Saturday, May 27, 2006

Water Bottle Cages

Extremely light H2O cages have always worried me. To the point, that I couldn't see wanting to spend $50-100 per for carbon cages, and of being even more suspicious of cheaper carbon cages.

It seemed like prior generation light-weights might be better sorted out, and at up to twice the weight of carbon, more likely to last. And, of course their pricing makes an experiment more palatable.

I settled on Tacx Tao based on looks - comparable cages seemed to cost and weigh the same without clear (to me) engineering advantages. Certainly user ratings of the Tao and similar cages indicated that some folks had problems within a year.

Regardless of weight or material, it seems to me that the interface between the loop(s) around the bottle and the base is a potential hinge. With out bulk, even the strongest material would be at some disadvantage to the G forces that a full bottle could sustain - side to side. It also seems difficult to overcome this by creating a wider base against the tubes. Tubes come in a variety of diameters and cross-sections - a broader base would not contact some of these, and would have interference against others.

Net, I've been a little suspicious of all the lightweights. The world may prove me wrong, and I'm not suggesting that they can't/don't work. But I'm leery.

Anyhow, I rode the circuit with my buddies last Saturday, and a bolt came loose on the cage with a bottle. I caught it in time, stopped and tightened it down. Back in the shop, all the bolts got re-torqued. On the circuit this morning, reaching for my bottle and the cage shifted. The top bolt was missing - causing me to swing it around 180 degrees after shifting the bottle to the other cage. By the time we got home, the second cage was coming loose.

Today's fix was simple, some blue thread locker. Hopefully this will do the job. But, I can't help but wonder if there is something in the design of the base of these cages that causing this problem, or if the bolts just aren't getting good engagement on the bottle bosses.

The Tao looks really cool, isn't too expensive, and appears well made. Hopefully this will be the limit of problems with them. If so, then they'll become the standard Carbon Noir cage.

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