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Verdict: 
Well-designed cage that combines cosmetic allure, great performance and sensible pricing
Weight: 
34g
Vel Race Cage
8 10

The Vel Race Cage is a winged design, available in 12 colours – pretty much something for everyone and their paint jobs. Those with deeper pockets looking to trim every last bit of fat from their bikes will probably want to go the carbon route, but for general bidon bearing duties this composite cage hits all the right notes.

  • Pros: Sturdy construction, lovely array of colours, seems genuinely compatible with all bottles
  • Cons: Design might not suit small frames

All the Race Cages are painted and lacquered for a really rich, glossy effect. At 34g each, they shouldn't offend most folk and in fact are comparable with some carbon fare, including this one from GT, commanding three times as much. Compared with some mid-range carbon composite examples I use, the Vel feels reassuringly sturdy – stiffer too.

> Find your nearest dealer here

Winged style cages have been with us for a good decade or so. Aesthetics aside,the theory goes that these retain the bottle better, without hindering access. I've also found them more user-friendly than other shapes when fitted behind the saddle, triathlon/TT style.

vel_race_cage_3.jpg

vel_race_cage_3.jpg

As you'd imagine, riders of very small or compact geometry framesets might find side-entry or adjustable designs, such as Lezyne's Flow SL and Topeak's Shuttle, more practical.

The cage comes complete with screws for mounting, although I installed our with a mini-pump, so plumped for longer, aftermarket offerings.

Compatibility/performance

So far, the Vel has accommodated all standard bottles, including the Relaj Shape, with comparable finesse.

I also loaded it with a very old and super-hefty lead acid bottle battery, just to see how it would cope with 500g or so. About 20 miles of washboard tarmac and relatively smooth forest trails didn't induce any annoying chatter let alone ejections.

The song remained unchanged when it was fed a Bontrager storage bottle brimming with bits.

> Find more road.cc reviews of bottle cages here 

Perhaps it was several months' continuous use of Lezyne's SL, but I've a tendency to retrieve bottles at an angle, especially those on the seat tube bosses.

Release has been marginally faster than conical models, such as the Tacx Deva, which is helpful when tiredness is beginning to bite.

Though hardly the highest priority, its glossy finish is also very easy to keep clean, and shows no signs of damage despite being struck by small stones on a number of occasions.

Summary

All told, there's little to dislike here. Carbon has an edge weight-wise if you're trying to save every last gram, but otherwise the Vel Race Cage blends form, function and sensible pricing.

Verdict

Well-designed cage that combines cosmetic allure, great performance and sensible pricing

road.cc test report

Make and model: Vel Race Cage

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for

Vel says, "Want to match your bikes paint job or just stand out from the crowd? Then choose the VEL race cage."

I'd say it's a good quality cage, compatible with a broad range of standard and unusual bottle patterns. As an aside, it's sufficiently rigid for old fashioned bottle batteries too.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

The Race Cage is produced from VEL's composite resin, painted and lacquered with a high gloss finish.

Designed to fit all bikes and standard water bottles.

* High gloss white finish with VEL logo

* Fits standard sized bottles

* 33g

* Includes mounting bolts

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Seems well made and nicely finished.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Side-entry models with left/right specific ergonomics arguably have the edge, but the Vel does everything I would expect from a standard cage.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Looks sturdy, long-term exposure to extremes of weather may induce fatigue, but I can't see that being an issue for most riders and general riding.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Overall, the Vel cage has performed impeccably, with a broad range of bottle shapes and weights. Purchase strikes the sweet spot between secure tenure and easy release. Finish quality also seems durable and pricing is also about right. For generic bidon bearing, there's little to dislike.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Colour, weight, pricing and widely compatible with standard and more unique patterns.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Good weight, reasonably priced and does the job well – plus it's available in a refreshingly broad range of colours.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

5 comments

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StraelGuy [1403 posts] 1 month ago
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Thanks for the review. I've just ordered two, one orange and one light green to match my bikes.

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Redvee [399 posts] 1 month ago
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TBH looks like the bottle caages you can buy from China for £1 each on AliExpress etc.

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Jack Osbourne snr [712 posts] 1 month ago
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Its true that they are seemingly expensive for what they are, but they do work well and come in a great colour range.
I have one on a Celeste/Orange frame and it looks great.

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peted76 [1083 posts] 1 month ago
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Hmm that illuminous green bottle cage.. it has a certain.. cosmetic allure.

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orangetank [1 post] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

I 've been through two sets of these. I bought them as they looked really good and i like the colour match. The first one broke when my bike fell over at cafe stop (my fault) so I replaced it. The second one broke as I picked up my bike and the cage brushed my leg - very slight side ways force applied...In this case I would expect the cage to have withstood the impact. My conclusion is these look great and hold the bottle well but are not at all sturdy.