Top Tips For Choosing a Carrier for Time Trials and Triathlon


Staying hydrated and saving time are essential, but choosing a suitable rear hydration system can be tricky, especially as systems can now carry spare tires, tools and CO2's. XLAB, the world's largest supplier, with the widest range of models and 16 years of experience, offers some helpful tips.

  1. Aerodynamics
    Bicycle drag consumes around 30% of your energy, so the exact position of the system is critical. This is why XLAB's Aerospace engineers used the 'SLIPSTREAM' vest in the Wind Tunnel to position the XLAB systems to have the lowest drag of any systems available! They are positioned in the turbulent air behind the rider's rear, reducing drag.
  2. Aero Seatposts
    Air originating in front of your thighs travels between and around them. Aero seatposts allow air to pass through virtually unrestricted. Mounting a system that hangs down too low behind the post in laminar air defeats the purpose of an aero seat post and can increase drag.
  3. Carry Little or Lots?
    For repair, carry two CO2's but do NOT store them inside a folded tire as this can cause tire damage. Carrying a tubular in a bag protects it from UV light and debris reaching the glue. Some systems mount CO2's and inflator on the outside of the system allowing a Mini bag to carry cell, cash, keys, tools, etc.
  4. Easy To Use
    XLAB systems are adjustable and the position has been refined over 22 years, making them the #1 choice Worldwide.
  5. Strength
    Ultra light systems can often result in failure, and can rock from side to side, consuming your valuable energy. XLAB systems are up to 4 times stiffer than others.
  6. Bottle Cage Selection
    Bottles will eject if the appropriate cages are not selected, whether the system is carbon or alloy. Cages to consider are the XLAB Gorilla Cage the World's first designed for rear carriers and the XLAB P-Cage. Note: that Polar and Camelback bottles do not have a large grip force and may eject.
  7. Test of Time
    More Ironman Distance World Championships have been won using XLAB hydration/inflation systems than all others combined.

I hope you have found this guide useful.

Craig Turner
Aerospace Designer and XLAB Founder.

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