This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
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 awfully 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 itself to hold things in place. Simply locate the bottom of the bottle in the lower cradle and get it close to the upper cradle, then just let go.
Since the two parts only need to be near each other to work - and doesn't require a particular rotational position like the Vincero system - it should (at least in theory) be easier to insert and remove a bottle using the Koala Bottle system, particularly on bumpy or otherwise demanding terrain where you don't want to look down or hunt for a smaller target. Likewise, it looks like 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 leery of wholeheartedly recommending it for 'cross racing.
"You don't even have to push the bottle on to the cage," he said. "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 may be a complete system but the metallic ring will work with most Specialized bottles - and 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 and a pair of rings costs US$8. Goldman says a carbon fiber cage version is pending but unfortunately, the cages themselves currently aren't sold separately.
"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."
We have a sample set pending so look for a more in-depth review in the coming weeks.
For more information, visit koalabottle.com.