The shiny plastic looks of the Zefal Pulse A2 cage may not be everyone's cup of electrolyte, but it holds on tight and weighs very little.
What a stroke of luck I have a blue bicycle with an orange flash on the down tube, because that's the colour scheme of the Pulse A2 I was sent to try out. For a modern cage it looked surprisingly at home on my vintage steel bike. You can also choose from six other combinations including all-black, so there should be something there for you.
The product arrived mounted simply on a piece of card – add a half-star for good recycling consideration. Fitting is straightforward because the cage is designed so it's easy to reach the mount nuts with an Allen tool. The mounting bolts aren't included.
The 'Technopolymer' construction might not be as trendy as carbon and you may or may not like the shiny finish. On the other hand, it is very tough, lightweight and flexible enough to take any standard bottle. It's a one-piece moulding so there's very little to go wrong. The elastomer gripper is securely fixed. So far, the cage has resisted scratching and it doesn't have the habit of marking the bottle.
In use, I found the cage gripped securely on both large and small bottles. Getting them in and out proved easy, though the tenacious hold of the gripper might take you by surprise the first time you try to lift the bottle out.
As for value, it's £4 less than the B2, a slightly higher-tech version which we gave four stars, while the GT Carbon cage costs more than four times the price and still weighs more. The Supacaz Fly is 4g lighter, but costs £16.99. Zefal make the Pulse at home in France, which makes the low price even more admirable.
A secure drink holder that's tough and lightweight, but costs very little
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Zefal Pulse A2 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?
Says Zefal: "With the Pulse A2, we offer top quality at the best price. With its sleek, crafted finish, it is lighter than the majority of carbon bottle cages, while...the thermoplastic clasp ensures a strong hold on the bottle."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Technopolymer resin frame. Flexible thermoplastic clasp.
Colors: black and green / black and pink / black and red / grey and black / grey and cyan blue / dark blue and orange/ black and black
Made from tough nylon, essentially one piece with the addition of a silicone gripper. Well finished.
No dropped bottles, easy to get the bottle in and out, though the tenacious hold of the gripper may catch you out first time!
Seems more or less unbreakable.
No mounting bolts are included in that 26g total.
For the money it's hard to fault. I might buy some more of these!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
My bottle stayed in the cage and, as any sportive rider will tell you, surprisingly many fail this simple test. The elastomer gripper does a good job at damping rattles too. It works well with a variety of bottle sizes. Getting the bottle in and out was satisfactorily easy.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good grip, tough and – I thought – quite good looking. The price is insignificant and it's not made in the Far East.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really, but you may not like the shiny finish or the obviously plastic construction.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Zefal's own B2 is a slightly higher-tech version which we gave four stars and costs £4 more. The entry-level GT Carbon cage costs more than four times the price and still weighs more.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
For me, the ability to hang on to a bottle and be easy to get the bottle in and out of the cage are the main qualities I look for, and the Zefal Pulse A2 scored well. The nylon construction, while not as trendy as carbon, is tough and light. It comes in a range of colours and it costs very little. All that adds up to an excellent in my book.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking