At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.
Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
The Portland Design Works Otter Cage doesn't just look cute, its little paws have a very firm grip on your bottle whether you are on smooth roads or blatting along on the gravel tracks.
The Otter Cage is cut from a single sheet of 5052 grade aluminium alloy and then curved, so that it holds your bottle with its 'arms' just like a mother otter does when floating on her back with her pup, according to PDW.
That hold is impressive too. I used the Otter with both 750ml and 500ml bottles, some with necks and some without, with no hint of them coming loose whether full or empty – even when on my gravel bike taking on the various rough terrains of my local trails.
The natural spring of the material means bottles are held very tightly, but the one downside is that tight fit can quickly rub the decals off your favourite bottles as you slide them in and out.
The cage itself doesn't suffer though – the anodised finish of both colours, this 'brown' or 'steel gray', is tough and after six weeks of heavy use it still looks brand new.
With the cage you also get a pair of stainless steel bolts.
Price-wise you are looking at £24.99, which isn't bad value for an alloy bottle cage, especially one as reliable as this. Back in 2015 I tested PDW's Bird Cage and it has sat on my winter road bike ever since. It still looks immaculate and holds bottles just as well as it always has.
The Otter is nine quid more than the Supacaz Fly Cage Ano, though, and the Supacaz is much lighter, too, at just 22g compared with the Otter's 57g.
Lezyne also does a classy looking CNC machined aluminium cage, catchily called the CNC Alloy Cage. It's the same price as the Otter but it, too, is lighter at 39g.
The Otter is a bit weightier than most, but if all you care about is keeping your bottles secure whatever the terrain then you really can't go wrong – it's one you can rely on.
Cheeky looking bottle cage that won't let your bottle escape
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Portland Design Works Otter Cage
Size tested: Accepts 500ml or 750ml bottles
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?
PDW says, "The Otter Cage is made from a single sheet of lightweight 5052 alloy. The arms of the otter cradle your water bottle nice and tight like a mama otter floating on her back with her pup. We donate 10% of the profits from the Otter Cage to organizations that protect wildlands & wildlife, organizations like Oregon Wild."
It's a very secure cage.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Constructed of 5052 alloy
Includes two stainless bolts for installation
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's a good talking point on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It can scratch your bottle.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Sitting comfortably between the two cages I've mentioned in the review, it's not badly priced.
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
The Otter is a very well made bottle cage, tough and durable, and it works extremely well, even if it's a bit heavier than most. It's very good.
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!