The TriRig Alpha BTA Mount
article & images by Nick Salazar
Sep 25, 2013
Today I'm unveiling our first Alpha accessory, the integrated BTA mount. This small little plate is just 20 grams of unidirectional carbon fiber that has been designed exclusively for use on the Alpha aerobar. It stacks into the modular hardware tower just like any other Alpha component, and the result is that it puts a pair of water bottle bosses exactly where you want them. Actually, there are two pairs of mounts, allowing you a little bit of fore-aft offset adjustment. You can also flip the mount 180 degrees, so that the forward offset becomes backwards offset, for a little more adjustment. This baby does it job perfectly, and looks pretty darn good doing it, if I do say so myself. By now you should know I'm a sucker for nude unidirectional carbon fabric, and that's all you'll see on the Alpha BTA mount.
And that's really all there is to the product. But it warrants a little bit of additional background information.
A little over two years ago, I wrote a succinct hydration guide meant to give athletes a bit of guidance as to how they might set up their bikes to make sure they had sufficient and convenient access to fluids on the bike, while minimizing or eliminating any aerodynamic penalties associated with the hydration equipment. The most important punchline from the article is that your first priority when setting up the hydration equipment for any triathlon bicycle is to get your BTA (between-the-arms) bottle set up right, and you DON'T need to buy any fancy equipment in order to do so. A handful of zip ties, a little ingenuity, and a dash of patience are all the ingredients you need to get your bottle cage sitting securely between your aerobar extensions.
So now here I am, selling the very type of product that I've insisted you don't need to buy. Why? Because, although you don't HAVE to have additional equipment to set up your bottle cage, the right product can make your life a lot easier, and potentially make your setup a lot cleaner than if you had to do everything with zip ties alone. In the last two years, I've reviewed a fair number of hydration products whose purpose is exactly what I've just described. These products take the headache and hassle out of setting up your BTA bottle, and make all the decisions for you.
One sitatuion in which a BTA mount can be superior to a zip-tie-only solution is if the zip ties would place the bottle significantly lower than the arms. I had a chance to talk to Phil White in private when he unveiled the New P3 bike in Boulder, and one question I asked him in passing (sorry, it didn't make the video in that article) was whether the height of the BTA bottle made much of a difference in its aerodynamic efficacy. His answer: absolutely. You want the bottle right between your arms, filling the void between them. Put the bottle too high or too low, and it becomes a penalty instead of a benefit.
So, perhaps the most important function of a pre-designed BTA mount (that is, a non-zip tie solution) is to put the bottle at the right height. Fortunately for the Alpha, the pads and extensions move up and down together, so if you go the zip-tie route, your bottle will still be at the right height. And rather than continue to tip-toe around the conclusion I'm trying to get at, I'll just say it explicitly. You do not need the Alpha BTA mount to result in a very good between-the-arms bottle setup. But it sure is a nice piece of equipment. Like everything else I have designed and sell in our store, the Alpha BTA mount is something I wanted. I knew this would be a more secure solution than the zip-tie method, more elegant, and far easier to implement.
But the Alpha BTA mount has another very nice benefit. It acts as a bridge between the pad towers, providing additional structural integrity to the whole setup. This will allow us to, eventually, sell additional spacer kits for people who want to get higher than the Alpha's already-impressive max stack height adjustment range.
And finally, we get to the brass tacks. When will this guy be available, and for how much? We are targeting a release somewhere around January 1st, 2014, for a price of roughly $89 for the mount alone. Additional spacer and bolt kits will most likely be available around March 1st, 2014. Please feel free to give us your comments below. As I've stated before, the Alpha is my proudest project to date. I care very deeply about this bar, and wanted to make a BTA solution worthy of the effort required to design the Alpha itself. I think this BTA mount turned out to be exactly what I wanted, and I think Alpha customers will be delighted to bolt this guy on. Thanks for reading!