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, though, 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 bottle cages are simply better than others.
Like any other component, bottle cages also come in a variety of different materials – from plastic and aluminium, which tend 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.
We’ve put together a list of our favourite bottle cages on the market in 2020, and 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
Arundel Mandible DTR: £65 / $75 / AU$120
Elite Rocko Carbon: £28 / $50
Tacx Ciro: £16 / $26
Birzman Uncage: £9
Elite Vico Carbon: £25 / $32 / AU$50
Fabric Gripper cage: £15 / $15 / €15
Lifeline Essential: £5 / $10 / AU$15
Arundel Mandible DTR
The svelte design is far tougher than it looks. Immediate Media
Price: £65 / $75 / AU$120
Arundel’s 22g Mandible DTR stands for ‘down tube right’: its recommended position and access side. However, left-handed riders can switch the position with its seat-tube mounted STR sibling.
Made by wrapping carbon fibre over a foam core, the svelte design is far tougher than it looks, and both mounting options pair one round and one slotted hole for limited adjustment.
Bottle insertion is fast and smooth from the side, and the cage grips the bottle well.
Elite Rocko Carbon
Any bottle can be instantly inserted from multiple angles. Immediate Media
Price: £28 / $50
Elite’s 27g Italian-made Rocko is a modern version of the popular Cannibal cage, retaining its wide mouth design and injection-moulded carbon construction that’s far stronger and lighter than fibreglass-infused resin.
Extra-long bolt slots ensure simple fitting, and with such minimal structure, any bottle can be instantly inserted from multiple angles, quickly centreing and snapping into place.
Bottle retention is impressively secure, and it’s a great option for frames with limited internal space and riders in a hurry.
Tacx’s Ciro cage offers plenty of colour and finish options. Dave Caudrey/Immediate Media
Price: £16 / $26
The Ciro’s carbon shell and glass-fibre core keep the weight down on this minimalist, decently priced cage.
This cage worked well with all the bottles we tried it with, Tacx and otherwise. It comes in 20 two-tone, black-and-colour designs and in gloss or matt finishes.
Elegant, effective, tough, light and good value – that’s a lot to like.
Chamfered, angled edges guide all bottles in smoothly with a solid click. Immediate Media
Birzman’s tough 41g Uncage has an unfussy yet attractive design that’s formed from a high-polymer material.
Generous bolt slots ensure easy fitting and the cage has great rigidity, but also boasts enough flex to shrug off daily riding abuse.
Chamfered, angled edges guide all bottles in smoothly with a solid click signaling complete engagement and two internal ridges keep a reassuringly firm hold.
A supplied Velcro strap can be used to attach a spare tube and levers to a slot beneath the cage, too.
Elite Vico Carbon
It’s worthwhile checking your bottles will fit in the 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.
Fabric Gripper cage
The lip at the top of the cage works best with Fabric and Specialized bottles.
Price: £15 / $15 / €15
Fabric’s durable, fibre-reinforced nylon Gripper cage comes in four colours. Generous bolt slots ease fitting and the cage has great strength, while only weighing 38g.
The design’s retaining arms wrap around the bottle high up and continue separately until joining in a Y-shape at the base.
This permits flex that helps easy bottle insertion while providing security. The cage’s engagement lip works best with Fabric and Specialized bottles, but holds everything well.
Lifeline’s Essential offers good value. Dave Caudrey/Immediate Media
Price: £5 / $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 under four stars in our test but are still worth considering.
Blackburn’s Cinch is a lightweight option. 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 just as secure as heavier cages over bumps.
Bontrager Bat Cage
Made from nylon pellets created from recycled fishing nets collected in the coastal communities of Chile. Immediate Media
Price: £10 / $15 / AU$20 / €15
If a bottle cage can ever be environmentally friendly, this simple-looking 50g cage could be it.
Made from nylon pellets created from recycled fishing nets collected in the coastal communities of Chile, the Bat Cage continues as one of Bontrager’s oldest products.
With pairs of round and slotted mounting holes, it’ll fit any bike and the high, wrap-around arms and pronounced upper lip provide immense physical and audible bottle security, however, this means it takes longer to insert and remove a bottle.
Lezyne Flow cage
The angled, split top allows easier insertion for slimmer bottles. Immediate Media
Price: £10 / $15 / AU$25 / €10
Lezyne’s Flow Cage challenges conventional looks with its 47g fibre-reinforced Composite Matrix construction.
Its deep central channel and long mounting slots make for simple positioning on the bike, and the X-Grip design creates a robust, durable but helpfully flexible cage.
The angled, split top allows easier insertion for slimmer bottles and those with more tapered bases, others need more effort.
Its twin tabs engage perfectly with most bottles, and always hold on tight, but don’t match up with Elite’s bottles.
Lezyne Road Drive Alloy
Lezyne Road Drive Alloy is a bit heavier but includes some additional features. Dave Caudrey/Immediate Media
Price: £23 / $25
A little bit heavier than most, but this does include a Velcro strap and mounts 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.
Topeak Dualside has an offset design. 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.