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Best Water Bottle Cages for Mountain Bike

Have you tried grabbing your water bottle only to find out that there’s nothing there? Well, this situation is common as bottles tend to slip out on our bikes, making us dehydrated and uncomfortable on a long ride. Bottle cages were invented to come to the rescue by securing our water bottles in place.

However, we cannot choose the best water bottle cage for mountain bike if we don’t know crucial features to consider. So, I listed down three of them below.

  • Lightweight: While we are looking for something that can hold up our water bottles, we must also ensure that it will not hold down our speed by adding unnecessary weight. Hence, we should choose a bottle cage that’s not too light or too heavy around 50 – 100 g), so the rider can keep biking at top speeds and maintain peak performance.
  • Durability: Weight and durability should not conflict with each other. Some products guarantee optimum durability without being too heavy or dragging to the biker. A durable cage should withstand all blows that the harsh environment provides so that the water bottle stays intact throughout the ride.
  • It is important to have a bottle cage that can last for years, saving our money big time. Besides, it’s great to have a biking companion for a long time because we tend to get used to its positioning on our bicycles.
  • Adjustability: Nobody wants a bottle cage that’s hard to adjust. Having storage that guarantees easy adjustment will make work quicker and gives the rider more time to hit the road, rather than wasting time making minor adjustments from time to time.

Although these three features are pretty specific, they are not enough to filter out the best ones out there, so be sure to check out the “Buying Guide” after the product review. The contents there will ensure that every rider will get their ideal bike bottle cage in no time.

We must stay hydrated during a long trip, so installing this excellent MTB water bottle cage is a good idea. It keeps our water storage safe and convenient while delivering a stunning look on the road.

What to Look for When Buying Bike Frame Bags

Like gravel bottle cages, water bottle cages are typically positioned above the seat tube and/or on the down tubing. However, some frame structures (particularly the full-suspension mountain bikes) feature mounting below the down tubing.

Threaded pits in the tubing are used to install the bottle cage, held by two screws included with the enclosure. Most bottle cage designs will have extended holes in the mounting dish to permit modest differences in hole spacing and let bikers change the bottle spot, perfectly meeting every biker’s frame size reference.

Riders who have to bring a large drink onboard may start considering a hydration pack or a bracket that allows the bottle cages to be installed behind the bike frame.

Here are some things that a biker should think about when choosing their water bottle cage to know more about it.

  • Materials

Water bottle cages are commonly composed of stainless steel, plastics, or carbon fiber. The most basic variants are made out of a single formed ring of tube alloy, while others provide metal cages or variants compressed and molded from one sheet of aluminum.

Aluminum cages are easy to use and secure, although they are heftier than plastic (polyesters) or carbon fiber. Furthermore, manufacturers of the latter frequently construct high-tech cage bodies that claim improved retention capacities, but, in truth, many people prefer them solely for their streamlined, ‘rustic’ style.

  • Bottle retention

Because the cage’s primary role is to keep the water container, it should firmly grip the container all around the collar or the bottle’s body.

Wraparound constructions and the inbuilt-spring material are for some carbon or plastic cages to hold the water container rather than the collar. However, anyone cycling on bumpy roadways or off-road might enjoy the secure grip of a traditional-style safety cage.

Several models also include silicone inlays or collars to add grip on the drink’s exterior and absorb road shocks that could rattle the cage loose.

  • Accessibility

Bikers should be capable of reaching below and effortlessly removing the old drink while cycling at high speeds, so the grip shouldn’t be too tight. There is a delicate balance in security and accessibility, and perusing some bike cage reviews help bikers judge how to achieve this well.

Many race-bred enclosures prioritize accessibility over safety and vice versa. Meanwhile, some variants are constructed to take and change the drink from above and on both sides. This should be considered if the biker has a tiny frame that bottles and cages have a snug fit.

  • Weight

‘Mass weenies’ love high-end carbon fiber enclosures because they allow them to trim even more precious grams. But, on the enormous scale of things, a 20g mass savings must be evaluated against the reality that a whole 750ml container is a substantial burden, so any weight savings is minimal altogether.

Furthermore, minimalistic cages, as previously said, may prioritize lightweight design and accessibility over protection, so some structures are best suited to riders who exclusively ride on flat roads.

  • Size

Many water bike bottle enclosures are standardized to fit either big and medium jugs. Do note that their collars will generally be in that place, no matter their capacity. However, others have flexible container stoppers to fine-tune their fit and grip.

One benefit of alloy cages is that bikers can bend it back to its original form if they lose their remaining hold over time. This can usually occur when there are highway shocks and full drinks combined.

  • Beverages/Water Bottles

Although cageless structures are attractive and alleviate several of the bike clearance concerns linked with full-suspension bicycles, they frequently need the use of customized containers.

When talking about bottles, everyone has their own preferences, but there’s something to be said about the near-universal flexibility a standardized cage offers.

Which Is Better: Top-loading or Side-loading?

Besides knowing crucial features to consider for your water bottle cage, it is also essential to see if you prefer a top-loading or side-loading design. Know the difference between the two here.

Top-load and side-load bicycle cages are available, and knowing which is ideal for you depends on the bike frame. A top-load enclosure will do if there’s enough area in the bike’s front triangles.

On the other hand, side-load cages make cans, water bottles, and other beverages more reachable, but the biker may only cycle to reach through one end, as most full-suspension bikes have a narrow clearance.

However, the majority of water bottle cages are top-loading. Left or right loading enclosures are handy for tiny bike frame diameters, where pulling the bottles out sometimes becomes problematic due to the top tubing being too close. This can be seen on either little touring bike frames or some MTB frame designs.

At the end of the day, it’s all up to the biker which type of loading style he prefers. There are bikers that like the former more than the latter and vice versa. What’s essential is the rider’s comfort. The bottle cage should not interfere when the rider pedals during the trip.

Common Types

Now that the reader has finished reading about the best features to look at when choosing their water bottle cage for their next ride, it would not hurt to know the common types of water bottle cages.

  • Conventional Aluminum Cages – A basic tube Aluminum loop. Although it is heftier than more space-age enclosures, they are safe, inexpensive, and could be twisted back into form.
  • Carbon or Rubber ‘Panoramic’ Cages – This is the biker’s pick due to its low weight and elegant appearance, although top-end models come at a hefty price.
  • Back Mounting Cages – Mounting hooks are provided that allow these cages to be mounted behind the bike seat, improving aerodynamics for TT or tri cyclists. It also adds more capacity to tiny frames.
  • Bar Mounting Systems – Aerobar installation plates enable cages and beverages near the cyclist’s face. This allows racers and triathletes to sip (using a straw) while remaining in the aerodynamic tucking posture.

Where Should I Put My Water Bottle Cage on My Mountain Bike?

We believe that each bicycle should have bottle cages installed on the bottom of the steerer tube or down tube. This area is known for its tight clearance. Besides that, there would be no location for storing water because the gravity center is kept to a minimum, and there’s rarely a topographical or barrier hindrance. It’s best to purchase a mountain bike water bottle cage with multi tool that helps with a swift installation in the right position.

What Size Water Bottle Fits in Mountain Bike Cage?

Mountain bike cages have excellent compatibility with most water bottles, so there should be no issue regarding what sizes fit this bike enclosure. But to be precise, water bottles with measurements of 2.5 inches to 3.3 inches can perfectly fit an MTB cage. In terms of oz., some can also accommodate sizes from 26 to 27 oz water bottles.

How to Put a Water Bottle Cage on a Mountain Bike?

A biker only needs four things to install a water bottle cage, these are:

  • Water bottle
  • Water bottle cage
  • 4mm Allen wrench
  • Braze-on screws

Start by removing the bolts of the cage in the frame and decide if you want to attach the bottle and focus more on the two bolts of that tubing. Then, we will use our hands or an Allen key to turn them counter-clockwise until they push out.

Place the bottle enclosure against the braze-ons. Keep the bike cage in place, manually twist the screws. Once the biker is content and happy with the result, tighten the screws down with the wrench.

One might have trouble putting their y-wrench into the upper nut, but an L-shaped Allen wrench will make quick work of it! A y-wrench can also do magic. Fold the bottle enclosure backward calmly but firmly till there’s enough space to get the wrench in. Then, secure the bolt.

Because the bottle cage is made of metal, I do not recommend bending it at all times because it wears out, but it makes the assembly more convenient and is a helpful technique for picking up a fresh bottle with slightly different dimensions.

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