Occasionally, we get sent kit to the road.cc office that won't improve your performance at all. The Topeak iGlow Bottle Cage is just such an item. But I can't deny that it brings a little festivity to your bike – and at this time of year, perhaps that's all that matters.
It works by illuminating the bottle that sits inside the cage using an LED light. This can switch between five different colours: purple, blue, green, yellow and white. It can work in all colours statically, or by an intermittent flash too. Practically, it fits like any other bottle cage to the seat tube or the down tube.
It's operated by a button on the left side of the base of the cage, while two CR2032 batteries are used to power it. Battery life is reasonable – you won't be needing to change them all that often given the 50-hour life on static, and 100 hours on flashing mode.
To test, I left it on static and two days later it was still chugging along, albeit at a dimmer output. I'd imagine this will be slightly reduced when exposed to the cold of winter and left in the garage unused for a while, but that's simply the nature of battery life in winter.
Brightness and visibility is the iGlow cage's raison d'être, and in the dark it's not too bad. It's not so bright that it's going to be a distraction while you're riding, and become more of a hazard than a safety feature – it provides a glow that shows up best with water in the bottle. But it won't be making you much more visible to the casual road user, either. It's best not to see it as a high-visibility feature, then – more of a novelty.
Of course, the bottle needs to be conducive to light to be effective – which means any bottle used must be clear in order to get the maximum effect. Luckily, Topeak provides one, which works just fine without any leakage. I'm not a fan of the slightly-wider-than-usual nozzle, but that's just a personal preference. If you aren't either, the cage will happily take your ordinary-sized bottle securely.
Because of the need to house electronics in the base, this is no minimalist cage, so weight is at 56g for the cage only. But in the winter that's no hardship as most of us are riding heavier bikes, or just set up our bikes with mudguards, tougher wheels and the like. So, within this niche is where the iGlow cage will be a success.
It's not for everyone – I can't say I'm fussed either way about having it on my bike, and some thought it was downright amusing. But then again I had several people coo with jealousy on a local club ride, so it's horses for courses. And while I still have it on test, I'll probably refit it again come Christmas time. Because, why not?
Bottom line, if you're willing to spend £24.99 for a functional bit of winter bling for your bike – and I suppose it would make a nice stocking filler – then it's a nice little accessory.
A nice little addition for a bit of extra 'bling' for your bike
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak iGlow Bottle Cage
Size tested: Black
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?
Topeak say: "The iGlow Cage will turn your night ride into a wild adventure! Ingenious integration of a super bright RGB LED into our water bottle cage gives you multiple choices of color to illuminate the clear bottle for 360 degree visibility."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Material: Injected high impact resistant plastic
- Lamp: 1 super bright RGB LED (5 colors - purple / blue / green / yellow / white)
- Battery: CR2032 x 2 (included)
- Battery Life (approx) Max 50 hr constant / Max 100 hr blinking
- Fits standard water bottle
- Mount: Seat tube / Down tube
- Size: 7.9 x 8.1 x 15.6 cm
- Weight: 56 g (cage only)
- Award Winners: 2015 Red Dot; 2015 TAIPEI d&i awards
Rock solid, with good quality fittings.
It functions as a bottle cage very well; lighting is a nice novelty.
Extra machining for the electronics mean the plastic isn't going to give way any time soon.
It's not light thanks to those electronics, but this isn't the point of the product.
To me, £25 for a bottle cage is a tad expensive, but the novelty factor will be desirable for some.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – does what it says on the tin.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Quality cage construction and flexibility of light options.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The bottle lid is a bit wide for me.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Honestly, no – but that shouldn't deter people who like blinging up their bike in this way.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding