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.