For most of you reading this, the most important function of a bottle cage is that it holds your bottles securely, without making it too hard to actually release them. I tested the Elite Vico Carbon cage with a number of bottles, and with Elite's own it's brilliant. Other bottles can be a bit of a squeeze, though.
Although the retention system is mainly focused around the bottom end of the cage, it's easy to get an Elite bottle in there and you're unlikely to 'miss' if you're not looking at what you're doing.
Elite's own bottles push in with a reassuring clunk as the shape of the bottle fits in perfectly to the shaped cage, and once in there, it's definitely not moving. When you want to release the bottle, it's a little firm but easy enough; a consequence of the fact that it holds your bottles so well.
The only real stumbling block is that, when tested with other bottles – including those made by Camelbak and Science in Sport – the cage was too tight, to the point that the bottle could only just be squeezed in and required a massive heave to be released. This is fine if you're only looking to access the bottle when stationary or riding slowly or solo, but grabbing the bottle in the heat of a race or hard training session would be almost impossible.
If you do use Elite bottles – or others that fit easily – then the Vico cage really is the business. Its stealthy matt black and white look will fit with any colour scheme, and adds an element of understated class.
And for those of you looking for marginal gains, the cage does seem to be as light as you can get. At only 23g, it is around half the weight of its (cheaper) plastic or alloy competitiors (Cannondale's Evo Carbon cage, which Dave reviewed back in 2012, was 21g but had a bit of a flaw...). And what's more, at an RRP of £24.99, it's at the more affordable end of the carbon cage market.
With a sleek, stealthy look and feathery weight, the Vico Carbon cage is brilliant, provided your bottles fit...
road.cc test report
Make and model: Elite Vico Carbon 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?
A product for all users, at least ones willing to pay a premium for lightweight accessories. As Elite says, it is 'is designed to be functional, reliable and stylish.'
Distributor Madison says: "A sleek and lightweight cage that utilises innovative new construction techniques to bring true Italian carbon fibre design and manufacturing to the masses."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Madison's website:
By using a new carbon injection process and moving production closer to home, Elite have managed to not only create a superb high performance cage but do it at a price point that offers exceptional value
The shape is based on the peloton-proven Custom Race Plus, with the excellent retention and ease of use the finest riders in the world expect
The Vico's injection-moulded carbon is considerably stronger than the fibreglass infused resin used on our Custom Race Plus, allowing Elite to trim excess material, the result is a final weight roughly half that the resin version
Proudly made in Italy
Weight: 20 grams +/- 5 %
Works extremely well with certain bottles, providing a firm retention. Beware that it's too tight for many though.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The cage is excellent when using with Elite bottles, as it provides a firm grip, but this retention was too tight for many wider bottles, making entry and exit very difficult.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Quality construction, looks great with a stealthy aesthetic that will match most frames, and light.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The limit it places on bottles that can be used with it.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes – with the correct bottles!
Would you consider buying the product? No – the bottles I prefer to use do not fit well into the cage.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It would be unfair to mark it down for not working with other bottles – for what it's designed to do, it's excellent.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix My best bike is: Giant TCR
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding