HOLDING YOUR HYDRATION
Elite Water Bottle Cages
Elite Water Bottle Cages
All of us know a friend who has pointed us towards cheap online or EBay water bottle cages, only to find that the cheaply bought items fall apart rapidly, allow the bottle to bounce around as they fail to grip the bottle, and generally look awful and last no more than a few rides. The technology that usually goes into producing them, can be written on a small post-it note. Thankfully, Italian brand Elite have been working hard on your behalf, and alongside the worlds greatest teams, on road and mountain bike, and are here to rescue your water bottle woes.
There are some key areas that we all need to focus on when buying new bottle cages: Lightness & Performance, Great Grip and Access, and finally, Fitting & Aesthetic. In order to get the highest possible results in each of these areas, Elite put their considerable knowledge and expertise to good use, resulting in cages that the top riders in the world rely on. Looking at their most popular bottle cages, The Vico cage is designed to be the perfect fit with Road cycling, while Rocko and Prism are more suitable for Gravel and Mtb disciplines.Let’s take a deeper look.
All three cages have been developed with the Pro teams and in particulary Vico is used by them on Big Tours.
Let’s look at lightness and performance first of all. When it comes to cycling and lightness, carbon fibre has been at the forefront, and even with bottle cages, the technology has developed. Elite developed a new carbon fibre injection process, to bring the ultimate in weight saving strength to their range.
Developing their latest bottle cages meant looking at new ways to ensure unparalleled resistance to shocks, impacts and solicitations. A bottle cage gets more action that we think – especially on a mountain bike. And, even on a road bike, the constant pressure from bottle being grabbed from various angles, puts stresses on the material at key points.
Yes, lightness is key, but the design and various strength ratios across the areas of the design are important, and Elite developed these with World Tour teams, bringing us ‘the average rider’ the VICO.
The VICO, a more Road Cycling orientated bottle cage, is made in an innovative carbon fibre material by Elite, ensuring that it weighs in at only 23 gramme. It features structural sections that vary according to the tension level applied and strength requirements to different areas of the bottle cage during use. Elite say that this ensures high reliability and performance, and on our tests it seems to do the trick.
Elite have a few more carbon cages in their lineup than just the VICO though, and it’s the use of injected carbon fibre that have allowed this. Take the ROCKO carbon for instance, which benefits from the freedom to create more complex shapes and sizes, offering a space-saving, functional structure aimed at simplifying bottle insertion and removal even on frames that don’t normally have sufficient space available, as in sloping frames. That’s why the ROCKO is suited more for gravel and mountain bikes. We’ve tried both the VICO and ROCKO carbon cages, and they’re both light and well thought thought, whilst having that necessary strength and resilience to constant forces.
Lightness and strength are one thing, but how well does the cage hold your bottle. Does it rattle around and make annoying sounds while riding? Does it simply not hold the bottle, so when you hit a bump, cobbles, or when train riding, does the bottle simply fall out and leave you dry and un-hydrated. Whether it’s a high speed on tarmac, or the rocky terrain of mountain trails, we’ve been impressed with the Elite bottle cages, both in the Yorkshire Dales and in the mountains of Transylvania.
Being able to grab the bottle easily and quickly, and to replace it int9 the cage is important. The different profiles between the VICO AND ROCKO bottle cages ensure that whatever frame angles your bike has, you can easily do this. We’ve been using both cage designs on our bikes over recent weeks and the both work well in allowing that uninterrupted access, keeping your eyes on the road.
PRISM CARBON is Elite’s new top-of-the-line bottle cage made of polymer-matrix composite reinforced with their lightweight, yet super-strong carbon fibre. It’s super light weight, ergonomic and resistant, with a strength that belies its sleek looks. The Elite PRISM CARBON provides that combination of high performance, unique design and easy-access storage for your bottles when space on the frame is particularly limited.
The structure is designed to allow a practical side insertion of the bottle, whilst giving maximum security to the bottle. It’s compatible with all frames, yet particularly suitable to fit MTBs, where rear shocks and tight triangle designs limit space. , smaller bike frames or sloping top tubes, On frames where cyclists need to optimize times and procedures of their hydration process, due to the extreme trail conditions of off-road routes and rough terrains the Elite PRISM comes into its own, balancing access perfectly.
At the end of the day, all keen cyclists like to ensure that their bottle cage looks good and that it also looks good on the bike. For Larisa and I, this also means colour coded matching, so that the bottle cage trim colours fit in with the bike we’re using. Thankfully, Elite produce all of the cages in several trim colour options ;).
The design itself also has to fit the frame design, and theirs so many variations on bikes these days. Once again, even in their carbon offerings, Elite produce 3 design alternatives: VICO, ROCKO, and PRISM, which allows easy and rapid side entry and release for the bottle. In practices what this means is that you’re guaranteed to find a cage that looks the part and fits with the frame aesthetics, whilst also allowing you easy access to the bottle.
Once you’ve chosen the bottle cage, you’ll need to fit it, and thankfully the cycle industry seem to agree on bottle boss spacing. However, you still need to ensure that the cage has movement options up and down, fine tuning the fitting. Yes, it’s another Gold Star for Elite here, and the fitting slits are slim yet strong, ensuring that when torqued up, your new Elite bottle cage will stay put and won’t rattle annoyingly.
And so there you are: our first thoughts on the latest range of carbon bottle cages from Elite. We’re super happy and impressed with all three designs and they all look and perform great on tarmac and trail. All that you need to do is to decide which cages you’ll be fitting to your bike this spring and summer – off you go.