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Restrap Mag Bottle review: Magnetic alternative to a standard bottle cage

22 Nov 2017
Verdict:

As neat an alternative to a conventional cage as you’ll find. The Mag Bottle is a universally useful design

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£28.99
For 
Works well and looks new indefinitely. Ideal for small frames and bike-packers
Against 
Fiddlier than a traditional bottle and more expensive

The Restrap Mag Bottle is a clever alternative to the traditional drinks cage. Weighing 115 grams for the bottle and mount it’s similar in mass to the system it aims to replace and potentially a boon to riders who struggle to fit a conventional cage onto their bikes.

However, will it be a case of a solution to a problem that didn’t exist for everyone else?

How does it work?

The Restrap Mag Bottle comprises a separate mount and bottle. Bolted to the bicycle frame in place of the traditional cage is a base plate containing two studs housing powerful magnets.

Between these is a small spigot to help locate the bottle. On the underside of the bottle is a corresponding set of clasps, each also housing a magnet.

Hover the bottle directly above the the mount and magnetism does the work of aligning and syncing the two. Pulled together, there’s no need to be too precise in your placement.

With an automated feeling and an audible snap telling you everything is in place you’ll know once the bottle is locked down. It’s very neat.

When you want to extract the bottle you twist it out to the right. The design is such that no movement other than an exactly parallel twist will release it.

Bashing over cobbles and mucking about off-road I wasn't able to accidentally detach the bottle, despite my best efforts.

In fact I couldn’t even get it to rattle. Although attaching and retrieving the bottle quickly becomes second nature, the system will never be quite as foolproof as a quality conventional bottle and cage.

Still it’s much more secure than many of the lightweight carbon cages that some weight-weenie brands produce.

The bottle itself comes in cool looking clear smoked plastic. Made of dishwasher safe polypropylene and 600ml in size, it’s pleasingly free of the chemical taste that can mar some bottles.

It features a gapingly wide mouth, allowing you to drop in ice cubes and easily ladle in energy powder, although it’s recommended you stick to water.

The valve on the top is easy to pull open with your teeth and doesn't drip.

Pretty from the off, as the bottle isn’t being repeatedly inserted into a gritty cage, it’ll stay looking new almost indefinitely.

If you do manage to wear it out, either by chewing it up, or letting it go mouldy, the bracket on the bottle itself is removable meaning it’s possible to replace the bottle alone.

Although availability of replacements in the UK is currently limited, it’s possible to get one sent over from Germany for around £10.

So who’s it for?

Primarily a bag maker, Restrap is hoping you’ll jam one of its frame bags inside the main triangle of your bike. However, if you decide to do so you’ll suddenly find the exit trajectory of a standard water bottle boxed in.

With its twist to release mechanism the Mag Bottle won’t suffer the same fate, allowing you to load up your bike unhindered.

This makes it ideal for bike-packers, and also explains why the frame bag maker is muscling in on the water bottle market.

In fact the automatically locating magnetic clasps used on the Mag Bottle are also employed elsewhere in the brand’s range, for instance, in attaching quick-release pouches to the front of its handlebar bags.

The bottle itself, and the clasps used on many of Restrap’s products are actually made by Fidlock, a German brand producing parts for a bunch of quality cycling, automotive, hiking, and photography brands.

Besides bike-packers the Mag Bottle will also please smaller riders who can also suffer when it comes to finding adequate room within their frames for storing and accessing bottles.

Of course the Mag Bottle isn’t the only solution to this problem. Plenty of makers produce side-entry cages to deal with the same issue.

Time to escape the cage?

The Restrap Mag Bottle is the neatest alternative to using a cage you can buy. It’s not dissimilar to the Vincero Design magnetic system, but is cheaper, more widely available, and crucially comes in a slightly larger 600ml size.

Perhaps its closest direct competitor is Fabric’s Cageless Bottle. Eschewing magnets, this simple push-on/pull-off bottle relies on studs that fit the base of the bottle and attach above the frame bosses.

Incredibly minimalist looking, at £14 it’s also considerably cheaper than the Mag Bottle, yet not quite as secure or robust.

So, would I recommend the Restrap Mag Bottle? Other than from a purely subjective aesthetic standpoint cageless water bottles can appear a solution to a problem that had seemed pretty well solved.

However the Mag Bottle is easy enough to use and robustly enough constructed to provide very few reasons to dislike it.

Given that foul weather can quickly scuff bottles and cages it’s also a surprisingly durable alternative.

It’ll suit riders with small bikes, along with those using frame bags. However the largest market is likely to be riders who like the way it leaves their bike looking less cluttered, or are attracted by the novelty.

They’ll find the Mag Bottle will do a very similar job to the system it replaces, at a not greatly inflated cost. Both of which mean if you like the idea there’s no reason not to give it a try.

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