A bottle cage has one simple job to do, and strangely enough we found that this Cannondale Evo Carbon Cage wasn't really up to it.
A well designed cage will permit easy insertion of the bottle, hold it firmly in place when riding and prevent the bottle ejecting over rough ground. And then allow easy removal when you need a drink.
A simple task then, but one that Cannondale's Evo doesn't quite manage. I just didn't get on with this cage. As nice and sleek as it looks, it's flawed in several ways.
Shining like a National guitar amongst their clutch of carbon and composite bottle-cages is Arundel's Stainless Steel cage.
Made from polished 4.2mm stainless tubing it's artfully bent into the same trademark mandible shape as the rest of the Arundel range, and then welded to a stamped embossed spine to fix it to the bike, the lower mounting hole of which is ovalised to allow for any Friday afternoon bottle-boss placement errors.
The Cirrus Pro Carbon from Forza is light, strong and looks the part, as well as keeping bottles secure and quiet.
It's a full carbon monocoque build, weighing in at a shade over the 28g quoted (30g on my scales) which makes it a very light bottle cage, if not the absolute lightest available. The pleasingly clean, simple aerodynamic lines and low key silver graphics will quite happily adorn any carbon frame, without detracting from its looks.
Arundel call their Sport Bottle Cage 'cheap insurance' and they're right. It may not be the most exotic elegant lightweight bling bottle cage but it does its job perfectly without any fuss, that domestique whose name you can't remember of water bottles.
The SKS bottle cage adapter is perfect if you have a fixie without bottle cages. I think this one will prove a permanent feature on my 1950s Holdsworth which has just had successful bottom bracket surgery and a respray.
'If it ain't broke, don't fix it', right? Well the Vincero Design Stratus20 bottle/mount system thinks it can improve on the traditional model with a cageless magnetic system. It certainly makes for a nice party trick at the cafe stop, but is it really a better option?
The Spin QuickLight bottle cage is full carbon and very lightweight. Ours hit the road.cc scales at 28g.
A super-strong stub stops your bottle slipping out the bottom and an equally tough lip at the top prevents it jumping out. I tried with all the power in my thumbs to push each of them out of place – I can get quite destructive in the name of testing, me – but they stayed completely solid, so holding a 500ml or 750ml bottle in place is no problem.
The Arundel Dave-O carbon-fibre cage is fairly light and it holds onto your bottle securely without any road buzz.
Despite the castle featuring prominently in their logo, Arundel come not from the fortified yet sleepy Sussex town but from Fort Worth in Texas where they create a small range of cycle bits and bobs but mostly bottle cages, the Dave-O being one of the carbon offerings plucked from their quiver of eight models.
Designed to be a response to problems encountered by users of traditional bottle cages who have smaller geometry frames or mountain bikers with rear suspension, the Slidecage is a fiendishly simple idea. As well as accessing the bottle from the top as per normal, the user can choose instead to slide it out of the side of the cage, thereby making it much easier when a lack of frame clearance doesn't allow for top loading.
The Lezyne Flow is a bottle cage done a bit different. Lezyne have made a name for themselves by taking old, boring bicycle bits and bobs, giving them a bit of a zhush, making them work better, be more shiny and somehow muchly desirable... and that's exactly what they've done here. Except it's not that shiny.