Van Bikeradar: Best cycling water bottles: 11 insulated and non-insulated options

The best water bottles for cycling will enable you to ride better and for longer, by offering easy-to-access hydration on the go. From classic squeezy designs to options with insulated technology, there’s a bottle to suit all types of cycling. 

BikeRadar’s team of experts has put the best to the test to bring you our top water bottle picks for cycling. Just slot them into your bottle cage and you’ll be on your way. 

How to choose a cycling water bottle

Designs and features vary, but when looking for the best water bottle for cycling, here’s what to consider. 

  • Shape: It needs to fit snugly in the bike’s bottle cage without rattling, so look for a bottle where the indent is not too high up. The minimum standard capacity for a practical water bottle should be 500ml
  • Squeezability: You want a bottle that’s flexible enough to deliver a good gulp when you squeeze it, plus boost the flow rate at the valve 
  • Flow rate: Works with the squeeze of the bottle to make for easy drinking, even when you’re on your bike
  • Nozzle: Does it lock? Nozzles with a tight closure will mean fewer leaks, whatever terrain you’re riding. Sports caps give you no-hands control over the bottle’s opening and closing. It’s also a good idea to have a nozzle cap, particularly when mountain biking, so that it stays free from splatters
  • Neck width: The wider the better. This allows more space for adding energy powders, plus it will be easier to negotiate taps and fountains when filling. It also makes it easier to clean
  • Grippiness: For drinking on the go, a bottle with a textured outer will be easier to grip with sweaty or wet hands
  • Insulation: Bottles with insulation will keep your drink colder for longer or, on truly cold days, it can stop it freezing
  • Guarantee: Is there a guarantee with your water bottle, and if so, how long does it last?

11 of the best water bottles for cycling

Elite Fly

Light on the bike and your wallet.
Our Media

  • Price: £5.99 / €7 / $7 / AU$10.46 as tested
  • Capacity: 550ml
  • Weight: 74g

It’s no surprise Elite describes the Fly as a racing water bottle.

With a modest 550ml capacity, it weighs a very light 54g.

The Fly is available in a rainbow of colours, including five two-tone models, and its minimalist design contributes to its good looks.

The bottle fits easily into the hand and the cap is easy to drink from on the move.

Despite its svelteness, the Fly slots into standard bottle cages without bouncing out.

It’s not insulated, but costing £5.99, it’s by far the cheapest here and great value.

Tacx Shanti Twist

It’ll deliver a good burst and decent flow when you give it a proper squeeze.
MBUK

  • Price: £5 / €6 as tested
  • Capacity:  500ml
  • Weight: 100g

A small pressure valve within the Tacx Shanti Twist nozzle ensures that lighter squeezes won’t release any liquid, but it’ll deliver a good burst and decent flow when you give it a proper squeeze.

This means you don’t need to bite the valve (or pull it with your teeth) to get water flowing through it, which makes this 500ml bottle easy to use when putting in hard efforts on the bike.

The top has a twist-locking feature, preventing spillage.

A wider opening at the neck would make adding energy powders a bit easier, especially when out riding.

The bottle was held well by all the bottle cages we tried it in. It’s excellent value too.

CamelBak Podium Dirt Series Chill

The insulation works well, keeping your drink cool (or warm) for up to an hour.
MBUK

  • Price: £18 / €20 / $17 / AU$23 as tested
  • Capacity:  620ml
  • Weight: 113g

The CamelBak Podium Dirt Series Chill’s insulation works well, keeping your drink cool (or warm) for up to an hour.

A twist lock on the nozzle means you can’t accidentally squash it and flood your kitbag or car in transit.

The nozzle cap is useful on muddy rides and, as long as it’s removed or replaced while the bottle’s in the cage, it doesn’t cause any usage issues.

It’s not held securely by all cages because the indent isn’t very deep and is located a little too high up. But we never lost the bottle on a ride.

We like the bite valve, flow rate, squeezability and decent 620ml volume. It’s good value, considering all of its features.

Elite Nanogelite

This insulated bottle works for both cold and warm liquids.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

  • Price: £19 / $32
  • Capacity: 500ml
  • Weight: 159g

We saw the smallest rise in temperature in the Elite Nanogelite bottle – just 6.6 degrees over a four-hour period.

In addition, it was a good fit for our cages, easy to operate and squeezy enough to deliver a good gulp.

It also performed well in holding the temperature of warm (40-degree) liquids, so it’s equally handy for winter.

Passport Insulated Reflective Bottle

Insulation comes at a good price.
Our Media

  • Price: £11.99
  • Capacity: 550ml
  • Weight: 99g

The Passport Insulated Reflective Bottle performs impressively for the price, with its insulation the best on this list.

After being chilled in the fridge, the contents come out icy and remain refreshing for hours.

And yet, given its double-walled design, the Passport is not too heavy for a 550ml-bottle.

The Passport is secure in a bottle cage and should boost visibility after dark. It’s easy to hold while pedalling.

Plenty of fluid flows out of the cap when you take a glug – its stiff structure means drinking requires a good squeeze, though.

Fabric Cageless

No bottle cage? No problem.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

  • Price: £17 / $20 / €25
  • Capacity: 525ml
  • Weight: 127g

The Fabric Cageless foil-wrapped core bottle mounts directly to your bike with the included fitting system, meaning no more bottle cages. It’s intuitive enough, but while removing the bottle is easy, replacing it takes a bit of practice.

The insulation worked well – we saw a 7.2-degree rise in the temperature of cold water over four hours and it kept warm drinks drinkable for over two hours.

Camelbak Podium Chill

The valve is among several handy features.
Our Media

  • Price: £15 / $14 / AU$40
  • Capacity: 620ml
  • Weight: 124g

The CamelBak Podium Chill Insulated Bottle’s mid-range price and volume comes with decent performance.

Insulation is adequate if not as good as the Zefal or Passport.

The Podium cap has an open/close valve and doesn’t leak in either setting.

Liquid squirts out in a narrow, yet powerful stream. This means you can drink without your lips touching the cap – handy if it’s got mucky.

The Podium Chill is slimmer at the top than the bottom, so it’s secure in a bottle cage and the narrower upper section is easy to hold.

Fabric Gripper (750ml)

Water flow through the simple nozzle is excellent when you give this malleable bottle a good squeeze.
MBUK

  • Price: £10 / $9 / AU$15 / €10
  • Capacity: 750ml 
  • Weight: 72g

The textured top-section of the Fabric Gripper bottle is easy to grip when grabbing it or reinserting it into a cage.

Vertical ridges on the screw cap make it easy to get off, and the broad neck is great for adding energy powder.

The deep but relatively narrow neck indent means it fits less securely in some brands’ cages, but it works well with Fabric’s matching Gripper cage (£14.99).

We’ve had issues with the cap cracking on a couple of samples, when done up tight. The bottle is available in a smaller 500ml size too.

Zéfal Artica Pro 75

Volume and insulation are impressive for the price.
Our Media

  • Price: £11.99 / €12.46 / $14.35 / AU$20.94
  • Capacity: 750ml
  • Weight: 140g

The Zéfal Artica Pro 75 carries 750ml of fluid, making it the largest on test at the second-lowest price.

The insulation kept the contents cool for more than three hours on a warm afternoon ride, adding to the feeling this is an excellent choice for summer gravel riding or intrepid bikepacking,  where opportunities to refill bottles are scarce.

The bottle needs a good squeeze to drink from before the cap dispenses a good mouthful.

The Artica Pro 75’s size, slick outer and neck indent result in it not being that secure to hold while riding.

Osprey Hydraulics SoftFlask

This is a flexible, bladder-style flask.
MBUK

  • Price: £18 / €22
  • Capacity: 500ml
  • Weight: 100g

The Osprey Hydraulics SoftFlask is compact for its 500ml volume and gets smaller the more you drink, making it a great fast-and-light ride option.

Energy drinks need pre-mixing due to the narrow opening.

We found that in smaller stash pockets, where the rigid top and nozzle protrude a little, the flask can work its way out as the liquid sloshes around inside it.

Flow through the bite valve is good because the flask is so easy to squeeze.

Rapha Brevet

Rapha’s pricey bottle has useful features.
Our Media

  • Price: £14 / €16 / $14 / AU$25
  • Capacity: 650ml
  • Weight: 87g

The Rapha Brevet water bottle has a 650ml-capacity and will keep your bike looking cool.

But lacking insulation, it won’t do the same for your water.

Rapha’s bottles no longer feature the Camelbak Podium cap. This makes the Brevet prone to leaking when overturned in a bag.

On the flip side, plenty of liquid flows through the cap when you take a sip.

The deep neck indent provides good grip and the bottle slots into standard bottle cages.

However, the Brevet isn’t brilliant value.

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