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Help me overthink the under downtube water bottle cage.

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Help me overthink the under downtube water bottle cage.

Old 09-15-23, 04:19 AM
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Paraphased from Romancing the Stone, "Now that's a touring bike!"
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Old 09-15-23, 05:08 AM
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I like 1 to 1.5 liters worth of water depending on the time of year and use Nalgene bottles as my standard water bottle for everything.

I really like the BiKase ABC water bottle holder. It has an adjustment knob on the retaining strap that lets you fit larger bottles like Nalgene.

The only downside is any sand or grit that gets between the holder and your Nalgene bottle will grind the hard clear finish off your bottle over time into a dull haze.
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Old 09-15-23, 07:00 AM
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I've used Delta Inox stainless cages forever and they grip the bottle like there's no tomorrow. They don't come out, or go in easy. The King Iris cage is similar design and also great.
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Old 09-15-23, 07:24 AM
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Yesterday's ride I realize I can access and use this bottle cage fairly easily on the move on smoother parts of the gravel or on the road. Plenty of space to get the bottle in and out. I did slightly rub the tire once when I pulled out out aggressively. Just pull it out carefully and not a big deal. 68.5 degree head angle FTW.

Originally Posted by DeoreDX

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Old 09-15-23, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
Under the down tube is not an ideal place to carry water. You can't reach it while riding, and even with mudguards, it gets exposed to a lot of debris kicked up by the front wheel. I used that location for a Sigg fuel bottle:
Outstanding idea except I would have a triangia fuel bottle.
I'm too old and broken down to do multi day tours but I have been known to take stuff to cook lunch or make tea. Use a canister stove more often .
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Old 09-16-23, 04:30 AM
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Iíve used a Bontrager Bat Cage on on the underside of a downtube for mountain biking and never lost a bottle, even on rocky downhills. They hold the bottle really tight.

The bigger challenge is finding a good water bottle with a cap that covers the whole lid, rather than just the spout.
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Old 09-16-23, 05:34 AM
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C&V alert. I have a TA Specialties cage on my seat-tube, and a knock-off under my down-tube. The TA cage has stronger material. The lower cage gets loose if I ride over some tough road surfaces, so I have to stop the bike, reach down, and bend it back up nice and tight. I'm going to replace the lower with a real TA. That said, I got hundreds of miles this summer on this bike with no problem from the cages.
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Old 09-16-23, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by estasnyc
I guess Plan A will be to mount that Rib Cage II on the underside to see if that may offer more room for a water bottle. Plan B will be to find a smaller water bottle that can be placed in the cage.
I have been using the original Rib Cage for years, along with 27oz Kleen Kanteens, but not on the underside of the down-tube. The ones I have do not seem like ordinary plastic, and hold the bottle rather tightly, so I would go ahead and try some local rides with it installed there.
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Old 09-16-23, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
I have been using the original Rib Cage for years, along with 27oz Kleen Kanteens, but not on the underside of the down-tube. The ones I have do not seem like ordinary plastic, and hold the bottle rather tightly, so I would go ahead and try some local rides with it installed there.
Turns out that the Rib Cage will allow me to mount my water bottles with a caveat: This interferes with the front derailleur cable. Using three M5 washers as 1mm spacers at the bottom mount will make it completely clear the cable. Two will have the cable just graze the Rib Cage.

This creates another complication: I don't know how wise it may be to have different spacing on the two mounts. With two washers on the top mount, the red bottle will again come in contact with the fender but the smaller blue bottle clears it.

Will it matter if I have three washers at the bottom mount but zero or one at the top?

This may end up being a moot question though. After reading here about King Cages, I went to their website and saw a choice that I found appealing:

The SS Lowering Flat Top

This would allow my using an MSR fuel bottle as well as a water bottle.

Last edited by estasnyc; 09-16-23 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 09-16-23, 10:18 PM
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Seth's Bike Hacks, or Berm Peak rather, did a fairly scientific bottle cage drop test video a few years ago specifically for under downtube mounting.

I think the Specialized Zee came out on top, but I know he also uses Fidlock cages which require their proprietary bottle (or adapter), but seem to be the most secure option possible.
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Old 09-16-23, 11:35 PM
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I'm using a pair of knockoff feedbag style waterbottle bags on my handlebars. I couldn't position them tight against my stem and have been experimenting with different mounting methods.

I am currently using a handlebar waterbottle bracket clamp with a straight section of aluminum barstock to secure the bag. After a couple of test rides, I'm finding it is working well. I still need to try it on rough single track to be sure. All the other methods I have tried ended up having some shortcommings that kept me from being 100 percent satisfied.


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Old 09-17-23, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by poinciana
Seth's Bike Hacks, or Berm Peak rather, did a fairly scientific bottle cage drop test video a few years ago specifically for under downtube mounting.

I think the Specialized Zee came out on top, but I know he also uses Fidlock cages which require their proprietary bottle (or adapter), but seem to be the most secure option possible.
I believe this is the video you're referring to:

Talk about a torture test. I can't imagine that I'll do anything that will come near but I'll definitely use a velcro strap for insurance.

As for myself, I was able to get the Specialized Rib Cage II that I previously wrote about to hold the two water bottles, clearing both the front fender and the front derailleur cable, by using a single M5 washer as a spacer between the RCII and the upper mount and three M5 washers between the RCII and the lower mount, essentially fine-tuning the angle that the cage is mounted.

I do believe that I'll end up getting the King Cage SS Lowering Flat Top though.
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Old 09-17-23, 08:11 PM
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I actually use several Arundel Looney bin cages on my touring bike which I also use for gravel, and when you tighten down the knob there isn't anything you can do that will make that bottle come out of that cage. It will hold a variety of sizes of bottles too up to 3 3/4-inch diameter

I'm able on my front forks to carry Nalgene 48-ounce wide mouth bottles very securely. On my bike, due to front fenders, I can only carry a 16-ounce Nalgene bottle on the underside of the downtube cage or the bottle will hit the fender.
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Old 09-17-23, 09:05 PM
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WB cages under the DT work just fine if you use King SS cages, good WBs and mount the cage low enough that even a larger bottle is well off the wheel/fender. Bring a Wetnap or two if dirt or germs concern you. (You are only going to be swapping bottles at a stop.) I've been doing this for years. Grew up in a household and barn with plenty of germs so I simply don't sweat it. If the bottle is marginal, you can always run a toestrap around it and the DT.

A plus of the under the DT bottle - it is so low you cannot feel even a large full bottle when you rock the bike climbing out of the saddle. And it is nearly out of sight.
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Old 09-18-23, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by estasnyc
I do believe that I'll end up getting the King Cage SS Lowering Flat Top though.
Then again, maybe not.

Originally Posted by rekmeyata
I actually use several Arundel Looney bin cages on my touring bike which I also use for gravel, and when you tighten down the knob there isn't anything you can do that will make that bottle come out of that cage. It will hold a variety of sizes of bottles too up to 3 3/4-inch diameter

I'm able on my front forks to carry Nalgene 48-ounce wide mouth bottles very securely. On my bike, due to front fenders, I can only carry a 16-ounce Nalgene bottle on the underside of the downtube cage or the bottle will hit the fender.
The Looney Bin looks interesting. I did find the website for it: https://www.arundelbike.com/product/looney-bin/

It's missing one piece of information though. It looks like you can mount the Looney in one of two positions but doesn't indicate how far apart these two are.

Taking a look at the picture to see what I mean, could you do me the courtesy of taking a measurement?



I'm presuming the space between the bottom two holes will be exactly the same.

A 32oz Gatorade bottle might fit underneath if you can mount the Looney Bin cage lower and further away from the front wheel as the King Cage Lowering Flat Top would albeit with a narrower bottle. An oversized Nalgene bottle won't fit simply because of its cylindrical shape. The diameter of the Gatorade bottle does narrow towards the bottle cap though.

Last edited by estasnyc; 09-18-23 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 09-18-23, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by estasnyc
Then again, maybe not.


The Looney Bin looks interesting. I did find the website for it: https://www.arundelbike.com/product/looney-bin/

It's missing one piece of information though. It looks like you can mount the Looney in one of two positions but doesn't indicate how far apart these two are.

Taking a look at the picture to see what I mean, could you do me the courtesy of taking a measurement?



I'm presuming the space between the bottom two holes will be exactly the same.

A 32oz Gatorade bottle might fit underneath if you can mount the Looney Bin cage lower and further away from the front wheel as the King Cage Lowering Flat Top would albeit with a narrower bottle. An oversized Nalgene bottle won't fit simply because of its cylindrical shape. The diameter of the Gatorade bottle does narrow towards the bottle cap though.
I measured from center to center and it's 3/4th of an inch.
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Old 09-18-23, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by estasnyc
Then again, maybe not.


The Looney Bin looks interesting. I did find the website for it: https://www.arundelbike.com/product/looney-bin/

It's missing one piece of information though. It looks like you can mount the Looney in one of two positions but doesn't indicate how far apart these two are.

Taking a look at the picture to see what I mean, could you do me the courtesy of taking a measurement?



I'm presuming the space between the bottom two holes will be exactly the same.

A 32oz Gatorade bottle might fit underneath if you can mount the Looney Bin cage lower and further away from the front wheel as the King Cage Lowering Flat Top would albeit with a narrower bottle. An oversized Nalgene bottle won't fit simply because of its cylindrical shape. The diameter of the Gatorade bottle does narrow towards the bottle cap though.
The cage will fit up to 95mm bottles which is 3.74 inches diameter, I use these Nalgene bottles, and they fit just fine, howbeit with the looney opened all the way up to insert the bottle into the cage and I can turn the screw to lock it in. https://nalgene.com/product/48oz-wid...ralite-bottle/ Noticed that the bottle is 3.5 inches in diameter.
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Old 09-18-23, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
The cage will fit up to 95mm bottles which is 3.74 inches diameter, I use these Nalgene bottles, and they fit just fine, howbeit with the looney opened all the way up to insert the bottle into the cage and I can turn the screw to lock it in. https://nalgene.com/product/48oz-wid...ralite-bottle/ Noticed that the bottle is 3.5 inches in diameter.
You misunderstood why I was asking that question. That was probably because I misunderstood how the Looney Bin cage is to be mounted.

Here's a picture of the entire Looney Bin in which I labelled the visible holes from 1 to 4.



I was under the impression that you might have one of two choices for mounting the Looney Bin, using either holes 1 and 3 or holes 2 and 4.

I had doubts that you might get back to me on this so I considered how I might figure this out having only this photo.

I then realized that everything should be in proportion. What I worked out is that the distance between holes 1 and 4 is twelve times the width of the holes.

But the holes need to accommodate an M5 screw and so would be slightly larger than 5mm. My best guess would be 5.3mm

12 x 5.3mm = 63.6mm which is very close to 2.5" which is the distance between cage mounts.

There is no alternative mounting. My bad.

And this is one way to overthink about mounting a bottle cage under the downtube.
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Old 09-19-23, 05:07 PM
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Sounds like a place for the holders I've seen on older photos: Bottles in vertical holders on the handlebars, ditto holders behind seat.
Of course, then you'll have to get your recommended daily allowance of dirt some other way.
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Old 09-19-23, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by estasnyc
You misunderstood why I was asking that question. That was probably because I misunderstood how the Looney Bin cage is to be mounted.

Here's a picture of the entire Looney Bin in which I labelled the visible holes from 1 to 4.



I was under the impression that you might have one of two choices for mounting the Looney Bin, using either holes 1 and 3 or holes 2 and 4.

I had doubts that you might get back to me on this so I considered how I might figure this out having only this photo.

I then realized that everything should be in proportion. What I worked out is that the distance between holes 1 and 4 is twelve times the width of the holes.

But the holes need to accommodate an M5 screw and so would be slightly larger than 5mm. My best guess would be 5.3mm

12 x 5.3mm = 63.6mm which is very close to 2.5" which is the distance between cage mounts.

There is no alternative mounting. My bad.

And this is one way to overthink about mounting a bottle cage under the downtube.
You are way over thinking this. Stop!

This bottle cage mounts just like any other cage, except it gives you two locations so you can move the cage higher or lower depending on your needs. If you use hole number 4, then you use hole number 2, those two will allow you to mount the cage to your frame; or, if you use hole number 3, then you use hole number 1 to mount the cage to the frame. This is a hell of lot easier than fixing a flat, does it take you three days to fix a flat?
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Old 09-25-23, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by poinciana
I think the Specialized Zee came out on top, but I know he also uses Fidlock cages which require their proprietary bottle (or adapter), but seem to be the most secure option possible.
Having tried several options for undertube holders on my current MTB, the Fidlock was a fail. In addition to losing the bottle on a rough trail section, the thing flops around a lot, making a racket whacking against the down tube.

Might be a good option for less demanding scenarios. Or when mounted upright.
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Old 09-26-23, 05:14 AM
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Bottle

Originally Posted by estasnyc
Funny how this thread pops up just as I attached a third bottle cage on my Surly LHT's downtube underside. I didn't give this much thought at all. If anything, it gave me an excuse to head down to the New York Bike Jumble this previous Saturday in Park Slope, Brooklyn to pick a bottle cage up along with other miscellaneous items. I won't be out that much money if this should turn out to be unworkable.

Anyway, the problem I'm having is that my bottles are making contact with the front-wheel fender.

These two bottles are similar but not completely identical in size:



The blue bottle makes slight contact with the fender. The red bottle does so a little more than slightly.

The bottle cage I picked up was a Specialized Rib Cage II but I chose to move one of the bottle cages already mounted on the LHT down to the underside while mounting the Rib Cage II to the seat tube in its place. I wasn't sure that I would want to put a plasticy bottle cage on the underside. It's supposedly made of "Reinforced composite material".

I guess Plan A will be to mount that Rib Cage II on the underside to see if that may offer more room for a water bottle. Plan B will be to find a smaller water bottle that can be placed in the cage.
A super light weight, and narrower profile at the top bottle to try would be one of the 23.7 ounce Smart Water bottles you pick up at a convenience store. They come with the flip top on them, and while they aren't as sturdy as traditional water bottle, they hold up to being used multiple time quite well. When they get tired, recycle, and replace. That's my solution for riding in slop/dust.
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