How much does a water bottle weight (and why component weight is a very relative topic)

Bottle. Bidon. From Camelback to Polar to your local bike shop’s little branded 20-ouncers, you carry at least one of these on every ride you go out on. Even the weight weenies among us don’t begrudge our beloved holders of hydration – their presence on our bikes is as necessary as pedals – and yet, we shave weight everywhere, sparing no expense for carbon fibre cages and titanium bolts. So we here at AeroGeeks aim to open some eyes, today:  We took four bottles from our reserve (they happened to all be Camelbaks) and weighed them to get a frame of reference, and perhaps a little bit of a reality check. And, since filling to the brim is not what we would call an exact science,  we have included both the observed, filled weight as well as the expected weight based on volume (an ounce of water is 29.574 grams, for those taking notes).


Camelback 21oz Garmin Edition Camelback Podium 21oz Insulated Camelback Podium 24 oz Camelback Podium 25 oz Insulated
Capacity (oz) 21 21 24 25
Empty Weight (g) 78 104 76 122
Filled Weight (g) 704 714 758 848
Expected Filled Weight (g) 699.054 725.054 785.776 861.35

For those more familiar with Imperial standards, there are 453.5 grams per pound, so even the smallest bottle when filled is well over an extra pound.  The large 25 oz Insulated Camelback is near 2 pounds.

Why should these weights matter to you, you ask?  Because when your bottle, at a minimum, weighs in at a pound and a half and the weight differential between Dura Ace 7900 (2,052 g for road groupset) and Ultegra 6700 (2,336 g), the 284g delta is given a better frame of reference – around half of those bottles in your cages – as relates to cost. In this instance, the price difference between DA and Ultegra is easily $1000.

Obviously, the difference between Dura Ace and Ultegra is more than just weight, but one of the highlights of Ultegra has always been that you get 9/10ths Dura Ace performance at a reasonable weight penalty.  In essence, if you carried just 10oz less water, you’d have saved yourself a cool grand.

Last week (here) we covered the new Giant Propel; one of the lightest aero frames out there.The Propel comes in at a staggering $7,000 versus the S5 at $3,500, yet the weight difference is only 546 grams – less than any of the bottles above. Setting aside the aerodynamic arguments, with just a single bottle on the downtube, the S5 becomes a serious competitor  to the Propel at half the price.
Let us be clear: the goal here was to help place weight into better perspective, not use couched arguments to skew the data in favor of X over Y. We at AeroGeeks only want to put the question forward:  Is a set of carbon aero bars that are 50 grams lighter than the aluminum really worth the extra cost?  To some,  absolutely. To others, it is worth asking if those ten ounces of water are really worth $1000.


5 responses to “How much does a water bottle weight (and why component weight is a very relative topic)

  1. Pingback: SRAM 22 – First Look | AeroGeeks·

    • When we first published this article the only way to get a Propel Advanced SL (there was no Propel Advanced at that time) was in Red or Di2 at $7K. Good news is that today you can get into a Propel Advanced at a much more reasonable $3K.

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