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by Matt Wikstrom
February 1, 2012
The humble bidon cage, you’ll find at least one on every road bike, silently executing its duty or patiently waiting to be called into action. In this article, I provide an overview of the many varieties of cages available.
I don’t know many riders that have ever spent much time considering their bidon cages. They are the floor mats of a bike: most of us just make sure the colour matches the frame and only replace them when they fail. Given how much we rely on them, function deserves to take precedence over form, but next time you’re replacing your cages, take a moment to consider your options: there are plenty to choose from.
The earliest Bidon cages were fashioned from metallic wire or tubing, so metal cages typically make for a classic look. However, Tacx and Lezyne offer contemporary shapes with a raw look. In all cases, the use of metal allows for a little “customisation” (ie by bending the frame) to adjust the hold on the bottle.
From left to right: Elite Ciussi Inox, King Ti (also available in stainless steel), King Iris, Lezyne Alloy Road Drive, Tacx Tao.
Plastic and aluminium bidon cages are available in a wide range of colours including powder-coated and anodised varieties. This is one way to provide a striking highlight of colour to a neutral or unfinished (eg Ti) frame. Alternatively, you might want to fly the colours of your nation’s flag.
From left to right: Elite Custom Race Colour, Elite Custom Race Flag (oi, oi, oi), Zipp, Bontrager Race Lite.
Add a splash of colour with Arundel's Dave-O cage or a lot more with powder-coated cages from Minoura.
Carbon rules the bidon cage market at the moment. Now cages are available in an incredible array of shapes that are lightweight and durable. The only thing lacking from this corner of the market is colour.
From left to right: Arundel Mandible, Cinelli Ram, Colnago BC-01, Far and Near.
From left to right: Elite Moro d'Elite, Elite Patao, Elite Sior, Elite Paron.
From left to right: FSA K-Force, FSA SLK, Lezyne Road Drive, Look.
From left to right: New Ultimate, Ritchey, Tacx Uma, Time.
From left to right: Token 9422, Token 945, Token 941, XLAB Gorilla
The only problem that ever needs to be solved for a bidon cage is fitting a small frame or tight triangle, hence the invention of a cage that can be accessed from the side. Elite’s side-loading cage can be flipped for entry from either side while Arundel’s offers models that can be accessed from either the right (Sideloader) or left (Othersideloader).
Left to right: Elite Ciussi Side Entry, Bontrager Sideswipe, Arundel Sideloader.
In every market, there’s always room for a bit of exotica, and so it goes for bidon cages. Campagnolo’s Record cage is priced like exotica, the Emporelli cage may be perfect, the Tune Skyline is the lightest at 5 grams (but you must use a tapered bottle), and then there’s a bit of wood (mahogany, fir, maple, bamboo, zebrawood, and oak) from Sykes.
From left to right: Campagnolo Record, Emporelli, Tune Skyline, Sykes white oak.
I’ve been using the Elite Moro D’Elite cages for a few years now and they work so well that they have ceased to figure in my thoughts. My bottles have been held tight over all sorts of terrain yet I can retrieve without much effort. The only thing I’ve noticed is that the prongs can vibrate against each other when the cage is empty. I’d love to hear about your experience with any of the cages featured here, and let me know if I’ve overlooked any great cages.