Adding to a running list of bicycle related Kickstarter projects is Australian effort Freedom Cycle System. We’ve seen numerous bicycle related products get the “kickstarter improvement” – everything from helmets to pedals to lights. Usually these projects revolve around making something “smarter” – or, cramming a bunch of electronics into them and somehow linking them to a phone app. It would be hard to imagine a way to make the lowly bicycle water bottle cage smarter. I don’t need an app to tell me if there is bottle there after all. But Freedom Cycle Systems is focused on making it better. Which is what “smarter” used to mean.
The innovation here is replacing the standard “finger” style water bottle cage that we all have with a pin type system that fits into purpose built bottles and other accessories. Or, in the words of the creator Steve Serpell:
Our water bottle sits on, not in.
One of the advantages of the design is much more flexible range of motion when removing the bottle from the holder. This not only provides ease of use, it also address the very real space problems inherent in compact frames.
The current project will be shipping the mounting pin, a round “toolbox” (basically an empty bottle with no squirty top) and both round and aero water bottles. We had to have aero, right? Oh, and they’ve got the wind tunnel testing data to go with it.
Other future products are hinted at on the Kickstarter page.
It is this interchangeability that, for me, is perhaps most attractive. I can easily have my aero bottles on race day, a regular bottle and a packed lunch for the weekend ride, a tool kit and water for club rides, and a bag full of goodies for the family ride. And I will be able to carry all of this on the same bike, from the same two mounts.
But big ideas start small when someone has to physically make the stuff. Currently it is only the translucent bottles that are available – including round, aero and the tool box.
Some may balk a bit at needing to purchase system specific bottles for this system however. Kickstarter pricing is AU$ 25 for the round bottle, and AU$ 35 for the aero (about $20 and $24 US) so we can expect eventual retail prices to be somewhat higher than that. That puts it about middle of the road for other aero bottles, but more than the branded cheapy round water bottles that bike shops practically give away. I haven’t yet found details on exactly how the nozzle is to be constructed for the water bottles, but it appears to be rubber in the videos.
The Freedom Cycle System Kickstarter campaign offers a rather flexible contribution plan, allowing you to pick and choose various parts of the system that will be offered at launch. It is projected that Kickstarter orders will ship by the end of April, 2018.
Update: On initial publication we incorrectly reported that the product would ship by the end of 2018. The correct timing is by the end of April in 2018 – not the end of the year. The story has been updated to reflect this correction.