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Cage Mounts: Water water everywhere

Bob Forgrave

We’ve been getting a lot of similar questions lately from bikepackers and packrafters. How many mounts does your frame have? Does the fork have mounts? Can you add a fork with mounts? How much water can I carry?

With 6 possible locations for cage mounts on all CHANGE full-size folding bikes, we seemed to be in somewhat good shape, but this got us thinking…  How much water COULD any cyclist carry using standard large water bottles if enough cage mounts were available?

Our hypothesis? Gallons.

The fun begins.

First, we needed a source of rugged, reliable cage mounts that can be affixed anyplace on the bike. That’s tough to find, but we identified a supplier in South Africa with exactly what we needed.

.cage mount

The Ryder Cage Mount combines a grippy rubber backing with sturdy Velcro straps to attach to any round or square tube.

Outfitted with one of these and a large, 21-ounce (610 ml) water bottle, we clarified the challenge…

This challenge is about any cyclist, not just CHANGE bike riders. And any cyclist has enough frame mounts to place two water bottles. So, doing the math, we’d need 10 more mounting locations for a large 21-ounce water bottle to get to two gallons of water.

Area 1: Fork mounts.

We started here because the fork has been the source of so many mount questions. How many water bottles can fit here?

fork mount
High-mounted: Easily accessible, and won’t interfere with braking or pedaling feet. This can be done on both sides.
low mount
Low-mount offers a lower center of gravity, is forward to avoid getting kicked, and can fit around a higher-mounted bottle on the same side. But it cannot work on the disc brake side.

After the fork, we’ve got 3 positions down, with 7 to go. On to the frame…

Area 2: Frame mounts.

Seven suddenly looks like a very large number. Is that many more really possible?

top tube mount
The first one was pretty standard. Pumps and bags get mounted here all the time. And now, water. We should mention at this suspended moment that all photos were taken with a full bottle of water.
high downtube mount
Why on this side of the downtube? We’re assuming that the other side has a larger, standard-mounted water bottle already there, taking up the whole space.
low downtube mount
Low-mount allows room for yet another water bottle on this side.

Is it really realistic to carry water bottles on this side of the downtube? Yes with some asterisks:

  • You have a rigid fork and no fork compression is possible, or…
  • You are going to ride on stable ground where no compression is needed, and…
  • You are Ok with dust/mud getting on your bottle tops. Gas bottles, maybe? Or clean before use?

Then things get really interesting.

crank mount
Crank mount? Whoever heard of that? Well, it’s out of the way, with low cent of gravity, and accessible if you’re flexible. Maybe this is the start of a new trend in cycling!

Now we’re at 7 down, 3 to go. And we’re running out of places to put a large bottle. The chain stays and seat stays are out of the running because anything there can get kicked on the back part of a pedal revolution.

Area 3: Really high-mount options.

What could be more convenient than mounting a water bottle close to where you’ll need it? Anyone with a bad lower back is going to love the steer-tube option.

stem mount
We’d love to say that this gives us two more positions–left and right–but no. Only one fits at a time. At least you can choose between left and right-handed.

And for the aerodynamically minded . . . whoosh!

seat mount
This is the mount position you chose when aerodynamics is your most important concern after hydration.

That leaves us with one position left. What about seat post mounted? Lots of people do that, right?

Well… you could, but you’d have to either (1) use a smaller water bottle, violating that part of the hypothesis, or (2) put the seat way up high, violating the “any cyclist” part of the hypothesis.

So it looks like you can’t carry two gallons (6.7 liters) of water, unless we missed something. Any ideas? Would attaching to a bike rack violate the “any cyclist” premise? 

Happy riding, fully hydrated.

Bob Forgrave

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Bob Forgrave is president of Flatbike, an
ecommerce company offering full-size folding bikes
and kits to make any bike take up half the space.

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