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When you take your mountain bike out for a spin, you want to stay hydrated. There’s nothing worse than getting thirsty halfway up the mountain and realizing you don’t have the capacity to go on!
Unlike some hydration packs, a good water bottle cage allows you to take water on an excursion without adding much extra weight to yourself or your bike.
There’s a wide variety of options for mountain bike water bottle cages depending on your preference of material, insulation, top-load or side-load positioning, and more.
If you’re looking for a water bottle cage for mountain biking, here are some factors to consider:
Materials: Alloy, Carbon Fiber, or Plastic
Water bottle cages are usually made from either alloy, carbon fiber, or plastic. Alloy cages are stronger and more durable, making them a better choice for going out on rough roads or bumpy roads. But they also add more weight. Plastic is similar to alloy in most respects.
Carbon fiber is the preferred material for most racers because it is much lighter than alloy or plastic. However, it is far more expensive. Unless you are racing, the few added ounces won’t make enough of a difference to justify the extra money.
An important factor to consider when buying a water bottle cage for mountain biking is the shape. You’ll be going over rough trails and bumpy terrain, which means that your water bottle could fall out of a looser water bottle cage. Opt for a model with an extra grip around the bottle neck to hold it in place and provide insulation from road vibration.
Most top-notch water bottle cages have a sturdy mechanism that wraps around the body of the bottle to keep it secure. However, it shouldn’t wrap around so tightly that you can’t take the bottle out while you are riding.
Accessibility: Top Load or Side load
The last important factor that you should consider when shopping for a water bottle cage is how accessible it is. You don’t want to hop off your bike every time you need to take a sip of water!
Some water bottle cages are top load, meaning that you slide the bottle in from the top. Side load cages, on the other hand, are better for your mountain bike because it is easier to slide the bottle back in without pausing your ride.
The positioning also matters. Your water bottle cage should go somewhere on the frame you can easily reach. Most cages open on the right, but you can buy cages that are built the opposite way if you are left-handed. Some cyclists even install cages on the handlebars so they can sip from the bottle without sitting out of position, but this is only necessary if you are racing.
In Our Opinion…
The best water bottle cages for mountain biking are made of alloy or plastic, although you can get carbon fiber cages if you are serious about speed. For enhanced security and accessibility, look for a side load model that has extra grip around the neck.
We’ve picked out 35 excellent-quality options for you to explore below:
35 Best Water Bottle Cages for Mountain Biking