Instead of sliding into a cage, Vincero Design's Stratus bottle slots on to a flat, wedge-shaped mount - the Edge 16 - where it's held in place with magnets about the size of 5p pieces. There's one on the bottle and one on the mount, and they're very strong. I cannot see a bottle falling off by accident; it didn't happen during the test. But while this design looks futuristic, the advantages over conventional bottles and cages are minimal – and there are drawbacks.
It's similar to a normal bottle in use. You reach down, grab the bottle, slide it free, and then drink. There's more resistance to overcome as you slide the magnets apart but it won't cause any problems for able-bodied adults.
Putting the bottle back isn't as simple. It's harder to do by feel while you're looking ahead. For while the magnets will snap the bottle loosely into place if they're anywhere near each other, the bottle will only attach securely if you slide the bottle's wedge-shaped slot down over the mount. This is fiddlier than shoving a conventional bottle into a cage, where the 'slot' you're aiming for - the mouth of the bottle cage - is much bigger, and where the rotational orientation of the bottle doesn't matter. I got quicker with practice, but it invariably took me a few seconds to replace the Stratus bottle; it wasn't something I did automatically.
The main advantage of the Stratus/Edge 16 set-up is that there's no cage when you remove the bottle. This means clean lines for those that care about such things. It also means the mount is basically unbreakable, unlike a bottle cage.
Does it hold the bottle more securely? I guess so, but I can't remember when I last lost a bottle from a standard cage - and I use bottles when mountain biking, not just on road. Any half-decent conventional cage is secure enough already.
The Stratos/Edge 16 is useful for frames with limited bottle room, such as small sized bikes or full-suspension mountain bikes. If there's just a few centimetres of space in front of the Stratos's top cap, you can get the bottle on and off; conventional cages won't release until the bottle is pulled further out. Yet even here there's a simpler alternative: a side-entry bottle cage. There's plenty to choose from. I've got a BBB SideCage on my Whyte M109. It cost less than a tenner and it's great.
Weight is more or less a zero sum game: what you save with the minimalist Edge 16 mount, you lose by having a heavier bottle. I compared the 710ml Stratos 24 (fluid ounces, hence the name) and Edge 16 with the 750ml conventional plastic bottle and a Cube HPP bottle cage they replaced. The Edge 16 was 20g lighter (16g versus 36g), while the bottle was 32g heavier (120g versus 88g).
I also tried a Stratos 20 bottle (20 fluid ounces, or 590ml). That costs £8.99 and weighs 110g. A Stratos 24 bottle is £9.99, while the Edge 16 mount is £31.99 by itself. That's not horrendously expensive, but I bought a decent bottle cage from Wilkinson's for £2.99 and even my best bottle cage cost £10. Conventional water bottles, meanwhile, can be had for under a fiver each.
The Stratos bottle is dishwasher safe so long as the temperature doesn't exceed 70 degrees centigrade.
Overall, then: it works. But it's more expensive, a bit more awkward to use, and confers few real world advantages.
Magnetic bottle system works fine but it's a solution in search of a problem
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Make and model: Vincero Design Stratus 24 bottle + Edge 16 mount
Size tested: 710ml Opaque white
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Vincera Design says:
Weighing in at just 16 grams, the edge16 is the ultimate cage replacement. Engineered with a carbon fiber composite, it weighs so little you'll hardly know it's there; even when you reach down and easily remove your securely-held stratus20/24/AERO/FROST bottles.
Designed to allow the stratus20/24/AERO/FROST bottles to attach quickly, easily, and cleanly, the edge16 mount utilizes geometry and one half of a very strong magnetic pair to offset the vibration and shock loading typically seen on roads and trails. Its unique design securely holds the bottle to the patent pending edge16 mount and effectively offsets forces exerted on it.
The edge16 is a perfect solution to the cramped spaces of small or uniquely-shaped frames. The rail mount design means you will have easier access to your water bottle while improving the hold security.
The unique design of the edge16 means no more dropped or ejected bottles, no matter how rough the road or how little fluids you have left.
Additionally, the edge16 restores the beauty of your frame when bottles are not mounted. No longer will there be the ungainly sight of empty water bottle cages detracting from one of the most scrutinized parts of your bicycle.
Our largest bottle at 24oz. and a trim weight of 85g (including cap). absolutely won't leak with the patented silicone valve. The 63mm wide mouth makes it a snap for filling with ice cubes, fluids, and electrolyte as well as allowing for easy cleaning.
I say: ungainly? 85g?
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Wide mouth screw top is 63mm and seals tight every time
* Medical grade silicone valve requires no manual opening and closing, delivers excellent flow without any drips
* Physical cues to ensure easy mating to the edge16 rail mount
* Easy-to-handle, non-slip shape, yet compatible with traditional bottle cages
* Food grade plastic doesn't soak up flavors or odors
* 100% free of BPA, DEHA, and DEHP
* Proposition 65 Compliant and made of 100% FDA food-grade material
* Safe for the top rack of your dishwasher
* New Bite and Pull design allows traditional style drinking and original 'squeeze and squirt' option * Super easy to clean. Now with removable valve from inside of cap for increased hygiene.
Not as easy to get on and off as a conventional bottle. Drinking valve is fine but not as good as Camelbak's.
The slot in the bottle might wear, but otherwise there's little to go wrong. If the magnets fade, Vincero will replace them.
Slightly heavier than the cheaper bottle and cage I removed.
Almost three times the price of the bottle and cage they replaced on my bike.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It works okay, but not better than conventional bottles and cages.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Fiddlier to use. More expensive. Not compatible with all my other bottles and cages.
Did you enjoy using the product? It was okay.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Different, not better.
Age: 45 Height: 1.78m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: Ridgeback Solo World fixed wheel My best bike is: Planet X Pro Carbon Track. Or Whyte M109
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,