At their core, backpack-style hydration systems have remained relatively unchanged for some time. Fill the bladder, bite a valve and suck to drink. This design is simple, cost effective and functional, but is this as far as performance-oriented moto hydration systems can go? Is there still room for meaningful improvement? The folks at LiquidAider certainly thought so when they designed and perfected the world’s first push-button wireless hydration system.
How’s LiquidAider work? Who’s LiquidAider for? What are LiquidAider’s benefits? We caught up with Matt Steele, inventor & CEO of Arapaho Technologies to answer these questions and more.
TT: Matt, push-button hydration is self-explanatory. What is the rest of the story?
LiquidAider: The idea behind LiquidAider is that we do not see hydration bladders as a complete solution to hydration. Dangling suck tubes are no good when the going gets tough. And when you are simply exhausted, sucking water sucks! Drinking less at a time but constantly to match exertion is the concept here and by doing that, you will pee less, retain focus and maintain your hydration level.
TT: So what is LiquidAider?
LiquidAider: It’s simple: Push button. Drink water.
We provide a small wireless button that mounts next to your grip and a small pump that plugs into any hydration pack’s quick connect port. There is a magnetic disconnect that connects the pump tube to the helmet tube. A small adjustable nozzle mounts inside the front of your helmet. As you ride, and I mean in any situation or terrain or speed, you can drink water by hitting the thumb button. No reaching for a tube, and no bite valve. And we add only 8 ounces to your pack, as much weight as a cup of water.
TT: That’s actually pretty significant. Look at the pictures of any group of trail riders or race photos and even the top pros have a dangling tube not being used. And nobody wants a lot of weight added to their already heavy packs.
LiquidAider: Exactly true. Staying hydrated is why we all wear hydration bladders. And no matter how good you are, there are times where you need to drink but cannot take your hands off the controls. The harder the exertion, the harder it is to hydrate with a suck tube. LiquidAider pairs with that partial solution and makes it a total solution. Even if you like a bite valve, you can power the bite valve with LiquidAider and not have to suck water.
TT: So is this only for pros?
LiquidAider: No, not at all. Our customer base spans all ages and the entire spectrum of casual trail riders, to adventure bikers, road racers, and all forms of 4-wheel off-roaders. I think trials and motocross are the only 2 market segments where LiquidAider is not present.
TT: What are some of the features?
LiquidAider: We engineered some very cool features into it. Burst Mode can be set as you ride and it changes the operation to a 2, 3, or 4 second burst of water with a single quick press of the button.
You can pair the button to any number of pumps so imagine a team race like the Baja 1000. One rider gets off and another gets on the bike. The second rider has his own LiquidAider pump and helmet nozzle and he can use the button to hydrate.
A magnet disconnect pulls apart to separates the backpack from the helmet. Take off your helmet and it disconnects. Then lay your pack on the ground and water will not run out your pack. With the disconnect separated, pushing the button will not pump water.
And we will replace any broken part for 50% of the online price. I recall we have had 2 cases where something broke, and it wasn’t the button or pump. In both cases I just sent the parts for free. I was impressed they managed to break something! I know one Canadian rider cartwheeled his bike down a 200 foot whoop section and even without using the supplied button guard, the button was intact and undamaged.
TT: Battery powered?
LiquidAider: Yes. The LiquidAider button is about 10mm wide, and inside of it is a coin cell battery that you can replace. But even though the button never turns off, always is running, that the internal battery will last all riding season if not the year. The pump battery is rechargeable. It will pump somewhere up to 40 liters before needing a charge.
LiquidAider can be used with virtually any hydration bladder, even children's.
TT: Care to drop some notable customer names?
LiquidAider: (Laughing) Ha! Well, we have shipped LiquidAider all over the world. We have a lot of talent trusting our product to give them a major advantage over guys with suck tubes.
Certainly not a complete list, but Jackson Davis (factory Sherco racer), Ron Ribolzi (7x ISDE), David Knight (5x FIM World Enduro Champ) all use it. Cody Webb has been extremely generous to us by using it and testing early versions, and we designed the button to fit his available bar space.
At the Mint 400, Damon Bradshaw picked up a kit and then brought a friend over to buy one. Then Damon, as nice a guy as you’ll ever meet, stood at my vendor tent for about 45 minutes demonstrating LiquidAider to desert racers who probably didn’t know who he was!
Mason Klein who I met at the Parker 250 race this year is 18 years old and finished 3rd in all stages of the 2020 Sonoran Rally except the first one. This means he finished behind Ricky Brabec and Skyler Howes but ahead of a stellar cast of racers and he credits LiquidAider for contributing to his amazing performance. Mason gave us a video of his thoughts about LiquidAider and it’s on our website and YouTube channel.
We do not pay anyone to use LiquidAider, so if you look over and see our button on the handlebars next to you, it’s because they bought a key advantage to beating you and they know it!
TT: Is it difficult to install?
LiquidAider: No, it’s actually easy when you realize all you are doing is installing a nozzle inside your helmet, plugging in our pump, and connecting the tubes with the magnetic disconnect. I highly recommend watching our YouTube videos because it makes everything really easy to understand. Our included written instructions are over the top in detail for anyone wanting that.
Handlebar control switch is easy to reach and takes up very little space.
TT: And what is the future for LiquidAider?
LiquidAider: We are aware of other applications including military, bicycles, etc. and we are pursuing them. Ricky Johnson helped another entity with a similar concept, probably focused on Trophy Truck racing, but I heard they had issues and are not to market. The technology involved for such a simple concept is very advanced and challenging to implement. We’d welcome conversations with anyone about partnerships or applications. As a side note, I gave Ricky a kit
when I met him at King of the Hammers in February and he seemed genuinely blown away at the product quality and packaging and I think it caught him by surprise that this existed in a final production form. I hope he uses it and gets back to us.
TT: Closing thoughts Matt?
Think about this. We have done everything to our bikes and spent a ton of money to upgrade and give us an advantage over the next guy or just be able to ride better. Suspension tunes, anti-vibration additions, pivot pegs, steering dampers, billet everything. Then a guy goes riding/racing and hopes his body can do what he asks and comes back to the pits with half a bladder of water and is wiped out for a day of recovery. The bike is perfect. The body is shouting “Hey! What about me?!”. LiquidAider is the one thing that you can do for your body, right now, and have an immediate advantage over anyone with a suck tube. All things being equal, the rider with LiquidAider will win every time. And it’s not expensive. Why would you not want that major advantage?
TT: Thanks for taking the time Matt!