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Best bottle cages for cycling 2023: an option for every riding style

Dec 05, 2023

The best bottle cages for cycling hold your bottle securely but still make it easy to keep hydrated

You'll want to choose the best bottle cages for cycling, to let you carry liquids on the bike in one of the best water bottles. It's important to keep yourself hydrated on all but the shortest rides, whether that's with a slurp of water or the best energy drinks for cycling.

Strangely, although they're a vital part of most rides, bike brands rarely provide more than the two or three sets of bolts needed to fit a bottle cage, although there are exceptions.

That means extra expense, but it does let you choose the best bottle cage for your needs, whether that's a super-lightweight carbon number to keep the grams off your best road bike or a super-secure bottle cage so your gravel bike and your only source of additional hydration don't part company.

The best bottle cages keep your bottles secure, but not so secure you can't get them out when you need a drink, and here at Cyclingnews, we've used more than our fair share of bottle cages, both on the road and on rough gravel riding so we know what separates the good from a dud.

The below list covers what we think are the best options available today, but if you're a little unsure as to what to go for then we've included a handy buyer's guide at the bottom to steer you towards the right choice for you.

Elite's Vico Carbon is an aesthetically pleasing bottle cage that comes in a host of colour trim options to match your bike. It's also super light weighing just 23g. Used extensively by many of the top WorldTour teams, the Vico has forged a reputation as one of the best carbon bottle cages in the segment for reasons that go far beyond its lightweight properties - the most pertinent being its superior bottle retention. That said, the Elite Vico Carbon will benefit riders of all skill sets and disciplines, off-road adventuring included.

The Silca Sicuro is one for the classicists; timeless styling that works on nearly all bikes (but perhaps not an all-out aero rig), combined with timeless, corrosion-resistant titanium gives you an option that you'll probably have to leave in your will to the grandkids.

Tall slots, rather than holes, give an additional degree of up/down adjustability to really fine-tune the position too, which may be of particular benefit to those on smaller frames.

The only time you ever need a multitool is the time you forget to move it from your other bike. The Specialized Zee Cage II includes a tiny multitool that you never have to worry about not having.

Although the tool is tiny, it has most of what you are likely to need in emergency situations. Flip it open to find 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm Allen keys, plus a T25 Torx and a flathead screwdriver. What's more, the bottle cage itself isn't half bad either, and a side-loading entry is especially good if you either have a small frame, or you're running a frame bag, where pulling the bottle out upwards is impossible. But do bear in mind that as with any side-load design, you'll only be able to pull it out from one side.

The Tacx Deva's claim to fame is its range of 14 different colours. You can be pretty sure to find one to match your bike, whether it's matt black or fluoro yellow.

The cage is made of plastic, but with carbon and glass fibre reinforcement, giving a solid, secure hold on your bottle and good durability in a cage that's inexpensive. It's a good fit for most bikes, but if your bottle cage bolts have larger heads, the top one may not fit in the recess in the Deva cage. Otherwise, it's a good option that should serve you well.

Sure, it weighs five times as much as others on this list, but not every ride is an all-out go-fast affair, and not every bike is an ultralight carbon fibre wind-cheating race machine. For the times you want to cruise around town on a bike instead of in a car, you might want something for the simple pleasures, which the Modula Java Cage has considered with its design.

The rubberised upper strap of the bottle cage helps keep the contents secure without scratches. There is also plenty of adjustment to accommodate various sizes of coffee travel mugs and, if it's party time, you can easily chuck a cylindrical Bluetooth speaker to spice up your ride.

In 2013, the son of the founder of Specialized, one of the biggest bike brands in the business, surveyed the landscape of bike accessories. Feeling like what was out there was boring and derivative, Anthony Sinyard set out to do something different.

The outcome draws inspiration from 80s surf brands like T&C Surf, Quiksilver, & Santa Cruz, and it's anything but boring. If you want to stand out in a crowd then Supacaz has the goods. Pick up the oil-slick bottle cage and you can match your bar tape, gloves, shoes, pedals, everything.

Style is a big part of bottle cages. If you like a bike that looks as clean and tidy as possible, the Fabric Cageless Water Bottle system is a unique idea. Instead of buying bottles and cages, the Fabric system includes two sets of two small studs with the purchase of the bottle. Install the studs to the water bottle cage bosses and the bottle has provisions for sliding on. By cutting the bottle cage out entirely, the system is lighter weight. When you aren't carrying a bottle it almost completely disappears. You may have to pay extra attention when reattaching the bottle with cold hands or on a dark ride though.

Stem bags are becoming an increasingly common option for carrying an additional water bottle. If you've got a track bike with no bottle bosses or you're bikepacking and have already used up the two or three cages you've got access to, then something like this Chrome Doubletrack feed bag might be up your street.

Solid construction, as is the Chrome trademark, plus extra capacity for snacks is a winning combo. Plus, if you don't put a bottle in it you can fill it with a camera, some gummy worms, a block of cheese, a house brick, or anything else that takes your fancy.

Plastic waste is a huge environmental issue. Plastic fishing nets are just a small part of that, but discarded nets have an outsized impact on the oceans. Trek, and its accessory brand Bontrager, has partnered with Bureo, which works with fishermen in Chile to provide a revenue stream for end-of-life fishing nets.

The program incentivises the collection, cleaning, sorting and recycling of fishing nets. It creates positive solutions for end-of-use fishing nets but only if there is a market for the material created. If you want to be part of that positive change in the world, buying a bottle cage is an easy way to do it.

Oh, and luckily for our oceans, it's a pretty good bottle cage too, holding onto our bottles over rough terrain with ease.

A list of bottle cages wouldn't be complete without a carbon fibre entry. Enve is one of the masters of the art of carbon fibre construction, and its bottle cage meets the standards you'd expect from the brand.

If your bike is all carbon and you've counted every gram then don't leave the bottle cages as an afterthought. Despite the delicate look, the carbon construction is strong; you aren't going to easily snap it even though it only weighs 19 grams. The side entry design means you can take advantage of that strength for off-road riding as easily as on-road too.

Just like a list of bottle cages wouldn't be complete without a high-end carbon option, you can't have a list without a simple aluminium option either. If the idea of paying a premium price for a functionally identical piece of gear makes your head spin, then check out what Planet Bike has available. A bargain price and a tried-and-true design mean you don't have to pay a lot for something that just works.

Spend your time worrying about other problems and pick up a colour that matches your bike without paying much, or go mad and get something that clashes horribly. The world is your oyster.

As with all bike purchases, it will ultimately come down to a meeting of form, function, and finances. On the whole though, unless you're after some hyperlight carbon option or a titanium forever cage, the financial barrier to experimentation is relatively low, so chances are if something catches your eye then you may as well give it a try, provided it does the job of holding your bottle in place.

Beyond this, you need to consider weight and style, as well as things like adjustability if you plan on lugging a giant bottle around with you.

The cheapest bottle cages tend to be those made of aluminium or steel. Moulded plastic bottle cages are also usually good value and may be lighter than metal ones.

Move up the hierarchy and you can expect either fibreglass or carbon fibre reinforced composite cages or metal cages made of titanium, although you can still find fancier aluminium cages.

Pro usage is slightly hamstrung by sponsor commitments, so we'd always recommend taking it with a pinch of salt. Many teams use the Elite Vico or the Tacx Deva - both in carbon fibre, of course - but many switch to old-school alloy options for races like Paris Roubaix to ensure the bottles stay put.

Not all water bottles will fit all bottle cages, but all cycling water bottles will. They're all designed to be a specific diameter, with an indentation near the neck for the cage to notch into for a secure fit.

That being said, in a pinch you can stuff a lot of things into a bottle cage, but if you're regularly trying to cycle with a large thermos then we'd suggest going for a cage with an adjustable clamp.

Bottle cage bosses on every bike frame are set at a standard distance apart, so every bottle cage will be able to attach to your frame, provided there is enough space for it.

Be aware some larger capacity bottle cages nowadays require three bosses, which are also standardised in terms of separation. You can mount a standard cage to two of them, but you shouldn't mount a cage designed for three bosses with just two bolts.

If you have a smaller frame, the clearance to get a bottle out of a cage can be an issue, particularly if you want to carry water bottles with over 500ml or 600ml capacity. Some bottle cages are designed so that you can take the bottle out to the side rather than needing to pull it up to release it.

A carbon cage will be lighter than an aluminium, steel or titanium one, but won't shrug off an impact quite so easily, so bear that in mind depending on the riding you do.

Metal bottle cages can also be bent inwards or outwards to adjust the grip, something which you can't do with carbon, so if you want to make sure your bottles aren't going anywhere then metal might be your best choice.

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Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutiae of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.Height: 5'9"Weight: 140 lb.Rides: Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx

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