The Vel Tool Bottle doesn't really feel or look like a bottle, but it's the right shape to fit in your cage and carry all of those things that you don't want in your pockets. It's robust, waterproof and surprisingly roomy. There are cheaper alternatives on the market, though.
People have been stuffing their tools and bits and bobs in old water bottles for many years and for many it works. I've tried it, too, found that getting the precise tool or tube out of the bottle was a bit of a faff and got annoyed with the rattle of everything bouncing around. Vel has come up with this neat solution which consists of a cylinder that opens into two halves thanks to the zip closure.
Inside, you'll find two mesh pockets that should carry pretty much all of your ride essentials. I normally carry a tube, a couple of CO2 canisters, multi-tool and tyre levers plus a few glueless patches, and there was plenty of room.
You could get a mini pump in there too, provided it's shorter than about 165mm.
Everything is kept in place by the mesh, and with the lined inner there is no noise from the contents whacking against the sides. The tools can still rattle together so it's best if you organise your packing to layer things up.
The zip is taped all the way around and I didn't get any issues with water getting in.
I tried it in a range of bottle cages, from fancy shaped carbons ones to standard alloy ones, and didn't really have any issues with fitment. Its diameter is a touch bigger than most bottles and as the material is slightly compressible it's a snug fit into a cage so you don't have the worry of it jettisoning off your bike.
There are a couple of flats for your thumb and finger to get a grip on, too, to remove the Vel from your cage.
Cost-wise it's a bit more than most other solutions. The Vittoria Zip Tool Case is a very similar design which looks to have an rrp of £9.95, though you can get it a bit cheaper on the usual websites like Wiggle. The Bontrager Storage Bottle is another choice that we reviewed earlier in the year, and that costs £8.99. B'Twin's is just £3.99 though...
One thing I will say about the Vel, though, is that it looks very classy and is very well made, so maybe the £15 asking price isn't over the top.
Smart looking and well made on-the-bike storage solution
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vel Tool Bottle
Size tested: One
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?
It's a handy, waterproof solution for carrying your tools and stuff on the bike rather than your pockets.
Vel says, "Convenient Storage for your ride essentials!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Split opening with mesh internal pockets.
Waterproof Taped Zip
Fits most bottle cage styles
Only about 20g heavier than a normal water bottle.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Easily copes with all of your ride basics.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy to access all of your tools.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really stands out if you are happy with the price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It is a little pricier than most, and a lot pricier than some.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
There are many cheaper solutions but the Vel is a decent all-round package that removes some of the issues of using an old water bottle.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
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, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!