Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Elite Jet Water Bottle
- 100% biodegradable (3 months – 5 years)
- Safety “blow-off” cap to prevent dropped bottle causing a crash
- Odorless & tasteless
- Certified food-safe
- Max-flow and easy to open/close nozzle
- Ridiculously affordable
Price: 550ml size (tested) $7.99; 750ml: $8.99; 950ml: $9.99
How obtained: sample from the company
RBR sponsor: no
Elite’s Jet Sets a New Standard in Bicycle Bottles
It never occurred to me that bicycle bottles could be contributing to the piles of plastic floating in our oceans. But, it makes sense that tossed and lost ones – almost all made of materials that resist decomposition, have to end up somewhere.
I know for a fact that I’ve lost dozens of them in my 40 years of races and events – especially during cross-country mountain bike races. And I doubt that any of those got reclaimed and put back into use.
So, I was eager to check out Elite’s biodegradable Jet bottle, which they say can decompose in from 3 months to 5 years. That blows away standard plastic bottles that according to several online sources, are said to take 450 years to break down in landfills!
I’m not a plastics expert so I’ll let Elite explain what allows their Jet to break the decomposition sonic barrier. I found it interesting. They say, “The bottle is manufactured with an innovative plastic material treated with a special additive that makes it possible to lower the time it takes for the bottle to decompose when entering the regular industrial composting cycles.
Thanks to this additive, the microorganisms responsible for the biodegradation of materials attack the polymeric chain of the plastic, thus significantly reducing the time it takes for the bottle to degrade (3 months to 5 years). This is something that regular plastic products cannot do (they usually take 100 to 1,000 years to decompose).
Our Jet bottle is 100% recyclable through regular plastic waste collection to help reprocessing the material into other plastic products. Similarly, it may be collected along with the separate collection of organic waste to be properly deposited and treated in landfills to initiate the biodegradation process into biogas and biomass.”
Odorless and Tasteless
When I heard about the Jet bottle I was a little worried it might be like one of the earth-friendly paper straws that come in drinks nowadays, at least where it’s the law, such as in Santa Cruz County where we live. Those straws lose their shape about the time you’re finishing the drink and to me, they taste, well, like paper, too.
I was delighted to find that Elite’s Jet performs as well as other nice bottles. The plastic is easy to squeeze, the nozzle is easy to open and close and it delivers as much drink as you need as fast as you need it – an important feature when you’re riding hard or competing. Best, the bottle and the nozzle are completely taste-free.
It’s because all materials in the bottle are food grade and it’s BPA free, too. About the tasteless nozzle, Elite says, “The rubber valve of the bottle boasts an innovative odorless technology, designed to effectively hold any smell or taste in and maintain the taste of the liquid unaltered.”
Furthermore, to put any concerns to rest, they say, “it has no substances that are hazardous to human health. All components of the Jet bottle are certified – to ensure their compliance with all the more restrictive EC and FDA regulations concerning products that come into contact with foodstuffs.”
Innovative Safety Cap
Which brings me to one of my favorite features. In order to appreciate it, maybe you’ve had to dodge a dropped bottle on a Gran Fondo or century. Or you might have had one knock you off your bike like I have. It’s no fun.
The problem is that bottles are slippery, especially if they’re wet. And tired hands can’t hang on sometimes. If that happens and a dropped bottle gets under someone’s wheel, its firm, round shape is perfect for stopping front wheels and pitching roadies over the bars. That’s why pro racers are taught to toss empties as far as they can off the course (another reason so many go missing).
As a huge sponsor of pro racing, Elite has come up with a clever solution with their safety nozzle. Should the bottle go under a wheel, upon impact the closed nozzle will immediately open, the fluid inside will blast out and the now mostly empty bottle will flatten. It’s an ingenious innovation that should help prevent crashes and save riders.
Elite’s Jet, among the first biodegradable bicycle bottles I’ve seen, might help jump-start a new standard across our sport for earth-safe bottles. That would be a great thing making cycling, already an amazingly green lifestyle even moreso. And, the fact that it’s actually a great bottle to use and safer, too, is the icing on the cake. Which is why I gave it our top rating of five stars. Highly recommended.
PS: Elite has been a famous name in cycling for over 40 years, yet all I knew about them is that they made bottles and cages favored by many pro teams, plus innovative indoor trainers. Wanting to learn a little more, I visited the about us page on their website where I found something pretty cool.
Click the link to read the story and look at the before and after photos of their offices and manufacturing facility.
Elite Vico Carbon Cage
- 23 grams!
- Hangs on tight plus easy to grab and put back bottle
- Sturdy carbon construction
- Designed to fit on most frames, even smaller sizes
- Available in 9 different graphics
- It would be nice if it came with bolts
How obtained: sample from the company
RBR sponsor: No
A Superlight Easy-to-Use Cage that Won’t Drop Bottles
Elite’s Vico Carbon cage is designed to complement the aero lines of modern dream bikes and it comes in 9 different graphics for a custom match, too. Plus, while it weighs only 23 grams, it holds fast and won’t lose bottles over the roughest pavement. No wonder it’s among the most popular cages used by teams on the WorldTour professional stage.
In fact, Elite relied on feedback from the pros and learned from professional racing in developing the Vico. It’s made of a resilient and durable injected carbon fiber material that surprisingly for such a svelte bottle holder gives it an impressive grip. You can feel how it increases as you push the bottle into the cage. The cage also holds a little higher on the bottle in order to further reduce any chance of drops.
Elite engineered the Vico with zones that apply more or less pressure on the bottle exactly where needed. This gives you the peace of mind of not worrying about your drink going missing mid-ride, while also allowing easy access to the bottle. Unlike other tight-holding cages, the Vico gives up the bottle without much of a yank and when you put it back, the cage’s tapered edges on the opening make it quick and easy to find home even without looking down (a good thing for staying safe).
Other nice features are that it’s also ideal for small sloping frames with smaller main triangles. And, the mounting holes are long enough to move the cage up and down a full 15mm. This ensures that it’s easier to mount two cages on a frame and get the bottles where needed for best access and to not touch each other.
The Vico is the perfect cage for Elite’s Jet bottle and it will add a touch of class and function to any road ride. For a peek behind the scenes of the Vico’s design and manufacturing watch this:
Ride total: 9,625
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.