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The Merida Stripe bottle is available in three sizes, with or without a protective cap, and five colours, which lends itself nicely to various sizes of frameset, rider hand size and, of course, aesthetic taste. The wide neck also means it’s easily filled and cleaned.
It's made from LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) which is a popular choice for bottles and food products generally. It's cheap to produce, lightweight, flexible, with good compression resistance, so easily squeezed without losing shape – think of those sauce bottles down the café. LDPE is also weatherproof and abrasion resistant.
Size-wise, it's available in Small (500ml), Medium (680ml) and Large (760ml). We have the Small on test, which might restrict some people's ride times but could be combined with bigger bottles for optimising use of space.
Small riders with small compact geometry framesets are the most obvious audience, but some frame configurations can also limit carrying capacity. The underside down tube boss on my rough stuff tourer runs quite close to the front guard, so even a 600ml bottle can prove a little on the tight side. A 500ml bottle is much better – no risk of catching.
A smaller bottle also makes sense for children – when my son was small he found the 600ml types tricky to grab and utilise.
Round bottles tend to prove compatible with most cages and the Stripe has been no exception. I've switched it between the Merida Aero C (review to come), Topeak Shuttle, Tacx Deva and Zefal Pulse Z2 with no problems, although the Deva's grip was more tenacious than ideal.
The smaller dimensions mean it's also less obtrusive in a jersey pocket and has offered cooling relief on hotter rides.
The supple walls ensure it's easily squeezed and liquid flows smoothly and controllably from the spout. (I also found the flow rate really effective at flushing drivetrains of residual chain degreaser before re-lubing!)
It lags slightly behind models such as the Relaj Shape, but that is admittedly a little more expensive.
The seal is impressive – I've ported it upside down on several occasions to test this. No soggy pockets to date.
Having rinsed the bottle through thoroughly first, beverages taste authentic and crisp, with none of that chemical taint or smell some have, which was very welcome.
The wide opening means it's easily cleaned using a standard bottle scrubber and some washing up liquid (although I tend to go belt and braces, opting for a strip and Milton marinade every few rides – especially if roads and lanes have been grotty).
Its rrp of £6.49 is hardly outlandish for a bottle, but there's a fair bit of choice. Fabric's Gripper is a little steeper at £8.99 but the sculpted neck and dimpled texture offer more secure grip. But Elite's Jet Bottle comes in cheaper still at £4.99 for the 550ml and scored full marks in Simon's review.
The Merida Stripe bottle is well made and very practical. Personally, I'd like something with a domed lid for some additional protection off-road and I think the Elite Jet pips it to the post in performance to price sense. Nonetheless, the Stripe is a decent option, especially if you're riding a smaller/compact geometry frame where space can be at a premium.
Competent bottle that's easy to live with and to keep clean
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Merida Stripe water bottle
Size tested: 500ml
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?
Merida says: 'A stylish and simple bottle for bikes of all kinds.
'The MERIDA BOTTLE STRIPE is an easy to use bottle with a wide opening to make cleaning and filling hassle-free. It is 100% LDPE/BPA-free and available with or without cap and in 3 sizes - 500, 680 or 760 ccm. The STRIPE comes in 5 colours.'
The materials won't set anyone's Lycra ablaze but a surprisingly practical bottle with a nice range of sizes.
Simple and solid enough.
A good reliable fit with the cages in my collection. Smaller size useful on small frames, or when stowed in a jersey pocket. Models with a slightly longer, sculpted neck and dimpled "grippers" have a slight edge when it comes to entry/exit.
Seems solid enough, with no obvious weak spots.
Valve a little sticky to start with but eases out quite quickly. Unobtrusive fit in a jersey pocket.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It doesn't taint drinks and has a very reasonable flow rate. The choice of sizes means it's a very compatible fit with very small frames or where space is at a premium. Cleanliness/hygiene is easily maintained thanks to the wide neck.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Understated but very competent. Though there's a trade-off in terms of capacity, the smaller bottle is a good fit with smaller frames.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Valve spout action is less refined than some. However, it's by no means poor and improves with use.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
£6.49 is pretty competitive but there's still a lot of choice, including the Elite Jet which comes in at £4.99. Fabric's Gripper Bottle is a little steeper at £8.99 (also 600ml) but the sculpted neck and dimpled texture offer a more secure grip.
Did you enjoy using the product? More than I'd anticipated.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly, a good fit on my rough stuff tourer.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Worth considering, especially if they had a smaller frame but there are lots of similarly capable bottles, some giving change from a fiver.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Decent middle of the road bottle that does what a bottle should. Choice of sizes bodes well for smaller frames, smaller hands, or custom layouts. However, it also faces fierce competition from cheaper models.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)