SHIMANO PRO DELUXE BOTTLE CAGE
Price MSRP: $19.99 each
Weight: 32g each
Source: Bike Shops, Websites
Features: Lightweight Fiberglass Construction
How obtained: Purchased at LBS
Summary: High quality ‘glass-filled nylon’ construction makes it lightweight, strong and a great value for your money
I actually needed to pick up a couple of new bottle cages. I started looking around and the most common choices were aluminum, steel, plastic and carbon. This means that I could choose either a flimsy aluminum one for around $8 (yuck), a heavy steel cage for around $10 (uh-no), a flimsy plastic cage also around $10 (another no), or a carbon one starting at $50 (and I needed 2) ….. Some choices 🙁
So, I started looking around and found one that looked promising – good on price and it was made of something different than the rest – (fiber)glass filled nylon. A very lightweight, sturdy and durable ‘injection moldable’ material. Being a materials engineer myself, I can see that Shimano put some thought into this by choosing a lightweight durometer base nylon and combining with the right amount of fiberglass to give it just enough rigidity, and finally, topping it off with a couple percent of carbon black as the UV inhibitor.
To make the cage, these materials are all mixed together, extruded and chopped into small pellets. These pellets are then loaded into the hopper of an injection mold machine, heated and forced into a mold at high pressure. After allowing to cool for a few seconds, the mold opens and brand new water bottle cages are born. Of course, the key to all of this is picking the right nylon and picking the right percentage of fiberglass. And not to mention the Solid Works CAM design engineer, the mold fabricator, and the injection mold machine operator. So there really is a lot of engineering behind a seemingly simple water bottle cage.
HOW WELL DO THEY WORK?
After several months and several thousand miles, these bottle cages still hold bottles with a firm grip, but not too tight that makes the bottle difficult to extract. There is the normal wear & tear, i.e., rub marks where the bottle comes into contact with the cage, but, that is normal for any plastic or carbon cage. This in no way detracts from the performance. The cages still work like when it was brand new. Also, being a ‘plastic’ material, there is no corrosion or oxidation as with some metal cages.
To thoroughly test, I placed different size bottles, 12oz, 20oz, 24oz, and even the 500ML Shimano Pro Storage Bottle. All worked perfectly and were securely gripped, even on the roughest road in Southern California – Regents Rd in San Diego. Several times I have done the San Diego Bike Club (SDBC) Saturday ride and this road is so severely rutted and so heavily pot-holed, that there are at least 4 cyclists that lose their bottles due to the bottles popping out of their cages. With the Shimano Pro cages, my bottles were always 100% secured in these cages. This is one true test of a cages holding power!
IS IT WORTH THE MONEY?
Yes, the Shimano Pro Deluxe Bottle Cage is a great value! It works perfectly and has not cracked, dis-colored nor failed in daily use. My choice would be the black cage since I have 3 bikes, each one black.