Bottle Cages for Touring: Every and Anything Cages
Bottle cages take a beating when touring or bikepacking. We’ve broken a few and some have stood up to a lot of miles with a fair share of abuse. Here are several cages that have impressed, and one new replacement…
It may seem a bit overkill to put thought and writing into a piece of gear as mundane as the bottle cage. But bottle cages used for touring and bikepacking take a lot of abuse, and they break quite often. This post has been a long time coming. When we got home from our last tour I unbolted all of our cages and noticed a couple that have been around for a while, and thought about several that didn’t make it back. We’ve used many brands, and broken quite a few of them. You can typically find replacements in practically every country, but most cheap wire cages wear out and become flimsy. Typically we carry two cages that fit standard water bottles and one or two oversized cages. Here are the ones worth writing about:
The Lezyne Power Bottle Cage
The Lezyne Power Bottle cage is by far the best and most burly cage I’ve used. At 66 grams, that’s impressive. A lot of folks say the King Cage is tops, but I would argue. I have three of them and they have withstood the rigors of two tours, carried water for over 15,000 kilometers, sometimes on incredibly rough tracks, survived being banged around in and on top of busses and trains, and I’ll still be confident to bolt them on for the next tour. The best thing about these cages is the fact that they maintain their snug grip; they made of oversized hollow aluminum tubing for strength. The wrap-around design securely holds bottles over rough terrain. I have found stainless cages prone to bending and becoming loose which can produce rattling when used with metal bottles.
Alloy Oversized Bottle Cage
Yep, no brand name. This was a random cage I bought on SJS Cycles along with another order… kind of a last minute item I tossed into the shopping cart. But it’s proven to be one of the best cages I’ve ever owned. It is slightly oversized, so it fits larger 1.5L plastic bottles. It weighs about 118 grams. Gin used it for a while under her down tube and I had it mounted to my fork. I was surprised to find it still on the SJS site… I’ll be ordering another.
Topeak Modula XL Cage
Some folks might argue that this cage shouldn’t have made the list, but it has been good to me; it’s also kind of a touring standard. I have met a couple people who have broken them, and seen one that had been welded. Somehow mine held up, but most of the time the rubber piece breaks and a cord or multiple rubber bands are used to hold the spout of the bottle in place. Ultimately I would probably pick the aforementioned ‘no-name’ cage in a shootout, but the Modula has a couple of perks. It’s rigid, holds an oversized plastic bottle, it’s fairly lightweight at 125 grams, and it’s adjustable… for any bottle you want to carry along.
Salsa Anything Cage – V2
Let me preface this by saying that we haven’t yet tested the second version of the Anything Cage. But based on first inspection, I have faith in the new and improved version. As you’ll see in the photos below, we broke two of the V1s in Africa. One I had welded in Lesotho and it broke again. However, the V2 version seems pretty tough; and it’s no slouch at 143 grams. Although it has a nearly identical rail design, the tubing is coupled with a solid plate via full length weld beads. It’s actually constructed similar to the Lezyne that I touted earlier in this post. The Anything cage boasts a 6.6 pound limit, which is more than adequate for carrying a sleeping pad, rain gear, Vargo BOT cook kit, or whatever other cylindrical object you decide to lash onto it. I was very happy to see Salsa rework the Anything; it was a genius rack for minimalist touring and bikepacking. Once I put it through the wringer, I’ll update this posting.
Salsa Nickless Cage
The Nickless from Salsa is a well-designed and aesthetically pleasing stainless cage. It made this list because it didn’t break. I would point out that this cage is probably better for road and gravel riding than rough dirt track touring. I does bend a little and with a metal bottle this can get pretty annoying. However, it does bend back and seems very sturdy.