Topeak's adjustable Shuttle bottle cage is designed to overcome the headache of fitting bottles in confined spaces, and I've had some success with both 500 and 600ml bottles. It also enabled me to make use of my rough stuff tourer's third low-slung boss, with adequate clearance between a 600ml bottle and the front mudguard.
Made from engineering grade plastic, there's no denying the satin black monocoque's aesthetic allure, which didn't look out of place on older machines either.
The cage has two slightly unusual drillings, designed with speedy fitment and adjustment in mind. Rather than removing the frame's Allen bolts, you simply loosen them so you can loop the cage over them, align the cage, and tighten the bolts (to 39Nm). Two integral stainless steel washers protect the material from premature fatigue, resulting from accidental over-tightening.
The few extra millimetres gained by being able to slide the cage lower made bottle snatches from the seat tube bosses on a 41cm test bike that bit easier, even with 600ml bottles, and the grabbing action felt immediately intuitive. (Side-entry models are my preference but the sideways tug takes longer to become second nature.)
The Shuttle also proved unexpectedly handy by enabling me to set 750ml bottles low enough to prevent them nudging my buttocks when tethered to my TT-biased fixer's under-the-saddle caddy.
In other respects and compared with other top-loading designs, the Shuttle is an excellent host, even with less conventional bottle shapes – the Relaj being a case in point. Entry/release isn't gunslinger quick compared with glossy carbon/composite cages, requiring a more definite tug, but it quickly becomes intuitive.
Tenure has been extremely secure, with no hint of annoying chatter let alone mortar-like ejection when riding across poorly surfaced roads and even trails too. This positive nature was particularly welcome when mounted to my rough stuff tourer's low-slung boss and indulging in some spirited green lane shenanigans. No sign of flex when fed heavily laden tool caddies and old school lead acid batteries either.
Don't be put off by the specialist tag – it's a worthy option for riders just wanting a good looking composite cage. Personally, I prefer side-entry models such as Lezyne's Flow SL or the Shuttle's aptly named Dualside sibling, which can be aligned left or right to suit your dominant hand. These eliminate the risk of catching your knuckles on the frame during release, and solve compatibility woes if you want to use bigger 750ml trade bottles on small frames.
Decent cage and worth a closer look if you are struggling to fit bottles in tight spaces
road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Shuttle 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?
Topeak says: "This engineering grade plastic bottle cage is designed to hold water bottles in confined spaces. The unique mounting design allows you to install the bolts first, then mount the bottle cage in position. The included bolts and washers prevent damage to the cage from over-tightened mounting bolts."
Decent enough cage that can be a godsend in some contexts.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Engineering grade plastic. Stainless steel washers.
Outer Diameter Fits standard water bottle
Engineering grade plastic.
Added Features Metal washers
Size (L x W x H) 14.6 x 8.1 x 7.8 cm /
5.7' x 3.2' x 3.1'
Well made if not obviously superior to a wealth of similar models.
Surprisingly versatile and a decent enough cage in its own right, proving itself an excellent host in some contexts.
Seems quite rugged.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Ultimately, this is a surprisingly versatile cage that addresses some confined space issues better than others. If you don't fancy side-entry models and are happy with 500ml bottles, it's definitely worth a look.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Decent purchase and convenient release, angular styling also appealed to me.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing per se and given the design brief.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? For certain builds, possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Worth a look.
Use this box to explain your score
Overall it's a good design, working very well in some contexts, if a bit average in others.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike 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)