The SKS Pure Carbon Bottle Cage is certainly in the upper echelons when it comes to price, but as a drink retainer you can't really fault it. It barely weighs anything either.
- Pros: Secure hold on your bottle, lightweight
- Cons: Pricey, limited benefits over cheaper alloy options
As the name suggests, the cage is made from full carbon fibre and SKS says that the fibre structure it has used offers a higher degree of resilience compared with those that use woven carbon structures. It could make a difference when it comes to longevity over the years.
In the here and now, though, the cage works very well indeed. The 'spring' in the carbon material allows the two arms to wrap themselves around the bottle and give a tight grip. I tried it with a range of bottles and had no issues. Even a full 750ml bottle being rattled about by fast gravel descents didn't budge at all.
It's a bit snug to get the bottles in at times, so you have to give them a bit of a push to open the cage out, but once located it's easy to use.
It's fitted to the bike via two holes that are elongated, giving you a bit of wiggle room if your bike's bosses aren't quite set at the industry standard distance.
When it comes to looks, the mix of gloss and matt black will go with most paintjobs and the slim construction doesn't look out of place on thin tubed steel bikes or chunkier carbon offerings.
The one area carbon cages never score highly on is value. Priced at £44.99 it is the same as the Vel SL-O Carbon cage and practically weighs the same too.
They are both very good, but neither works any better than the recently tested Supacaz Fly Cage Ano, an alloy cage that only weighs 1g more for just £16.99.
If you really must have carbon, you can spend less – the Elite Rocko, for example, is 6g heavier and £27.99 – but the SKS Pure will serve you well and you'll have no issues with dropped bottles.
Overall, it's a quality piece of kit that looks and feels durable.
Securely holds your bottle even over rough terrain, for a price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: SKS Pure 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?
SKS says, "PURE is one of the lightest bottle cages on the market. Not only does the full carbon design ensure a lightweight solution, but also a secure hold for all standard water bottles. Thanks to the fibre structure, the material also offers a high degree of resilience when compared with woven carbon structures. With its slender appearance, the bottle cage in a matt/glossy, stealth design will bring beauty and performance to the bike."
It does the job, I can't take that away from it.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For holding onto your drink you can't really knock it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Securely holds your bottle, even on gravel trails.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's nothing massively special for the money.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Similarly priced to other carbon cages on the market.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, I'd stick with alloy at half the price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if carbon was a must.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It works well, but it's pricey for what it is, compared to alloy cages.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!