King Cage Titanium Water Bottle Cage
Mountain biking is all about the experience. We live for those perfect trail rides that challenge us with arduous climbs, lure us along with flowing, bench-cut singletrack, and reward us at the end of the ride with a 20 minute downhill blast. You know the kind -- after 5 minutes or so, the white knuckled grip on the bars turns into real arthritic pain, the smiles on our faces become stern with concentration, and whoops and shouts to riding buddies become controlled silence as each rider finds their own pace. The perfection of the descent should last all the way to the trailhead parking lot, but wait! What was that sound? Oh, the water bottle unceremoniously leapt out of our flimsy plastic cage and is now pirouetting off the top of a boulder. The ride is far from ruined, but we'd have loved to have had a better grip on that damn water bottle.
King Cages have long been considered to be a good option for folks who ride hard and don't want to u-turn on every descent to retrieve lost bottles. They are handmade in Durango, Colorado. King Cage makes its heralded water bottles in two versions -- stainless steel and the titanium version that we tested here. The King Titanium water bottle cage is crafted of 3/2.5 titanium alloy. This is the same grade of titanium used in most titanium bike frames. The beauty of the King Cage is the material itself. Though carbon fiber seems to be the wonder material these days, titanium never lost its strength as a material for such applications. Titanium has a very high strength-to-weight ratio, an incredible shape memory, and is very corrosion resistant -- all attributes that make the King Titanium water bottle cage one of the best on the market.
We've tried a zillion different water bottle cages over the years. There were the old school aluminum cages - they were light, but they bent easily when we crashed. Their biggest fault is that the aluminum oxidizes eventually and this leaves nasty black marks all over our water bottles and subsequently our hands. Then came the first generation of plastic cages. They were light, and they sure didn't mark up our water bottles. When the time came to hit the trail, they just didn't hold on to the bottle. They were notorious for letting go at the most inopportune moments. Carbon fiber cages are good, but they are often expensive and somewhat fragile. They are very light, and some designs do a very good job of holding on to the water bottle.
The King Titanium water bottle cage blends the best features of the aforementioned cage materials into one unit. At 28 grams, it is very light. Titanium doesn't oxidize or corrode under normal atmospheric conditions, so unless you ride on another planet, the King Cage will not mark up your favorite bottles. And, it has superior strength to any of the other materials. It will resist bending and probably will never break under normal use, and it will definitely keep a bottle in place. We found the King Cage did its job under the most extreme conditions. Trust us, we've been scared a time or more, and the King Cage never let go of a bottle. It works on the down tube or the seat tube equally as well.
The King Cage Titanium water bottle cage can be cold set (bent) to tighten or loosen its grip on your preferred brand of bottle. When we installed the King Cage, it was just right for our Tacx Competitive Cyclist logo water bottle. We tried it with another brand of bottle that was smaller in diameter. It wasn't really loose, but we wanted to see how stiff the cage was anyway. We took the King Cage off of the bike in order to not damage the threaded inserts in our Turner Flux test mule. We simply put the cage on the workbench and applied even steady pressure to close the opening a bit. It worked like a champ! The smaller bottle is held in place with an iron (or titanium in this case) grip.
King Cage Titanium water bottle cages aren't cheap. At $60 you'd think that they better offer good performance and something else special that we shouldn't mention. They do and they will. The King Cage will hold that bottle, no matter what you're riding. We even rode with big bottles and had zero problems with sudden ejection. These cages should outlast your bike. Their clean, elegant design will look great for years. Along with parts like a Chris King (no relation) headset, the King Titanium water water bottle cages will be moved from this bike to your next, and then maybe to the next one. Quit dropping bottles.