Sunday, July 13, 2014

X-Lab Delta 225 and X-Strike

So I've been trying to nail down my bike hydration setup for a while.  I've used a Minoura double rear bottle holder before.  Unfortunately it was a bottle launcher up until it just broke.  You definitely get what you pay for with that product (~$15).  After that I was just zip tying a bottle cage to the underside of my seat.  That is what I ran in Vegas last year.  Unfortunately that doesn't work too well with the ISM Adamo saddles.
Delta 225 Package
 It hadn't really mattered much to me much so far this year.  I only need the one water bottle for Half Iron races.  I run the X-Lab Torpedo 100 between the arms setup.  I have finally gotten it dialed in after quite some time.  But this summer with longer training rides and Ironman Chattanooga looming, I wanted to run a second bottle.  But, as you know, it has to be aero.
225 Mounted without the X-Strike
I cringe everytime I see someone's bike setup for a race with a bottle on the down tube or the seat tube. It is just not aero.  Not only do I not race with a bottle there, I even remove the bolts from the bosses and put tape over them.  That's gotta save at least 3/4 of a second over the half distance, right?  I do put a cage on my seat tube for training rides.

So X-Lab makes a single rear bottle holder specifically for ISM Adamo saddles.  It's a little pricey for a single rear bottle holder, but I played the Father's Day card to get my wife to order it through Amazon.  You do get a Gorilla Cage with the system.
Mounting Clamps Underneath
The mounting is pretty straight forward.  You clamp it to the saddle rails.  It was a little hard to get in there to tighten it down.  It took quite a while as you can't turn the allen key very far each time.  The kit came with all the necessary hardware including the allen key.  Once I finally got it tightened down, there is still some movement in the bottle cage.  This is by design a little bit as you can see from the spring that is on the lower bolt.  It lets the bottle and cage have some "give" so the mounting bolts on the clamp don't break, like on the Minoura.

X-Strike Package
The Gorilla cage itself holds bottles very well.  Its a pretty tight fit.  In fact, you kinda have to twist the bottle to get it in and out.  When I first put an empty bottle in there to check it out, the bottle started collapsing as I pushed it in.
Totally Legal Gorilla
No Pacing Penalties

With the rear water bottle holder I had an opportunity to also mount some CO2 canisters back there.  I saw that X-Lab also offered the X-Strike.  It simply allows you to mount (2) CO2 canisters on the same bolts as you mount a water bottle cage.  This will free up some space in my Speed Pack for some gels.
Bottom Mounting Bolt with Spring
I removed the (2) bolts that hold the Gorilla cage to the rest of the Delta 225 assembly.  It's not quite as easy because of the bolt and nut design of the mount, and the spring on the bottom bolt.  Both the 225 and X-Strike came with 2 sets of bolts: long and short.  I used the longer bolt from the X-Strike kit on the upper mounting hole. I used the longer bolt from the 225 kit on the lower mounting hole.
225 with X-Strike Mounted
I put the lower bolt in first as you had to line more things up: cage, x-strike, washer, spring, washer, 225 mount, and then finally the nut on the other side.  I put the long bolt through there, compressed the spring and stuck the end of the bolt way up through the hole to get the nut on.  I threaded it a few turns and then put the upper bolt on.
Rear View
After I tightened it all down, it felt pretty secure.  I screwed the CO2 bottles in there and everything fit perfectly.  It really turns out looking pretty good.  I've been on a couple of century rides with the rear bottle holder and I have not had any issues.  Like I said, I think the key is the "give" in the design so that all the force isn't directly on the bottle.
Full Side View

Nice Tight Fit
So watch out, Green Lightning just got a little faster!  Well, not really, but that's kinda been my tagline, so I'm just gonna go with it.