ZEFAL SENSE PRO 65 WATER BOTTLE
The Sense Pro 65 Water Bottle from Zefal has a lot of thoughtful features. As such it has been a really useful edition, whether on the bike or stuffed into a work-bag. Not all bike bottles are equal, and this is definitely well above average.
Pros: good price, no BPAs, well-designed cap.
Cons: go for the larger size, if possible.
Polypropylene, with no nasty BPAs, is a plus for me. Designed to be odourless and keep your drinks fresh and odourless; it is also suitably squashable to eject fluid easily when on the fly. Our 65cl version does have a bigger sibling, too, for those with larger frames and who want to carry that bit more fluid.
Coming in a choice of four colour combinations – for those who like to be beautifully coordinated – the more functional features go well-above the hard, freebie, and many rivals. For a start, the bottle is shaped for grip, without being as eccentrically angled as some. The top is wide for pouring in powders – if that’s your bag – and for cleaning.
The lid is “overmoulded” for grip and has a double closure system, designed to make it utterly waterproof. The “food grade” silicon push-pull valve cap promises a toothsome sensation when in use. Combined with a “quick-opening valve”, this should offer good control of flow.
Size and Fit 4/5
Well, 65cl is likely to suit smaller frames better than its big brother. However, the 80cl version gives an additional 30cl –
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with a two bottle set-up – which may be a consideration for thirstier riders on hot days. On the other hand, Mrs. Steve’s smaller bike frames appreciate its 204mm height.
I’ve tried to get the Pro Sense bottle to leak, but have not succeeded. Shaking vigorously and squeezing upside down – and asking Sod’s Law to intervene by placing it in a messenger bag – have not managed to expel any fluid. That’s great, as this can double-up in a rucksack or work-bag without imperilling paperwork or electrics.
The valve and push-pull top are nice and soft. OK, old geezers with diminishing teeth might appreciate this most, but younger members of the testing team like it, too. Polypropylene is easy to squeeze. Combine this with a well-regulated valve, and you have good control of the flow. I’ve not found the fluids being shot into the back of my mouth.
Softness also makes extraction and insertion from and to the cage easy. That’s been true of Zefal’s Pulse Bottle Cage – a semi-side-entry model - as well as full side-entry, and more traditional cages. Indeed, the 65cl versions relatively diminutive stature makes it perfect for sitting in a jersey pocket. In the latter context it has shown no sign of ejection over rough gravel tracks.
Some folk go for dismantling their bike bottle tops for cleaning. Keeping things clean is important, especially if habitual use of sugary energy drinks is your thing. I’ve found that a good wash, with occasional overnighting in a light sterilising fluid – such as Milton – is sufficient.
I’ve three-quarters filled and left in the freezer overnight. Things have turned out ok, but my preference is for keeping in the fridge if the next morning promises to be hot.
Compared to some of the Zefal range – and others such as Passport’s Frostbright Bottles – the Pro Sense 65 has no bells and whistles. However, going for thermal properties to keep things warmer or cold adds cost and weight and reduces capacity proportionally. For example, the Frostbright is £11.99 and has 10cl less capacity. The Back Bottle is another creature altogether.
However, to get features as good as the Pro Sense, you are very likely to pay more. OK, you can get a freebie promotional bottle in a hard plastic, and pay as little as £1.50 for a basic bottle on the net. But the Pro Sense is not a basic bottle. It is very well-made and does not leak. Camelbak’s Podium, for
example, come in similar sizes and have many of the same, positive, characteristics. Equally, compared to the Pro Sense, the capacity is a little less and the price a little higher.
Bicycle water-bottles are not all equal, and for those who want something functional and effective but with some nice touches and free-from potential nasties, it seems to me you will be getting good value for money; whatever your kind of cycling is.