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DIY Retro Bike Bottles

When you have a retro/vintage bike newer plastic bottles look out of place on them, well I think they do. I had been looking to see if people sell older style bike bottles but couldn’t find any in the UK at a reasonable price. So I decided to make my own, after all how hard can it be?

So this is our aim. A retro looking corked metal bottle.

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Aluminium bottle. Photo from http://www.vintage-bike-shop.com

Step one – Get the bottle and other parts.

As mentioned in previous posts I like to buy cheap stuff, so when I found 750ml brushed stainless steel bottle for £3.29 I bought two. After you have your bottles you will need to get corks that will fit the opening. The description of my bottles luckily told me the diameter of the opening so I could order the bottles and corks at the same time. If yours doesn’t you’ll have to wait for your bottle to arrive and measure the opening or have a lucky guess.

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Shiny!

Now you have the bottle you need to get the corks, corks are available cheaply on eBay and come in different sizes. I needed a 37mm cork. Corks are not sized in mm they come in set standard sizes, this chart should help you find the size, you want the bottom diameter to be smaller than the opening but the upper diameter larger, so you cork doesn’t fall through. I needed a size 19 which were on eBay for 99p each, I’ll take two. Next if you want an eyelet for the cork so you can attach it to the bottle via string you will need to buy some eyelet bolts. I found some stainless steel ones for £4. They need to be stainless steel so they don’t rust or contaminate your water, again these eyelets are optional.

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Eyelet bolt

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Corkin’

Step two –  Get that logo off.

Though the logo may not bother some the ‘Pedal Pro’ didn’t seem to have the retro feel. To get it off I took some fine steel wool and rubbed the logo off, because the bottle is brushed steel it left no marks as I rubbed in the same direction as the brushing on the bottle, but if you bottle is plain steel or aluminium you may have to find other ways of removing logos, metal polish would also work at removing the logo as it is abrasive.

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Half way through removing logo.

Step three – Fitting the cork.

The cork was, as expected, not a perfect fit in the opening so had to be shaped. I used a rasp and some sand paper to take a few mm off the bottom section but leave it wider at the top so it would sit flush with the opening.

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Cork after shaping, It took some more sanding to make it fit properly.

Step 4 – The optional step.

If you decided to fit the eyelets this is probably the hardest bit of making the bottle, and it’s pretty easy. All you have to do it drill a hole in the centre of the cork just smaller than you eyelet thread size, so for an M6 bolt which is 6mm in diameter you need to drill a 5mm hole, for  a M5 bolt you need a 4mm whole, I presume you can guess the other sizes. Once tour hole is drilled you need to thread your bolt through the cork and secure it with a washer and bolt at the other end, don’t tighten it to much or the cork might break. The washers on top and bottom of the cork are important as the spread the pressure of the bolt. The excess bolt end can be butt off with a hack saw or dremel. If you don’t feel like going to this fuss you can leave it as is or use a large cotter pin secured with some glue.

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The cork with bolt attached.

Step 5 – Put it all together. 

I hope I don’t need to explain this but I will. Now you have a cork and bottle, put the cork in the bottle and if you have an eyelet tie a piece of string or twine to the eyelet and then tie a loop around the neck of the bottle, now you have an unloosable (yes that might be a real word) cork. These cork are not completely waterproof, I’m not gonna lie, if you turn them upside down they go drip, drip, drip. This is why they are meant for bikes, they wont leak when at a diagonal, such as the down tube, and the wont leak at a vertical, such as the seat tube. Gravity is a wonderful thing. So there you have it, a cheap, safe and cool looking water bottle for you favourite bike. I have seen people wrap them with leather or twine to stop rattling but I have had no problems with rattling and after trying the twine wrap, I wouldn’t recommend it as it isn’t very durable. These instructions are just an basic idea of how to do, make the bottle your own way or do it differently  Your bike. Your bottle.

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The ill fated twine wrap, I think it would last longer if coated in varnish, looks nice though.

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Pretty simple, they look better in real life.

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