obtuse in nature.
Random comment of mine: I would say that the key feature of this bottle isn’t so much the non-splashing functionality, but really the split bottle components. The ability to split out water and non-water to more accurately balance your fluid intake on the bike.
the new bottle is really your old bottle…on steriods….
wow..thats a great system..especially the separate chambers..nice review
I think the term you were looking for is rubber-grommit-flange-ring-slide-widget
I’ve recently purchased the Podium Quest but have problems with the little black tops popping off when I hit bumps. Do you have the same problem? If so, how do you fix it? Rubber bands, perhaps.
Strange, nope, haven’t had any issues there. Though I think I vaguely remember The Girl having an issue and she just swapped to a spare set of the lids that I had lying around and it was fixed.
I know you can get the little replacement parts kits from a few online tri stores. Hope this helps some!
I just purchased the PQ Aero Bottle. I filled the top chamber with water and discovered that it leaks and it was just sitting on my kitchen table. The leak appears to originate from where the two chambers meet. The company I ordered it from sent me a second Bottle and it leaks similarly. Has anyone else had this issue?
That’s very strange. I haven’t seen that on either of the two podium quests. Occasionally I’ll leave mine on the trainer and just fill it with water, and haven’t seen it leak water even if left for days full.
Curious if this is your go-to aero bottle today? Looking at getting one for my tri bike, and wondering if you tried any others or know of any better ones.
Doesn’t this bottle obstract you from grabbing the extensions in a comfortable way?
No issues, as your wrists pretty much wrap right around it. Works well.
Hi Ray! Is this still your water bottle of choice? I ask because I have one, and am not fond of the amount of splashing I have with it. (Our roads here in Michigan are famously bumpy, though I have a hard time imagining they are worse than your cobblestones!) I’ve learned I can reduce the splash by filling the bottles less full… And by rubber banding covers over the “quick fill” holes… Wondering if you have any other tricks up your sleeve? Thanks!
With doing less (no) Ironman’s in the last few years, I honestly haven’t had much of a need for it, so haven’t really used it much. Instead, I can usually get by with 2-3 water bottles on the frame.
I wish I had some better tricks, sorry!
No worries, Ray. Thanks for the feedback! I’m going to give the Speedfill A2 “leak proof” system a shot. We’ll see! 🙂