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Bivo Water Bottle Review: The Bidon Rebooted

Bivo promises a water bottle that is not only built to last but also delivers a better taste experience and superior flow for easier drinking. Is this the smarter bidon we have all been waiting for?

Bivo Water Bottle Review: The Bidon Rebooted

Over the past couple of decades, there has been no shortage of what can be considered industry-shifting products that have come to the market. Disc brakes, tubeless tires, and dropper posts on drop bar bikes, to name a few. But a water bottle? Considering how relatively dormant innovation has been in the bike bottle world it’s understandable to believe there isn’t much to tinker with and improve upon here. That’s what I thought until I was introduced to Bivo whose disruptive design intends to reinvent the standard semi-disposable plastic water bottles that are currently ubiquitous in the cycling world and the ones we have all been stuffing into our cages for many years.

Here’s the sales pitch from the small Vermont-based brand, “our bottle was built to last longer, taste better, be safer, and to create impact.” Based on how many I’ve seen stashed on bikes as of late, they do seem to be making inroads in the industry. For the past several months, I’ve been using the bottles both on day rides and multi-day bikepacking outings. Here are some of the design features of these next-level bottles and my experiences in using them to stay hydrated.

Free Flow

Because Bivo’s bottles are constructed from stainless steel, it’s not possible to squeeze the bottle to initiate the liquid flow unless you have Hulk-like strength, which is certainly not the case for most cyclists. This can seem counterproductive to staying hydrated during a ride. After all, who wants to always have to unscrew the cap from a metal bottle to get at the fluid inside? (The original cycling bidon, in fact, was a metal bottle with an opening that you sealed with a cork.) But here is the genius of the bottle as designed by a former NASA engineer—rather than the squeezing required with traditional plastic bottles, a wide straw attaches to the nozzle on the inside of a bottle and with just a bit of tilt gravity you have free flow. The reason the flow rate is so good is that the straw that extends down the bottle creates a smooth air-fluid exchange rate and out comes the liquid in a rush. I’ve found this to be a creative design feature that performs amazingly well. After lifting the nozzle, your fluid pours out with vigor and hydrating is an effortless experience. Bivo has certainly delivered on its promise of a design with superior flow.

With just a bit of tilt gravity you have free flow—the liquid comes out in a rush, making hydrating an effortless experience.

In speaking with co-owner Carina Hamel she mentioned that common feedback sent her way about the bottles is that users end up drinking more during workouts because of just how well the bottle pours liquid into your mouth. So well, that on occasion I’ve reached for the bottle on a ride only to discover that just a few droplets of liquid remain. But I suspect this is a good thing as I historically often struggle to drink enough water on rides (yes, this is despite being a sports dietitian who certainly should know better). I do find that I need to unscrew the top to get at the last few H2O molecules.

Users need to remember that the bottle is only completely leakproof when the top nozzle is pressed down into its closed position. Lay the bottle on its side on the ground with the nozzle popped up and you could lose a precious amount of fluid, perhaps at very inopportune times. Ask me how I know.

In Good Taste

Bivo promises us that their bottles deliver a consistently cleaner taste, courtesy of the non-absorbent, neutral properties of their stainless steel. No plastic aftertaste here, even on steamy days when your sports drink has been festering in the heat. I’ve noticed that this taste experience encourages me to reach for the bottle more often and, in turn, drink more to maintain better hydration. We all know how unappetizing liquid can be after it's been sloshing around in a hot plastic water bottle for a few hours. The caveat here is that the non-metal, food-grade silicone straw requires some maintenance to keep everything tasting pure. (Note you can pop off the straw and use the provided pipe cleaner squeegee to scrub inside the straw.) I’ll admit that I need to get in a better habit of doing this after every few rides to keep everything that passes through the silicone tasting fresh. The silicone top nozzle can also get slimy, which is easily remedied by washing it with hot, soapy water. If you prefer, all parts of the bottle are dishwasher-safe.

Being a conscious consumer is very in vogue these days and, I think, this also includes riders reconsidering what they carry their fluids in. Less plastic is desirable for more of us. Bivo has done a good job of making this a possibility. Alongside their colourful line of stainless-steel bottles, Bivo is encouraging customers and brands to get on board with their pledge to halt the sales and purchase of plastic bottles for good. Plastic cycling bottles are not as easily recyclable as we may believe.

More Water, Less Gunk

I’ve always been one to have something in my bottles other than just H2O, be it electrolyte powder or a sporty cocktail. But when I’m out on a bikepacking sojourn and get a little lax when it comes to properly cleaning plastic bottles at the end of the day things can get funky, fast. On more than one occasion I’ve taken a look into my bottle only to find an emerging science experiment that is hard to adequately remove when on the road. Yes, gross. The anti-mold properties of a stainless-steel bottle is all the reason I need for Bivo to be on my packing list, just one less thing to be concerned about on a trip. While the straw and nozzle are not metal, the silicone is made from sand and also doesn’t seem to support microbial growth.

There is also some concern about potentially harmful chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) that plastic water bottles may leach out. Overall, this is more problematic if hot liquids or something acidic are placed in a plastic water bottle. But I’ve always wondered what happens when plastic bottles are sitting in my cages for several hours while the sun beats down on them. So there might be an inherent health benefit to hydrating from stainless steel more often.

Chill Out

Just keep in mind that when using the non-insulated Bivo bottles your water will get warm (or cold in the winter) because they are made with a single-wall construction, meaning there is very little insulation. However, the brand does sell a 21-ounce insulated option that is advertised to keep cold water cold for up to 12 hours. I’ve yet to adequately test out this timeframe, but I do know that when I stuffed an insulated bottle full of ice water in anticipation of a steamy pedal it was refreshingly frosty well into the ride. When bikepacking, I’ll filter cold stream water into the insulated bottle and this helps keep the water more refreshing for longer. Which, again, makes me actually want to drink more. That’s a win. Another useful purpose is stashing an insulated bottle of ice water in your car at the trailhead so when you’re done ripping through the trails you have a brain freeze to look forward to.

During the colder months, it’s possible to put heated liquids in their insulated bottles as long as it’s not boiling water as that raises the risk of a burnt esophagus.


There is certainly an argument to be made in favor of the Bivo bottle being able to outlast several plastic bottles and thus justify the more lofty price tag. But it’s worth acknowledging that not everyone wants to, or can, spend what is being asked for these bottles - $39 USD for a 21 oz bottle and $44 for a 25 oz bottle, before shipping costs if ordering online. A 21 oz insulated bottle will set you back $49 USD.

In my opinion, worth the extra expense is the dust cap, which is designed to keep dirt and mud from getting into the nozzle and, in turn, preserve that clean taste of your fluid. I feel that this is an item that should be included with all bottle purchases, especially considering that I see dirt-loving riders being the main market for the brand. It can be problematic when a retailer who carries the bottles doesn’t have the dust caps in stock leaving people needing to order it online—a more costly venture for us Canadians.

While the bottle is made in China, Bivo professes to use “factories and vendors we trust and that care for their employees.” Those manufacturers and suppliers create carbon, so Bivo offsets those emissions by contributing to a project in Cambodia that seeks to improve water quality and help protect local forests where people typically use wood-burning stoves to boil water.

Heavy Metal

In addition to the cost, a main hurdle that may prevent some cyclists from making the switch to Bivo is the weight of the bottles—it’s simply unavoidable that a stainless steel bottle will have a higher weight-to-volume ratio than a plastic bottle. Weight weenies may balk at the fact that a 21oz Bivo weighs 158 grams compared to the less hefty 80 grams of a generic 22 oz plastic bottle. The 21 oz insulated option is even beefier at 276 grams (the brand did recently release a downsized 17 oz insulated bottle that rings in at 240 grams). That means it’s easy to imagine a bikepacker stashing the bottles where they can, but harder to imagine more weight-conscious gravel racers going sans plastic. And given the price, it’s understandable to be nervous about tossing them into any feed zone.

Additionally, the non-malleable metal construction is certainly a check in the product’s durability rating, but when moving along on rougher terrain I found the hard shell to be more of a challenge to coax back into the cage. Plastic bottles, especially when partially empty, have some squish that makes squeezing them in at awkward angles more forgiving. With that said, perhaps these bottles are less likely to bounce out during a bumpy ride. Reaching for a non-existent bottle when you still have 50K to go is never a good thing. However, when you do lose one of these bottles to the trail it can sting a little more. According to the brand, the bottles have been tested to fit into nearly any type of cage on the market. It’s worth noting, though, that the bottles tend to settle more quietly in plastic cages than metal ones.

If you do manage to damage the bottle past the point of usability, its steel design means it can be recycled by most municipal recycling facilities.

Wrap Up

Perhaps what I enjoy most about these bottles is that they come in a range of cheery colours. A combo of mango and flamingo in your cages will certainly make your rig stand out and, yes, #fuelmorefun. It’s like skittles for hydration. But do expect them to look a little more war-torn with consistent use. After a bikepacking trip to British Columbia, my bottles had a few scratches which should be expected given the rowdy terrain I was covering and the Bivo logo had rubbed off the grey “raw” bottle. This is only aesthetics and has no impact on function.

It’s worth noting that the color coating is made from anti-slip silicone. This will be particularly beneficial to riders who prefer not to wear gloves and may have issues with bottles slipping out of their sweaty hands. To me, the tacky material is just another way the bottle feels well-crafted and a step above the standard options.

✓ Pros
Longer lasting than regular water bottles
Better water flow
Less plasticky taste and risk of gunk build-up
Lower overall environmental impact than plastic
✕ Cons
More costly than regular water bottles
Heavy compared to regular bottles
Straw requires some regular maintenance
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