If you’ve ever used a BTA setup with a long straw, you’ve probably said to yourself on more than one occasion, “there’s got to be an easier way to deal with this straw.” Either you leave the straw flapping in the wind, spend a moment reclipping it back against the bottle, or struggle to reattach it magnetically to your bars. At Interbike, Speedfil showed us a fourth option that even Speedfil wasn’t quite sure about at the time. While it had been initially developed with Speedfil’s off-road bundle in mind and meant for Xterra athletes, we immediately realized the benefit for tri-bike applications and begged to get some samples sent back to AeroGeeks HQ. Well, here we are a few months after we first started testing, and we are ready to share our thoughts.
The Speedfil Micro-Retractor
At first glance, the Speedfil micro retractor looks a lot like the clip-on/retractable badge holders you see hanging from office workers’ belt loops. However, looks can be deceiving. The micro-rectractor’s cable is 28” spectra nylon (the standard office version is typically woven thread/filament) and has a 40lb break strength. The spring inside is law/military grade with sufficient tension to hold/retract with up to 6oz of force. The retractor has a patented self-cleaning mechanism to keep grit/grime out of the spring, allowing for longer spring life. Finally, the silicon-backed Velcro attachment is meant to not only secure the retractor in place but also not scratch / mar expensive carbon bars/frame.
We mounted our retractor underneath the BTA mount on our Trek Speed Concept test bike and used it in conjunction with a Speedfil A2. We immediately appreciated the benefits of using the micro retractor right from our very first ride. We simply grabbed the straw, drank, and let go. That’s it. The micro retractor pulled the straw back tight against the mount. It was quick, easy, and hassle free. And yes, of course we know that putting a straw back isn’t a huge deal. But over the course of a race, you end up going through that process repeatedly. And most everyone has had that moment where the straw simply doesn’t want to go back where you need it to, and after hours in the saddle, you just don’t have the mental energy to continuously correct it. The micro-retractor solves that.
The only negative is that while you Velcro the retractor to your bike, you zip tie it to the straw. And for those that already find cleaning a straw or BTA bottle to be a challenge, having the micro retractor attached permanently only makes matters more complicated. However, for us, we found that the annoyance was well worth it and never wanted to go back to the clip again.
At $29.95 the retractor is a little on the pricy side, especially considering you spent anywhere from $50 to $200 on your BTA setup already. But for those looking to eliminate one more worry on race day, the price is going to be absolutely worth it.