Bivo Review: Swimming Upstream Or A Better Bottle?


Bivo Review: Swimming Upstream Or A Better Bottle?

Industry-shifting products come in all shapes and sizes. Bivo’s disruptive design of choice? Bike bottles. The carbon-neutral Vermont-based brand is channeling its sustainability efforts through the innocuous bidon and, based on how many I’ve seen popping up in my IG feed, they seem to be making a splash. Read on for a review of Bivo’s stainless-steel bottles.

For all except the most memorable races, I stopped taking event t-shirts years ago. During my annual closet purge, the number of cotton tees I was ferrying to Goodwill just started to feel ridiculous. I’m beginning to feel the same way about bike bottles as they have become an all too popular swag item or easy branding canvas, and litter most surfaces of my apartment at any given moment. I get it—colorful bottles are fun and add some snazzy contrast against a frame but the infinite-seeming quantity being produced, and the quasi-disposable mindset that accompanies them, is worth considering critically.

Product & Pledge

It’s refreshing to see a brand like Bivo taking an active stance against the plastic (bottle) pandemic. Before getting into the specifics about the bottles themselves, I think it’s important to call out how well Bivo is marketing a product purchase as an expression of one’s values. Being a conscious consumer is very in vogue these days and, I think, that has a lot to do with folks feeling limited in how they can make a difference. Even if higher-level action gets bogged down in bureaucracy, money always talks, even when purchasing a bike bottle.

Alongside their line of stainless-steel bike bottles, Bivo is encouraging customers and brands to get on board with their Pledge and commit to ditching plastic bottles for good. While an online pledge might feel like a flimsy commitment, there is psychology research to support the idea that a simple, non-binding, publicly-shared promise makes you more likely to follow through on said action. So far, a number of customers have openly pledged alongside two industry brands, Velocio and VeloColour.

About the Bottles

According to Bivo founders, Carina Hamel and Robby Ringer, Bivo was born out of a “terrible taste experience” from a moldy plastic flask that spurred the couple to invent their own better tasting, better-for the-planet, solution. To compete against pervasive plastic options, they were determined to deliver a design with superior flow when drinking, made from sustainable materials, and one that would be compatible with universal bicycle cages. The result is their current line-up of three bottle options, the Bivo One (21oz; $39), Bivo Duo (25oz; $44), and Bivo Trio (21oz, Insulated; $44), where the numerical half of the name indicates the order in which the product was released. For both sizes, the bottles’ recyclable 304 stainless-steel body follows a slightly tapered profile where the wider middle is interrupted by an indented band for easy gripping. A modular lid screws on and sports a removable nozzle and straw. The lid is made from FDA-grade, BPA/BPS-free polypropylene (#5), and all components including the straw, nozzle, o-rings, and the tactile exterior coating are made from LFGB compliant food-grade silicone. While you can’t just put the lid elements in your city recycling bin, you can send them in to TerraCycle‘s Zero Waste program for downcycling.

In Use

Bivo sent me pairs of the Bivo One 21oz and the 25oz Bivo Duo at no charge. This product order would have set me back $146 before tax and shipping, which looks to be about twice the price (if not more) of plastic options. While it would have been hard for me personally to justify that price tag for some bottles, I can say that after riding with them in various cages they do deliver on their promise of easy drinking and a pure, clean taste.

Because Bivo’s bottles are constructed from stainless-steel, there is no squeezing the bottle to initiate the flow. Rather, a wide straw attaches to the nozzle on the inside and gravity does the work for you. I found this to be a mostly positive design feature: After popping the nozzle up, your water flows freely and drinking is basically effortless—save for the very last sip that eclipses the straw’s reach. On casual rides, I found this to be NBD but for anyone who has experienced desperate thirst in a performance scenario (where stopping to unscrew the cap is not an option) I could see this as being a slightly painful side effect of the otherwise, errr, streamlined designed. Additionally, the non-malleable metal construction is certainly a check in the product’s durability rating, but on rougher terrain I found the hard shell to be more difficult to coax back into the cage. Plastic bottles, especially when half empty, have some bend that makes squeezing them in at awkward angles more forgiving.

Aside from the clear sustainability angle, Bivo markets their bottles as offering a consistently cleaner taste, thanks to the non-absorbent, neutral properties of stainless-steel. Anyone who rides with a few scoops of Tailwind, or other drink mix, in their bottles knows the lingering aftertaste that plastic bottles can retain. While I did find Bivo’s bottles definitely do not retain taste in the metal vessel itself, I’d put an asterisk next to this point as the straw requires some maintenance to keep everything tasting fresh (as an eater of everything bagels, I speak from experience). As a way to facilitate cleaning, and later recycling, Bivo made their lids entirely modular: an interior gasket removes from the bottom of the lid, and both the straw and nozzle pop out separately. The company also provides a special pipe cleaner-esque brush with each bottle to scrub inside the straw. From my experience, to keep the silicone bits tasting nice, it was important to clean the nozzle and straw after every few rides.

In addition to the price, the main hurdle I see to more riders embracing stainless-steel bottles as daily carry is the unavoidable fact of the weight, and more specifically, the weight to volume ratio. I’m nitpicking here (that is what reviews are for) when I point out that most bike bottles come in a 22oz or 26oz size; Bivo offers a 21oz and a 25oz. I’m not nitpicking when I compare plastic to stainless weights: Bivo’s 21oz weighs 158g as compared to a generic 22oz plastic bottle’s scant 79g. If you’re already riding with a screwcap stainless-steel naglene, I’m sure this won’t impede your decision and, in fact, the Bivo option might seem like a worthy upgrade. However, if you’re coming from plastic bottle use, that’s double the weight for a few sips less liquid. It’s easy to imagine a world of cyclo-tourists enjoying fresh spring water from their stainless-steel Bivos, it’s a little harder to imagine World Tour teams working on their Bocce ball underhands to deftly deposit metal bidons in the designated zones without clocking a few bystanders.

Finally, Bivo states that there’s an inherent health benefit to drinking from stainless-steel, as some plastics are prone to leaching chemicals into the materials they hold. While I’m no expert on the exact properties of plastic, I’ve definitely tasted my fair share of “BPA Tea” on hot days and whatever is contributing to that chemically taste just can’t be good for anyone.


Bivo is a sustainability-focused brand taking impressive steps to back up this ethos in its products and company practices. But like most things that last, and/or are better for the planet, the cost is pretty premium. I think on the whole there’s a paradigm shift that needs to happen in the way we think about cost—from bike bottles, to our fuel sources, to organically-grown food—that shifts the focus from short term expense to longterm gain. Because if enough cyclists rally behind companies like Bivo and the mindsets and products they’re promoting, our collective effort won’t just be a drop in the bucket.


  • Sustainable, non-leaching materials and designed to last
  • Doesn’t hold onto tastes/off-flavors
  • Satisfying drinking flow — best of any bottle I’ve used


  • Heavy, as compared to plastic bottles
  • Pricey
  • Hard to get that last sip without unscrewing the top
  • Straw requires more cleaning maintenance