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Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
Topeak's Shuttle Cage X 3K Carbon bottle cage takes a firm grip on your bottle and doesn't weigh much. Like all carbon fibre cages it's arguably a daft price, but if shaving grams is really really important to you then it's worth considering, and it does have that carbon-weave look for tech points.
The best feature of the Shuttle Cage X is the flared opening, which makes it easier to get your bottle back in when you've had a swig. Your bottle then stays put nicely and the cage grips firmly, but not ridiculously so.
Topeak throws in a pair of 7075 aluminium bolts and washers, which is a nice touch. If you're going to spend this much money shaving weight off your water-carrying setup then it's a bit mad to mount it to your frame with the steel bolts that came with your bike. Chapeau!
Of course you could argue that the whole idea of carbon fibre water bottles is a bit mad to start with. While they're significantly lighter than the 48-56g of a standard aluminium cage, you're still looking at spending £100 on a pair to save 50-60g, and then you're going to put over a kilogram of water in them. It's perhaps a bit obsessive.
This is especially true now that plastics specialists have figured out how to make durable bottle cages that are light and cheap. The Zefal Pulse A2 is almost as light as the Shuttle Cage X but costs less than a fifth of the price.
If you prefer the aesthetics of this style of cage, with wings that grip the bottle rather than a top section that encloses it, then the Supacaz Fly Cage has you covered and it weighs just 22g. That may still be a whole gram more than the Shuttle Cage X, but the Fly Cage is a third of the price.
Of course, it's your money. You can spend it on what you like, and reviewers wittering on about price always annoys me a bit, especially when the reviewer is me. What we think is good value for money may not be the same as you, even when we carefully couch it in references to other products in the category.
If bike and component weight is vitally important to you, and you love that carbon-weave appearance, then you might think this cage is well worth paying for, in which case, for you, it's probably a four and a half or even five star cage. If you would be far better losing 100g off your waist, which you can literally do in a couple of days by restricting your net calorie intake to 1,500/day, and you're not much bothered about component weight, then the Topeak Shuttle Cage X is a needless frippery and you'd only give it a couple of stars.
Great-looking cage that takes a firm hold of your bottle, but does the price make saving weight here a bit daft?
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Shuttle Cage X bottle cage
Size tested: One
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?
It allows you to carry a water bottle on your bike, doesn't weigh much and, if carbon's your thing, it looks cool.
"High quality, dynamic carbon fiber 3K construction water bottle cage is ultralight and strong. Includes lightweight 7075 aluminum bolts and washers."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
MATERIAL: 3K carbon fiber
OUTER DIAMETER: Fits standard water bottles
COMPATIBILITY: Ninja Universal Bracket
SIZE: 14 x 8 x 5.7 cm / 5.5' x 3.1' x 2.2'
WEIGHT: 25 g / 0.88 oz
It's not quite THE lightest cage around, but it doesn't weigh much.
An rrp of £55 for a bottle cage is daft. There are aluminium and plastic bottle cages that are very similar weights for far less money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It holds a bottle securely and it's not hard to get the bottle in and out. Job done.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I'm still a sucker for that carbon fibre weave finish.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Only if they were a serious weight-weenie with money to burn.
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a very good bottle cage, but it's 55 quid, so value for money issues pull down the score.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.