Wednesday, October 2, 2013

X-Lab Torpedo 100 Hydration System

As regular readers of my blog know (hey, it could happen!  I could have people that regularly read my poignant insights into the world of triathlon . . . or not) I lost my between the arms (BTA) hydration setup at the entrance to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  I saw it on the way out, but decided not to stop and get it.

So when I got Green Lightning back, I just stuck a bottle in the bottle cage between my aero extensions and went for a ride.  Man, having to take the bottle out of the cage to get a drink of water really stunk.  Grabbing a bottle from behind my seat or on the seat tube was even worse.  It's funny how you never did something before, but after you start doing it, you can't imagine not doing it (or using it).  Like my Garmin, Chamois creme, nose plug, etc.

I started looking around to see what my choices were.  I could go back to the Speedfil A2, but there were other offerings.  Profile Design has their Aero HC bottle.  Nathan is coming out with the AP Pro (though they don't have a full release date yet).  Profile and Nathan both have straws that stick straight up all the time, and I liked the way my A2 straw would fold down. One thing I did not like about the A2 was the complexity of the no spill fill valve (read: kind of a pain to wash).
The Box
This year X-Lab came out with their foray into the BTA market with the Torpedo 400 or 100 system.  I liked the simplicity, the bendable straw, and the adjustablility.  I opted for the non-carbon version 100 as it was almost half the price of the 400.  The 100 was the same price as the Aero HC and the AP Pro.

CFD Calcs.  Real or Not?  You Decide.
There was lots of hardware in the package.  I did not use any of the spacers to raise the bottle up, as its already a little high compared to my aero pads.  Everything was pretty straight forward.  I like the velcro straps to mount the base plate on.  That's one of the reasons I got this unit, no more tie wraps.  I mounted the cage on the base plate and set it between my aero pads.  Once I put the bottle on, I found I needed to slide it much further forward.  Once you get the cage mounted, there really isn't much to it.
Lots o' stuff in the box.

Instructions were fairly well written

I did put a couple of washers under the dolphin tail to raise it up a little.  I found it hard to tuck the straw underneath there because the fit was so tight.  Also, that straw is really hard to get through the hole.  On the upside that should help with leakage.
Spacers under the dovetail.

Some leakage on the bigger bumps
On my first ride, it worked quite well.  Basically what I was used to.  I like the way the straw folds down toward me and the dolphin tail is nice to get it tucked away.  I did notice some leakage, just same or less than my A2.  The bottle did slide out a little on some stretches of rough road.  I'm going to use my velcro strap from my A2 to hold the bottle in the cage better.  After that first ride, I did trim the drink straw about 1".

One issue I ran across just has to do with the spacing of the velcro straps on my Devox aerobars.  The back strap needs to hook onto the extensions right underneath the pads, so its hard to get the velcro on.  On my second ride one of the read velcro straps came off.
Trying to affix the strap under the arm pad.

I had one of the guys in the machine shop at work extend the slot back by 5/8" so I could like the velcro strap further behind my arms pads to get a good grip.

Extra Machining
Some pics of the cage mounted between the bars:

Overall I'm quite happy so far. I can tilt the bottle a little further forward to make sure my straw can reach all the liquid inside.  Although, I'm not sure how long the straw will last as it gets a kink in it when folded down under the dolphin tail.  I'm also still working on some cushioning between the plate and the two screws on top of my stem.  They bang pretty hard.  I put some foam in there at first, but then settled on some rubber.
Straw in Drink Position

Straw Tucked, Bottle Tilted forward

Pretty Clean Front End.  Ignore the night light.
 I've increased my aeroness and made my life more simple!  So watch out, Green Lightning just got a little faster.