Been out for a ride and managed to lose your water bottle down your favourite technical trail? Don't worry...our guide of the best MTB bottle cages will help find the best fit for your bike and bottle.
Buying the best bottle cage for mountain biking isn’t just a matter of getting something your water bottle can simply sit in and be easily accessible mid-ride, although those elements are undoubtedly important. It’s also about how secure it is, and the best mountain bike bottle cages combine all those elements.
Ideally, you want something lightweight, sturdy and that holds your bottle securely. Other considerations include how it works with the suspension system on your full-suss bike since some bikes have limited internal space.
Magnetic system for increased convenience on-the-go.
Weight: 79g bottle, 22g cage | Sizes: 450, 590, 600ml | Rating: 10/10
Pros: Secure attachment, available in multiple sizes
Cons: Pricey for a bottle cage, needs the bottle cage mount holes on the frame
Quite similar to the popular helmet buckle made by Fidlock that self-aligns, the Fidlock Twist Bottle snaps into the mount with satisfying ease when in close proximity. The bottle itself is available in 450ml, 590ml, 600ml and newly available 800ml sizes.
You can either use Fidlock’s own bottle or you can use your own with Fidlock’s twist uni-connector that has a BOA dial and two composite laces that loop around any size bottle, holding it securely against the bike. Like you’d do with your shoes that come with a BOA dial, if you were looking to change the water bottle by simply pulling on the dial.
In fact, that’s not all. Fidlock also offers other accessories and mounts such as tool box, saddle bag and a mount for a backpack. The great thing about this system is that you can rig something up and still have a bottle that is easy to get to and secure.
In spite of the pricey system, this is one that I’d highly recommend as it works like a charm, especially if your bike is pushed for space.
Brilliant, super-low-profile bottle carrying system
Weight: cleat 8g, bottle 105g | Colours: White or black | Rating: 10/10
Pros: Good value, looks clean, secure mounting.
Cons: Only a single bottle size available, not as easy to use as the Fidlock system
The Birzman BottleCleat is a mechanical system – the bottle slots into a raised node on the base and then swivels round to engage into a plastic clip on the side. There’s an audible snap when it locks into place, so you know when it’s engaged, but it’s a little more fiddly than other systems like the Fidlock…but then it’s also a third of the price.
You get two cleats in the box, left and right orientation (but you can just flip them over) and you don’t need to use specific mounting bolts, unlike Fidlock.
Cageless bottles look great because they are really minimal and don’t interrupt those clean lines. The Birzman Bottle-Cleat ticks those boxes, but what makes it special is the weight, low cost and the fact that it doesn’t require specialist mounting hardware.
Syncros MB Tailor Cage
A stash box for your bike bits
Weight: 217g | Options: Left or right-side entry | Tools: Torx T10, T25, spoke keys, 8mm bit, quick-link holder, chain breaker | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Secure, on-board tool storage with tools included
Cons: No 6mm hex key or stiff-link remover, tool tray is a little hard to remove
This multi-tasking bottle cage, which is available in left- and right-handed side access versions, also has a slide-out drawer in its base that contains a range of essentials tools. It held our water bottle securely in place, even on rough terrain, and means you’ve always got your essential tools to hand, bag or no bag.
That said, it is missing a few essentials like a 6mm hex key, and it’s not quite tough enough to allow enough leverage to budge pedals or tighten linkage bolts.
An alternative option is the Syncros IS Cache bottle cage, which comes with the above features plus a high-volume MTB pump.
Arundel Mandible Carbon bottle cage
Probably the most expensive single-purpose bottle cage out there, but it’s ultra light and super grippy, making it worth the price.
Weight: 28g | Colours: 3k Matte, 3k gloss, naked UD matte or gloss and gloss with blue, green, orange, red, blue or white flashing | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Rock-solid bottle grip, Sub-30g, easy multi-angle entry, multi-angle exit, twin position mounts
Cons: Seriously expensive
As far as mountain biking is concerned, you’re going to want to use bottle cages that your water bottles don’t fly out of the minute you hit the rough stuff.
With an Arundel Mandible Carbon bottle cage, you might have to use 40% more force to get that bottle out, but you can rest assured as there’s no seismic force flinging your bottle out of the cage. You can still get it out when you need to though, with a firm but consistent release straight up or at a slightly sideways angle, and the open mouth makes it easy to relocate your bottle if you’ve got tight frame clearances to work with, you can always go for the option of a side-release cage.
Twin slot and hole mounts allow for extra adjustability when it comes to making multiple bottle cages work together. There’s a choice of two different cosmetic 3K carbon finishes and multiple colour swatch options on the glossy UD carbon versions.
Although expensive, there’s a reason it’s a regular non-sponsored kit choice of pro riders. The fact that this bottle cage is ultra lightweight, grippy, reliable and great looking makes the high price easy to swallow.
An efficient solution for all of your trail emergencies.
Weight: 260g | Options: Three cage types | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Modular design is robust and versatile
Cons: Heavier than some other options.
If you’re fighting for space on your bike, Topeak Ninja Cage and Tubi 11 tool is one of the many practical solutions to help your case. The side-access design is minimalistic and allows for your multi tool to be bolted to the bottle cage.
Topeak offers multiple cage and tool box configurations to match frame space and orientation. But of course, the more features on the multi tool, the more it weighs and the more room it requires.
For example, a Tubi 11 tool packs a tubeless tyre repair kit alongside standard Allen and Torx keys. It’s light and does just about all my trail jobs. Whilst this one doesn’t have a 8mm allen key which could be very useful on the go, the bigger options do have one!
Whilst mountain biking, a couple of things (amongst the many others) that you shouldn’t have to worry about is your bottle flying off on a tech section or your multi tool rattling around and making the noise that makes you wonder what you’ve managed to break on the bike. The bottle cage is stiff and holds a standard bottle securely, and the tool box doesn’t rattle or get seized up when covered in thick mud.
Lezyne Matrix Team bottle cage
Stylish design, lots of colours and a grippy hold.
Weight: 35g (without bolts) | Colours: White, Black, Red, Green, Blue, Dark Grey, Matte Tan, Matte Army Green, Neo Metallic | Rating: 8/10
Pros: Impressive bottle grip, lightweight, expanded entry angles, 9 colour options, sliding mount, tough
Cons: Not the easiest exit, not a true side loader, you don’t get bolts, plastic packaging
If firm grip over your water bottles through the roughest of the terrains is what you’re keen to put your money into, Lezyne Matrix Team cage is the one for you. This strong yet light bottle cage is available in nine different pastel shades and a neo-metallic (oil-spill look) finish for an extra $10/£8. The upper and lower sections of the bottle both use short bolt slots for a bit of slide adjustment, but you don’t get bolts with the cage so be sure to buy some if your current frame mounts just have plastic plugs.
You can expect for your bottle to stay where it is, but when it comes to actually using it, the rubbery strong grip can make it hard to just instinctively grab it from the side or up top. That means whilst it’s great for water bottle retention, it’s not easy to release. But if you’re sick of losing your water bottles on trails, then this one’s a winner!
You might also have to make sure that you’ve got the bolts you need to fit the cage already as you don’t get them when you buy this bottle cage!
How we tested
The staff at MBR use bottles cages a lot, and we’ve tested plenty on our regular mountain bike rides. We look at how easy they are to fit, what the potential space constraints might be when fitting them to different frame, how easy they are to place and remove a water bottle on the go, and how secure a filled water bottle is when riding down steep, rough and technical terrain.
How do I choose a water bottle cage for my mountain bike?
The three main things to consider when choosing the right bottle cage for mountain biking are retention, ease of access, and the space you have within the frame to fit cage and bottle. That means, the bottle cage needs to be grippy enough to hold the bottle in place through rough terrain and the bottle should be easy to take out and put back on on-the-go.
There are several ways that a bottle cage can be mounted on a bike.
Side loading: This kind of bottle cage allows for easier access to your bottle, especially when you don’t have a lot of frame space.
Top loading: Looking purely for proper grip and not too fussed about the accessinfo your bottle on the go that much? This one’s for you!
Fidlock: I’m sure I’ve banged on about Fidlock enough towards the beginning of this guide, but a simple magnetic system that bolts to your frame and allows for your bottle to be clipped in and out easily makes this not just one of the most secure bottle cages but also one of the easiest to access.
Freestyle: If you’ve got no eyelets on the bike for bottle cages (highly unlikely) or if the eyelets aren’t exactly where you’d like them to be, you can always go for a bottle cage that attaches to your bike using something similar to voile straps.
Do bottle cages fit all the bikes?
To fit most bottle cages, you bike will need to have eyelets in the frame to attach them too with the bolts that usually come supplied either with the bike or the cage. Most bikes that have these eyelets will be able to fit a bottle cage, but if space it tight that might effect what size bottle you can use with it, and whether you need to access it from the side or not.
On full suspension bikes with smaller frames, there may not be enough space to fit a bottle cage, and/or there may not be the requisite eyelets to allow one to be fitted. In that case, choosing a good hydration pack can be your best option for carrying water.