We’ve known for a while now that XLAB had their own BTA hydration system in the works. However, we weren’t quite prepared for just how excited we would be when we finally saw it. The new Torpedo System is a product that seems to check all of the boxes we’ve been looking for; it’s aero, has multiple fit options, and has a front-mounted computer. Best of all, it’s built on XLAB’s own Torpedo mount, which we are already very fond of. (One Note: XLAB mentioned that all the images below are pre-production models and may have slight differences versus production).
The system is comprised of two parts: the mount and the bottle. As mentioned above, the mount is based on XLAB’s torpedo mount and is available in either carbon fiber or aluminum. The system also comes with XLAB’s Aero Computer Mount. However, unlike the standard orientation, the Torpedo System mounts the computer at the front of the bottle. This is one of those details we feel XLAB really nailed. For the majority of riders a computer mounted behind the bottle is not going to be very useful. Yes, you can move the mount farther forward (as we are doing with the Aero HC), but putting the computer in front of the mount (or at least on top of the bottle) is something we have been waiting for. Our only concern here is how the computer interrupts the airflow around the bottle. The CFD XLAB provided shows the bottle only and does not show how a computer could interrupt the airflow.
The bottle is a one-piece design (which we hope means minimal leakage) with a 26oz capacity and a flexible straw and bite valve that can be mounted in one of two locations. When we spoke to XLAB yesterday they explained their thought process behind a flexible straw. If a rider were to crash while drinking XLAB hopes the flexible material will help to minimize injury (another small detail we appreciate). Additionally, the bottle has a built-in straw retainer to keep the straw out of the wind when not in use. Similar to Torhans, XLAB ships the bottle with two lids—a solid lid to prevent leakage and a slotted one for refills on the go.
XLAB has gone with a multiple price point approach. The Torpedo System 100 is priced at $74.95 and uses the Aluminum Torpedo mount in combination with a Nylon composite “VEE” bottle cage, while the Torpedo System 400 goes for $134.95 and comes with a carbon fiber torpedo cage and mount. XLAB is claiming a 26g difference (196g for the 100 versus 170g for the 400), but the 400 additionally comes with aero designed spacers and a color coordinated bite valve (did we mention you can get the system in either red or magenta)?
So far we really like what we see. The flexible straw allows multiple fit options, and the up-front computer mount solves our most common complain about many of the BTA systems out there. The multiple price points are a real winner in our book, allowing riders to choose the product that best fits their needs without a major sacrifice in functionality. Obviously the next step is to get one on our bikes for a long-term review to see just what XLAB has developed. XLAB has promised that one will arrive in our mail room shortly. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as soon as it arrives.