The Best Bottle Cages for Gravel Cycling: They Don’t Launch Bottles!

the best bottle cages for gravel cycling
King Cage Titanium

The humble bottle cage, whose job in life is simply to tote around a bottle on your bicycle, and ideally never lose it. Sounds simple enough, right? If you’ve been riding a bicycle of any kind for any length of time, you may have experienced the dreaded bottle launch. This usually comes about when your bike inadvertently encounters a bump in the road surface.

the best bottle cages for gravel bikes
Calfee Design Carbon Cage

The bumpy road sensation is exacerbated on the gravelly road less traveled; bumps, potholes, washboard / corrugation, washouts, creek crossings, and so on. Extremely varied conditions that can and will eject your water bottles from their cages if the bumps are forceful enough.

the best bottle cages for gravel cycling
Silca Sicuro Titanium Cage

This is a big problem. Ejecting a bottle into the roadside ditch or woods is annoying enough, along with retrieving it, assuming you can, but ejecting a bottle at an event / well-populated ride / race can spell disaster. We’ve all seen riders crash in professional road cycling should a bottle fall into the middle of the bunch, and the result is no different riding with other people on a dirt / gravel road.

the best bottle cages for gravel cycling
Arundel Dave-O Carbon Cage

JOM of Gravel Cyclist has been at this gravel cycling madness for over 14 years, and during that time he’s learned from experience, which bottle cages safely retain their bottles over the harshest of mixed-surface roads. In this video, JOM discusses the bottle cages he recommends for gravel cycling.

the best bottle cages for gravel bikes
Arundel Mandible Carbon Cage

The Best Bottle Cages for Gravel Cyclist: They Don’t Launch Bottles!

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16 comments on “The Best Bottle Cages for Gravel Cycling: They Don’t Launch Bottles!

    1. Thank you, appreciate your opinion, I didn’t miss anything. The video was my opinion of what has worked for 14+ years of this type of cycling. I have zero experience with that cage, and likely never will.

        1. Tracy, you have that wrong. It is about time management, I can only do so much. In addition to running Gravel Cyclist in my spare time, I also hold down a 40-hour a week job, take care of my house, and everything that goes with that. I would love to review every product out there, but I simply don’t have the time and have to prioritize accordingly.

          Thanks!

  1. “What did cause the bottle to fall off?”
    “Oh, a bump.”
    “Is that common?”
    “On gravel? Chance in a million!”*

    Love my King Cages, both Ti and steel.

    *Adapted from Clarke and Dawe’s “The front fell off”

    1. I love fancy bottle cages as much as the next person, but have a hard time using anything but the Salsa Nickless Cage. They work great, look good, and cost $20 dollars. I do have a bike with Wolftooth Morse Cages (collaboration with King), but they are not nearly as secure .

  2. Elite Pria Pave, with the BOA-style tensioner, work well on the bouncier stuff. Worth considering if you don’t require a side loader.

  3. The Arundel Sport cage has become my favorite. Never ejected a bottle in over 4 years of ownership and u see $20 each.

  4. Thanks to JOM for illuminating the King cage that positions the cage lower. I ride a smaller frame and this will allow me to carry a larger bottle. These cages are available in both ti and stainless; the King stainless versions are only $20. Plus, King charges a flat $4 for shipping within the 48 States which is pretty cheap these days.

  5. The Arundel Mandible is just infallible. After 3.000 miles on gravel, most of it racing, including at least 100 miles of Utah washboard Ive had zero bottle ejections.
    You can gripe about the price, but basically any of these that are permanent solutions are going to cost, other than the stainless version of the King… Not sure but I’m thinking it may be like alloy cages and need periodic re-bending, which would def give it a finite lifespan. But I’m open to being enlightened on that.
    Bottom line though, buy the Mandibles or say, the titanium King and you’ll never have to think about this topic again, and the rest of us won’t have to worry about your bottles flying out.
    Although if everyone gets on board, I’ll miss that “tell” of upcoming harsh patch, which is like, three to six bottles scattered around.

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