Irritating design for bottle entry lets down an otherwise light and grippy bottle cage
The SKS Topcage is pretty typical example of the sort of bottle cages available at this price, it's fairly light and holds on to your bottle well - the only problem I had was getting the bottle in there in the first place.
The plastic construction of the Topcage keeps the overall weight down and doesn't mark bottles either which can be a problem with metal bottle cages. It also comes with a small nose piece which can be slid forwards or backwards to accommodate different bottle shapes. Whilst a good idea in theory, in practise there wasn't enough rearwards adjustment available to fully enclose my generically shaped 600ml bottle. As such, the nose piece could well have been integrated into the bottle cage, reducing weight and the number of parts.
Ideally, a bottle cage should allow easy bottle entry whilst preventing bottle ejection over rough ground. To start with, I found slotting my bottles into the Topcage to be quite fiddly but I reasoned that things would improve with time and practice...only they haven't. I still find myself having to look down having wiggled my bottle around in vain for a good few seconds, searching for a way in. I attribute this to the high 'wings' on the bottle cage which jut forwards and often contact the bottom of my bottle first, deflecting the bottle away instead of guiding it in.
In terms of bottle retention, the Topcage performs well. I used the Topcage off-road on many occasions without mishap, but if anything, the problems with entry are exacerbated when being bounced around over roots and rocks.
Weight wise, the Topcage comes in at a claimed 53g which is about right for a plastic cage at this price. To be honest though, if weight is a consideration, you should be looking at carbon fibre models and be prepared to spend an awful lot more.
All in all, I was pretty disappointed with this offering from SKS. Whilst weight and bottle retention were OK, the design just doesn't enable intuitive bottle entry rendering it extremely frustrating to use.
road.cc test report
Make and model: SKS Topcage bottle cage
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Using the same technology of the SlideCage but for front bottle insertion and featuring a bottle size adjustment nose the Topcage delivers great performance and fits to all plastic drinking bottles."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Full plastic construction
Very difficult to get a bottle into
Held up well which is significant given the amount of abuse I put it through due to my frustration with bottle entry
53g is about average for a plastic bottle cage at this price
RRP of £7.99 is about right for this type of bottle cage
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The TopCage design means that it is inherently difficult to get bottles into. As such, it performs poorly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Didn't mark my bottles
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Facility of bottle entry, or lack of it
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR Advanced 2 My best bike is: Canyon Ultimate CF7
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, sportives, mtb,