A water bottle holders, also known as a bottle “cage”, is not an absolutely critical component of most bike builds. You’ll still be able to get on the bike and pedal away if you don’t have a water bottle holder on your bike, but if you’re a keen cyclist you already know the importance of proper hydration, especially on longer rides.
While here are several other ways to carry hydration on your rides, the simplest way to do so is by means of a water bottle in a bottle holder. It’s certainly one of those accessories that increase the convenience and versatility of any bike.
The function of a bike bottle holder is exactly as the term implies: it allows the rider to carry a water bottle on their bicycle’s frame.
While this is a seemingly a very simple function, consider that a good bottle holder will be designed to have a firm enough grip on your bottle(s) to prevent it from being accidentally ejected if you ride over rough roads or trails (this is especially important for mountain bikers and gravel riders), while simultaneously allowing easy access to the bottle – often while in motion – when needed.
With this in mind, it becomes apparent that, as simple as they are, designing functional high-quality water bottle holders for modern sport cycling needs is not an easy task.
In this article we take a look at some of the best water bottle holders currently on the market.
1. Planet Bike Aluminium Water Bottle Cage
We start this list by featuring this very basic and inexpensive bottle holder. There is nothing special about the Planet Bike bottle cage aside from the fact that it comes in five different colours, thus offering an easy way to not only carry your bottles but also to add some color-matched flair to your bike. It is made from 6061 6.2mm aluminum tubing and weighs 63g.
2. PRO Bike Tool Water Bottle Holder:
This is another aluminium alloy bottle cage designed to fit most sizes of bike water bottles, from 500ml (18oz) to 1000ml (35oz). The alloy “wings” of this holder are designed to be able to flex to accommodate larger bottles, and they can even be bent in or out to adjust the fitment to accommodate your favourite cycling water bottles. The PRO Bike Tool cage weights 48g, has a black powder coated finish and is tumble polished which makes it easy to clean.
3. Elite Cannibal XC Bottle Cage
The Elite Cannibal XC bottle cage is a popular choice among mountain bikers. It is a low-profile cage which makes it great for the often rather tight front triangles of modern full-suspension mountain bikes. It has recessed v-shaped sides which make for easy access to the bottles form either side of the bike.
Most importantly, it has a very firm grip on bottles which ensures that they won’t go flying when you’re riding rough trails. The Elite Cannibal XC is made from a durable fiber-reinforced material (FRP) which makes it a lightweight yet heavy-duty option for mountain bikes (or road bikes being ridden on rough roads!).
4. Syncros Matchbox Tailor Cage
Syncros, the components brand of Swiss bike manufacturer Scott, is known for innovative and clever component designs, and the Matchbox Tailor Cage is a testament to the ingenuity of accessory designers at Syncros.
The Matchbox Tailor Cage is another cage aimed at mountain bikers, but could be equally useful for road or gravel riders. From a distance, the Matchbox may look like any ordinary bottle holder, but on a closer inspection you’ll see the small waterproof case located just below it.
This case houses a tiny but incredibly useful 14-piece toolkit that includes a chain tool. Having this little toolkit on the bike is great way to be prepared for the most common mechanical issue you may encounter on the road or trail. The Matchbox cage is made from fiber-reinforced nylon and comes in right or left openings for ease of on-the-go bottle access in bikes with cramped front triangles, and it can also be mounted to the bottom of the downtube.
5. Specilaized Zee Cage II
The Zee Cage II from Specialized is another side-entry cage with great ergonomics and a firm hold on bottles. It comes in left or right openings (and the opening side could be reversed by mounting the cage on either the downtube or the seat tube) and a range of bold colorful patterns to match most bikes’ paintjobs.
The Zee II cage is also compatible with Specialized’s integrated tool systems like the Specialized EMT Cage Mount Tool and Specialized MTB XC Box and weighs in at 43g.
6. Portland Design Works The Owl Water Bottle Cage
The Owl Cage from Portland Design Works is a quirky cage made of lightweight 5052 aluminum alloy and is shaped like, you guessed it: an owl. The “wings” of the owl fold over to form the bottle cradle. Like many alloy cages, the wings can be slightly adjusted to fit larger or smaller bottles. It comes in black or white and weighs 67g.
7. Lezyne Flow Bottle Cage
The Lezyne Flow is one of the most secure cages on the market with its ‘x-grip” design. Made from a carbon fiber-reinforced Composite Matrix material, it comes with an integrated low-profile pump bracket that allows you to carry your Lezyne pump (or others) alongside your bottle on the bike.
8. Tacx Deva Bottle Cage
The Tacx Deva is a very popular bottle holder and it’s easy to see why. It comes in a dizzying array of colors to match nearly any bike (thirteen different colors in total!) and has a sleek and low-profile design that sits out of the way of front derailleur clamps, allowing for easy bottle access.
You also get choice of two versions: the regular Deva made out of glass fiber reinforced polyamide, and a more expensive full carbon fiber Deva which shaves a few grams of the already reasonably light weight regular Deva.
9. ENVE Carbon Bottle Cage
ENVE is a market leader in carbon fiber wheels (and now also offer super high-end road bike frames). Their Carbon Bottle Cage exudes the usual quality that their main products have. It’ll perform the same function other cages on this list accomplish, but at just shy of 20g it is extremely light compared to most of them. Like the Elite Cannibal XC, the ENVE Carbon Cage has cavernous dual sided entry openings for easy use with either hand.
10. Elite Ciussi Inox Bottle Cage
Carbon fiber and composite bottle cages may offer lightweight construction and secure bottle retention, but if you are building a classic or retro-inspired bike you might need something different to match the classic aesthetic, and this is where the Elite Ciussi shines. It is made from lightweight stainless-steel tubing and has two grippy buttons on the sides for secure bottle holding. It would be the perfect bottle holder choice if you’re looking for the finishing touches to your steel or Titanium bike, mixing old-fashioned style with modern functionality.
11. Fidlock Twist Bike Base
The Fidlock Twist base is a bottle holder unlike any of the ones featured in this list. It has a unique and very clever design that does away with the traditional “cage” design of water bottle holders, instead using two magnetic mounting points that employ a twisting motion to secure the bike to or remove it from the base.
The advantages of this ingenious cageless system are many, including fitting in very small or cramped frames and more clearance inside the front triangle for shouldering the bike in cyclocross racing, among others.
The downside is that you need to use special Fidlock-compatible bottles, and getting the bottle in and out of the base while riding is not as intuitive as with traditional bottle holders. It is worth noting that while Fidlock was an innovator in cageless bottle holders, there are now other similar products on the market including Fabric Cageless Bottle System.
12. Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cage
The Outpost Cargo cage from Blackburn is primarily designed to carry bikepacking gear, but its very large size and dual straps make it well-suited to carrying non-standard and large water bottles as well. This is would be the perfect addition to a bikepacking setup or a cargo bike.
13. Silca Sicuro Titanium
Similar to the Elite Ciussi, the Silca Sicuro is a classy bottle cage made from lightweight Titanium tubing. The Sicuro has laser-welded construction and slotted mounting eyelets to allow for fore and aft adjustability.
14. XLAB Delta 105 Rear Bottle Holder
If you’re an endurance rider needing to carry additional hydration on long rides, the XLAB Delta rear bottle carrier can offer you one additional bottle holder mounted below and behind the saddle, in a position that is both convenient and aerodynamic.
The XLAB Delta is made from lightweight and durable nylon and also allows you to add accessories like tool and repair kit holders. While the mounting bracket is rather low profile, it might not suit all saddle rail and seat post combinations.
- As with any bike component, bottle holders come in a wide range of materials, construction techniques and price points. From simple and cheap plastic ones to featherweight high-end carbon-fiber and titanium. The choices can be overwhelming!
- Set a budget and determine how many holders you’ll need, then go shopping.
- Determine your hydration and riding needs first: do you need to carry enough water for long self-supported rides, or just enough for rides under two hours? This will help narrow down your search.
- What type of bike do you have? A modern full-suspension mountain bike will benefit from side-loading and low-profile cages.
- Is durability important? If yes, Look for cages with a glass-fiber reinforced or full carbon fiber construction, as opposed to cheaper cages made out of brittle plastic.
Hani Morsi is a seasoned multi-discipline cyclist with a particular liking for mountain and gravel bikes. Hani is also a mountain bike coach, trail builder and experienced bike mechanic.