Bottle cages aren’t usually the most exciting component on your bike. Unless you’re looking for something exotic to complement a boutique build (and you’ve got a huge wad of cash burning a hole in your wallet), most just want something that does its job of securely holding on to your bottles without too much fuss. If it can also complement the look of your bike, then that’s even better.
Sounds simple, right? Well, it really ought to be, but as a component that’s relatively cheap and easy to produce, practically every manufacturer involved in cycling has had a go at it, and most experienced cyclists will have found out that some have fared better than others.
Like any other component, bottle cages also come in a variety of different materials, from plastic and aluminium, which tends to be the cheapest, to carbon and titanium, which are inevitably more expensive.
Performance often depends more on the style and construction of the cage, rather than the material it’s made of though, so don’t assume that a carbon bottle cage is better just because it costs more.
While some people swear by innovative solutions involving various types of magnets or studs, most people just want something simple that works with standard cycling bottles, and holds on to them securely over even the roughest terrain.
It’s a classic case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, and with that in mind, we’ve put together a list of our favourite bottle cages on the market in 2020. We’ve also included a variety of different styles and price points, so everyone should be able to find something to suit their budget.
The best cycling bottle cages in 2020 as tested by our team of experts
Tacx Ciro: £16 / $26
Elite Vico Carbon: £25 / $32 / AU$50
Lifeline Essential: £5 / $10 / AU$15
Tacx Ciro Dave Caudrey/Immediate Media
Price: £16 / $26
The new-for-2018 Ciro’s carbon shell and glass-fibre core keep the weight down on this minimalist, decently priced cage. This worked well with all the bottles we tried it with, Tacx and otherwise. It comes in 20 two-tone, black-and-colour designs, in gloss or matt finishes.
Elegant, effective, tough, light and good value – that’s a lot to like.
Elite Vico Carbon
Elite Vico Carbon Dave Caudrey/Immediate Media
Price: £25 / $32 / AU$50
A very good weight without a super-hefty price, the carbon-injected Vico works well with Elite’s own bottles, but you may find other brands’ bidons a slightly tight fit, even though they’re theoretically much the same diameter.
This makes it a case of pairing with Elite or checking it works well with your own bottles, but that’s our only reservation.
Lifeline Essential Dave Caudrey/Immediate Media
Price: £5 / US$10 / AU$15
Wiggle’s cycling bits-and-bobs brand Lifeline has come up with this elegant, bright design. The Essential is made from tough polycarbonate plastic and comes in four glossy colours – black, blue, red and white.
It does what you need it to, keeping your bottle secure even over rough and cobbled roads, and represents very good value.
The following bottle cages scored fewer than four stars in our test.
Topeak Dualside Dave Caudrey/Immediate Media
Price: £15 / AU$30
Available in just two colours, Topeak’s Dualside isn’t that light, but it does have a couple of very neat tricks up its sleeve. The name refers to the fact that the entry to the cage is slightly ‘offset’, thanks to a flippable frame.
This makes it easier if you always use the same hand to reach for your bottle, and is a real boon for smaller frames where vertical clearance can be too tight for standard bottle cages.
Lezyne Road Drive Alloy
Lezyne Road Drive Alloy Dave Caudrey/Immediate Media
Price: £23 / $25
A little bit heavier than most, but this does include a Velcro strap and mounts designed for Lezyne’s excellent Road Drive mini-pump (and works just as well with other, circa 17mm diameter, mini-pumps).
Bottles are held firmly, but are easy to grab and replace, and the pump fitting is very useful. It also comes in six different colours.
Blackburn Cinch Dave Caudrey/Immediate Media
Price: £40 / $60 / AU$90
Very light, tight and available in four colours, including this fluoro yellow, a pair of these skinny cages could trim 60g (over two ounces) compared with a pair of heavier models, so it represents a reasonable mass versus money trade-off for the weight-conscious rider.
In spite of that, we found it as secure as heavier cages over bumps.