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1  - 9 September 2013 16:56

I'm an A-level product design student and new XC. For my final project I am designing a stand for water bottles that can be placed in a feed zone if you don't have someone to stand and hand you bottles.

Having raced the Southern XC series this year I was inspired the brilliant home made creations I saw and wanted to know what riders want from such a product - for example, how many bottles it should hold, how to hold them, ways to make yours identifiable, cost or anything else you would want your stand to do. Any comments and ideas are very much appreciated.

I'm aware that ESI grips have made one in the past ( but have not found any other commercially available system in the UK.

Many thanks,

Kim Clark

2  - 9 September 2013 18:42

Hi Kim,
I race Midland XC in Vets. I have used a Camelback for 20 years up until this year. I use a square stake and have screwed 2 Bottle cages onto it which works quite well. Plastic would be good, possibly coloured so I could see mine standing out, it could even have a number board on but lower down as not to obstruct a quick change.
Hope this helps.

3  - 9 September 2013 18:52

Thanks Carl, that's exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for!


4  - 9 September 2013 20:09

I've been lucky enough to have the support of my wife when I've raced XC and I'm not sure she'd like to replicated. But here's what we've seen in the Vet/Masters feed zone when all the Youngsters have gone home.

Garden fork with various receptacles to keep bottles in,
cut down, 4pt milk bottles
old fashioned milk crates

Up turned buckets
Picnic table.

Reckon you'd need space for 3 or 4 bottles.

Must be very robust. it's going to get treated quite rough.
Easy to "stake out."

5  - 10 September 2013 12:41

The Hand Off looks pretty ideal really.  It may be easier to go for something basic like that, and people could buy 2 or 3 as needed, rather than anything too complicated or expensive.  Having said that, capacity for several bottles would be ideal for those longer enduros, as would a tray or clips for gels.  As mentioned, some form of personal ID would help, though one could easily mark the bottles or tie something distinctive/colourful to the cage.  A nice add on would be a small (but loud) speaker that shouts pre-recorded encouragement eg. when a bottle is lifted - "Great effort. Go, go, go!" "Get moving you lazy #@*&%£!!" etc.  And if you could interface wirelessly with the timekeeper's software, to give your position and time to the rider in front etc - now THAT would be brilliant!

Last edited by Boneyjoe (10 September 2013 12:43)

6  - 10 September 2013 13:26

Missing a like button here for Boneyjoe's suggestions!

It would have to be cheap so nobody nicks it.
It could maybe have some kind of bin for discarding empties.

You could also usefully design a biodegradable gel wrapper that looks like a leaf so can be chucked wherever.

7  - 14 September 2013 05:26

Thanks guys, some great suggestions, keep 'em coming! Couple more questions - how do you travel to your races (car, van, also if you share lifts) and how typically how many races do you do every year?


8  - 26 February 2014 15:08

I did A-Level DT, so i am particularly interested in your project, good choice by the way. My project was to design a carrying system for a normal rucksack on a bike, it also turned out to be my design exam question (or nearly)

Anyway to the point.

I used a folding drinks bottle crate attached to plastic tube pushed into the ground. Unfortunately the tube was to flimsy, and the whole thing takes up too much space as I get the train to local races.

You need to bear in mind just how difficult collecting a bottle from a stand is, I can pick a bottle off the ground at ~10mph when not racing. When you are racing, this sort of coordination is vastly hindered. If you stop and collect the bottle expect to loose around 50m on your components.

The stand needs to be sturdy, and the bottles need to be held in place well, it is likely to get knocked by other people. Sometimes organisers put the feedzone on hardstanding, but commissaires might be lenient if you have to put your drinks somewhere else.

I suggest you do some testing/ design into the most sturdy fixment into the ground. A garden fork is good because it has four prongs that stick into the ground, because of the distance between the prongs the resistance you get from the ground in one direction is high (hence why its good for turning over large lumps of earth at a time). A better design would increase the width of each prong while keeping the cross section area/ width low. i.e. a section the looked like this +. But also bear in mind the problems of rocky soil. I worked as a geotechnical engineer for a while, hence my interest in the foundations!

From what i remember you have to do a testing phase for the project, the above would be quite a good test to set-up, there is also a wealth of literature referring to foundation design that you could use.

Last edited by mikeyg (26 February 2014 15:09)

9  - 26 February 2014 18:07

Thanks Mikeyg!

I have designed a new cage to hold bottles on the stand that enabled bottles to be collected easily at speed; they are much shorter (40mm tall) and support the bottle at the bottom (I have another design that suspends them like a hand might). The base was going to be similar to the garden fork but it is now a tripod with 3D printed feet that allow a peg to be pushed in to the ground to secure the stand further - ie the stand can be used on both hardstanding and grass. I have also designed to stand to be be disassembled if needed (the lragest tube section is still 1m long though...). Testing is ongoing - I did some preliminary tests with various cages on a bar clamped in my workstand before deciding which cage to use. Hopefully the stand should be a useable condition for round 1 of the southern XC series so I can test it there!

10  - 26 February 2014 18:58

When you are racing, this sort of coordination is vastly hindered. If you stop and collect the bottle expect to loose around 50m on your components.

Mental image of MikeyG's bike parts heading off down the track with him in hot pursuit. I hate it when my front wheel beats me.

Blog and other random thoughts and waffle
11  - 7 March 2014 20:20
AndyH wrote:

When you are racing, this sort of coordination is vastly hindered. If you stop and collect the bottle expect to loose around 50m on your components.

Mental image of MikeyG's bike parts heading off down the track with him in hot pursuit. I hate it when my front wheel beats me.

Must of written that a bit late, i think opponent was the word i was looking for

12  - 6 May 2014 19:44


Thanks again for the replies, the stand is now complete and has been tested - you may have seen it at the previous 2 Southern XC rounds! I need your opinions again:

Here is the link to photos of the stand:

This is the video from my race run at Southern XC round 2:

Once again, what do you guys think? I want to know if real racers would consider using it.



13  - 7 May 2014 07:06

Niggles I know, but id prefer it to hold three bottles! You could probably add a counterweight for use on asphalt too.

Mike Moore - LFCC

29th Expert - National XC1
14  - 7 May 2014 13:30

Have you spoken to any BC Commissaire about the suitablity and legality of your product?
At some of the larger events recently I seem to remember they were taking a slighly dim view of "hardware" in the feed zones.  I know regional racing is a lot more relaxed and it may not be an issue but at the bigger events...

Other than that it looks like a very well thoughtout solution to the problem.  If Mrs S ever deserts me I know where to come, and 2 bottles would be enough for me.

Could you attach some speakers and plug point for an MP3 player and a movement sensor on the bottle cage ready to trigger suitable words of encouragment when you grab a bottle. Or to truely replace Mrs S, hectering and bullying comments.  Just a thought.

15  - 7 May 2014 14:58

The commissaires at regional races were really positive (obviously they prefer it if you have a buddy in the feed zone) and thought it was significantly better than the garden forks (which they consider a safety risk). The Southern XC guys have also been using a second 'self-feed' zone for riders using stands or leaving bottles.

More bottles could be added - I was thinking about re-designing the cage mount so that it could be clamped to the top tube to allow more bottles holding space. The clamp would almost bee like a mini-stem type set up.

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