It is actually a little crazy just how many bike water bottles are out there on the market today.
I don’t know about you, but when I started biking I just grabbed whatever bottle I could find at the bike shop. There really wasn’t a lot of thought put into the choice.
I knew I needed water while riding, but didn’t think about opaque versus clear, insulated versus not insulated, plastic versus aluminum, size, flow rate, etc.
You see, I just wanted a bottle that would fit into that fancy little holder on my bike!
As I started riding more often, though, I began to realize some important things about water bottles.
First of all, if I was riding during the summer and my bottle wasn’t insulated? That water got HOT.
Also, it became pretty clear that certain hydration mixes would have a strong flavor. That flavor would stay in a plastic water bottle after washing. All I wanted on some rides was the taste of fresh water, not old hydration mix.
Are you wondering which water bottle to get? Curious about how to choose which is best for you?
We rounded up and tested some of the best water bottles on the market today. Keep reading to learn all about what we found!
What to Consider When Choosing a Water Bottle
Now, we all know that we can just grab any old cycling water bottle anywhere if all we need is a run of the mill bottle. Every bike shop out there sells a cheap bottle, often with their own logo on it.
Additionally, if you sign up for organized rides, chances are you have several water bottles you collected over the years as parting gifts. As a result, you have plenty on hand to choose from.
Some riders truly don’t mind what they use as long as it is a bottle that holds water!
I, on the other hand, am a little more picky. Here are some things I think you should consider when you are choosing a water bottle.
- Insulation: If you are going to be riding in really hot temps, you might want a water bottle that is insulated in some way. Common insulation methods include a double plastic wall or added aluminum foil layer. There are even double-walled stainless water bottles on the market too.
- Size: If you like to be well hydrated, size is going to be a factor for you. I always like to carry the biggest water bottles my bike cages and the size of my bike will allow. If you race you will likely want a smaller, lighter bottle.
- Weight: Some water bottles weigh more than others. If you are super intent on carrying the lowest load possible to get up hills, or if you like to race and have the lightest load possible, this may be a consideration for you.
- Opacity: If you have an opaque water bottle, you aren’t going to be able to see how much water you have left in the bottle. If you like to pace yourself with water on longer rides this could be a factor for you.
- Flow: How fast the water comes out can make an impact on your choice. Some water bottles gush, others you have to suck pretty hard to get the water out. Personal preference here.
- Materials/Taste: The material of cycling water bottles, like any water bottle out there, is going to impact how your water tastes. If your water bottle is stainless steel it’s not going to hold onto hydration mix flavors the way that an aluminum bottle might.
Now that you know what to consider, read on to learn more about Femme Cyclist’s recommended water bottles.
Recommended Bike Water Bottles
|Bottle||What We Like|
|1||Specialized Purist*||No weird taste|
|2||Elite Fly 550*||Stylish, lightweight|
|3||Polar Breakaway*||High flow nozzle, no leaking|
|4||Polar Sport Insulated*||Holds extra water|
|5||Camelbak Podium*||Wide variety of colors|
|6||Camelbak Podium Chill*||Keeps water cold-ish|
|7||Bivo One*||Stainless steel, good flow|
Specialized Purist 22 oz Water Bottle
It is doubtful that any article on biking water bottles could be complete if it didn’t include the Specialized Purist bottle.
This water bottle is well-known as a favorite of cyclists due to its simple design and “purest” coating.
According to the Specialized website, the Pure Taste Technology “shields the inside of the bottle from any bad taste, mold, or staining.” They go on to say that “nothing sticks, so your bottle stays clean and your water always tastes pure.”
I will be super honest here, when I got the water bottle I didn’t know about this technology. You see, I simply opened it up, washed it out, and filled it up with water.
As I started drinking I thought, “I don’t know what’s going on here, but this tastes GOOD.” The water really did taste “more pure” to me than water from other water bottles I have owned.
It wasn’t until I did a bit more research that I learned about the coating inside the BPA free bottle and understood why the water tastes so good.
Additionally, the design is simple, streamlined, and lightweight. No major bells and whistles or anything like that, but I find myself reaching for this bottle again and again.
Since the Specialized Purist bottle can be customized with virtually any design, many bike shops will have it made with their own logo. Therefore, it is certainly possible that you may have a specialized purist bottle and don’t even know it!
I am honestly too scared to put any kind of drink mix into this sucker because I don’t want to take the chance that it will ruin both the bottle and my claims that the water actually tastes pure in it.
Braver souls I am sure have done this and can report on if it truly keeps hydration mixes from tainting the taste/smell, but I am not one of those people!
Price & Where To Buy:
Elite Fly 550 ml Ultra Light Sport Bottle
There is so much to love about all of the water bottles that I tested for this article. Still, I am going to come out and say that the Elite Fly 550 ml Ultra Light Sport Bottle is easily a favorite.
First of all, the material is unlike any water bottle I have ever tried. It is SO squeezable. I can get water in, and get it in quickly without it feeling like it’s too much too fast.
I will agree that it IS very “Ultra Light” in every way. It should be, since it is designed for bike racing in particular. According to the Elite website, the Fly 550 is the WorldTour’s most used water bottle because of how lightweight it is (it’s only 51 grams!).
When I weighed the Specialized Purist it was about 30 grams heavier than the Fly Elite…not a significant difference for ME, but if weight is a concern you should definitely take this into account.
My version IS a little slippery, so it’s not surprising to me that newer versions have a more coarse, grippy feel to them.
I have to be honest, though, I love mine just as it is. The color really pleases me, and I feel like I can take this bottle pretty much anywhere.
I never really thought a biking water bottle could be fashionable and classy, but, well, this one IS kind of fashionable and classy!
Price & Where To Buy:
Polar Breakaway Bike Bottle 20 oz
The Polar Breakaway Bike Bottle stands apart from other bottles specifically because of its nozzle.
Polar’s trademark Surge Cap technology is designed to dispense water quickly with minimal squeezing.
Additionally, it is self sealing to keep the water in when you aren’t sucking/squeezing. This is in contrast to the Camelbak bottles where you have to twist the top to seal it, or the Purist bottle where you have to push the nozzle in to seal it.
Of course, me being me, I filled it up and held it over the sink to make sure it doesn’t leak. The Polar Breakaway Bike Bottle did not disappoint!
I did not particularly find the flow of the bottle all that noteworthy, however. If anything I felt like I needed to squeeze a little harder (compared to the Fly Elite 550), and when the water came out it was almost too fast.
The water hit the back of my throat with some gumption, that’s for sure!
This bottle overall didn’t particularly wow me, to be honest. However, I do really like that you don’t have to do anything with the nozzle to keep the water from coming out. This is definitely the best part of this water bottle, so if this really appeals to you I suggest checking it out.
Price & Where To Buy:
- $11.00 at Amazon.com* (Last updated: 2023-09-04 at 22:42 – More Info)
- Check price at PolarBottle.com
Polar Bottle Sport Insulated 24 oz
The main selling point of the Polar Bottle Sport is that it is insulated. This means that technically it should keep your water cooler than a non-insulated bottle.
The other thing that I really liked about this bottle is its SIZE. 24 oz AND insulated is a pretty big deal. You can see how bit it is next to the Elite Fly 550ml above.
At first I thought it would be WAY too big to fit in my water bottle holder (in fact I remember saying this out loud to my husband), but it was not!
I was able to fit it comfortably in one of my water bottle holders on my Trek Domane. Not both…my bike is short (and so am I), but this is to be expected as one of my holders will only fit a shorter bottle.
Though Polar claims this bottle is more well insulated due to its triple walls (two plastic, one aluminum), I honestly didn’t find my water to stay any colder than in my non-insulated bottles.
I have some Camelbak Podium Chill insulated bottles that I have used for years that seem to do a slightly better job than this.
This is just my anecdotal experience, and others will likely feel differently regarding the Cambelbak Chill vs. The Polar Bottle Insulated, but I figured it was useful to mention.
Also, I think it’s important to mention that while some of the Insulated Polar Bottles DO have the same cap as the Polar Breakaway, this particular model does not.
It Is your typical pull top water bottle, which works just fine! But if you are interested in the Surge Cap please do make sure that you look for an insulated Polar bottle that has that technology.
Price & Where To Buy:
- Price not available at Amazon.com* (Last updated: 2023-09-04 at 22:42 – More Info)
- Check price at PolarBottle.com
Camelbak Podium AND Podium Chill 21 oz Bike Bottles
Camelbak as a company is virtually synonymous with hydration, so it is no surprise that a Camelbak water bottle was on our list to try!
As I mentioned above, I have used Camelbak Chill insulated bottles for years. They have gone through many iterations and designs, but what has remained consistent is that they are double layered.
I also tested the regular Camelbak Podium which is not an insulated water bottle. This means it has a smaller profile than a Camelbak Chill, doesn’t keep water as cold, but otherwise is pretty much the same.
I find all iterations of Camelbak bottles to be a little tough to open/close. They require quite a bit of oomph (but I do close it because I don’t water to go everywhere when I am not on the bike!).
The design of the nozzle is great and similar to the Polar in the sense that it keeps water from flowing out even when open. However, due to the more complex cap/nozzle it can be a little harder to keep clean than some other models.
Overall the Podium bottles are a really great, stylish water bottles that come in pleasing colors, and I am happy with them!
Price & Where To Buy:
- Podium: at Amazon.com* (Last updated: – More Info)
- Podium Chill: $14.95 at Amazon.com* (Last updated: 2023-09-04 at 22:42 – More Info)
Bivo One 21 oz Water Bottle
In terms of design and materials, the Bivo One 21 oz Water Bottle is a HUGE standout. This is the only stainless steel water bottle on our list.
The Bivo One is a great option for you if you just don’t want to be drinking from a plastic water bottle and are interested in an environmentally friendly choice.
According to the Bivo website, their bottles are carbon neutral. They claim that their “goal was to drink out of less plastic and to keep our planet healthy by caring deeply about the impact of raw materials on humans and humanity.”
Honestly, I have never gotten a water bottle and thought, “Wow, they have truly thought of everything” until I tested the Bivo One.
First of all, the design is really unique and cool. Of all the water bottles I tried this one is the one that is least likely to scream “oh my god I’m a biking water bottle!”. It’s different, and this may or may not appeal to you.
Secondly, they include a little device to clean the straw part of the bottle. I love this! Most cycling water bottles do not have straws, so it was very thoughtful of them to think of this.
Additionally, this is the only biking water bottle that I have experienced that felt like I was just drinking out of a glass.
The flow is THAT fast.
It takes some getting used to. You don’t suck, you don’t squeeze, you just pour the water out and it comes FAST.
Finally, there was a little packet with SCREWS that you could switch out for your bike cages if your bike cages have screws that would scratch a water bottle. That was really next level for me.
I will say that one big downside to this product is the cost. The materials and design certainly come at a price, and this is by far the most expensive water bottle I tested.
Also, this is a non-insulated version so it’s profile is pretty compact, but the insulated ones just look HUGE. I bet they keep your water SUPER cold though…there’s nothing like a double layer of aluminum for insulation.
Price & Where To Buy:
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
So there you have it! These are seven of our favorite biking water bottles. You now have an arsenal of information to help you choose which water bottle that is right for you.
Before I end, though, I have a few last comments about this group of water bottles as a whole.
It must be noted that I have USED these bottles.
You see, I received them a couple months ago, and in addition to indoor/outdoor bike rides I also brought them to work, to my son’s baseball games, brought them on errands, kept them next to my nightstand…you NAME it.
I can say that each and every one of them is durable. They have all been through the dishwasher at least a few times. I can’t promise that they are all technically dishwasher safe so I suggest you read the label to be sure. The thing is I am lazy and hard on water bottles so in the dishwasher they all went!
Also, I didn’t find a single one to leak either from the screw top or the nozzle. Although, admittedly, I don’t tempt fate and do keep them upright.
Finally, I think it’s important to mention that all of these bottles fit and stayed in my water bottle holders. I have a very small bike frame (47 cm). Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised that none of these bottles were too tall for at least one, if not both of my water bottle cages.
At the end of the day, it is so important to stay hydrated on your bike rides. With a little trial and error (and our guidance!) we are confident you will find the water bottles that are right for you.
Learn More About Hydrating On The Bike
- 7 Best Hydration Drink Mixes For Cycling
- Everything You Need To Know About Cycling Hydration
- 5 Best Women’s Hydration Packs
About The Reviewer
Stacy Ann Smith is a New England-based cyclist who strives to stay upright on her bike. She is the founder of Sascy Cycling, and her mission is to encourage women to love their body and focus on what it can do, not what it looks like. When Stacy’s not cycling she is teaching high school history and eating pizza with her husband and son.