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The Dawn To Dusk Kaptive 14 Cage has to be the last word in water bottle retention over the most extreme terrain. It's the strongest cage in its all-carbon range, so if you don't want to lose your bottle, look no further.
Dawn To Dusk's focus on high-grip carbon cages for off-road use grew out of the designs it perfected over many years for triathlon use under its sister brand, XLAB.
The Kaptive 14 is essentially the same as the Gorilla XT cage, though the Kaptive has a less logo-emblazoned finish, but they both have the same spec and same price. Triathletes often carry water in cages hanging off the saddle rails – a location more prone to bouncing around than a cage mounted on the bike frame's main triangle.
Put two bottles in the same place and you have a lot of mass bouncing around. In a sport hyper-focused on the tiniest performance advantages, losing a bottle in the middle of what could be a 180km ride and thereby disrupting your fuelling/hydration plans doesn't bear thinking about.
Hence XLAB developed its Gorilla XT cage, and Dusk To Dawn saw an opportunity to bring the same extreme grip benefits to off-road cycling. Frame-mounted cages can be subject to similar loads and if you're travelling long distances over variable terrain, you also need to take care not to lose what might be the only clean or available water for many miles around.
The Kaptive 14 is identical in design to the Kaptive 10 Cage – the extra strength coming from (I guess) a bit more carbon – it's about 10% heavier at 47g. It has the same 4K carbon weave construction, six grip arms, 3mm-thick base, 5mm-deep hook and angled top edges. The angled edges mean it's pretty easy to slot your bottle in the cage, but if your frame size limits access this isn't the cage for you.
I tested the Kaptive 14 using a variety of bottles from new to very-well-worn – the 14lb grip strength was always met and sometimes considerably exceeded, one bottle requiring 20lb of force to remove. To put this in context, most normal cages require more like 3-5lb to get the bottle out. In short, the Kaptive 14 is on a different planet to pretty much every other cage out there. And Dawn To Dusk back this up with a five-year warranty, for peace of mind.
The extra grip strength isn't that noticeable from a user-arm-strength-required perspective – you're talking the amount of force required to pick up about 6kg. Maybe at the end of a very long day you might perceive that as being difficult, but during most rides you're more likely to pat yourself on the back that you chose to keep your bottle safe.
As I mentioned in my review of the Kaptive 10 cage, in a year's use over very rough terrain I never lost a bottle – so is the Kaptive 14 a case of overkill? Maybe. I guess it depends on what level of insurance you're looking for.
Dusk To Dawn says the Kaptive 14 is optimised for positioning beneath your bike's downtube, just in front of the bottom bracket. I rode a number of bikepacking trips during testing with 750ml bottles in that position and they didn't budge an inch. Using a metal Elite cage in the same position, I always used a strap for security.
Not having to faff with a strap makes re-watering easier, and there's also one thing fewer to forget to reattach – somewhere between Dalwhinnie and Kinloch Laggan there's a lovely orange Voile mini strap waiting beside a burn to be found. Even more importantly, if you're using that location to hold a tool canister the extra grip strength will be peace of mind.
As with the Kaptive 10, I ask 'what price security?' A penny off £60 is a very large sum of money for a bottle cage. Comparisons remain with the SKS Pure Carbon bottle cage. When he tested it, Stu found it grippy enough, but I very much doubt the SKS comes close to the Kaptive 14's grip.
The only real competition from a security point of view then is from Dawn To Dusk itself and its previously mentioned Kaptive 10 cage. Do you need more grip than the Kaptive 10 affords? If you're carrying bottles inside your frame, I'd say probably not – again my experience of a year's bashing about the Highlands with not a single hint of movement would say that's plenty.
But if you want to carry a heavy bottle outside the frame, in a more-horizontal position where the cage's mouth is oriented so that gravity is less your friend and ejection is more likely, then the Kaptive 14 might be just the ticket.
Possibly the grippiest cage out there, for when you need to really hang on to your bottles.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Dawn To Dusk Kaptive 14 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?
It's for people wanting the utmost grip of their bottles, over the roughest terrain.
Dawn To Dusk says: The Ultimate Cage For Extreme Terrain
KAPTIVE 14 is the epitome of strength and reliability. Requiring 14lb of grip force to remove a bottle, this cage can handle any trail from gravel riding to mountain biking. With its sleek design and matte finish, you can now have a cage that was engineered for style and technical reliability
Epitome of strength for extreme bottle retention
No worrying about losing your bottles and missing out on your essential hydration. The Kaptive 14's 6 arms built with extra layers of carbon fibre bring about a whopping 14lb of grip force – keeping that bottle put! Its tall 120mm (4.7in) sides clench your bottle with unrelenting strength and support even large bottles. This cage was meant for any challenge you take it through and really shows off while mounted underneath down tubes.
Extreme Grip, easy access & style?
That combo does exist! Despite the Kaptive 14's tight squeeze on bottles, the cage features a funnel-shaped top that actually helps guide your bottle while removing or inserting it. The high-quality, precision-made carbon fibre material features a sleek matte finish, allowing your bike to shine while performing at its best.
Location, location, location.
You don't want to put just any cage under the down tube. Planning to jump off rocks on your ride? Then you need a cage that will hold wherever it's placed. The Kaptive 14 comes with massive retention grip, so you can place it where the most extreme gravity force is to be had, and your bottle or pod will still be there when you need it the most.
Sometimes frames won't have the bosses you need to mount the Kaptive 14 underneath, but you can still place your cage there (space accordingly) when you pair it with the Bear Hug mount.
The Kaptive 14 is optimised (but not limited) to the following frame locations: Downtube
PART OF DAWN TO DUSK'S CAGE ECOSYSTEM
The Kaptive 14 is a component of a comprehensive system where the right cage, in the right place, and the right type of terrain come together and revolutionise the way riders carry hydration, prevent dehydration, and allow athletes to explore longer. While most traditional frame cages are standalone, do-it-all products, the Cage Ecosystem is a network of cages synergised to withstand the forces that cause bottles to launch. Introducing Dawn To Dusk's Cage Ecosystem. See How The Cage Ecosystem Works
Behind The Design
We believe this is probably the highest-gripping cage available. All of our advanced cage technology is packaged into this 49 gram masterpiece. Precision-selected, high-quality carbon fibres are placed in the optimum locations, boosting the grip force to 6.4kg (14lb). Extensively tested through some of the most extreme conditions over a multi-year period – the Kaptive 14 has earned our stamp of approval for ultimate rides and races.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
1. Carbon hook projects 5mm into bottle groove for excellent bottle retention
2. 120mm (4.7in) Tall sides with six 13mm (1/2in) wide gripping arms
3. 3mm thick solid carbon shelf to handle heavy bottles
4. Six 13mm (1/2in) Wide Gripping Arms
5. Funnel-edged sides for easy insertion
6. Special high-temperature, high-pressure, double-moulded, carbon fibre 4k composite for great rigidity
Matte midnight 4k carbon weave. Logos in matte 'dirty snow' finish.
Special high-temperature – high-pressure double-moulded carbon fibre composite for epic strength.
Easy, Moderate, Tough, Extreme
Underneath Down Tube
Tough as boots.
Extreme grip, but easy to fit/remove.
Still looks new despite taking a beating.
Heavier than other carbon cages, but oh, the grip!
Compared with other carbon cages that don't grip as much, it's well-priced. It has a five-year warranty too.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Can't fault it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's on par with other high-grip carbon cages, and cheaper than some.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for high-grip applications. Otherwise likely overkill.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's the last word in high-grip cages. Yes it's pricey, but you get real performance to match.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.