Want to carry a bottle, but hate the aesthetics of a cage? Then the sleek Birzman BottleCleat could be for you.
Cageless bottle systems are becoming more common – both Fidlock and Fabric have them – and joining the party is Birzman with its new BottleCleat. The name is a bit of a misnomer because you actually get both the cleat that fits on your frame and a bottle that clips into it. Like the Fabric design, the Birzman BottleCleat is a mechanical system – the bottle slots into a raised node on the base and then swivels round to engage into a plastic clip on the side. There’s an audible snap when it locks into place, so you know when it’s engaged, but it does require more of a knack to engage compared to the Fidlock Bike Base, where you can almost throw the bottle onto the cleat and the magnets will catch it.
This said, the Birzman BottleCleat does have a lot going for it – it’s a third of the price of the Fidlock. You also get two cleats in the box for left and right orientation, but they’re actually the same, so you can just flip them over. You also don’t need to use specific mounting bolts – the Fidlock comes with low-profile Allen bolts that are needed to create enough clearance when the bottle engages the magnets. These look no different to regular bolts and are easy to lose.
The only negative is that Birzman only offers the bottle in a single 650ml size, whereas the Fidlock comes in three sizes and the Fabric in two. The 650ml Birzman bottle fitted into the front triangle of my large HaiBike longtermer frame, but it’s worth trying for size if you have a small frame or limited space.
Cageless bottles look great because they are really minimal and don’t interrupt those clean lines. The Birzman Bottle-Cleat ticks those boxes, but what makes it special is the weight, low cost and the fact that it doesn’t require specialist mounting hardware.