When XLAB announced their new Torpedo System last year, it quickly became one of the most highly anticipated systems of 2013. Over the past few months we have covered both the launch of the system, as well as given our first hands-on impressions. But today marks the end of our official test period with the system. We have spent three months riding it—on good days and bad—and in that time we have logged many miles with both the Torpedo 100 and Torpedo 400.
The Torpedo System 400
After all the miles, one fact has remained clear–this is the most complete hydration system on the market. The Torpedo System combines the bottle (with included bite valve), cage, and computer mount into a single system designed and optimized for your aerodynamic needs. In our first month with the Torpedo System we concentrated on the 100 and eventually upgraded to the 400. The 400 gives you two benefits over the 100. Since the 400 uses carbon fiber rather than aluminum, you get a weight savings of a claimed 26g (170g vs 196g, though our actual weighing found a difference of just 18g). With the 400 you also get color coordinated spacers (red or magenta) and a color coordinated bite value. One of our critiques here is that XLAB really missed out by only offering their standard carbon rather than their matte black carbon, which we are particularly fond of.
Throughout our testing we found that the system delivered on almost all of its promises. The benefit of a flexible straw is that you can drink from it more easily than a hard straw. And when combined with the bite valve, the flexible straw can be one of the most natural solutions to drink from. The dolphin tail works incredibly well at keeping the straw out of the wind when not in use. At first, the straw would pop out of the tail. However, after a few rides, the straw started to become more supple and seemed to “learn” its position and stay put.
One of our editors did notice that—due to the fact that her bars were short and set close together—the whole system needed to be setup fairly far back. Therefore when she went to tuck the straw into the tail, it tended to be a bit of a pain. She needed to almost reach back to her chest to tuck it in. In fact, this was really the biggest drawback we found with the Torpedo System. By going with a front mounted computer (something that we admit to being quite fond of) the entire system ends up quite long–roughly 365mm from the edge of our 510 to the tip of the tail. Some riders with shorter bars may find this simply too long for their personal setup. When we consider that “fit comes first” has started to become the AeroGeeks unofficial motto (thank you Fuji), this is something that should definitely be considered.
The Torpedo comes with two lids—a solid lid and a refillable lid. After riding with both, we found that the solid lid tended to be the way to go. The downfall of horizontal bottles versus vertical is that lids designed for easy refills tend to allow much more splash-back due liquid spending more time in closer proximity to the lid (vertical bottles are deeper and the liquid is out of splash distance more quickly). The images we shot for our first ride article neglected to take advantage of the leash that allows you to tether the solid lid to the straw thus preventing an unfortunate loss of the solid lid when it is removed – we corrected this when we started testing the 400 and enjoyed the security it provided.
So did the Torpedo System live up to the hype? Absolutely. The system is a complete package that offers everything an athlete may need in a hydration solution designed from the beginning to be as aerodynamic as possible. But like all components, it comes down to fit. So often athletes concentrate on fit for their frames, cockpit, and saddle; but forget that every component needs to be taken it into consideration. You cannot get aero on a setup that doesn’t fit you. But if the Torpedo System works for you, we highly recommend giving it a look. It checks off all the boxes the AeroGeeks had, and even a few we didn’t consider!