Stuck in the past.
The water bottle for bicycles as we know it came into being in the 1960s. Its design was driven by the shape of the water bottles of the time and the inventors were focused on a carrying unit and where it should be placed.
Since that time, not much has changed. We have made the holders lighter to correspond with weight changes in most bicycle parts, and the bottles of today feature many colors and designs but one thing remains constant.
The shape and design of the bottle and bottle holder.
As we refine and streamline our machines, as we seek every edge through weight and design; it is time to think outside the box.
The word "Freedom" is a key to the new bike water bottle conceived by Steve Serpell. Steve, a super keen cyclist, was frustrated by the deficiencies he experienced with all the different water bottles he had tried. Steve identified a number of issues and characteristics common to the products in the marketplace;
- When reaching for the bottle, the rider invariably grabs the bottle holder as well and this makes it difficult to remove the bottle.
- The bottle needs to be lifted vertically parallel to the bottle holder for between 50mm and 80mm before it can be moved laterally and this limits the versatility with compact frames and seat tube placement.
- The bottle and bottle holder system requires the bottle to be larger than the holder so that the bottle can be held firmly in place and this makes it difficult to remove and replace.
- The shape and size of the bottle is limited by the holder and this limits design freedom for aerodynamics or non cylindrical shapes.
- In the removal and replacement of the bottle, damage is caused to the bottle and its markings are compromised.
The Freedom Design solution is characterised by the use of a novel internal fastening technique of the water bottle to the holder. Simple and brilliant.
We worked with Steve to realise his idea and in doing so designed a bottle and holder system that can be manufactured using common and standard manufacturing techniques at a reasonable cost.
The shape of the bottle is no longer mandated to be cylindrical. Now bottle and bicycle manufacturers can customise the bottle design in different ways to improve the aesthetic and aerodynamic attributes of the bike.
Branding on the bottle is no longer destroyed as the bottle is used. Bottles retain their finish and markings longer and improve the durability of the product.
The ease of use of the system has been dramatically improved. The bottle only needs 25mm of parallel travel before it can be moved laterally and removed from the bike. Less precision is required in replacing the bottle and this makes the task easier and quicker. The design of the bottle and holder provides a means for securely locking the bottle in place and prevents rattling and vibration.
A number of bottle, bicycle and component manufacturers are licenced to manufacture water bottles using the Freedom Design system so look out for a wide range of new products soon.
When planning to run your business on a licencing model, your investment in design needs to be focused on defining the key technology and demonstrating what is possible. Investing in detail design options and production ready designs at an early stage is an over capitalisation of your design investment.
“Bayly worked with me and my partners to prove the concept, identify the parameters and characteristics of the Freedom Design and then provided concepts and prototypes to fire the imaginations of my potential licensees. To show them what could be and let me get the deals done.”
Steve Serpell, Freedom Design
Interested in doing business with Steve? Contact him at