09
Jun
10

Aerodrink from Profile Design = Hell

Note: See updates at bottom of post.

I could just post a link to the review for the Profile Design Aerodrink that’s up at BeginnerTriathlete.com, but I actually have something to add to the hell Dominic went through. My only consolation is that my hell wasn’t as bad as his, because I gave up after 20 minutes of hell, decided to look online to see if anyone else had a similar experience, and upon reading about Dominic’s hell I realized I was better off returning the product.

There is only one scenario under which I can recommend trying product–you have a friend who uses it, loves it, and is willing to install it for you…actually no, just don’t use this product. I’m sorry, but it stinks, and that’s the review I’m giving the product before I even had a chance to use it. Here’s why…

I got the Aerodrink bottle several weeks ago, but PowerTri didn’t have the bracket in stock and the rubber bands didn’t seem to work, so I hung out waiting for the Aerodrink bracket to come in. I picked it up today, and then spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how the bracket worked. Yes, you would think this would be relatively simple, and yes, I even looked at the instructions, but I’m still stumped.

The first problem is that the photos in the instructions are unrecognizable as anything but some long-lost form of dot-art. Perhaps if I were to back away to a distance of 10 feet the photos might become clear, but since they’re only an inch square, I still wouldn’t be able to see what I’m looking at. The written instructions were not clear to me–perhaps because of what I’ll describe next.

The bracket “fits” around the bottle on three sides, and then has a velcro strap on the fourth side which you tighten to hold the bottle in place. Simple enough, right? Bwahahaha, not a chance! You see, as near as I can tell, the velcro strap they include was sewn together backwards. That is, no matter how I put the velcro through the designated slots in the bracket, I can’t do it in a way such that the velcro can stick to itself, because the metal hook side ends up matching up with the back of the fuzzy side, rather than the fuzzy side itself. Trust me, I spent 15 minutes on that part alone, and unless I’m a complete idiot there’s no way to make it happen. But let’s accept the possibility that I may indeed be a complete idiot and move on.

The Aerodrink bracket doesn’t fit the Aerodrink bottle. You heard me right–it doesn’t fit. What does fit in the bracket? I’m not sure, but it sure ain’t the Aerodrink bottle. Oh, I can fit the bracket around the bottle fine enough, but this causes the two sides of the bracket to bend at strange angles. You could make the case that my German heritage makes me a stickler for precision engineering, but anyone who knows me can attest to the contrary. All I care is that it works, and the Aerodrink bottle and the Aerodrink bracket are not made to go together. We’re not talking about things being just a little bit off, we’re talking about things being way off. Imagine that you went to buy a car, and when you closed the door there was a one-inch gap between the car and the door that you could see through. Even though you’re not an engineer who designs cars, you’d know something wasn’t right.

So…I don’t have time to return this stuff tomorrow, but rest assured, the Aerodrink and its poorly designed bracket are being returned first thing after I get back from my race this weekend, and no, they will not be used in the race. Thank goodness for the other review that saved me from trying to rig this up to work somehow. I’m sure I would have ended up chucking the whole contraption in the trash during the middle of the race had I persevered.

Update 16 June, 2010: Since posting this, I raced in the Boise 70.3 and saw many people using the AeroDrink, and I’ve talked to a few people who currently use it. They have convinced me to give it a real try (which I admit I haven’t, since I never got the thing on my bike). In the spirit of doing a thorough gear review, I have decided that one way or another, I’m going to get this thing on my bike and try it out. Perhaps once I really use it I’ll end up loving it, like apparently everyone else does I know who has one.

  • Red

    Seriously, DO NOT FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS, the are incomprehensable ( and probably translated from several different languages before being translated into English). Find someone who has one installed on their bike – even a guy on the street, most folks are willing to help because everyone who has one had the same problems with the directions – and look at how it goes together*, then put your on the same way – shouldn’t take 10 minutes.

    Why your bottle does not fit in your bracket is a mystery to me. Maybe you have the bottle in backwards (there is a front and a back). Or if your aerobars are far apart, they include a little conversion joint (I have no idea how to install those).

    The aerobottle is pretty much the only way I will drink during a ride and constantly seeing the straw right there does encourage me to drink much more than if I have to reach around for the bottle.

    The Velcro strap thingy that holds the bottle in is a bit of a challenge if you have never seen one. When you are just holding it in your hand, you should be able to fold it once in half so that it sticks to itself. That is how it should be on the bracket.

    Ok, you slide it through the two slots in the front of the bracket (yes, the second slot is a bit of a challenge with the bottle in place), so the harder scratchy Velcro (I don’t have mine in front of me, I’m pretty sure it is the scratchy velcro, but which ever velcro type is closest to the wide end, not the tapered end) is facing out (away from you and away from the bottle), then when you pull that soft fuzzy Velcro side of the tab back over itself in the opposite direction, so it is over lapping the scratchy velcro but facing the scratchy velcro in a folded circle like configuration. The Velcro should stick together (or you could run a long piece of string through the slots and tie the ends together tightly directly in front of the bottle, if you tie knots at both ends you can avoid pulling the string entirely out of the slots, but just pull it loose to the knots so you can get the bottle out. Then you don;t have to mess with threading the needle every time you ride).

    * How to install the Aerobottle bracket –

    There are two shortish sticky fussy velcro pieces, these wrap around each areobar where the bracket will attach – find the right placement that is comfortable for you and stick’em on.

    IIRC there are also two sticky very short (square?) hard scratchy Velcro pieces. Stick these to the bracket one on each side under the curved part that rests on the aerobars. Sit the bracket on the fuzzy velcro on the bars so they contact and velcro together.

    Then run the long two sided Velcro through the slots in the bracket so that the fuzzy side is facing up and the scratchy side is facing down (one on each side of the bracket, over the curved part that rests on the areobars), so that you can pull that scratchy velcro tightly around and it should contact that fuzzy velcro pieces that you just put on the aerobars, then overlap itself.

    Ta-Da!

    Again if you can just look at someone else’s set up while you do this, it is very obvious (not so much when you read the [alleged] instructions.

  • Gary

    The article is spot on. Even if you go to the Profile Design web site and get the PDF version of the instructions, the resolution is so poor and the photos so small it is utterly useless.

    The velcro strap to hold the bottle in the bracket (not the ones that hold the bracket to the aero bars) is in fact sewn backwards,and bottle is wider than the bracket forcing it to bow outward.

    However, it seems to be the only game in town. Profile Design must near the bottom of industry in terms of quality control.

  • Tim

    I was going to buy the bracket to use with a borrowed Aquacell until I discovered it cost $25 in my LBS. So,instead I bought $3 worth of industrial strength Velcro, lined the bottom of the bottle lip with the fuzzy side and attached strips of the grippy side directly to the aerobars. I just went out and tested it and the bottle doesn’t move, even over bumps and curbs.

    We’re not building watches here….

  • Beth

    Thanks so much for taking the time to interpret the instructions. I felt like an idiot trying to sort out the official directions for the bracket install!! Better now.

  • bruce

    I couldn’t agree more with your note about the worthless directions on installations. I found this youtube video helpful.