Bottle cages are the perfect bike components to store water bottles. There are many types of cages, but a top-loading cage is the best option for you to reach out for the bottle from both sides easily.
Unfortunately, if you have a full-suspension bike, such luxury is not something you can afford. After all, a top-load cage would either constantly scratch your legs or not fit on the frames at all.
That’s precisely why side load bottle cages exist. These are cages with a structure specifically for full-suspension bikes. With this guide, you can choose the best side load water bottle cage for your bike’s specifications. After all, it’d be a bummer if things become more of a pain as a result of choosing an incompatible bottle cage.
Best Side Load Water Bottle Cage Reviews
1. LEZYNE Side Load Bicycle Bottle Cage
Let’s start this off with the LEZYNE Side Load Flow Bottle Cage. While it may have a plain appearance, this product is quite flexible and durable as a result of having fiber-reinforced material as its main component.
Besides, this LEZYNE side load cage comes in six different colors, all boasting a clean look, compensating significantly for its simple appearance and allowing it to blend nicely when attached to your bike. In addition to the colors, the product also comes in left and right versions, so you can pick whichever is more convenient.
I haven’t seen bottles falling out of the bottle cages, even on rough rides, it is safe to say that the cage has a firm grip. With a small build and a weight of 48 grams, this model would make a perfect bottle cage for bikes with relatively tight clearance as it does not add further burden to the bike.
While the package does not include screws, the mounting holes are standard-sized, so getting a suitable screw from a store should be no problem. You can also take your time fine-tuning the cage by adjusting the position of the screws on the oval mounting holes.
2. Corki Bike Water Bottle Holder
The Corki Bike Water Bottle Holder might leave an impression as a fragile piece due to its thin and lightweight design, weighing only 35 grams. But in truth, its fiber-reinforced polycarbonate construction is durable enough to withstand crack and break.
This holder comes in seven colors, including basic models in black, blue alloy, or white and unique pieces in blue, pink, red, or yellow. Thus, you will have more options for the one that matches your bike.
Plus, you will always receive two mounting screws for each purchase, which should fit on standard-sized bike eyelets. Do not hesitate to contact the seller in case your package comes without screws.
Lodging water bottles into the holder is a breeze. The arms of the cage let go of the bottles without scratching the surface, ensuring no damage even if you insert or remove them hurriedly.
3. LEZYNE Side Load Water Bottle Cages
The LEZYNE Side Load Water Bottle Bike Cages come as a pair, including a left-side and right-side version. So, left-handers can use this holder and enjoy cycling with ultimate safety. Plus, it is perfect when you want both of your sides to have a readily available bottle.
Both bottle cages are made of high-strength reinforced fiber, so they are very resilient. This composite matrix construction can handle heavy water bottles, measuring 700ml or more. It offers a robust and durable shield that keeps your water bottle in place, even on bumpy rides.
Besides, LEZYNE adopts a side-load technology to form a rib-like cage. As a result, we can easily reach and take the water bottle out from both sides. And with the addition of oval mounting holes, you can freely adjust the position of the bottle cage for better access.
4. SAVADECK Bike Water Bottle Cage
One of my favorite products on this list is the SAVADECK Lightweight Bike Water Bottle Cage. The design stands out from other products with its lightness. Weighing only 22 grams, this bottle cage is relatively strong and durable due to CNC machining and heat-treatment for its construction.
With its powder-coated matt finish, we get to enjoy a corrosion-resistant and easy-to-clean product. Such a feature would also make the cage a lot more stylish due to being shinier and smoother than the usual bottle holder.
SAVADECK put much effort into creating a versatile and flexible design. In truth, users can adjust the cage’s tension in 0.2”/0.5cm increments, making it suitable for small and large water bottles.
With that said, this bottle cage should be able to firmly hold bottles of different shapes and sizes, such as insulated and disposable bottles. Considering its ergonomic design, I doubt you’ll find it challenging to take a water bottle in and out of the cage.
Everything seems to be working properly, and it does what it’s meant to do. The installation also seems to be straightforward, especially since the product comes with two mounting screws.
5. Planet Bike Sideload Water Bottle Cage
I originally planned to get the Planet Bike Sideload Water Bottle Cage because it has a cool appearance, but I found its other aspects to be commendable as well.
For this bottle holder, Planet Bike implements cold-forging – a manufacturing process that strengthens the material while adding a better finish quality, among other things. As a result, you get a holder with a top-notch appearance and great strength.
The same can be said about its durability. Due to the cold-forging process, constant stress from rough cycling doesn’t wear out the bottle cage as fast as with typical bottle holders. Because of the manufacturing technique and premium material used, this holder is lightweight, adding only 41 grams to your bike.
Moreover, with its simple structure, you can install this bottle cage on small and compact frames with minimal effort.
The holder has a tight grip, but not too tight that removing a bottle would be a problem. And since I was able to bend the arms of the cage, this holder should handle a wide range of bottle sizes.
6. Portland Design Works Lucky Cat Cage
With its unique design, the Portland Design Works Lucky Cat Cage is quite popular among cyclists.
Portland Design Works is known for its beautiful products, so this bottle cage having a cute design is expected. The appearance of this product is derived from Maneki-Neko, a cat that represents luck in Japan. Simply put, this bottle cage has an adorable appearance and can be a lucky charm, making it the perfect gift for cyclists.
This good-looking product is more durable than I expected. The brand is not one to compromise functionality for looks. Hence, you are with this well-made and robust design for the long haul.
They used the 5052 alloy to construct this bottle cage, so great durability and flexibility are a given. And since the finish provides a smooth texture, the cat should hand over your water bottle easily without scratching its paint, so to speak.
With the help of the two mounting screws provided by the brand, attaching this lucky cat colder to your bike shouldn’t be too difficult. The whole process is straightforward, and aligning the screws to the mounting holes is fairly simple.
7. KABON Bike Water Bottle Holder
If this is your first time adding an accessory to your bike, you may not have the required tools to install a bottle cage. So, I suggest the KABON Bike Water Bottle Holder, as it comes with an Allen key and two standard-sized mounting screws for quick installation.
Attaching this holder to your bike frame will only take a few minutes. This suits those who have the know-how to install a cage, especially since they can fine-tune the holder as they like due to the oval mounting holes.
The cage constructed out of high-quality aluminum alloy material and CNC machining can withstand different weather conditions with minimal damages. Plus, it is one of the most lightweight products on the market, weighing only 24 grams.
The product is also characterized by a sturdy grip, so I’m sure you won’t lose your bottles on rough terrains. KABON makes sure the edges are smooth enough to minimize scratching the water bottles while making it easier to remove them from the cage.
You can also bend the arms of the cage to adjust the tension applied to water bottles. In particular, you can adjust the cage in 0.2” increments. By doing so, cyclists can fit standard-sized bottles with a diameter of 2.84” to 3.54” into the holder.
8. Blackburn Clutch Bike Bottle Cage
Cyclists who want to invest in a premium bottle cage should check out the Blackburn Clutch Bike Bottle Cage. In my opinion, functional design and excellent use can justify its hefty price tag.
For one, this carbon bottle cage has a versatile design, making it suitable for most, if not all, sizes of bike frames. You can fit them onto bike designs with high and low tolerance levels of custom frames.
This is mainly because of the slotted mounting holes offering 30mm adjustments to fine-tune your cage’s position vertically. Besides, two bolts come with the package for quick installation.
Blackburn also utilized the clutch-design for extra security. This structure involves a hole at the bottom of the cage where bottles should fit snugly without falling through, thus securing water bottles both on the side and at the bottom.
You may also notice a space in between the back support and the arms of the cage. This gap can be used to make lodging or removing a bottle easier. It features gaps between different parts, so it’s no surprise that this cage only weighs 22 grams. One product that uses the same design is the popular Specialized Zee Cage.
9. Accmor Bike Water Bottle Holder
The Accmor Bike Water Bottle Holder is the brand’s take on a unique design. And they exceeded my expectations, so I’m sure you’d be interested in this product as well.
To begin with, this cage has a minimalist design, which consists of the top and bottom support, the arms, and the two mounting holes. This user-friendly structure can fit around water bottles of varying sizes, with up to 2.7-inch diameter. Also, this one stands out as a lightweight and portable cage.
As for security, the cage already brings satisfactory results. Your water bottles stuck in the holder can be tightly secured for the whole trip. This is possible since we can bend this cage to extend to a wide diameter. Such a function helps greatly in making the removal of bottles easier.
Aluminum alloy is the main material for constructing this product. The brand also used baking lacquer coating, giving the surface several useful properties such as resistance to corrosion, oxidation, and heat. The coating layer also ensures that this cage’s color is non-fading.
10. BRKURLEG Water Bottle Cage
The BRKURLEG Carbon Fiber Water Bottle Cage is widely loved for incredible durability and versatility. You can install this convenient design on MTB and BMX bikes without hassle.
The brand particularly used a polymer fiber that contains over 90% carbon for the construction of this bottle holder. Hence, this carbon fiber cage is a lot lighter than most products. It should also last you for a long time, considering how carbon fiber is resistant to various weather elements.
Water bottles with a diameter of 27.5 to 28.7 inches should fit in this cage. Such a range is ideal for thick insulated bottles that keep your water warm while cycling on winter days.
This holder is unlikely to scratch your bottles since it has smooth edges. The cage has a firm grip, so you don’t have to worry about bottles popping out when riding on bumpy mountain roads. Plus, removing or inserting a bottle is a breeze.
What to Look for When Buying Side Load Water Bottle Cage
As you may already know, a top-load cage is different from a side load cage. Just as how it’s important to consider which is better for your bike, top load, or sideload, you also have to consider several things when buying a side load water bottle cage.
Here’s a closer look at the factors when choosing these ten best side load bottle cage.
Bottle cages are usually made of either plastic or metal, the aluminum alloy being the most common. However, brands nowadays manufacture bottle holders using fiber-reinforced materials and even carbon fiber. While there are pros and cons for each product, the most logical choice would be aluminum alloy.
This material provides considerable durability and strength while being lightweight. Plus, it’s the cheapest material. A cage made of fiber-reinforced resin will also make a great alternative.
A top-load is the better option for bicycles, yet full suspension bikes do not welcome this accessory due to their incompatibility. The same can be said to the bottle cage.
You need to find a mountain bike side load water bottle cage that has the correct specifications for your bike frame. Check your bike frame and the product measurements before purchasing.
It’s essential to look for a bottle cage with a secure grip. After all, you’re most likely going to hit a bump on the road. To avoid losing your water bottles, you need a cage that can ensure the safety of the bottles.
Smooth Bottle Release
Although a cage with a secure grip usually tends to scratch the surface of water bottles, some brands found a way to remove that flaw. Like some of the listed products, bottle cages can have a secure grip and quickly release bottles at the same time.
Cyclists tend to have more than one water bottle, and that’s perhaps true for you as well. Certain bottles have unique designs, so it’s understandable if not all your bottles are compatible with a bottle cage that you have your eyes on. The best example would be the Bontrager Side Load Water Bottle Cage with its peculiar structure.
As such, you should make sure your favorite bottles, or at least the bottles that you usually use when cycling, are compatible with the bottle cage. However, it’s not exactly easy to figure out if a bottle is compatible with a holder unless you try it out yourself, which takes us to the next subject.
The only way to try out a bottle cage is to purchase it. That’s precisely why products with a warranty are a much better choice than those without.
You can try out the bottle cage and send it back if the cage and your bottle is not compatible until you find the best side entry water bottle cage. Besides, there will be cases where some parts will be missing in the package, so a warranty also helps.
How to Install Side Loading Bottle Cage
There are a few things to note first before installing this type of bottle cage, or any bottle cage for that matter. This is especially true if it’s your first time installing an accessory on your bike. Here are some of the things you need to consider:
- Wrench | Most of the time, you can adjust the mounting screws/bolts using a Hex or Allen wrench. As for what size the wrench is whether it is 3mm, 4mm, etc., you will need to refer to the size of mounting screws.
- Mounting Screws | Some products included in this list come with mounting screws. A typical side water bottle cage requires two mounting screws or bolts. They also differ in size and sometimes you will need a different wrench for different sizes.
- Mounting Holes | These mounting holes usually have a round shape, while brands make them ovalized, so there is room for adjustments. Rarely will you see some bottle cages with slotted mounting holes like Blackburn’s product.
The installation process may vary in difficulty depending on these three things. However, installing a side mount water bottle cage should only take a few minutes. So, if you took longer than expected, either you’re not experienced, or the product has some flaws regarding the installation. Either way, here are the steps to install a side load cage:
- Secure Boltholes | The first thing you need to do is make sure your bike frame has the necessary holes to install the bottle cage. If you can’t find them, I suggest consulting a mechanic and avoiding drilling holes by yourself as it may ruin the bike’s structure.
- Align Holes | Next, get your bottle cage and push it against the side of the frame where the holes are located. Make sure the mounting holes of the cage are aligned to the holes of your bike.
- Insert Screws | Once the mounting holes and bike holes are aligned to each other, insert the mounting screws. Afterward, use a Hex wrench to tighten the screws, but make sure you don’t over tighten as it may damage the cage or even the bike itself.
- Lodge Bottles | Although it’s technically not a step involving installation, I suggest placing your bottles into the cage to test its performance.
With this, you can install a side bottle cage despite being a beginner. Remember that if you have followed these steps and still can’t pull it off, there’s no shame in blaming the equipment.
To avoid losing your favorite water bottle, or prevent your legs from enduring discomfort when hitting the bottle cage, remember to pick the best side load water bottle cage.
Now that you make it to the end of this article, the selection process should not be tricky and time-consuming. Hopefully, you will make a well-informed decision to benefit your cycling experience for a long time.
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