We've tested the Elite Fly water bottle. What can Elite possibly have done to improve on the standard bidon? Read on to find out
Consider the water bottle. It’s not changed a lot since plastic replaced the old aluminium ones with a cork bung. Elite has more reason than most to think about this humble vessel; it’s makes up a substantial proportion of the brand’s bread and butter. So Elite has made quite a few clever updates with the new Elite Fly bottle.
For a start, a new injection-moulding process has allowed Elite to make the Fly’s walls thinner. This makes the bottle easier to squeeze, so you get higher flow rates.
The Fly is thicker and more rigid around the top and the base – rigid enough not to flop around in a bottle cage. And the opening is wide so you can get drink powder and water in easily.
The stubby design also makes the Fly easier to access on smaller frames than a standard bottle. And the shoulder at the bottle’s rim means that it stays in place well in Elite’s bottle cages.
Coupled to its enhanced squeezability, the Fly has a new cap design. This features a wider nozzle made of soft rubber and with a larger aperture, which again leads to higher flow rates.
Your drink isn’t prone to splashing fluid out of the bottle when in its cage. So you can ride with the cap open and grab a swig quickly without spraying your frame with sticky energy drink.
This is useful too, as the nozzle cap is attached to the outside of the bottle’s lid. Until you know what to expect it’s quite easy to pull it off the lid completely, with it ending up in your mouth.
The higher flow rate from the Elite Fly takes a bit of getting used to: the first few times I used it I almost choked. But you quickly adapt to squeezing the bottle more gently and it’s a huge benefit not having to fiddle with opening the cap.
The Fly’s surface has an anti-slip coating, making it less likely that you’ll drop it when drinking. The printing on the Elite Fly does seem a bit less resistant to wear than some though, so it looks scuffed quite quickly. Elite says that the Fly’s plastic is BPA-free. And it’s odourless and dishwasher safe, so you can give it a good clean.
Elite supplies 12 WorldTour teams with its bottles and is rolling out the Elite Fly to them this year. Dropped bottles can be dangerous in road races; Fabian Cancellara sat out a few races in 2012 having been floored by a stray bottle in a feed zone in that year’s Tour of Flanders.
Many of Elite’s bottles have safety caps that break off when dropped. This isn’t the case with the Fly, though. Elite says that its lighter construction and higher flow rate make additional safety features unnecessary.
Another advantage of the thinner-walled construction: lighter weight. At 54 grams, the Fly is around 40 grams lighter than a standard 550ml bottle and is a cheap upgrade for the weight weenie.
A clever update by Elite, the Fly is easier to use than a standard bottle. And it saves you weight too!