This QT is based on my recent experience with – of all things – water bottles. But it brought to mind a conversation I had several years ago at Interbike with a Shimano tech expert (I’ll circle back to that in a minute).
I came home from this year’s Interbike with a couple of new Polar insulated bottles, which feature the new Zipstream high-flow, self-sealing cap. The new nozzle easily pulls up a couple of millimeters to open, then pushes back down to close. The nozzle also easily comes off for cleaning. In my post-Interbike coverage, in a mini-review of the new bottles, I wrote:
“All in all, it’s a vast improvement over the old “bite it with your teeth and yank it open” type of nozzle that Polar and many other bottle makers have long used.
“I’ve been using a couple of samples Polar provided since Interbike (from their new Color Series), and I like everything about the bottles. Not only does the Zipstream nozzle work well (it could flow just a bit better, but it’s still quite good), I really like the harder shell of the 24-ounce bottle, which goes into and comes out of my cages better than other, softer-sided bottles. And the inside of the bottles is the same white plastic, no matter the outside color, which makes it easy to clean in that you can easily see any residue against the white color. I’d say Polar has a winner on its hands with this new bottle.”
My Opinion Has Changed a Bit
Since those first few rides,I changed my tune about the harder-than-normal shell – I decided I did not like it, because it is just too hard to squeeze – but in doing so realized the new Zipstream nozzle is even better than I had thought.
Here’s how I discovered that: Long a fan of the Camelbak Podium Chill and Ice bottles (click for my review), in part because of their well-functioning nozzle and the 2x insulation power of the Ice model, I decided to do a little experiment.
After a quick compatibility test, I combined the Zipstream cap with the Podium Ice bottle. Voila! Best of both in one bottle. What I discovered is that the Polar Zipstream nozzle does, in fact, flow great – when mated with a bottle you can easily squeeze, and is even better insulated than the Polar.
And the nozzle stays cleaner and mold-free when compared to the Camelbak nozzle (which is notorious for mold production).
Franken-bottle (see photo) is better than either of the two original models.
Back to That Shimano Conversation
The conversation I had with that Shimano tech years ago was to ask about Shimano’s position on the compatibility of mixing components (in my case, a newer model Dura-Ace front derailleur with older model Ultegra shifters and Ultegra rear derailleur). The tech told me it wouldn’t work, that those models were not designed to function together. That’s when I told him I had actually been running this exact combination for the past two years, and it worked just fine!
Heck, my everyday bike is pretty well a Franken-bike, overall, with one remaining piece (seat post) dating back to a predecessor bike purchased in 2005, and having been updraded piecemeal over time.
The moral of the story is, there are times and instances where a combination of technologies may work just as well, or even better – from low-tech water bottles to high-tech components. (Of course, there are times when that doesn’t hold true, too, but it may be worth a try on occasion.)
If you have an idea for a QT, fire away. We’re always looking for good info we can share with fellow roadies. We would love to hear from you with any suggestions you have. Contact us by clicking Quick Tips Ideas.
—John Marsh & The RBR Team