Written By Car Bibles Staff
Published Jul. 1, 2019

Every rider should know how important it is to stay hydrated when mountain biking. This extreme sport burns a lot of calories, and can quickly make you dehydrated if you’re not drinking enough water (or isotonic/energy drink), especially in hot weather. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps and loss of concentration, so it’s definitely something you want to avoid. But how to carry your drink bottle(s) without them getting in your way, or weighing you down? There are several options, but one of the best, easiest and most affordable ways is to use a mountain bike water bottle cage.

Bike water bottle holders secure to the frame of your bike using screws or straps, keeping your water within reach and easily accessible on your rides. They’re usually made from strong, lightweight materials such as carbon fiber or aluminum alloy, and grip your bottle securely to ensure it doesn’t fly out, even on the roughest terrain. To help you find the right one for you, take a look at our list of the best mountain bike water bottle cages on the market today – and prepare to be well hydrated!

The Best Mountain Bike Water Bottle Cage

First on our list of the best bike water bottle holders is this 2-Pack of UShake Water Bottle Cages. These bike bottle holders are crafted from durable and lightweight heat-treated aluminum alloy, which has anodic oxidation to protect the surface and prevent scratches to your bottles. Each one can hold a 26oz bottle of maximum 3” in diameter – although the cage arms can be bent inwards to hold a smaller bottle if necessary.

To affix these water bottle cages to your bike, you will need drilled, threaded holes. The good news is that most mountain bikes come with suitable pre-drilled holes, and if you have an existing water bottle holder, you should be fine. In the pack are 4 x screws, 4 x washers and a 4mm hex key, which is everything you need to easily install both water bottle cages. As there are two, you can choose whether to split them over two bikes or mount both to one, giving you twice the water carrying capabilities.

Key Features
  • Pack of 2 water bottle cages
  • Made from heat-treated aluminum alloy
  • Fits 26oz bottles, max. diameter 3”
  • Includes all necessary screws, washers and 4mm hex key
  • Drilled and threaded holes required
Specification
  • Brand UShake
  • Model FBA_UShake BWC-0001
  • Weight 5 ounces
PROS

Lightweight (2.1oz)

Easy to install, fits most bikes

Value-for-money 2 pack allows you to carry 2 bottles

Cage arms bend to fit smaller water bottles

10-year warranty

CONS

Rare reports of cage bending out of shape involuntarily

The second entrant on our list of the best bike water bottle holders is another pack of 2, by Ibera. These lightweight bottle cages are made from lightweight, heat-treated aluminum plate – a popular material as it’s more durable than plastic, but more affordable than carbon fiber. The cages fit most standard sized bottles of around 3” in diameter.

The oval design features a flared top opening which is intended to make it easier for the rider to remove the bottle whilst in motion. Included in the pack are the 4 screws you will need to install the holders on your bike (pre-drilled, threaded holes are required), although not included is the 4mm hex that you’ll need to tighten said screws.

Key Features
  • Pack of 2 bike water bottle holders
  • Made from heat-treated aluminum plate
  • Fits most standard-sized bottles of 3” in diameter
  • Comes with 4 x screws for installation
  • Requires drilled, threaded holes
Specification
  • Brand Ibera
  • Weight 4.8 ounces
PROS

Easy to install

Strong and ultra-lightweight (1.3oz)

Flared top for easy accessibility whilst riding

30-day money back guarantee

CONS

4mm hex key needed for installation is not included

Likely to scrape/mark your bottles

If you’re looking to make a stylish as well as practical addition to your mountain bike, then you should consider this Pro Bike Tool Water Bottle Holder. Made from aluminum alloy, it features a powder-coated finish and high tumble polish to make it one seriously cool, high-shine design. Unlike our previous two options, this only includes one water bottle holder – but that holder is extremely versatile, and capable of holding most standard, insulated or oversized water bottles. It requires threaded holes for installation, and includes the 2 bolts you’ll need to get this done.

Hundreds of 5-star reviews praise this bottle holder’s solid construction, durability and vice-like grip, with many stating it’s the best water bottle cage they’ve used. Its appearance also gets its far share of praise, with many users appreciative of its shiny, polished finish. There are very few issues – one user mentioned that the paint began to chip off the top of his cage, but Pro Bike Tool replaced the faulty product with a perfect one. This lifetime manufacturer’s warranty is reason enough to choose this excellent example of a bicycle water bottle holder.

Key Features
  • Aluminum alloy bike water bottle holder
  • Fits most standard bottles, including 20, 21, 24, 25 and 33oz
  • Includes 2 stainless steel bolts
  • Requires threaded holes for installation
Specification
  • Brand Pro Bike Tool
  • Model FBA_BCB-01
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Durable and lightweight (1.69oz)

Stylish polished finish

Easy to clean

Lifetime warranty

CONS

Some report difficulty in getting it secured tightly on the frame

As far as value for money goes, you can’t go far wrong with this set from Schwinn, which includes not only a high-quality water bottle cage, but the water bottle to go in it. This could be a great option if you’re just starting out with mountain biking, or looking to further expand your kit. You can also be sure that the bottle will fit perfectly in the cage! The cage is made from lightweight aluminum, whilst the bottle is plastic with a rubber grip.

As with the other models featured so-far, you can mount the cage to your mountain bike using the included bolts in pre-drilled holes. However, this water bottle holder set also includes mounting brackets, which allow you to affix the holder to your bike with no holes. It seems quite rare for brackets to be included with a bike bottle holder, and it’s something that receives high praise from users, along with the quality and affordability of both the bottle and the holder. However, the bottle is not insulated and is said to have a plastic-y smell (well, it is made of plastic!) All in all, you’re getting a lot for your money with this water bottle and cage set.

Key Features
  • Includes bottle and holder
  • Plastic bottle with rubber grip and transparent water level indicator
  • Aluminum cage
  • Includes bolts, wing nuts and mounting brackets
Specification
  • Brand Schwinn
  • Model SW528-2
  • Weight 4.2 ounces
PROS

BPA-free, FDA-approved bottle

Dishwasher safe

Stylish black and silver design

Cage can be mounted using brackets, if you don’t have drilled holes

CONS

Bottle is not insulated and is said to have a plastic-y smell

Flimsy nozzle dust cover

Next up is this Shasta Insulated Bike Water Bottle Holder by Bushwhacker. This is the first water bottle holder on our list not made of aluminum – instead it’s made from a 600 dernier polyester fabric, which attaches to your bike via Velcro loops. The advantage of this is that it’s super quick and easy to attach and remove the holder, and requires no drilling, bolts or tools of any kind. There’s a layer of 1/2-inch thick foam for insulation, which is great if you want to keep your drink cool or hot for longer.

This Shasta holder also includes a plastic 20oz bottle, which fits snugly in the fabric case. Some users mention that the bottle has a strong plastic taste, and several seem to have replaced it with their own preferred bottle. It’s still worth purchasing this just for the holder though – there are lots of positive aspects, especially compared with cage designs. These include the easily-accessible position of the holder on the handlebars, the insulation, and the ease of installation.

Key Features
  • Fabric water bottle holder
  • Made from 600 dernier polyester
  • Includes 20oz bottle
  • Attaches to your bike with Velcro loops
Specification
  • Brand Bushwhacker
  • Weight 1.44 ounces
PROS

Easy to install and remove

No drilling or screws required

Insulated to keep drinks hot or cool

Can also be worn on a belt

CONS

Bottle tastes of plastic

No strap to secure base of holder

This Wiel Bicycle Water Bottle Cage is something different again; it’s the first model on our list made from carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is super-lightweight, and this weighs in at only 1oz, making it perfect for those looking to add as little bulk to their bike as possible. It’s designed to fit most standard size bottles, and the carbon fiber construction means its unlikely to mark your bottles. It can be installed into the drilled holes on your bike’s frame, using the 2 included screws.

This carbon bottle cage is popuar with people, who particularly like its light weight, stylish black and red appearance and strong and non-deformable design. One user even stated that it’s survived a couple of crashes, without damage to the holder or the bottle. There are few issues – one is that the bottle may rattle relentlessly inside the holder, but this isn’t a common complaint, suggesting this might be related to the size of the bottle.

Key Features
  • Carbon fiber water bottle cage
  • Designed for standard size bottles of approx. 2.9” diameter
  • Includes 2 screws for installation
  • Requires drilled holes
Specification
  • Brand Wiel
  • Weight 0.8 ounces
PROS

Ultra lightweight (1oz)

Strong and non-deformable

Corrosion resistant

Won’t mark your bottle

CONS

Some users report that the bottle rattles in the cage

This Matte Black Bike Water Bottle Cage is the second offering from Pro Bike Tool on our list. This one is again made from heat-treated aluminum, and is finished with a powder coating to give it sleek, modern appearance. It fits most standard bike water bottles, and can be adjusted by +/- 0.2” if necessary (be careful not to over adjust it as this may cause cracking in the paint).

It’s lightweight, durable and easy to wipe clean, and reviews praise the ease of installation and the stylish black finish. One user, who is a mechanical designer, noted that the manufacturer appears to have removed all unnecessary material to maximize weight advantage, without compromising on strength. Problems are that the holder may scratch bottles, particularly metal ones, and it isn’t the most affordable option on the market.

Key Features
  • Powder coated matte black water bottle holder
  • Made from CNC machined aluminum alloy
  • Fits most standard and oversized bike water bottles
  • Includes 2 bolts, requires drilled threaded holes
Specification
  • Brand Pro Bike Tool
  • Model BCMB-01
  • Weight 2.9 ounces
PROS

Sleek, stylish design

Lightweight (1.69oz)

Easy to clean

Bottle cage can be adjusted by +/- 0.2”

CONS

May scratch your bottle

Don’t fancy a boring black water bottle holder? This option from FiveBox is available in jazzy blue, silver and red – as well as black, for those who love a classic. It’s made from anti-rust aluminum alloy, and is installed using the provided screws and pre-drilled threaded holes in your bike. Note that the 4mm hex key needed for installation is not included, so you’ll need to make sure you have one. The slim, ergonomic design fits most standard bike bottles.

Reports about this bicycle water bottle holder are very encouraging, with many saying it’s easy to install (providing you have the required hex wrench), holds medium-sized bottles securely, and is very lightweight. There are a couple of reports of the finish rubbing off the holder, and of it scratching bottles, but these seem to be the exception rather than the norm.

Key Features
  • Aluminum alloy bike water bottle cage
  • Available in 4 colors
  • Includes 2 screws
  • Requires drilled, threaded holes for installation
Specification
  • Brand FiveBox
  • Weight 0.6 ounces
PROS

Lightweight and durable

Fits most bike water bottles

Easy to install

Anti-rust design

CONS

4mm hex key needed for installation, not included

May scratch your bottle

This Anjoy Ultra Light Bicycle Water Bottle Cage is the second carbon fiber water bottle cage on our list, and weighs in at an impressive 1.05oz. The cage is non-deformable and corrosion-resistant, and it has stylish, matte black finish, with no designs or decals – something which pleases many riders. It includes the necessary bolts and washers to attach it to your bike’s pre-drilled holes.

Users like the clean look, how little it weighs and how tightly it grips bottles, even over uneven ground. There is the odd report of the bottle flying out when riding on particularly rough terrain, but this seems rare, and might be a result of the bottle size. There are also a couple of incidents of people receiving cages with minor cosmetic issues, such as rough edges. Overall though, this is an excellent quality and highly cost-effective carbon bottle cage.

Key Features
  • 100% carbon fiber water bottle cage
  • Matte black finish
  • Includes screws
  • Requires drilled holes for installation
Specification
  • Brand Anjoy
  • Weight 30g
PROS

Stylish design with no decals

Strong and lightweight (1.05oz)

Non-deformable

Corrosion-resistant

CONS

Some reports of rough edges

Some incidents of bottle flying out on rough terrain

Rounding off our list of the best bike water bottle holders is this Outpost Cargo Cage by Blackburn, which features a 6mm alloy tube construction and synthetic straps with a rubber backing for grip. Unlike the others we’ve featured, this cage is not limited to holding standard-sized bottles – the adjustable straps mean it can accommodate oversized bottles, and other gear such as stuff sacks, bags and clothes, so it’s perfect for longer bike rides.

This versatile holder mounts to standard bottle cage holes and has 3 sets of mounting holes to accommodate different frames. People praise the device for being able to securely hold a range of items, and many say that this was the only cage they found that was large enough for their oversized bottle. The only common complaint seems to be that the straps may loosen with use, so you might need to check and tighten them regularly.

Key Features
  • 6mm alloy tube construction
  • Synthetic straps with rubber backing
  • Mounts to standard bottle cage holes
  • 3 sets of mounting holes to fit different frames
Specification
  • Brand Blackburn
  • Model BLBCOUT
  • Weight 6.4 ounces
PROS

Adjustable straps

Fits oversized bottles

Can be used for other gear

Non-slip grip

CONS

May need to retighten straps throughout use

Best Mountain Bike Water Bottle Cage Buying Guide

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of mountain bike water bottle cages on the market? Check out our buying guide below to help you decide which one is best for you.

What to Look for in a Bottle Cage

  • Strength and weight

The ideal mountain bike bottle cage should be as lightweight as possible, without compromising on strength or durability. The best materials for this are carbon fiber or aluminum alloy – carbon fiber designs are generally lighter, although they are usually more expensive. Most cages have their weight listed in the specification, so you can make an informed decision.

  • Size of bottle

Your bottle should fit perfectly in your chosen cage – too loose, and you risk it rattling around or even flying out as you ride; too tight and you’ll struggle to remove the bottle easily to drink. Before purchasing, find out what size your bottle is, and make sure this corresponds to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you’re in doubt, go for one which comes with the bottle included, such as the Schwinn Bicycle Water Bottle and Cage – that way you can be sure that the bottle fits.

  • Installation

Most bikes come with the pre-drilled holes required to attach a water bottle cage. Make sure this is the case with yours before purchasing a bolted on cage. If you don’t have mounting holes, look for holders with alternative methods of installation, such as the Bushwhacker Shasta Insulated Bike Water Bottle Holder, which attaches to your bike with Velcro loops.

  • Appearance

You don’t want to tarnish the aesthetic of your bike with a garish bottle holder, one with tacky logos, or one that simply doesn’t suit it. Choose colors which compliment your bike’s design, or go for a simple black, which works with everything. If you want 2 bottle cages on your bike, select a 2-pack, or buy multiples of the same style to avoid a mismatched look.

  • Cost

As with any purchase, cost is an important consideration. We’ve already mentioned that carbon fiber cages tend to be lighter than aluminum ones, but more expensive – consider whether you’re happy to pay more to shave off a couple of grams. Also, think about the value for money you’re getting – for example, if you select a 2-pack, such as the first option on our list by UShake, you can have 2 water bottle holders on your bike for less than the price of one more expensive option.

  • Reviews

Finally, make sure to read through the reviews from previous customers before selecting a water bottle cage, to get an idea of how well it functions and holds up under use. All of the water bottle holders featured here have predominantly 5-star reviews, praising their durability, strong grip and easy installation. However, most also have the odd negative review, with comments such as cages marking bottles, rattling or straps coming loose – make sure you’re aware of any potential issues before making a purchase.

Benefits of Mountain Bike Water Bottle Holders

  • Keep bottles within easy reach

One of the best advantages of using a mountain bike water bottle holder over other methods of carrying your drink is that it is mounted in front of you on the bike’s frame, and is designed to be easy to reach. This means you can always access your bottle, and you don’t have to stop riding to rehydrate.

  • Encourages you to drink more

Following on from the above, having your drink bottle with you on your bike and within easy reach will remind and encourage you to take on plenty of water/sports drink whilst you ride. This is essential to avoid dehydration, which can cause a whole host of other health problems, including headaches and muscle cramps.

  • Lightweight and non-restrictive

Other options for carrying water with you on rides include backpacks and fanny packs – but these involve straps, which can become uncomfortable on long rides, as well something heavy being against your body, which can again cause discomfort and increased perspiration. In contrast, a bike water bottle holder is only in contact with your bike, and doesn’t restrict your movements in any way.

  • Free up space in your backpack

Alternatively, if you’re going on a longer ride and need to take a backpack in order to carry supplies such as food, extra clothing or camping supplies, a bike water bottle cage will free up space in your backpack that would otherwise have been taken up with a bottle. This means you can carry more snacks – yay!

Our Top Pick

All of these cages are more than capable of holding your bottle securely in place whilst riding, but our pick of the very best mountain bike water bottle cage has to be the 2-pack by UShake. It beats the others across the finish line due to its lightweight aluminum design, high-quality finish, 10-year warranty, and, most importantly, the incredible value for money it offers, giving you two bottle holders for less than the price of one of similar design. You’ll be twice as hydrated, and ready for off-road adventures!

Sources:

  1. 13 Ways To Carry Water For Riding – Singletrack Magazine
  2. CT Recommends: The best bottle cages – CyclingTips

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