Upstart company Koala Bottle isn't the first to offer a 'new and improved' water bottle and cage system, nor is it the first to incorporate magnets. However, the system is very interesting from an ease-of-use standpoint and could offer some genuine benefits if the promises ring true.
Instead of mechanically wrapping around the bottle, the 53g, polycarbonate Koala Bottle cage relies on a semi-circular magnet embedded into the upper cradle and an add-on stainless steel ring on the bottle to hold things in place. Simply place the bottom of the bottle in the lower cradle and get it close to the upper cradle, then let go.
Since the two parts only need to be near each other to work – and don't require a particular rotational position as with the Vincero system – it should (at least in theory) be easier to insert and remove a bottle using the Koala Bottle setup, particularly on bumpy or otherwise demanding terrain where you don't want to look down or hunt for a smaller target.
Likewise, it looks as though Koala Bottle will allow sideways operation for use on smaller frames or full-suspension bikes with limited space inside the front triangle.
According to Koala Bottle founder and creator Anthony Goldman, the magnet then does the rest and you're even rewarded with an audible 'click' when the parts meet up. Koala Bottle is currently approved for use on road and mountain bikes, although Goldman is wary of wholeheartedly recommending it for 'cross racing.
"You don't even have to push the bottle onto the cage," he told BikeRadar. "You just have to get it close and let it go and it just falls right in place, and it makes a nice little 'click' when the ring and the magnets come into contact. You know it's in. There's no question."
Koala Bottle says the bottles should hold securely in nearly all riding situations
Koala Bottle may be a complete system but the metallic ring will work with most Specialized bottles – in fact, Specialized does the printing for Koala's own branded bottles. Rings are available separately, too, should users want to retrofit other bottles to work. Thankfully, Goldman says the rings don't affect how the bottles fit in other cages, either.
Complete systems cost US$27 with a 21oz bottle or US$29 with a 24oz one. Bottles pre-fitted with Koala Bottle rings are available for US$8, a pair of rings alone costs US$8, and standalone magnetic cages are US$23. Goldman says a carbon fiber cage version is pending.
"I would love for it to be adopted by all cyclists – racers, people who just ride in their neighborhood – and I think it's a great product for the masses," Goldman said.
BikeRadar has a sample set on the way, so look out for an in-depth review in the coming weeks.
For more information, visit www.koalabottle.com. And to see the Koala Bottle in action, watch the video below: