Clean Bottle Water Bottle Pro Review - By Twain Mein
- 22 oz. capacity
- 100% non-toxic, BPA-free plastic
- Removable top and bottom for easy cleaning
- MSRP: $9.95 each available direct
David Mayer is the mind behind the Clean Bottle. And this year he's burst onto the cycling scene with guerrilla marketing run amok. From spamming the Webcore cycling Yahoo! Group to free samples at the top of Old La Honda, Dave and his bottles are everywhere. He even had a video testimonial on Bicycle Retailer and dressed up as a Clean Bottle for the Tour of California. In fact, nothing is sacred with Dave; at the Wildflower Triathlon in May, I opened the door to a porta-potty and was greeted with a huge Clean Bottle poster over the throne. Dang, this guy is EVERYWHERE!
He also does something cool with the profits--he will donate 10% of the years profits to a charity that his fans vote on. Kind of cool.
Regardless of the marketing, lets look at the "history" of the water bottle.
The evolution of the water bottle
Check out these bottles. Any memories? From the right is the classic original Specialized. For many years, this was the only solution to hydration on the bike. When new, the bottles worked well. But with use, the top could become stubborn to put on and they were prone to leaking. Next to it is a "no name" that offers a screw-on lid for easier securing, no matter how cold; these were a good upgrade to the original Specialized design and were on the market for years. Following is a Tacx bottle that was looks good but doesn't work well; if you squeezed too hard, the lid would burst, showering you in energy drink, water, or whatever fluid you were using. Next to that is the Revenge bottle with a flip lid; too complicated for riding. The blue bottle is the current standard and is also made by Specialized. It offers a screw top, high flow head, and soft plastic construction. Next to it is the Polar insulated bottle designed for keeping drinks cool in hot weather; despite the conceptual usefulness, I've never really used it. Flanking that is the new Mellow Johnny's bottle made by Trek. It features a screw top and has a very high flow head with supple plastic that makes it easy to squeeze large quantities of fluid. Finally, on the end, is the new Clean Bottle.
So how does it work?
Plain and simple, the Clean Bottle is a better mouse trap. It offers a removable top AND bottom to facilitate easy cleaning. The sheer capability to remove the lower half incents folks to at least think of their "bottle hygiene", though I think most water bottles typically get a simple rinse and air dry. But perhaps we should pay more attention to cleaning our water bottles; check out the black ring of growth on the Trek top; it's remarkable how germs and algae accumulates at the nozzle, as seen by the picture below. This "growth" originates at the base of the nipple which is very hard to reach by any means.
It is hard to know if similar similar "growth" occurs with the Clean Bottle, because of the opaque top. But my advice is, stick your bottles in the dishwasher ever once in a while!
Overall, this is a great idea. The bottle has heavier-duty plastic that should last a long time. According to hiker friends, the seals on the Clean Bottle work well; no drips were found on a recent journey. However, there are some drawbacks: the bottle holds only 22 ounces vs 24 for the modern Trek & Specialized bottles. Additionally, the plastic is stiffer which makes it more difficult to get a strong swig of fluid, though the stronger material should last longer.
The Clean Bottle seems like it would be a hit with Mommies with young kids (in fact-Dave, maybe think of making a smaller sized one for infants and young kids), hikers, and cyclists who actually think about their bottle hygiene.
Bottom line: well done innovating on something that most folks have taken for granted.
4.5 (wish it had larger capacity and softer plastic)