Bottle cages, right? There are roughly a billion of them on the market in all shapes, sizes, materials and colors. Which one is right for your new ride? I’ve narrowed them down to a few of my favorites and that list includes the affordable Zipp Alumina bottle cage.
Zipp Alumina Bottle Cage Features:
- Made from 6061 aluminum
- Optimized for either side or direct entry
- Same shape as the carbon SL Speed
- Available in anodized silver or blast black (tested)
- Weight: 27 grams (without bolts)
- MSRP: $35
The Goldilocks of bottle cages?
That fancy new carbon road bike deserves a carbon bottle cage right? Well, the vain part of me says so, but the practical part of me thinks otherwise. But, going for an aluminum cage doesn’t mean you’re opting for a $8 wire-style cage — no way. The Zipp Alumina steps in to offer an affordable aluminum cage with the looks of carbon.
The Alumina is made from 6061 aluminum and has a durable anodized finish. That finish has held up to months of use without even so much as a mark.
Weight-wise, 27 grams is respectable and really isn’t that much heavier than even the most expensive cages and is only 9 grams heavier than the SL Speed cage at less than half the price. That mini weight penalty is akin to carrying a couple of paper clips in your pockets, so take the extra money and save it for spare tubes or stash it away for that sweet pair of new carbon clinchers you’ve been eyeing.
On the road, a bottle cage needs to hold bottles securely so they don’t fly out on every bump, but they shouldn’t squeeze the bottle so tight that it’s impossible to put it in or take it out. Honestly, that is a fine line and I’ve got several cages that are simply too tight and others that are too loose. The Alumina is the Goldilocks of cages with a “just right” amount of snugness around water bottles of all types — so long as you ride on the road. Camelbak Podium bottles are my bottles of choice and they slip in and out just dandy and require just a little extra touch to slide them all the way in — just enough to give you confidence that it’s not coming out.
I’ll add that the Podium bottles do require that you insert them just right with the notches in the right place or they can have a tendency to wiggle out. This becomes even more apparent if you use this cage on a gravel bike. I’ve been using the Zipp Alumina on a Niner RLT 9 and my bottles regularly fly out on me with the drone of gravel roads.
Prior to using the Alumina, my cage of choice has been the Bontrager XXX Carbon. The Alumina is much more secure, but again, bottles can wiggle out on CX races (like they did on the Santa Cruz Stigmata) or rough gravel courses.
- That “just right” amount of snug to hold any bottle
- Keeps bottles tight on rough roads
- Affordable and light
- Streamlined look
- Some will still lust after carbon
- More color options would be great
- Not recommended for gravel
The Bottom Line: Zipp Alumina Bottle Cage
If you want a sexy-looking bottle cage but don’t have the stomach for a high-priced carbon version, check out the perfectly-functional and lightweight Zipp Alumina bottle cage.
Buy Now: Available at JensonUSA
Thanks for the review. Yes, bottle cages may not seem like a big deal until you really need them. I have a carbon set that are a few years old. Whenever I go over the train tracks, I usually end up losing a bottle or two, breaking the top and losing all of my water. 🙁
I know I want a set of Zipp carbon clinchers, too. Who doesn’t. This seems like a great gateway product into the world of Zipp without breaking the bank.
Thanks for the details. Looking forward to hearing more Jason.
Great thoughts, Gerald. Indeed, nothing is more frustrating than losing that water bottle on a rough road — we’ve all been there, done that and it’s no fun. The Alumina will hold them tight.