The water bottle holder and hydration pack are two common ways of staying hydrated on your bicycle. The H2bike system, from Israeli company BlueDesert, combines them into one streamlined device for easier sipping.
For years, the solution for hauling water via bicycle involved using the bicycle to transport it. More recently, hydration packs have exploded in popularity, making it easier to carry large quantities of water and access that water on the go. While hydration packs can be easier to drink out of than water bottles, some riders prefer to cycle unfettered by hefty backpacks filled with sloshing water.
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The H2bike pulls the water off your back and makes using a water bottle quicker and more efficient. A combination of a standard water bottle and hydration pack-style drinking tube system, the H2bike is essentially a bike-specific version of BlueDesert's SmarTube water bottle system. It mounts a drinking valve to the handlebars, where it's easier to access than the bottle itself.
In fact, BlueDesert says the H2bike is hands-free, so you can presumably lean over and grab the bite valve with your mouth while keeping your hands wrapped around the grips. That looks like it might be a bit uncomfortable on the move, though, and if you'd prefer not to duck and bob for water, you can also grab it with your hand.
In order to prevent the excess tube from flapping around when not in use, BlueDesert designed what it calls the SpiralTube. The springy tube automatically retracts when the cyclist lets it go, so it remains out of the way and readily accessible when he's not drinking. Cyclists can set the bike valve to either lateral or vertical position with the MultiFix mount.
BlueDesert isn't really breaking new ground with the H2bike. We've seen similar systems like the VelEau and Sipstream in the past. Blue Desert's hardware is a little different, however, and we like how it is compatible with standard water bottles and water bottle cages, as opposed to the separate seat post hardware of other systems. We also like the idea of a retracting tube versus tubes that basically stand upright in your face the whole ride.
The SpiralTube seems a little larger and clunkier than the VelEau's retracting cable solution, and it also seems like it would lose its coiling abilities over time. A combination of the H2bike's water bottle-compatible hardware and the VelEau's low-profile retracting cable seems like it could offer the best solution.
A BlueDesert rep told us that the H2bike is available in Europe for around €50 (about US$61 as of publishing). Blue Desert also plans to distribute it in Japan. Its original US distributor fell through, and it's currently looking for a new one.
Source: Blue DesertView gallery - 6 images