It can be done
Are you annoyed with your current bike’s lack of bottle mounts? Are you put off getting that new bike because it has no bosses? Here are some answers.
If a bike doesn’t have bottle mounts, some people will never contemplate buying it. It sounds bonkers but it’s true.
It must be extremely frustrating for bike designers to spend months and years perfecting a suspension layout only to have their efforts dismissed because the resulting frame design doesn’t have bottle bosses.
Yet, the real world benefits of riding without a backpack are undeniable. And are as equally important as rear wheel axle path and shock rate etc to a lot of riders these days.
From personal experience, I’d hesitate to buy a bike that doesn’t hold a water bottle. And I know a few people who are currently annoyed that their bike doesn’t have bottle mounts or either does have them but they’re in a daft place eg. under the down tube.
The fact is that a lot of people’s rides aren’t epically long. Nor are they in the wilderness. We don’t need more than a bottle’s worth of water, especially if we can refill it at points of civilisation we encounter too. We also don’t really need to carry around loads of spares and tools in a backpack these days. It’s not the calamity 90s any more. Bikes can go for weeks on end without requiring much spannering.
Slap a bottle in your cage, strap some spares to your bike (or stuff in your pockets) and hit the trails.
Riding without a backpack is lighter, comfier, your upper clothing layers perform better and… it’s addictive. It sucks to put on a backpack for the occasional day trip to the mountains.
Fitting a bottle cage to bikes that don’t have bottle mounts
But fear not. There are solutions for those of you without bottle mounts on your bike frame.
- Side-loading bottle cage or kids bottle cage (for operating bottle in the confined space)
- Small 500ml water bottle or kids 350ml bottle (there probably won’t be room for a full-size 750mm bottle)
- Zip ties or universal bottle cage clamps (such as Zefal, Elite or Velo Orange)
- Mastic tape (to keep cage in place during rough riding and protect paintwork)
Now then, you pretty much guess what the answer is from the parts list above. Basically you need to ziptie a cage to your frame somewhere. This sounds bodge-tastic but if done carefully with the right ties/clamps, it can look alright and more importantly, will work.
But where can you stick your bottle cage?
Suggested bottle locations
- Underside of top tube (will require a grippy cage or augmenting with retaining strap of some kind)
- Top of top tube, under the saddle nose (check for saddle interference with dropper post at full drop)
- On to shock mount on down tube (may require flipping the rear shock if body/piggyback gets in the way)
NB: don’t forget to check to see if your frame will foul the bottle or cage during suspension compression.
And if all else fails, did you know about the existence of such things as the Camelbak Quick Stow Flask? It’s essentially a collapsible mini Camelbak bladder-bottle that you stuff in your pocket. It holds up to 500ml.
If you have other suggestions or advice on sorting the bottle-free bike problem, let us know in the comments below or via social media.