Bike design is hard. Sometimes designers make compromises that mean that traditional water bottle mounts just won’t fit. I have a bike with this issue, a size medium Kona Process 153. I needed a solution for carrying water bottles on my bike so I decided to try the Fidlock water bottle system with their strap on Uni Base. I’ll mention right at the top that this is not a cheap solution at $52.99 for the entire kit, but I think you’ll see why it might not be a bad deal for some.
The Fidlock Magic
So what makes Fidlock unique? Fidlock’s most import feature is its TWIST mounting system. The Fidlock base features two mounting post with magnets and a center alignment pin.
The bottle features magnets as well and slots for the mounting post to attach to. The slots feature spring loaded clips which mechanically attach the bottle as the magnets pull it into place.
The bottle, after it has been attached, the bottle is held on mechanically, not by magnets alone. The slots in the mount the allow the bottle to twist off the mounting posts and release. If your confused at this point… watch the video.
Beyond the bottle attachment system the kit that I got, also came with the UNI base. The UNI base allows you to mount the base of the Fidlock system without water bottle mounts. Two rubber, ski straps or “zip ties” allow the base to be attached to any frame tubes with a width of 28–62 mm. The base also features a rubber base to prevent sliding and scratching of the frame.
Mounting the system with this UNI base was quite easy. The rubber zip ties make it easy to cinch the base into position. I went with the smaller bottle option at 450 ml / 15.22 ﬂ oz to allow me a bit more choice in my mounting locations. In the end I found I was able to mount the UNI base to the underside of my top tube and squeeze the bottle between the shock and the top tube and down tube junction. Because you don’t need to slide the bottle forward or back to remove it this mounting makes it very easy to get the bottle in and out.
So with all its fancy magnets and mounting systems, does this thing actually work? Well yes. It actually works amazingly well. I’ve never lost a bottle and it’s stupid easy to get the bottle on and off.
When I first mounted the system, I mounted it with the bottle on top of my top tube. This exposed the one weakness of the Fidlock system. The bottle can be dislodged by a sideways impact. I found that I was knocking the bottle off as I swung my leg across my bike. Changing the mounting to the bottom of my top tube solved this issue and I haven’t had any problem since.
The straps themselves have held tightly with minimum slippage. It’s nice knowing that if I ever want to move the system to another bike or mounting point the straps are completely reusable. My only complaint with the strap system is that there isn’t a great way to deal with the extra strap length. I’ve ended up tucking mine in underneath the already wrapped portion of strap, but a cleaner solution would be nice.
I was curious how the attachment system would deal with getting dirty and I’m happy to report that I haven’t had any issues even in some pretty muddy conditions. If you are just absolutely mud bogging it might become an issue, but I haven’t been able to make the attachment mechanism fail.
The bottle itself is 15.22 ﬂ oz which is smaller in comparison to a “standard” bottle at 22oz. I’ve found it’s plenty of capacity for a normal 1 hour / 10 mile ride where I can go completely pack-less. And for longer rides, it allows me to pack a single extra bottle instead of 2. The valve is a simple “push/pull” type valve that can be opened and closed with teeth or your hands. I do prefer the Jet Valve in Camelbacks bottles but this valve is completely serviceable.
One bummer of the bottle is that you don’t get a choice of cool colors or designs. The choices are grey or grey. For the premium price it feels like I should be able to choose a color.
The Fidlock system isn’t most likely something I’d recommend for everyone. In my mind it’s mainly a problem solver for clearance and attachment point issues. Adding a second water bottle when you only have a single set of bosses? Want to clear a larger bottle? Those are the types of situations where the Fidlock system shines.Buy Now
- Super simple attachment
- Great for clearing tight spots
- Robust build quality
- Don’t need existing water bottle mounts
- Strap Organization
- Lack of Color Options