24/04/2024 6:07 AM


If You Really

Best cycling water bottles: 8 insulated and non-insulated options

The right water bottle will enable you to ride better and for longer, by offering easy-to-access hydration on-the-go. From classic squeezy designs to options with insulated technology, there’s a bottle to suit all types of cycling. 

BikeRadar’s team of experts has put the best to the test to bring you our top water bottle picks for cycling. Just slot them into your bottle cage and you’ll be on your way. 

Buyer’s guide to the best water bottles for cycling

Designs and features vary but when looking for the best water bottle for cycling, here’s what to consider. 

  • Shape: It needs to fit snugly in the bike’s bottle cage without rattling, so look for a bottle where the indent is not too high up. 500ml should be the minimum standard capacity for a practical water bottle
  • Squeezability: You want a bottle that’s flexible enough to deliver a good gulp when you squeeze it, plus boost the flow rate at the valve 
  • Flow rate: Works with the squeeze of the bottle to make for easy drinking, even when you’re on your bike
  • Nozzle: Does it lock? Nozzles with a tight closure will mean fewer leaks, whatever terrain you’re riding. Sports caps give you no-hands control over the bottle’s opening and closing. It’s also a good idea to have a nozzle cap, particularly when mountain biking, so that it stays free from splatters
  • Neck width: The wider the better. This allows more space for adding energy powders, plus it will be easier to negotiate taps and fountains when filling. It also makes it easier to clean
  • Grippiness: For drinking on the go, a bottle with a textured outer will be easier to grip with sweaty or wet hands
  • Insulation: Bottles with insulation will keep your drink colder for longer or, on truly cold days, it can stop it freezing
  • Guarantee: Is there a guarantee with your water bottle, and if so, how long does it last?

The best insulated water bottles for cycling 

  • Elite Nanogelite: £19
  • Passport Frostbright Insulated: £12 
  • Fabric Cageless: £17
  • Camelbak Podium Chill: £15

The best standard water bottles for cycling 

  • Tacx Shanti Twist: £5
  • CamelBak Podium Dirt Series Chill: £18
  • Fabric Gripper 750ml: £10
  • Osprey Hydraulics SoftFlask: £18

Best insulated water bottles for cycling 

Elite Nanogelite

Best water bottles

This insulated bottle works for both cold and warm liquids.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

  • Price: £19 / $32
  • Capacity: 500ml
  • Weight: 159g
  • Temp rise (4hrs): 6.6 degrees

We saw the smallest rise in temperature with Elite’s bottle – just 6.6 degrees over a four-hour period. In addition, it was a good fit for our cages, easy to operate and squeezy enough to deliver a good gulp.

It also performed well in holding the temperature of warm (40-degree) liquids, so it’s equally handy for winter.

Passport Frostbright

Best water bottles

One of the cheapest and lightest bottles tested.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

  • Price: £11.99
  • Capacity: 550ml
  • Weight: 99g
  • Temp rise (4hrs): 6.7 degrees

This double-walled bottle uses a reflective inner lining, which is a nice additional safety feature, and fitted within all the cages we tried it with. It’s also the cheapest and one of the lightest bottles on test.

We observed a 6.7-degree rise in cold water temperature over a four-hour period, which stands up well against the other bottles here.

Fabric Cageless

Best water bottles

No bottle cage? No problem.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

  • Price: £17 / $20 / €25
  • Capacity: 525ml
  • Weight: 127g
  • Temp rise (4hrs): 7.2 degrees

This foil-wrapped core bottle mounts directly to your bike with the included fitting system, meaning no more bottle cages. It’s intuitive enough, but while removing the bottle is easy, replacing it takes a bit of practice.

The insulation worked well – we saw a 7.2-degree rise in the temperature of cold water over four hours and it kept warm drinks drinkable for over two hours.

Camelbak Podium Chill

Best water bottles

The Jet Valve cap is good at preventing leaks.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

  • Price: £15 / $14 / AU$40
  • Capacity: 680ml
  • Weight: 142g
  • Temp rise (4hrs): 8.8 degrees

This offering from CamelBak holds more liquid than any other bottle on test, but that might play a role in it being slightly less effective than the rest, delivering an 8.8-degree temperature rise over four hours.

The Jet Valve cap is effectively leak-proof and easy to use, but squeezing the bottle doesn’t deliver the biggest gulp of liquid. If you need to take plenty of liquid out with you on a ride, though, this is a good option.

Best water bottles for cycling 

Tacx Shanti Twist

Best water bottles

With a good squeeze, the Tacx Shanti will deliver a good gulp.

  • Price: £5 / €6
  • Capacity:  500ml

A small pressure valve within the nozzle ensures that lighter squeezes won’t release any liquid but it’ll deliver a good burst and decent flow when you give it a proper squeeze. This means that you don’t need to bite the valve (or pull it with your teeth) to get water flowing through it, which makes this 500ml bottle easy to use when putting in hard efforts on the bike.

The top has a twist-locking feature, preventing spillage. A wider opening at the neck would make adding energy powders a bit easier, especially when out riding. The bottle was held well by all the bottle cages we tried it in. At £5 it’s excellent value too.

CamelBak Podium Dirt Series Chill

Best water bottles

The insulation works well, keeping your drink cool (or warm) for up to an hour.

  • Price: £18 / $17 / AU$23 / €20
  • Capacity:  620ml

The insulation works well, keeping your drink cool (or warm) for up to an hour. A twist lock on the nozzle means you can’t squash it and flood your kitbag/car in transit. The nozzle cap is useful on muddy rides and, as long as it’s removed/replaced while the bottle’s in the cage, doesn’t cause any usage issues.

It’s not held securely by all cages because the indent isn’t very deep and is located a little too high up. That said, we never lost the bottle on a ride. We like the bite valve, flow rate, squeezability and decent 620ml volume. It’s good value, considering all of its features.

Fabric Gripper (750ml)

Best water bottles

Water flow through the simple nozzle is excellent when you give this malleable bottle a good squeeze.

  • Price: £10 / $9 / AU$15 / €10
  • Capacity: 750ml 

The textured top-section of this bottle is easy to grip when grabbing it or reinserting it into a cage. Vertical ridges on the screw cap make it easy to get off, and the broad neck is great for adding energy powder.

The deep but relatively narrow neck indent means it fits less securely in some brands’ cages, but it works well with Fabric’s matching Gripper cage (£14.99). We’ve had issues with the cap cracking on a couple of samples, when done up tight. The bottle is available in a smaller 500ml size too.

Osprey Hydraulics SoftFlask

Best water bottles

This isn’t a hard-plastic, frame-mounted bottle like the others on test, but a flexible, bladder-style flask.

  • Price: £18 / €22
  • Capacity: 500ml

The Osprey bladder is compact for its 500ml volume and gets smaller the more you drink, making it a great fast-and-light ride option. Energy drinks need pre-mixing due to the narrow opening.

We found that in smaller stash pockets, where the rigid top and nozzle protrude a little, the flask can work its way out as the liquid sloshes around inside it. Flow through the bite valve is good because the flask is so easy to squeeze.