Author Topic: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution  (Read 6057 times)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« on: August 02, 2010, 06:32:21 pm »
ETA: Please read all my posts on this thread, in which I solve some long-term issues, before trying this for yourself.

I'm posting this in The Dark Side as it's likely to be of most interest to recumbent riders, even though it's not actually recumbent specific.

The problem: The HPV Streetmachine (and close relatives) is an awesomely German tourer with a conspicuous absence of sensible places to mount bottle cages.  As standard you get two sets of braze-ons: one under the seat, which works well enough but can only be reached when stopped, and one on the front of the dérailleur post, which you need inspector gadget arms or a dismount to get at (and is much more usefully employed as a place to mount lighting).  HPVelotechnic suggest drilling the seat to mount another pair of bottle cages, which apparently works well enough, but seems like a bit of a scary hack.  The obvious alternative is something Camelback-like behind the seat or in your luggage.



Before I was drawn to the dark side, I'd read around and invested in an Ortlieb 4 litre water bag as a solution to campsites with a silly-long walk to the tap, and the odd insanely hot ride across the midlands on a Sunday afternoon when everywhere's shut.  It's pretty much what you'd expect from Ortlieb: simple, well made and does exactly what it says on the tin.  The material isn't going to tear or p*nct*r*, and the straps are just long enough to fit an arm through for carrying over your shoulder.  The valve seems pretty decent, with good control of the flow, so you can have a slow trickle for washing hands or rinsing out pans.  There's an optional shower valve cap, and the black version does a pretty decent imitation of a solar shower.  It should also work fairly nicely as a pillow, but I've yet to try that.

Ortlieb do a drinking tube accessory for the water bag, so that seemed like a no-brainer for hydration on the 'bent.  It consists of a hose with a decent enough bite valve on one end, and a cap that fits the water bag on the other.  The thread on this is identical to standard PET drinks bottles, and the cap incorporates a pressure-relief valve that allows it to be used with PET bottles without them getting crushed by air pressure as the contents are consumed.  A potentially handy feature that I never see myself using.

Put these together, fill it with a sane amount of water (the full capacity is strictly for camping purposes!), and strap the water bag to the rear rack, and you've got a rather good darkside hydration solution.  What you do with the end of the hose I'll leave as an exercise for the reader.  I'm currently managing okay with it looped through a gear and brake cable when not in use, which puts it in an easily-reached position when riding, and keeps the end reasonably clear of the road crud.  Some sort of clip to hold the end on the handlebars or underside of the seat would be better, but not so much that I've actively looked for one.

Unfortunately, there's a problem - the PET cap on the drinking tube leaks.  Not badly to the point of losing all your water, but enough to get things a bit wet.  I initially thought this was from the pressure relief valve, but a more detailed investigation by Charlotte of this parish determined that it was from the hole where the hose passes through the cap.  This is simply a well-fitting hole, with no attempt at any kind of seal or gasket.  Useful with PET bottles, as you can easily vary the length of hose inside the bottle to allow for different bottle sizes and you're going to be using it in the upright position anyway, but annoying with the water bag in horizontal orientations.

Charlotte was in favour of solving this by creating a decent seal with some epoxy or similar.  Seemed like a good idea, but years of experience of largely incompetent thing-construction have taught me that if I'm attempting to fix a problem with adhesive, I'm probably doing it wrong.  It also occurred to me that there was an online water-rocketry community who were bound to have solved the problem of coupling hoses to PET bottles at high pressures.

A bit of noodling around the interwebs led me, as these things often do, to the cannabis growing hydroponics section of eBay.  More specifically, to someone selling Tefen food-grade nylon hose and British Standard Pipe threaded connectors in a variety of shapes and sizes.  It turns out that this was clearly the right idea, as I later discovered that the bite valve of the Ortlieb drinking tube is connected to the hose using one of these connectors.

A bit of measuring confirmed that a 1/4" BSP connector will fit inside the neck of a PET bottle with plenty of clearance, and that an 8mm barbed hose connector is the right size for the Ortlieb drinking tube hose.

So I ordered some bits, and threw this together:


From right to left: Orlieb water carrier screw cap; Tefen 1/4" BSP female-female socket; a random plumbing washer from my box of random plumbing washers; the lid from a bottle of Tesco value [yes, it's] still water with a 14mm hole (13mm would be a better fit, but I didn't have a 13mm bit) drilled in the centre; another random plumbing washer for good measure; a 1/4" BSP male-male nylon nipple; a 1/4" BSP female to 8mm hose connector and the Ortlieb drinking hose and spring.


Surprisingly, this works as well as intended.  Absolutely no leaks from a full bag hanging vertically (with the cap at the bottom) for several hours.  Not even when squeezed.  The BSP hose connector has a swivel function, with the threaded nut rotating around the hose while you tighten it (the BSP nylon connectors have tapered threads and are waterproof when finger-tight), so the hose can be left in place on the bike and easily removed and reattached to fill the bag.

It fits nicely on the rear rack of the SMGT between two panniers, with the hose pointing down through the rack and routed under the seat:


Your bike may vary.  One possible variation on this would be to dispense with the male/male nipple and use a right-angle hose connector instead.  This would stick out a lot less, but would sacrifice the swivel and easily disconnected BSP connection.

I fully accept that this is completely over-engineered.  But I ride an SMGT  ;)

It's had two outings now, on the Dun Run and Butterfly/Clarion wedding weekend.  Still no leaks.

More photos here.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Zoidburg

Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2010, 06:37:49 pm »
What I would do is get buckles and strap to extend the ones on a smaller hydration bladder.

One over the head and the other round your waist with the bladder pack on your chest, it's not too big to get away with that and the bite valve is going to be easy to get at.

Sigurd Mudtracker

Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2010, 06:43:17 pm »
I know all about leaky bladders.  It's not nice.  My Inov-8 bladder decided to discharge itself down my legs during a particularly long fell race when I was more tired than I'd ever been before.  For a horrifying moment I thought that I'd completely lost it all control over bodily functions, but was relieved to discover that the fluid was electrolyte drink and not a non-potable fluid.

Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2010, 07:14:10 pm »
Something from this product range instead?
The old Legion hand told the recruit, "When things are bad, bleu, try not to make them worse, because it is very likely that they are bad enough already." -- Robert Ruark

Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2010, 07:28:59 pm »
I use the CamelBak Unbottle as it fits behind the seat on all my recumbents.

Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2010, 07:35:34 pm »
That is an excellent solution Kim.   If I ever get round to riding my bent instead of just admiring it in the workshop, I'll be copying if you don't mind.    :thumbsup:

Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2010, 08:04:05 pm »
I bought one of these(the 6liter):
MSR® Dromedary™ Bags
And then one of these:
MSR® Hydration Kit For Dromedary ™ and Hydromedary™  Reservoirs

Does the same. The hydration kit is pretty expensive though, and I am now on my third, since first I got the bite valve between my spokes 120km from home (this means it's gone) while close to 30°C and the store only had the complete hydration kit, not just the valve. The store was 80km from home btw.
And the other time it started to grow funny colors in the tube.

Twice the hydration kit wasn't attached to the dromedary anymore, and since I keep it in my bag, I had a very wet bag, and very little drinkable water.
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been too many days since I have ridden through the night with a brevet card in my pocket...

Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2010, 08:38:05 pm »
Could you not cable-tie a bottle cage to the steerer or the seat?
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2010, 09:03:08 pm »
Could you not cable-tie a bottle cage to the steerer or the seat?

Given the under-seat steering and moulded seat, not really, no.  That is, I think, the bulk of the problem.

There are a few places on the SMGT where a BikeBuddy or similar could reasonably be attached (boom, inside of the lowrider if you've got one, fairing mount if you've got one), but none are particularly accessible while riding.  It's back of the seat or hydration systems, I think.

Anyway, this works well for me, hopefully others will find it of use.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2010, 09:20:29 pm »
Thanks for posting that, Kim.  And thanks for doing all the hard work researching how to do this!

I wish Ortlieb had assembled a slightly more robust solution in the first place, but for the sake of few quid's worth of bits, you can have a completely bombproof setup and it looks well worth doing.  For darksiders who also do a bit of camping, but who don't want a Camelbak, this is perfect.

Needless to say, my Tefen connectors are already in the post :thumbsup:

Oh - if anyone finds a right angled, swiveling, right angled 1/4" BSP female to 8mm hose connector, please do say.  It's not necessary, as you can see from Kim's pics - but it would be nice  :)
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2010, 09:45:17 pm »
Very elegant Kim.

My somewhat more rough and ready solution we use on the Pino requires a child doing Textile Design Tech at school.
They will at sometime produce  a gym bag, which then gets bunged in the cupboard.

Buy a cheap knock off hydration bladder (mine is branded Highland in the same font that Berghaus use - a tenner from the local wannabe soldier shop).

Squeeze the filled bladder into the gym bag.

Tie artful knots in the gym bag draw strings, forming a pair of hanging loops.

Stuff the bag down the back of the stoker's seat, supporting the weight on the loops, artfully arranged over the seat back supports.

Drape the drinking tube such that both pilot (seated at the back) and stoker can reach it.   
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2010, 09:50:15 pm »
I love to see others showing their ingenuity on the forum.  :thumbsup:

I am not a fan of bladder systems though, and have drilled and fitted bottle-cages behind the seat on my recumbent, screwed one on the steering boom of the other and when I had the trike, I could reach the bottle-cage on the front deraileur mount. all of which could be accessed on the move.
If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is...

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2010, 10:26:06 am »
My Trice, which sports an HP Velotechnik seat, has four bottle cages bolted through the seat; on the Speedmachine I use a Platypus bladder hanging from a hook inside the tailbox.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

RichForrest

  • T'is I, Silverback.
Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2010, 10:59:22 am »
If you have a fibreglass or carbon seat and don't want to drill it you could try something similar to this
ADEM Headrest Store

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2011, 03:49:12 pm »
I finally got round to doing something better than using gravity and brake cables to support the end of the hydration hose.  I wanted enough hose to be able to drink from the sitting up in the seat position, so having it dangle free in the traditional Camelbak way at shoulder height doesn't really work (due to short legs and a high seat position on the SMGT, if I lie back in the seat while stopped on anything but level ground I tend to fall over).

The obvious solution was some kind of clip stuck to the handlebars or underside of the seat.  Then a less fiddly approach occurred to me: bastard-strong rare-earth magnets.

The first is attached to the tube using a length of appropriately-sized heatshrink:


And the second to the upper side of the seat, under the cushion, with a piece of gaffer tape:


The magnets are then strong enough to hold the tube in position under the seat (it passes the etch-a-sketch[1] and drop-the-bike-from-knee-height tests - I haven't yet tried it on the road), and will 'snatch' it back to the right place without any precision alignment, so it's less fiddly than a clip.



Looks like it should work nicely.


Observant readers will notice I've fitted a Camelbak Ergo Hydrolock valve to the end of the hose.  The Ortlieb bite valve became drippy with use - not a serious problem while riding along, but annoying when stopped or on trains etc, and wastes water.  This also provides a handy 90 degree bend, and allows the bite valve to be removed and used as a tap to fill other containers (eg. for roadside brew-ups) at a decent rate.


[1] Pick it up and shake it.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Tigerrr

  • That England that was wont to conquer others Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
  • Not really a Tiger.
    • Humanist Celebrant.
Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2011, 09:58:00 am »
I have used camelback bladder system which works OK except when you take it into the cafe for a refil and they think you are filling your enema kit.
Humanists UK Funeral and Wedding Celebrant. Trying for godless goodness.
http://humanist.org.uk/michaellaird

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2011, 07:10:33 pm »
Road-tested it this evening, the magnets held firmly in spite of some distinctly dubious surfaces, so that gets the thumbs up.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2011, 07:46:03 pm »
The obvious solution was some kind of clip stuck to the handlebars or underside of the seat.  Then a less fiddly approach occurred to me: bastard-strong rare-earth magnets.

You are an EPIC GENIUS.  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:

I even have some "bastard-grade" rare earth magnets in the house. No heat-shrink, but gaffa tape will do the job I suspect...

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Ortlieb water carrier as a hydration solution
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2011, 02:16:47 pm »
Update, having ridden several hundred BRITONS kilometres with the above:

The principle of using magnets like this is sound - it really is fantastically easy to grab and replace the hose while riding.  I ended up adding a second magnet to the seat to increase the strength a bit, after rotating the bite valve through 90 degrees to give a more natural drinking angle, which caused it to snag on the gear cable when manhandling the bike (not a problem while riding, and next time I replace the cables I'll change the routing to avoid this).  Gaffer tape is not an optimal method of securing the magnets to the seat, as the adhesive slips in warm conditions.  I think I'll try hot-melt glue.

Camelbak bite valves are very chunky and not as pleasant to drink from as the Ortlieb one.  However, they are cheap and ubiquitous, and the right-angle stop valve is a valuable addition, especially when the water carrier is strapped tightly under a rack bag and the whole system is slightly pressurised.  Therefore, I would recommend those starting from scratch not to bother with the Ortlieb drinking tube kit at all, and to simply purchase some generic PVC tubing and the Camelbak valve instead.

Tube length and routing will be bike-specific, but take time to experiment, especially with subtleties like which way the hose twists when you pick it up to drink.  I found that by routing the tube under the seat so it emerged pointing backwards and formed a gentle loop down and forward to the magnetic clip worked best: not only did this give enough tube to drink from a sitting forward position, but by having a decent length of tube in the shade of the seat/my body, the first couple of mouthfuls were chilled by the airflow, even when the water bag was acting as a solar heater.

Squirting some Milton-alike sterilising fluid into the hose and flushing it through with tap water after use seems to have prevented any nasties from growing in the tube this year.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...