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Not too long ago I expressed my desire to move past my “off the shelf” aerodynamic hydration system, and took a look at the King Cage Top Mount.  Today I’ve gone one step more with an attempt at creating my own simple between the bars hydration setup.  The goal: to create a convenient, efficient, and aerodynamic alternative, and to do it on the cheap.  Many of you who are already the outdoor type will likely have most of what you need on hand.  For this project, I chose the Bell H2 water bottle because it was big, and it had a nice rounded cap.  However, any standard water bottle will do.  Other items you will need include a bottle cage (zip-tie method between bars, or Top Cage Mount as shown) a piece of hydration tubing (mine was for a Camelbak), a bite valve, a small check valve of some type, the cap from a water bottle, some self-adhering velcro, and a high speed drill.

If you don’t have a hydration pack to pilfer parts from, you might checkout the Speedfil website.  You can buy a bite valve, hose, and grommet from their spare parts section.  In my case, I used a motley crew of parts, economy being the goal.  The toughest part to come by for me was a beverage grade grommet.  That’s where the cap from a Specialized water bottle came in.  I removed the soft top from it, cut off the flanges at the bottom, routed it out a bit (here a high speed drill is handy) to accept my drinking hose, and voila!  A pretty decent grommet that won’t poison you.  I actually bought a water bottle from Academy Sports to snag the small valve.  It lets air into the bottle, while preventing fluid from leaking out.  That way, when you drink from it, the bottle doesn’t start to deform from the negative pressure created inside.  The bottle was under $3, and I could have snagged the valve from one of the kids sippy cups, but that would have lead to a whole new batch of issues.

I first tested everything out on an old worn out water bottle, experimenting with different size drill bits and drill speeds to get the cleanest results.  Nothing too difficult and no real handy man skills required.  The trickiest part was determining the proper drinking tube length, which required a little field testing.  The most important thing was to make sure the end of the tube made it all the way to the back/bottom of the bottom, ensuring I would be able to get all of the water out of it.  The velcro simply holds the drinking tube down when not in use so it doesn’t flap in the wind.  All relatively simple stuff.  I tested it out during the Clemson Sprint Triathlon this past May.  I wasn’t accustomed to using a bit valve, but otherwise it all went smoothly.  I was able to effectively drain it, and the system did not leak all over my bike.  A win win in my book!

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