First Impressions: Bontrager Bat Cage

First introduced in 1997, the Bat Cage is one of Bontrager‘s longest running products. For the past 22 years, Trek has manufactured hundreds of thousands of Bat Cages in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, 30 miles from the company’s Waterloo headquarters. Thanks to a partnership with NextWave and Bureo, Trek now manufactures Bat Cages from recycled materials made from reclaimed fishing nets. According to Justin Henkel, Trek’s Director of Product for Saddles and Essentials, it’s estimated that one year’s production will put 44,000 square feet (3,850 pounds) of discarded fishing nets to good use.

Designed for secure bottle retention on- or off-road. the 49-gram Bat Cage ($14.99 MSRP) comes in any color you want, so long as it’s black. The cage’s mounting slots offer 15 mm of vertical adjustment, but spacers are necessary to clear clamp-on front derailleurs. During my review period I didn’t encounter any interference or incompatibility with the cage mounted on my bikes’ down tubes (above or below) or seat tubes. And although most of my testing was centered on frames with brazed-on fittings, I found that the Bat Cage worked equally well with accessory clamps such as Topeak’s Versamount.

As with many bicycle accessories, good bottle cages are ones that you don’t notice. While some riders place more value on fashion than functionality, the most exotic-looking cage is no good if it ejects your bottle on even the mildest of bumps. While Bontrager’s Bat Cage may be on the tame side when it comes to aesthetics, the cage’s tenacious grip won’t leave you sans bidons on rough roads or trails. Compared to lighter, more flexible cages, though, replacing a bottle takes slightly more effort with the Bontrager cage. I tested the Bat Cage with a variety of manufacturers’ bottles, but found that the sturdy cage worked best with bottles that utilize narrow necks (such as the Specialized Purist shown below).

If you’re shopping for a new bottle cage, and you want to make your bike even greener, check out Bontrager’s US-made Bat Cage. Manufacturing the cages from recycled materials gives new life to discarded fishing nets, which in turn helps reduce the amount of plastic added to our oceans. And with its vice-like grip, the $14.99 Bat Cage offers affordable peace of mind for both you and your water bottles.

Disclosure: Bontrager provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.