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Bottle cages that retain the bottle firmly - recommends?

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Bottle cages that retain the bottle firmly - recommends?

Old 04-14-24, 08:29 AM
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Bottle cages that retain the bottle firmly - recommends?

I'm looking for bottle cages that retain the bottle firmly (but not so firmly you have difficulty getting the bottle out) and that don't scratch the crap out of the bottles in use. I'm currently using fancy bling carbon Specialized Rib Cage IIIs bottle cages that I regret buying on two road bikes, and while they look the part, they are just hopeless at bottle retention. I've trashed four different bottles after they've gone flying out of the cages multiple times while riding over bumps in the road. So that's it I'm dumping them and will get something that actually works. I'm not a weight weenie but do want the bottle cages to look like they belong on a modern carbon frame road bike. Recommends anyone?
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Old 04-14-24, 08:42 AM
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Bontrager Elite bottle cages, both the regular and the recycled versions, have worked well for me.
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Old 04-14-24, 09:03 AM
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Metal bottle cages bent inward with your hand. You can make them grip as tight as you want.

They would ruin your look though.
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Old 04-14-24, 09:44 AM
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I’ve used Profile cages for decades, never had a bottle fallout on road rides.
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Old 04-14-24, 09:57 AM
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Old 04-14-24, 10:07 AM
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Very happy with the pricy Silca Ti cages. Best I have used among many, many others.
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Old 04-14-24, 10:33 AM
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Old 04-14-24, 10:34 AM
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This company makes bottle cages with a range of retention force, 8-14 lbs.

Dawn to Dusk > Bottle Cages

I've been using these XLAB Torpedo cages for > 10 years, haven't once lost a bottle.
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Old 04-14-24, 10:43 AM
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The King cages in either stainless steel of titanium. Simply very good cages. Their basic cages are patterned after the TA cages that probably started in the 1960s and were probably the most popular cages of the 1970s among racers. Popular because they did one thing very well - hold the WB in place. That includes down any hill of any speed and any road surface. (As pointed out above, if they ever didn't meet that criteria, you simply pushed the cage a little more closed.)

I used the TAs for nearly 40 years with many cages going 20 years. Around 2000 I started replacing them with Kings. All of those Kings are still in service (along with a TA or two). Those cages are what I call "rider cages". Their sole function is to support the rider; providing an easy to grab water bottle that is easy to put away securely. (And if you focused on the ride and not the bottle put-back - well you might stuff that bottle into the cage crooked but it's still going to be there 20 miles later when you reach down. And (sadly if appearance means a lot to you) just as crooked as you put it in.)

Another plus - King is a small US outfit. Low key, down to earth and passionate about making really good cages. Fun people to meet at bike happenings.
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Old 04-14-24, 12:57 PM
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Arundel Mandible. I haven’t lost a bottle in twelve years and they look fantastic.

https://www.arundelbike.com/product/mandible/

Cheers,

Scott
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Old 04-14-24, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Kabuto
I'm looking for bottle cages that retain the bottle firmly (but not so firmly you have difficulty getting the bottle out) and that don't scratch the crap out of the bottles in use. I'm currently using fancy bling carbon Specialized Rib Cage IIIs bottle cages that I regret buying on two road bikes, and while they look the part, they are just hopeless at bottle retention. I've trashed four different bottles after they've gone flying out of the cages multiple times while riding over bumps in the road. So that's it I'm dumping them and will get something that actually works. I'm not a weight weenie but do want the bottle cages to look like they belong on a modern carbon frame road bike. Recommends anyone?
You are searching for the holy grail. Any bottle cage that grips your bottle well will scratch it up when you remove and insert it. Bottles are inexpensive enough that if you want them to be pristine as as possible you should buy new ones when your old ones don't meet your standards

Last edited by alcjphil; 04-14-24 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 04-14-24, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney

Another plus - King is a small US outfit. Low key, down to earth and passionate about making really good cages. Fun people to meet at bike happenings.
+1. The ex and I met them several years ago at the Philly Bike Expo. They were demonstrating the bending process at their booth. The ex mentioned that one of hers had broken while the bike was being transported un-boxed in a trailer between the east coast and AZ. (My guess is that the pedal of another bike was the culprit.). They literally flipped her a new one for free.

I’ve had my King SS cages on my road bike for nearly 8 years. They still look brand new.
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Old 04-14-24, 05:50 PM
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What type of Water Bottle? Some of the styles just dont hold well in any cage...
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Old 04-14-24, 05:52 PM
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Yes, stainless steel cages (like the King cages) are springy and strong. I can slam the bottle back in the cage without looking. My generic stainless cages are 10 years old now, and look like new. I never lost a bottle. (Aluminum cages mark up the bottles, get worn down too, and don't hold the bottles as well.)

SS cages don't have that carbon bling, but they are extremely functional. And only a few grams heavier than the carbon ones.

Last edited by rm -rf; 04-14-24 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 04-14-24, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
Yes, stainless steel cages (like the King cages) are springy and strong. I can slam the bottle back in the cage without looking. My generic stainless cages are 10 years old now, and look like new. I never lost a bottle. (Aluminum cages mark up the bottles, get worn down too, and don't hold the bottles as well.)

SS cages don't have that carbon bling, but they are extremely functional. And only a few grams heavier than the carbon ones.
And aluminum cages will, almost certainly, break off with the bottle inside at the welds while riding. (Might take quite a while, but that is the predictable end.) Good steel cages also break at the welds but almost always you notice one day the the cage is only attached at the top (or bottom) bolt. Usually as you go to put the bottle in to go riding. Like the aluminum, that is how they die but the steel ones rarely don't finish that last ride.
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Old 04-14-24, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
King
Whether they look alright on a cf race bike is debatable -- but for consistent bottle retention, nothing beats this one. I've got so many King cages that I've lost track, but I'd guess that my oldest pair of these (purchased in 2005) have been used for around 50k miles so far. And the brilliance of the design is that they never -- NEVER -- lose their shape, never need to be bent back in order to hold bottle snugly.
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Old 04-14-24, 06:41 PM
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The Elite Custom Race+ has an impressive record on the World Tour circuit over the years, and I can recommend it based on my own experience using it, too.

https://www.elite-it.com/it/prodotti...stom-race-plus

Durable, non-marking, secure, stylish, and relatively light (e.g. lighter than King inox)…it’s got all the right stuff for a wide variety of modern era road bikes, IMO.
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Old 04-14-24, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil
You are searching for the holy grail. Any bottle cage that grips your bottle well will scratch it up when you remove and insert it. Bottles are inexpensive enough that if you want them to be pristine as as possible you should buy new ones when your old ones don't meet your standards
OP here. I probably am. Just to be clear, I don't expect the cage not to scratch the bottle at all. I'd just like the cage to not scratch the crap out of the bottle after only two or three rides.
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Old 04-14-24, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
What type of Water Bottle? Some of the styles just dont hold well in any cage...
I initially used Camelbak bottles. Trashed two of them. Then thinking that Specialized bottles would work better with Specialized bottle cages, I tried two different types of Specialized bottles. Nope. Trashed all of them too (I've trashed six bottles in total, not four as I wrote in the OP). Now I'm using two Elite 750ml bottles purchased just a few weeks ago. They're already scratched badly, and a bottle got bumped out last weekend (while riding through a narrow tunnel on a busy road... ugggh).

Last edited by Kabuto; 04-14-24 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 04-14-24, 07:04 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I should have made it clear in my initial post that I wasn't really interested in metal cages (that's kinda what I meant by "I do want the bottle cages to look like they belong on a modern carbon frame road bike") but would definitely consider them for a touring bike etc.

RGMN I actually had Bontrager Elite cages on a Trek I used to own, and I don't recall ever losing any bottles while riding that. Thanks for reminding me.

chaadster The Elite Custom Race+ was actually on my radar. Thanks for mentioning it!

I'll look at the other suggestions too. Thanks all!
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Old 04-14-24, 07:26 PM
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Plastic from Amazon , they have left or right hand removal , these don’t scratch up my stainless steel water bottles , also from Amazon !!
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Old 04-14-24, 07:26 PM
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I know you said you don’t want a metal cage, but I suggest you reconsider King stainless steel cages.

As above they won’t make marks on your bottles and grip great. I have them on my CF bike and they look fine.
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Old 04-14-24, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Kabuto
Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I should have made it clear in my initial post that I wasn't really interested in metal cages (that's kinda what I meant by "I do want the bottle cages to look like they belong on a modern carbon frame road bike") but would definitely consider them for a touring bike etc.

RGMN I actually had Bontrager Elite cages on a Trek I used to own, and I don't recall ever losing any bottles while riding that. Thanks for reminding me.

chaadster The Elite Custom Race+ was actually on my radar. Thanks for mentioning it!

I'll look at the other suggestions too. Thanks all!
I agree that the styling of metal cages by King and Silca is old fashioned and necessarily flattering to all modern, CF bike designs, but that’s because they’re metal, it’s because they’re old fashioned designs.

I’m not going to argue for metal, but I do use both Ti and Al cages from Supacaz which have modern styling. The aluminum Fly cage is a wicked-light 18g, but isn’t a magnificent gripper; I tried them on a gravel bike and they were not up for it. I have them on a road bike without problem, but since you’re getting bottle ejeections on your roads, I’d pass on the Fly cages.

I replaced the Fly with Supacaz’s TiFly on the gravel bike, and they’ve been up to the job, holding securely both plastic and Elite Deboyo Race stainless, though the latter, being metal on metal, chatter on dirt roads. TiFly have a neat, non-traditional styling that might look good on a CF bike.

In addition to running 2 pairs of Custom Race, one of which turns 9 years old this season, I also have a pair of their Vico carbon fiber cages, and can recommend them for good retention and overall performance. They’ve been ridiculously expensive in the past, like $90 or something, but BikeTiresDirect has them on sale right now for $35, which is a very good price. I actually need one myself, as one of mine took a hit when my bike fell over and cracked. I rode with it cracked all last season without issue becausse I balked at throwing down another $100 for a stupid bottle cage, but that it did its job despite being broken is somewhat of testament to the quality of the cage.
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Old 04-15-24, 07:47 AM
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Bought the Supacaz Fly Cage Carbon to match my SL8 and I love them. They hold firmly my bottles and they don't scratch them.

Didn't like the look of the S-WORKS at all.
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Old 04-16-24, 12:55 PM
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I have a pair of King Cage Iris on my road bike and they hold very tight, but scratch and mark the hell out of my bottles. I've gotten Elite Custom Race Skin cages for my gravel bike and they are also very secure but don't seem to be scratching up my new bottles at all. This is all with a mix of Camelback Podium, Polar Breakaway and Purist bottles.
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