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No name cheap Amazon carbon fiber bottle cages...here goes nothing...

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No name cheap Amazon carbon fiber bottle cages...here goes nothing...

Old 09-12-19, 03:53 PM
  #1  
CarloM
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No name cheap Amazon carbon fiber bottle cages...here goes nothing...

So when I first got into cycling I purchased a couple of cheap no-name cycling kit (2 jerseys, 2 shorts with chamois) from Amazon. Technically that's not right, they had names, but none that anyone on Bf would recognize (Sportneer? Souke?). Then Competitive Cyclist had their TdF sale and I bought Castelli, Garneau, etc. from them and realized how crappy the Amazon ones were. Luckily I was able to return most of them because the return window hadn't closed. Since cycling kit is on you for the duration of your ride, and their comfort and quality enhances every second you spend on your bike, I realized it was better to spend money on good kit rather than save money on cheap kit.

Carbon fiber bottle cages were always a luxury I wanted, but being "just bottle cages" I could never justify spending $50-$70 on good Bontrager, ENVE, Black Inc, Silca carbon cages (note that I own carbon wheels from 3 of those 4 ). But now with my NBD, I found myself in need of another cage (or two) so I thought what the heck, let's check out some Amazon knockoffs. I mean, if they fail, they likely won't damage the frame (I will cry if they do) and I'll only be out a water bottle. I found a 2-pack that actually costs as much as one Bontrager non-CF cage. I think the "brand" name is ThinkTop.

They arrive tonight. Here's hoping I have a better experience with cheapo CF cages than I did with cycling kit!
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Old 09-12-19, 04:01 PM
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They may be fine, but they may break when you least expect it.

Consider a stainless steel bottle cage. They are reasonably light, won't mark your bottles, and you can bend them to adjust release tension.
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Old 09-12-19, 04:07 PM
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high quality plastic cages from tacx/elite are almost as light and don't break suddenly. While the bottles might not damage the frame directly if they break, if the bottle happens to drop in front of your rear wheel or under someone elses in the group and they go down they may end up costing you a lot more than the paltry savings.
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Old 09-12-19, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
They may be fine, but they may break when you least expect it.

Consider a stainless steel bottle cage. They are reasonably light, won't mark your bottles, and you can bend them to adjust release tension.
Had never thought of SS. I'll look into it for next round. For aesthetics though I do like matte black.
Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
high quality plastic cages from tacx/elite are almost as light and don't break suddenly. While the bottles might not damage the frame directly if they break, if the bottle happens to drop in front of your rear wheel or under someone elses in the group and they go down they may end up costing you a lot more than the paltry savings.
At the risk of jinxing myself, my hope is that if it fails the bottle will fall to the side and I'll ride past before it ends up being able to ricochet back towards my rear wheel. As I have not yet started riding in groups, I'm rarely by other riders so the danger to others is minimal. Of course should it break, I will obviously stop to pick up the debris so it doesn't hurt anyone else.

On the plus side, according to the Amazon web page:
Material: Japan TORAY 3K Carbon Fiber
Surface treatment: Matt

It's TORAY 3K carbon fiber! TORAY 3K! How can it fail? Also, Matt did the surface treatment. Every Matt I've known in my life has been a good guy. I would trust anyone named Matt.
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Old 09-12-19, 04:22 PM
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I've had mixed results with no-name Chinese carbon cages. I had one set that were great and another that would eject bottles on the regular.
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Old 09-12-19, 04:23 PM
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I have two sets of no-name CF bottle cages from Amazon. Never had a single issue with either of them, in use for thousands and thousands of miles.

If it's going on a bike that tackles different terrain, the cage matters. If it's going on a road bike, you could zip-tie a foam beer coozy to the tubes and it would work.
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Old 09-12-19, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I've had mixed results with no-name Chinese carbon cages. I had one set that were great and another that would eject bottles on the regular.
If the one negative review on the site is any indication, it won't eject bottles, it will have the opposite problem (the 2 star review is titled "TOO TIGHT!" which conjures up all sorts of other...never mind). The rest of the reviews are mostly 71% 5 star and the rest 4 star. So I'm hopeful.
Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I have two sets of no-name CF bottle cages from Amazon. Never had a single issue with either of them, in use for thousands and thousands of miles.

If it's going on a bike that tackles different terrain, the cage matters. If it's going on a road bike, you could zip-tie a foam beer coozy to the tubes and it would work.
Zip tie a coozy...where were you with this awesome advice before I made the purchase!?!?!
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Old 09-12-19, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
If it's going on a bike that tackles different terrain, the cage matters. If it's going on a road bike, you could zip-tie a foam beer coozy to the tubes and it would work.
Unless you're descending Ballard Canyon Road at speed near the end of the Solvang Century. Lost a bottle from my AL cage along there, and this was on my gravel bike. I've not ever lost a bottle from it off-road, but in places that pavement might as well have been off-road.
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Old 09-12-19, 07:48 PM
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Not everything that comes out of China is junk. And for crying out loud this is just a bottle cage. And where do you think the name brands do their manufacturing?
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Old 09-12-19, 09:32 PM
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Arrived in essentially ziploc bag, no other packaging. Interestingly though they included bolts and washers. I think most high-end cages assume your bike came with bolts. Obviously generic steel ones which Im not using, opting for the bolts that came with bike.

So far, nothing gives me cause for concern. Finish looks fine. Wasnt too tight for my Camelbak bottles. Only time will tell regarding longevity. But it feels the same to insert and remove water bottles in these as it does with my Bontrager plastic cages.


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Old 09-12-19, 09:49 PM
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I've had a few sets of cheap bottle cages from Amazon. Broke one, it was just too thin and light, taking 10g or so. Occasionally I've bought different colors to change the accents. The last ones I bought came with counterfeit Enve logos and branding.
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Old 09-13-19, 05:36 AM
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I've had a set of carbon cages from Aliexpress that are knock-off Arundel Mandible cages and they've been fantastic for the past 3 years. They hold bottles super well and look amazing.

Besides the lack of branding, I honestly think they're the exact same cages from the same factory at a fraction of the price. I think I paid $12/cage versus the $70/cage that Arundel charges.

Worth it many times over for me.
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Old 09-13-19, 06:39 AM
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Arundel Dave-O cages frequently pop up on sale sites like Backcountry or Cheap and Steep. They are totally worth it. I've had a pair of Dave-O cages for 12 years now. They've been on four bikes total and survived countless crashes - two of which resulted in broken frames.

I have yet to find cages I like as well as Arundels (Dave-O or Mandible).

One other thing I've noticed over the years, I am much better off spending a little more for something nice than trying to make something cheap work. Ultimately, the cheap option usually ends up costing me more when I finally give up and buy the quality option that I should have opted for from the get-go.
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Old 09-13-19, 06:53 AM
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These look very similar to the Blackburn Camber cages I have been using for several years. I've never had an issue.
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Old 09-13-19, 06:58 AM
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Make sure you get one that can hold a Rapha bidon. Always need to be working on the bidon flip.
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Old 09-13-19, 07:09 AM
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I have the exact cages from post 10 on my wife's bike. They're light, they look good, they work fine. Hella cheap, too.
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Old 09-13-19, 07:21 AM
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I picked up a set of reverseable cages on ebay - $28 shipped from China. Took 2 weeks to show up, but they're solid. And unlike the leyzne cages I had previously, they actually hold the bottles.

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Old 09-13-19, 09:34 AM
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Thanks, I'm gonna put those ThinkTop cages on my Amazon list.

I've been trying to find cages for my '93 Trek 5900, which has a quirky mount -- instead of the usual threaded holes/sockets, it has threaded bolts/studs projecting from the downtube and seat tube. Makes it tricky to find cages that fit properly, and retain bottles properly, and look good.

I had hoped the Tacx cages would work because they look good, have the right tension and are reasonably priced, but no luck with the Trek 5900, so I put the Tacx cages on my Ironman. I found a decent looking matte black aluminum cage that does fit the Trek with the right washers and spacers. It'll do for now.
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Old 09-13-19, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I've had a few sets of cheap bottle cages from Amazon. Broke one, it was just too thin and light, taking 10g or so. Occasionally I've bought different colors to change the accents. The last ones I bought came with counterfeit Enve logos and branding.
Just weighed one: 22.8g. So not as light as 10g (which I would worry about in terms of brittleness, even from name brands). Time will tell if I got a great deal, or if "I got what I paid for" in a negative way.

For comparison's sake, in the Bontrager cage line, plastic is 38g ($20), carbon fiber is 29g ($50) and XXX elite carbon fiber is 20g ($80).
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Old 09-13-19, 07:51 PM
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I bought the knockoff Bontrager XXX carbon cages off eBay, in use for a year on one bike (4000km) without any problems. 1/7th the cost and weight is as advertised (16.5g). The look the real deal, picture on ebay shows the genuine display card but they came in plastic bags to "save on shipping". To think that you can buy a full suspension mountain BSO from Canadian Tire for twenty bucks more than the retail price of the two Bontrager cages.
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Old 09-14-19, 04:33 AM
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I've used different designs and currently have an amazon pair on my gravel bike. They weight 18-22g each (w/out bolts) and I've never ejected a bottle in about 2 years use (on different bikes). I'd buy them again without a second thought.
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Old 09-14-19, 02:32 PM
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The 8g ones I got on eBay are too tight. Only certain bottles fit and those can be a fight.

The 20ish g ones, similar to the OP have been pretty good. One is perfect and I've never dropped a bottle with it. The other was built a little too loose. I was able to reshape it with precise use of zip ties and a propane torch. Now it's just as good as it's twin.

Generic carbon bottle holders are probably one of the safest bets in the China bomb market.
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Old 09-14-19, 03:40 PM
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First 15 mile ride through the poorly paved streets near me. Worked like a champ. Held the bottle securely. The feel of taking out/replacing the bottle was the same as my Bontragers (in tactile feel and pressure against the bottle) so the size of the cage is very similar to the Bontys.

Only time will re: durability, but first use experience was good.
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Old 09-14-19, 09:19 PM
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I feel like either it's going to snap right away, or it's going to take more force to break than it'll see in normally use.
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Old 09-15-19, 10:46 PM
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I woudn't call most of these knockoffs - what you're getting on Amazon and Ebay is likely one of three scenarios:

1. Factories that weren't selected by a Name Brand to produce for them. It's not like Enve or Bontrager actually design most of these things, they source them from Chinese factories. A product manager sends out a request for a carbon bottle cage, they get dozens of samples, end up picking one to put their brand on. Other factories or designs are still being made (frame builders have to get trained laying carbon fiber somehow), just not selected by a big brand.

2. For factories/styles that are selected, there's a relatively high rate of items that don't meet spec - 5% heavier than spec, rather than within 4% - or half a millimeter too tight. Either way, they're rejected, but still generally ok for use. So off to ebay they go.

3. Name brand orders 50k units (for example), factory tools up for 60k units, expecting some to fail. If only 3k fail inspection, there are still 7k excess sitting in the warehouse. Making $15 off of one is better than nothing, right?
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