I don’t love the idea of writing negative reviews, BUT I appreciate honest better reviews of products so that I could be a more informed buyer. This is not a sponsored post; I purchased these products myself.
I’ve road biked for a long time, using my standard two bottle cages on my bike frame (one in the jersey back pocket if I really needed it), and stopping when I was out of water as most cyclists do. Once I switched to a tri bike, I was overwhelmed by all the hydration options and devices. I thought I wanted a straw, to make sure I stayed hydrated, so I purchased the Speedfil A2 so I didn’t have to have to have a big reservoir and straw running all over my bike frame. I also purchased an X-lab Turbo Wing and some Gorilla cages to hang behind my seat – I am really happy with and highly recommend these by the way!
I got the Speefil Z4 cage and X-lab Torpedo mount so that I could mount my Garmin 500 where I could see it. The torpedo mount might not be necessary; you could use zip-ties, but I like being able to take it on and off if needed for trainer rides and maintenance.
I used the Speedfil A2 for around 4-6 months, including my last half ironman race, and I really wanted it to work for me, but after much frustration I’ve switched to using just regular bottles on a front cage mount. The Speedfil A2 was too over-designed, had multiple failure points (poor engineering), and was time-consuming to use and clean.
Multiple Design Issues on the Speedfil A2:
- Leak Point at Straw Gasket: There is a rubber gasket the straw travels through to connect to the main bottle. After time, this leaks.
- Leak Point at Bottle Threading: The threading on the bottle is always in a horizontal position. After time and multiple washes, this also leaked on me. We tried using teflon tape, but I still got sticky drink mix ALL over my bike once the threads weren’t sealing.
- Faulty Bite Valve: The mouth piece on the straw went missing after my half ironman – just gone. It must have fallen out, so I had to buy another one; $10 down the drain. When I put the other one on, it was very hard to open and close. I had to pull so hard to open it, the whole valve would come off the straw.
- Straw Instructions / Durability: When I first set up the Speedfil, I followed the instructions and cut the straw to the length they had in the drawing, just above the insulation material. I quickly realized this was way too short for me, so I contacted Speedfil. They only directed me to buy replacement tubing, and noted that tubing should be replaced after a season anyway. Another part I have to replace often? You’ll also notice there is a janky white wire (from a hanger) I had to put in the insulation and around the top of the bottle to keep the straw upright and not flopping down on my wrist. I heard others had received insulation with a wire built in, so I tried to contact Speedfil about this, but received no response.
In addition, I found this product time-consuming to clean and use. The cleaning required taking the whole thing apart, and using straw cleaners to get the sticky drink mix out – which you will likely have unless you only drink water. Plus, you have to have this clean all the time if it your sole bottle for bike rides and it is a weird shape to store.
Now I’m still using the Speedfil Z4 cage to mount my regular bike bottles in between my aero bars (I much prefer an X-lab torpedo carbon cage but there is no place for my Garmin). I just rotate the bottles around and put whatever one I’m using in the front. No messy refills, and I found out I really don’t need a straw to remind me to drink. And I have tons of standard bottles that can be washed easily and are interchangeable. What’s your hydration set up? I think mine is set for ironman now! Related: IowaTriBob just did a review of the Xlab Torpedo 400 which is a similar horizontal bottle set up like the Speedfil A2.
Bottles & snacks ready for my long weekday rides – so easy!