Product Review: Groupon Goods Adjustable Water Bottle Holder

The Product: Groupon Goods Adjustable Water Bottle Holder for Bicycles– DO NOT BUY!!!

Source: Groupon.com

Who doesn’t love a good deal? Groupon is the perfect storm for people such as myself, who are searching for good deals and discounts from their iPhone and expecting not to have to do too much research on the subjects. For restaurants, beauty services, concert tickets, and other events, it’s great. But for goods, I’ve noticed, notsomuch– sometimes products are identical to ones you can find in stores, and if you go to the store you don’t pay for shipping.

What Possessed Me to Buy 

Back at LFAR 23, I noticed all the other fabulous lady cyclists had water bottle holders affixed to their bikes. My search had begun, but so far I’d only seen flimsy-looking wire models. The image made it look sturdy and easily attachable. This particular model was only $9 (it seemed like a good price, right…?) and it would be shipped directly to my door, saving me time in searching a bike shop or sporting goods store. I mean, it’s literally click-to-buy, and the timer running down adds a sense of urgency to the matter.

These are the specs according to Groupon:

 

After the Purchase

The major disappointment came when I tried to attach it straight out of the box before rushing off to the gym. It didn’t come with any screws! Nowhere was it mentioned that they weren’t included. Plus, maybe I hallucinated this, but I thought there would be a way to attach it with the screws that did NOT include drilling holes in the frame and essentially destroying it. Alas, I was wrong. This is what I came up with:
A makeshift attempt to attach to the seat tube

Um, gag! Mid-ride to the gym, I realized I couldn’t even put my water bottle in it under these conditions: The holder kept slinging of to the side and my leg would hit the bottle and knock it out. (Good thing my Klean Kanteen has taken this type of beating before.)

The Solution

While helping a soon-to-be fabulous lady cyclist friend find the perfect ride, I landed in a bike shop and found a $3.99 attachment for a water bottle holder, made by the reputable Bontrager company. The Handlebar Bottle Cage Clamp screws into the holder and then around my handlebars. No destroying the frame, water bottle holder placed in a super-convenient location. The nice folks at Bike Gallery downtown (a shop I frequent) even put it on for free. Success! Or so I thought…
The Savior clamp. Source: Bontrager.com

The holder’s got some fresh kombucha! But bad idea to ride with glass.

Worth the Buy?

Bontrager itself had all kinds of wire frame and carbon-composite bottle holders available, with prices starting at $8.99 for one not as fancy as the Groupon holder. (The high-end holder is about $80, which seems a bit ridiculous considering the whole bike cost me about that much to acquire.) At Bike Gallery and other shops, basic wire “bottle cages” were as low as $3-4, but comparable cages to Groupon were about $10-20. So price-wise, it was indeed a deal for what I got for the money.
Furthermore: Looking at the cages for sale in the shops and online, it is in fact pretty standard in the industry for the cages to not include the hardware. Which I ended up liking, because attaching it to my handlebars turned out to be WAY more awesome than attaching to my seat tube (as pictured with the pink zip ties) or down tube.
While I probably could have found something similar for similar prices, it would’ve taken a lot more research and effort, and probably not been significantly cheaper. And it does have the adjustable piece on the bottom, which is unique among all models I saw.

9 Months Later…

EPIC FAIL!!!!

Problem #1: Not Holding Very Well

As early as September, just 1 month after purchase, I noticed the holder was getting loose in the adjustments. The little screw would come unwound a little if I hit the bumps, and things got very questionable when coffee spilled on me because the holder was too loose. So I tightened the bottom screw with a wrench to a point just smaller than my water bottle and coffee mug and left it.

Problem #2: Rusty Screws

While the tightened screw did not come loose for another month or so after I tightened it within an inch of its life, it became obvious that it was getting rusted. I store the bicycle inside my apartment complex’s bike room every night and make sure I can park it in a covered area whenever possible. (Plus, it wasn’t even as rainy in Portland this Fall/ Winter/ Spring as it usually is!) Either way, the screw started rusting (as you can see above).

By December, it was clear that the rusty apparatus was no longer adjustable at all– I was afraid to try to loosen it with a wrench for fear that Problem #1 would recur. And frankly, the fact that I could no longer adjust it was somewhat OK since it held each of my 2 cups reasonably well. That said, the fact that the supposed “adjustability” was one of the features of the item did not escape me.

Problem #3: Inflexibility

Since the holder was supposed to have a handy screw-mediated adjust on bottom, clearly the engineers thought they wouldn’t need to invest in more flexible plastic polymers for the holder itself. Wrong!

RESULT: Broken, Rusted, and Replaced

You can read my final thoughts on this, as well as my final solution, in my Winter update post, Joy in the New Year!

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