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by James Huang
May 3, 2017
Photography by James Huang
When it comes to shaving grams, water bottles are usually among the last places to look. Elite’s new Fly Team aims to change that attitude with its unusually low weight, but is it any good? US technical editor James Huang takes a look.
At just 55g, the Elite Fly Team water bottle boasts a 24g advantage over a standard Specialized bottle, and its comparable pricing more than satisfies the $1-per-gram rule by which many weight weenies abide. If you’re one to regularly replace bottles, one might even argue that that weight savings even comes at no additional cost at all since you’d be paying that money regardless.
Thankfully for Elite, the Fly Team isn’t just about being light; it’s actually a pretty good bottle, period.
The ultra-thin walls feel flimsy in your hands at first, but they maintain their shape quite well and spring back nicely after a hard squeeze. Coupled with the impressively high-flow nozzle, the Fly Elite delivers copious amounts of refreshment with minimal effort. The BPA-free plastic is mostly taste-free — even after a couple of hours in the hot Colorado sunshine — and it’s held up well to multiple dishwasher cycles, too.
If you’re a diehard weight weenie, a 24g weight savings is nothing to sneeze at, especially for such a small amount of money.
As an added bonus, the cap’s smooth interior shaping leaves almost zero inaccessible fluid sloshing around in the bottle. This has long been a pet peeve of mine with nearly every other bottle I’ve used, so it’s nice to finally find a bottle that lets you get to every drop inside without having to remove the top.
As always, though, you don’t get something for nothing, and there are certainly a few compromises made in order to save that weight.
For one, the simple nozzle has great throughput and is easy to remove for thorough cleaning, but it’ll also pop off completely if you pull on it too hard. Secondly, the effective weight savings of Elite’s Fly Team bottle is more like 75g over a standard-sized Specialized bottle when both are filled, but that’s only because it also holds about 50mL less fluid, too — not exactly a good thing in situations where it’s more important to stay hydrated than to shave a smidgeon of weight. After all, you may be lighter when your body is dehydrated, but you’re certainly not faster.
Nevertheless, Elite’s Fly Team will likely find a receptive audience in riders seeking to save every last gram. Its shortcomings are mostly trivial and easy to overlook; just make sure the limited capacity will suit your needs before heading out on that blistering summertime ride.
RRP: US$8 / AU$13 / £6 / €7
The classic Specialized bottle (at right) is the staple of the industry, but Elite makes a solid case with the Fly Team.
The weight savings grows once the bottles are filled — but that’s only because the Fly Elite Team bottle also holds a little less water.
The simple nozzle design is easy to grab with your teeth and offers a superb flow rate.
As an added bonus, the inside of the cap is shaped such that there’s almost no fluid left inside after that last squeeze.
The nozzle removes easily for thorough washing, but it can also pop off a little too easily in your mouth while riding.