Even with the popularity of hydration packs and cycling-specific luggage, it’s hard to beat the convenience of a bottle cage. Whether used for storing beverages or cargo, the venerable bottle cage is one accessory that no rider should be without. And with cages enjoying renewed popularity, more and more companies are developing new and improved designs that satisfy the needs of recreational and utility cyclists.
Founded in 1917 by Felice Sacchi, Silca was reborn in August of 2013 when former Zipp Speed Weaponry Technical Director Joshua Poertner purchased the Italian company from Claudio Sacchi, grandson of Felice. Although known primarily for their heirloom-quality floor pumps, Silca’s product line has expanded to include tools, mini-pumps, and packs (for use on and off the bike). At 2018’s Sea Otter Classic, Silca–headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana–introduced the titanium Sicuro water bottle cage ($70 MSRP).
Constructed in-house from seamless 3Al-2.5V titanium tubing, the 31-gram Sicuro features extended mounting slots for maximum adjustability, and includes low-profile 6Al-3V titanium mounting bolts (1.5 grams/ea). The bolts (also available separately) boast specially designed low-profile heads which purportedly distribute load across nearly three times more surface area than cap screws, and two times the surface area of button head screws, increasing rigidity and lowering stress on the cage.
From its hand-polished finish to the textbook-perfect welds, the titanium Sicuro may just be the ne plus ultra of bottle cages. OK, it’s pretty, but does it work? The answer is a resounding, yes. Sliding a bottle into the Sicuro is virtually effortless. It’s so easy, in fact, that you may wonder if the cage’s grip is secure enough to prevent an ejected bottle. According to testing performed by Silca, difficulty of insertion/release isn’t necessarily an indication of a cage’s grip. I tested the Sicuro with various manufacturers’ bottles ranging in capacity from 500 mL to 750 mL, and I never once lost a single one (even with the cage mounted under the bike’s downtube).
If you’re thinking that $70 is a lot of money for a water bottle cage, you’re right. As part of Silca’s Ultimate product line, though, the Sicuro comes with the company’s twenty-five-year Shield Warranty. Yes, you read that right; twenty-five years, that’s longer than many bicycle or frame warranties. While you may be able to find similar looking bottle cages for a fraction of the Sicuro’s price, you can pretty guarantee that none of those other cages can match the technology found in Silca’s cage.
When Topeak rolled out their bikepacking line a couple of years ago, the company addressed adventure riders’ needs with a range of affordable and functional frame, handlebar, and seat packs. Occasionally, however, you may find yourself needing to carry bulky or oddly shaped items that don’t fit neatly into typical bikepacking bags. For those situations, Topeak developed the aptly named Versacage system ($24.95 MSRP).
Topeak’s Versacage is comprised of three components: the composite cage, or cradle (130 grams); three VersaMount clamps (16 grams/ea); and two adjustable nylon straps (23 grams/ea). With its four, keyhole-shaped mounting holes, the Versacage is compatible with both 2- and 3-bolt braze-on fittings (and offers 64 mm of vertical adjustment). For frames that lack the necessary braze-ons, Topeak’s VersaMount clamps are compatible with frames and forks ranging from 20 mm to 60 mm in diameter.
Most of my Versacage testing centered around soft, flexible items such dry bags and stuff sacks. For that type of cargo, the stock Topeak nylon straps proved to be ideal–just cinch ’em down, tuck in the ends, and you’re good to go. With more rigid cargo, such as large water bottles or Nalgene containers, I found that polyurethane straps such as the ones available from Voile offered improved grip and security. That’s not unique to the Topeak setup, though, I’ve experienced similar results with competitors’ cargo-style cages (especially if they’re mounted underneath the down tube).
If you plan on mounting the Versacages on your fork, be aware that the added weight can affect your bike’s handling. Topeak lists a maximum load of 3 kg (6.6 pounds) for the Versacage, but I found that even one or two pounds made noticeable changes to my test bikes’ steering. And for safety’s sake, always mount cages on the outside, or in front of the fork blades to reduce the likelihood of a wheel lockup should the cage get forced into the spokes.