At its most basic, the job of a bottle cage is a simple one: to hold a water bottle. Simple, yes- easy, no. Sure, there are $10 aluminum models out there that’ll generally do the trick (and stainless or Ti models that will do the trick more.. trick-ly). But–judging by what we see on the road and trail–what riders really want is a bottle cage that holds bottles, weighs next to nothing, doesn’t mar bottles, and looks good. Add in those criteria, and the job gets a bit tougher. Is the UD Carbon bottle cage from Shimano’s PRO accessory brand up to the task? You know where to find out!
After slapping our test BMC TrailFox together, Tyler tossed me this PRO cage as we were headed for the door. Even though I’d be wearing an Infinit-filled hydration pack during the Trans-Sylvania Epic, it’s nice to have to option to be able to grab another bottle from a feed station drop bag and go! rather than trying to top off a sticky bladder. The cage mounted quickly in the usual way and we were soon racing.
For a 24g cage, the PRO UD Carbon cage is awfully stout. Only 6g heavier than superlight alternatives like Lightweight’s Edelhelfer, the PRO keeps a reassuringly firm grip on full bottles- and accepts them with a confidence-inspiring thunk! One need only to walk a handful of rock- and bottle-strewn Pennsylvania descents after the race to know that the TSEpic asked a lot of bottle cages.
Over our week together, the PRO delivered without issue. The shiny UD finish wasn’t a great match with the BMC’s matte frame- but the gray and white graphics did tie it in nicely. The carbon fiber didn’t leave any aluminum oxide on my shiny new Infinit bottles, and my reluctance to spend time cleaning the bike probably added more weight each day than the cage did over the course of the event. At around $70, one shouldn’t accept any compromises from the PRO UD Carbon cage. While it may maintain a bit too strong a grip for road riders’ needs, for gravel road or mountain bike use, the PRO delivers.