I’ve been wanting to tweak my water bottle carrying options and got around to hunting down the cages that would work for me.
- Handlebar mounted cages. That means fitting around the rest of the cockpit items like the mount for the Ortlieb Ultimate 6 Compact handlebar bag, the trip computer and the shifters and brake levers. The cages need to hold the bottles on the rear side of the handlebars.
- The lower cages need to mount in a very small frame triangle with just the right geometry to allow one cage on the seat post tube and another on the down tube and have room to slide the bottles in and out without dragging on each other.
I had been running a generic aluminum cage with a handlebar clamp. It worked well enough, but it did stick up quite a ways. I DO like having a bottle close at hand without needing to bend over double to get it in or out of the cage. I did some surfing and found the EVO Resin handlebar cage for $6. It weighs 42g/1.5oz and is all resin plastic with a single steel bolt and nut on the clamp with a shim to fit 22.5mm bars.
I mounted one on each side of the stem and they fit the space well, looking as though they belong. I was able to get them spaced so they didn’t rub on the stem. I got them out for a test ride and my two concerns we put to rest: they do not vibrate with full bottles and there is room for my knees. Standard bike bottles fit well– snug enough to stay put on the bumps, but without a wrestling match to get them in and out.
It does take a bit of wrestling to get the clamp to close enough to get the nut started on the bolt. I was able to hold an 8mm box end wrench on the nut while pressing down with a 4mm tee-handled Allen wrench. EVO should recess the nut into the bottom of the clamp, making it a one-tool install. You do need to start with the clamp angled a bit higher than desired as the clamp rotates down as it is tightened.
On the lower triangle I have never been able to mount more than one bottle cage at a time. I have a few in my gear locker and with careful comparison, I could see that the issue was the distance between the lower mounting bolt and the bottom of the cage. By finding a cage with a minimum distance between those points, it effectively moves the bottles up on the frame. With one of the cages on a steep angle that translates to the cages being moved apart about 5mm each, which was just enough for the bottom edges of the bottles to miss each other.
These were also EVO branded cages, described as an “EVO 6mm aluminum cage”. $6 each with shipping on eBay.
That gives me the ability to carry four 16-20 ounce bottles. I may get one of the tool kit storage style bottles for the lower cage.
Before enlightenment, pedal uphill, haul water; after enlightenment pedal uphill, haul water! That’s all for now.