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Water bottles and cages have been around pretty much as long as bikes themselves. You’d think someone would have perfected them by now…yet, there are still cages that can’t keep a bottle secure and bottles that stink and make water taste like donkey sweat. Thankfully Specialized has a few products that address these issues.

Purist WaterGate Bottle

It’s hard to get excited about a water bottle, until you use one that is really good. And the Purist bottle is really good. The bottle is infused with silicon dioxide, whichforms a barrier between the plastic bottle and your liquid of choice. What that means is your drink tastes like, well, just your drink. Not your drink with plastic in it, or your drink with whatever was in the bottle last time it was used. It also makes the bottle easy to clean and mold resistant. Since the silicon dioxide is infused in the plastic in the molding process rather a coating applied to the inside, it wont flake off over time. The bottle itself is really flexible and easy to squeeze, more so than any other bottle I’ve ever used. The bottle is available in 22oz ($11) and 26oz ($12) sizes.


Close up of the WaterGate valve. It works like magic.

The good doesn’t stop there. Instead of a traditional bottle cap it’s got a WaterGate diaphragm typeself sealing valve cap. You pull the valve up to put it in the ‘ready’ position. Then either squeeze the bottle or suck on the cap to open the diaphragm and get things flowing – and it will flow a lot of fluid. You don’t have to bite on the valve, you don’t even have to touch it – just squeeze the bottle. Oh, and the valve won’t leak unless you squeeze the bottle. So you can leave it in the ‘ready’ position all the time without worrying about spilling any. No more fumbling with trying to pull the cap out to get a swig. The valve is removable for easy cleaning.


The cap doesn’t leak even if the bottle is laying on its side or turned upside down…until you give it a squeeze.

Any downsides? They’re a little taller than normal bottles, so on one of my bikes when the 26oz is put in the seat tube bottle cage the cap hits the top tube. And if the bottle is really full and you hit a bump hard enough a little bit of fluid might come out of the cap if it’s in the ready position – but only if the bottle is really full.

Rib Cage and Zee Cage

The Rib Cage ($20) is a traditional “top loading” bottle cage. It’s made of reinforced plastic and weighs only 36g. If you have more money than sense Specialized is happy to offer a carbon version that weighs less than 23g and retails for $60. The Zee Cage ($18) is a side loading bottle cage, and also made of reinforced plastic, and weighs in at 43g. There is no carbon version, but there is a $12 alloy modelweighing in at 50g. The Zee Cage is great for use on a seat tube or in a full suspension frame – it lets you use a big bottle without needing space to pull it outof atop-loading cage. The Zee Cage comes in left and right side entry models.


Zee Cage on the left, Rib Cage on the right.

Both the Rib Cage and Zee Cage work really well. Like all good things in the cycling world they’re laterally stiff and vertically compliant – flexible enough to get bottles in and out easily, but stiff enough to keep bottles in place. I haven’t lost a single bottle yet. They look good on modern aluminum and carbon frames, but not so much on thin tubed steel frames. Both are available in lots of colors so you can coordinate them with the rest of your bike. Not much else to say really.


The Zee Cage makes it easy to get big bottles in and out of tight places.

Where to Buy

Obviously, your local Specialized dealer will have both the bottles and cages. You can also order them directly from Specialized on their website – go here to get started. You can even design your own custom bottle here! Lastly, there are a few places that sell the Purist bottle with their own logo on it. A quick Google search has me thinking that Hammer Nutrition seems to have the best deal – the 26oz for only $9 and the 22oz for $7! Of course you have to pay shipping, so unless you order a lot of bottles it’s still probably cheaper to buy from your local shop. Bottles up!

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# Comments

  • trek7k

    Lately I’ve been riding with bottles instead of a hydration pack whenever possible and it’s liberating. I use cheapo bottles but this review has me thinking about upgrading…

  • dgaddis

    I agree. I’ve been riding without a pack pretty much all summer, and it’s been great.

  • DLACHNIET

    Got a Zee Cage to match my bike. Cage cracked, probally in a crash. And it still holds the bottle.

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