More Durable 1 Liter Bottle?

I HAD four of the zefal 1 liter bottles and love the extra capacity, however in the past two weeks I’ve ejected two on dirt roads and they both exploded on impact. One on the lid, the other got multiple holes in the side of it.

Is there a more durable option? Seems those are made of super cheap and easily cracked plastic. I’ve dropped/ejected a lot of normal bottles over the years on rougher terrain and none exploded like those two…I don’t think it’s coincidence.

I know SIS makes a 1000l bottle, is it any better? Anyone know of another option? Thanks.

Seems the issue is the cages, not the bottles?

Sorry I can’t actually be helpful… I have four of the Zefals too… but ejecting bottles is a fixable problem!


There’s a whole thread on bottle cages. I have some of the Specialized Rib Cage II. You will not eject a bottle with those. Not sure you’ll be able to muscle it out either, though.

Quick look at reviews show cracking issues in those.

I actually like my cages and despite a couple pop outs in the last few weeks they tend to hold onto bottles (one was also from a top tube mounted cage which is a-typical). However I have a 100% failure rate on these bottles if dropped. I’d rather fix that end of the problem, because bottles can still be dropped by accident even with the best cage.

Or is it just that 1l exerts more force when ejected over a 550ml bottle?

iirc, bottles are supposed to explode, rather than someone running into something solid like Gerraint Thomas in the Giro.

My suggestion would be to look for a more secure cage for your gravel bike.


I use Specialized Zee Cages on my gravel bike (side loading, for MTB). They’re more secure than road cages.

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I use the Zefal bottles often for MTB, gravel, and road. I’ve never even come close to losing a bottle, of any kind, with Bontrager RL cages.

I see the Elite Fly now comes in a 1L version. I don’t know if it’s any more durable though.

I’d sort the bottle ejection problem first. I haven’t lost a bottle in ten years probably. knocks on wood

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In my opinion, the sis bottles are much better over all than the zefal. Ive had issues with the bottles developing leaks in the bottom as well as the screw on cap leaking. Ive been using the sis one for 3 years now with zero issue, BUT i believe they just changed the design away from the widmoith version I have. If you can find the wide mouth version, they are slightly higher volume and the cap is better. I recently just ordered two new widemouth ones and I received two narrow top ones. Still work fine, but the bight valve sometimes pinches you lips where the old widemouth version had more rounded edges

I’ve been using the Zefal 1 liter bottles. For the most part they have worked well. One issue with them though is it seems their diameter is just slightly larger than other bottles so they tend to fit really tight in some cages. This can make it a little tough pulling them in and out while riding. I’ve tried a number of different cages but my favorite remains the Arundel Mandible. This holds the Zefals very tightly.

I may need to give the SIS 1L bottle a try to see how it compares.

I like mine, too. They don’t drop eject bottles on gravel, on middling single track or while hot-lapping a homemade CX course. (also knocks on wood)


Literally the only times I’ve dropped a bottle, it was from my hand, or back pocket, not from a cage. For the number of times I’ve dropped them, I’ll take a failure rate above zero, but 100% failure seems rather un-lucky.

I’m not an “epic” kind of guy, but I am a big guy (in the cycling world) and I’m usually content with 2x 24/26oz bottles on the bike and another in a jersey pocket. Seems safer to know that 48-52 oz WILL be available when I want, and hedge on the reliability of the 3rd specialized purist not breaking if it happens to eject from a jersey pocket.

It appears we’re actually talking about a 975ml (Zefal) bottle vs a 980ml (SIS) water bottle costing between $11.88 (Z) and $8.00 (SIS). I’d totally take a shot at saving $3.88 AND getting an additional 5ml in my water bottles, especially since some people here think they’re better made to begin with.

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And if you find the older SIS that is truely the wide mouth, it is a full 1 L

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Zefal Magnum vs. original SiS 1L

I filled the Magnum to the top of that lip (red line, sorry for the crude drawing) and then poured it into the SiS bottle. The SiS holds about one good swig more than the Zefal. The SiS is more flimsy/thinner feeling but fits in my cages better. I’ve dropped my Zefals a couple times and haven’t had any issues yet luckily.

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Cool, thanks for the feedback. I ordered a couple SIS ones, guess I’ll see which version actually shows up.

Maybe I simply got unlucky, but I think a bottle should stand up to a drop impact on a dirt road without a bunch of punctures. I see cheapo plastic bottles (often filled with piss) on the shoulders all the time…and they apparently survived without big holes in them…at 50+mph.

But seriously, fix those cages, man!

I believe they mentioned on the podcast that bottle are made to break open like that when they have a big impact. The reason is that if a bottle gets ejected in the peloton and someone ride over it, it’s much safer to have the bottle deform as it gets run over vs holding its shape and more likely causing an accident.

I could not find one. When it is as big as it is there is no room for thicker material or liners etc.
l keep my 33oz Zefal under downtube and strap it in with velcro strap and keep a 24oz while riding, then switch them. it never falls out of the top cage. i been using the [Ushake cages] and they surprised me how well they hold.


Last year i started using a seat-mounted double bottle holder for long days out. I had a bunch of instances with my Zefal bottles ejecting with this set-up before i got extra secure cages( lezyne flow ) to hold them. My bottles have a bunch of scuffs and look chewed-up around the corners, but no leaks and they still work great. They seem super durable to me :man_shrugging:

Those are the only two bottles I can remember ejecting in a long long time, maybe years. That’s the reason I have the cages I do on every one of my bikes, and the reason I’m not looking to spend $300+ to change to different cages on all those bicycles. My drops and ejections ‘over the years’ is reference to 30+ years of riding bikes with a variety of different cage and bottle combinations, and never having a bottle bust open on impact like these zefal ones have done both times I’ve dropped them.

I think that’s nonsense. Is a 1/2" gash that leaks all your nutrition going to be the difference between riding over the bottle and crashing over it because it doesn’t have a gash in it and isn’t leaking fluid? I’d like to see the evidence of that. Excess pressure can be released from the top in either situation when they get hit/ridden over. Might as well argue that a stronger bottle is safer because it doesn’t leak sugar fluid and cause a wet and slippery road surface for the peloton to ride over.

Also, who in the peloton is riding with 1 liter bottles? You don’t even see 24oz bottles in most races.

I’ll see if I can find it in the podcast, I believe it was Amber who said it. Also, it was more of having the top pop off of the bottle if I recall. And it was probably only for 500ml bottle, but I’m guessing bottle companies don’t have different designs for the lids for different size bottles.

That makes more sense. These tops have stayed on though…but one got a big crack in the top of the top, and the other got multiple punctures in the side/bottom.

I’d prefer the tops pop off if it saved the rest of the bottle.