IntroductionProfile Design is a big name in the cycling industry because they make accessories for just about every part of the bike that doesn’t include moving parts. Over the years, I’ve purchased dozens of Profile Design items and I’ve been happy with every one of them. They aren’t always the lightest item available and they aren’t always the sexiest item available, but they work well at a price point that is always reasonable.When people think of hydration in the aero position, the first name that comes to mind is the Aerodrink from Profile Design. You can’t even call it an industry leader because there really isn’t much legitimate competition. It pretty much is the industry (even though I’m sure my review of the PQ Drink System has increased sales for Podium Quest exponentially-although not available from them directly anymore). No other aero hydration product is available in every decent local bike shop, online at every major sporting goods site, and in the public conscious like the Aerodrink.Based on both of these factors, I was expecting a pretty quick and breezy review of this water bottle. How wrong was I? Well, let’s just say that I’m pretty sure that if Dante wrote the Inferno today, the AeroDrink would be one of the circles of hell. It would be right there between the river Styx and the Heretics. What? Was that too harsh?
Profile Design (profile-design.com)
Keep clear of this item. Extremely popular, but I don’t know why. It’s messy, noisy, and insecure…just like many of my former girlfriends.
First ImpressionsThe AeroDrink comes in a big plastic bag. Not the most creative packaging, but it keeps everything inside. Except that everything wasn’t inside. There are two parts to the straw – a rigid piece that goes inside the bottle and a soft, flexible piece that you drink from. Neither part is long enough to use separately, so right out of the gate I had a useless pile of parts.Luckily, we live in a modern world. I found an 800 number on the packaging and called customer service. Twenty seconds later, I had been promised a replacement part (by a “Brian,” I think). A day and a half later, the part was in my living room and I was in business. Huge thumbs up to customer service on that one! Everyone give “Brian” a hand. Hooray “Brian.”OK, back to the review. The bottle is fairly attractive and sleekly designed. It’s designed to fit between your aero bars and, therefore, has to be aerodynamic. This does the job. The bottle is made of a very rigid, mostly opaque plastic that reminds me of the food grade containers they use in industrial kitchens. You can see the liquid level through it, but you can’t really tell what’s inside. Logos and whatnot are reasonable, but everyone will surely know whose brand you’re sporting. Also in the package are two large black rubber bands and a yellow “pouf” that looks like those synthetic shower sponges that the ladies all use now. (Yes, and some guys too. Which reminds me…it’s time for a new one.) The pouf acts as the lid of the water bottle and the rubber bands hold the thing on the bike. Both of these seemed a bit odd to me, but I figured I just didn’t “get it”. Sadly, it turns out that I got it just fine.
Nothing here to keep the bands
from slipping up and off the top.
InstallationAs mentioned above, the rubber bands hold the bottle onto the bike. Seems simple enough. And it is (sort of). You wrap the bands in a figure eight around each side of the bottle, which creates two crossed pieces of rubber on each side that are stretched over the bars. If you have razor straight bars, sliding the bands onto the bike would be a piece of cake. Unfortunately, most of us have bends to our bars (most of us, in fact, have Profile Design bars that come with various bends). You see, rubber likes to grab onto things. That’s why we use rubber for our tires, after all. So when you’re stretching the bands over the bars and you get to a bend, you have to carefully avoid touching the bars or else the bands will grab the bar, get all twisty, and pop off the bottle. It was like a game of Operation every time I put the thing on the bike. I sucked at Operation, by the way. Because there is no real collar on the top of the bottle, even the slightest upward pressure on the bands caused them to pop straight off. Once you manage to get everything in place, the opposing tension of the crossed bands holds everything in place. But this only really works while the bike is stopped.Did I mention that this thing has no real lid? If you have a bend in your aerobars – and by now we know you do – it’s next to impossible to get a filled bottle on the bike without spilling its contents. “So,” you say, “put the empty bottle on the bike.” Well Mr./Mrs. Smarty Pants, that works well, but then you need to bring a container of liquid to fill the container of liquid. Does that make any sense? I don’t think so. It may be fine if you’re at your house, but what if you’re at a race? It’s that much more stuff that you have to bring with you. Oh yeah, and once you fill up the thing, make sure you don’t tip your bike in any way or liquid will be everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Keep in mind that the “liquid” is probably more than just water. If it has any sugar in it, your bike and transition area will be nicely coated in a sticky – and probably colorful – mess. Good luck with that.On the RoadSo you’ve managed to win the game of Operation and you still have some liquid in your Aerodrink. Do not, under any circumstances, go over any bumps or potholes during your ride. If you can do that, you’ll love the Aerodrink. Otherwise, you’ll be a complete mess in a matter of seconds. You see, the yellow pouf that acts as a “lid” is promoted as a neat way to refill on the fly. And it is. Water goes right through the mesh ball and into the bottle lickety-split. The problem is that water just as easily comes out of the mesh ball when you hit rough road. Even the smallest rock gave me or my bike a spray.But wait! There’s more! Thanks to our friend inertia, even the smallest bumps cause the bottle to bounce up and down like a trampoline, which results in one of three options: (1) the aforementioned spray of liquid; (2) the yellow pouf being ejected onto the pavement; or (3) the rubber bands coming off the top of the bottle entirely and the bottle ejecting from your bike. Any one of these things equals good times at 20 miles per hour! I even had the trifecta happen to me twice. Also, due to the movement, the plastic bottle likes to rattle against your bars, so you get to listen to that for your whole ride.
Aerodrink shown with the
optional bracket. The bands can’t
even be trusted for a photograph?
Profile Design does sell an adjustable bracket for $12, which seems like a better mounting solution. It’s made from rigid plastic and uses Velcro straps. There doesn’t seem to be an official solution for the lid issue, but I’ve seen some threads on this site where people have cut neoprene or used more dense sponges to use instead of the yellow pouf.I’m honestly not sure I ever had a real drink out of the bottle because I spent so much time fighting this torture device. But the mechanism is a straw and those work pretty well. In my “at home” tests, the soft plastic had a good mouth feel and you can cut it to just the right length for your setup. Also, there are two places you can put the straw (one straw hole is plugged when not in use). So, if you construct your own lid to keep the water in and you buy the special bracket, you may just like this bottle after all. As for me, I’d rather have a frame mounted bottle than the AeroDrink, and I’d rather have my PQ Drink system than either of those.Final ThoughtsI really don’t mean to be so mean about this item, but I am amazed at how poorly it’s designed. I like Profile Design and will happily buy their products in the future. This just seems like they put the AeroDrink on the market without ever riding it on the street. I would suggest that they must have better roads where the Profile Design engineers are, but I live only a handful of miles from their headquarters, so that couldn’t be it. In the real world of bumps, turns, and potholes, the essentially wide open lid and the rubber bands make for a disappointing experience. At first I thought maybe I was being overly harsh, but a quick internet search revealed that people throughout the world are struggling with the same issues. On the off chance that someone from Profile Design ever reads this article, I’m begging, on behalf of cycling enthusiasts everywhere: Please rethink this design and give us something that works.
AeroDrinkby Profile Design(profile-design.com)
Ease of Installation
Rubber bands are hard to work with on bent bars.
Ease of Use
Bounces, splashes, and rattles. At a complete stop it’s easy to drink out of.
Bottle is well constructed, but the bands are likely to fail over time and the mesh lid is poorly designed.
Bottle is very aero, but the yellow pouf is odd and obnoxious.
All I can say is that I hope that all my competitors are using this.
*based on the fashion magazine, not the sitcom character
Random Thoughts That My Only Interest Me
I referred to “inertia” in this article. I think I used that term properly. I’m no scientist and I’m especially not a physicist, so please cut me some slack if I used the wrong term. All I was saying was that without any forces, the bands stay in one place, but with a quick upward and/or downward force on the bike, the bike rises, but the bottle initially doesn’t, due to its mass and the rubber bands stretching to absorb the force. When the force on the bike ceases and the bike returns to its original plane, the bands release the potential energy stored while stretching. This causes the bottle to move up and down until the bands release all their (kinetic?) energy. Whatever you call that process, it gets you wet. That’s all I’m saying.
The “yellow pouf” is actually called the Splashguard Polyweb Plug. I intentionally refused to use this term because it refused to guard against splashing in any way, shape, or form. Maybe if I put yoghurt in my bottle it would retain the liquids. Otherwise, it’s better used as a loofah or kitchen sponge.
After this, do you think there’s a chance that Profile Design will ever send me anything to review? Me either.
Technical Data32oz. capacity 171g (6 oz)MSRP - $14.99Includes splash guard poly web plug and extended soft straw Uses optional AeroDrink™ Bracket Adapter for most split Profile Design® barsParts available separately
A Note on the Author: Dominic Lazzaretto has completed twelve triathlons (kind of near the front of the age grouper pack) and has competed in dozens of road running races, mountain bike races, and road cycling events. He is one of the official gear reviewers for BeginnerTriathlete.com.