Thursday, July 08, 2021

Water Carriers: Update #2

So far, this is what I have come up with......
Another update on the Elite water bottles and the challenge to get them to work on the Black Mountain Cycles MCD. You can check the last post here. This post will detail my work and testing so far and I will go over my results. 

The challenge was to find a couple water bottle cages that would make the under the down tube bottle more stable and to get the big Jet Green bottle to sit on top of the down tube without interfering with the upper bottle on the downtube. 

I ordered in two cages- One a Lezyne side loader and a Cat Eye cage. I had to wait several days to get those and when they showed up I got to work. Unfortunately, neither cage made any difference. The Cat Eye cage actually made the fitment worse as it sat the Elite + bottle in space where it interfered with the front wheel! Bah! So, I fiddled around, dug through my stash, and found a couple oldies-but-goodies. These got bolted in and I actually had a workable solution for on top of the down tube. Underneath I ended up going back to the Velocity Bottle Trap. 

A reader posted a comment on the last update saying I should use a strap to stabilize the under-the-downtube bottle and he was right on with that suggestion. I used an old ByKyle Strap I got from a stash left over from a Trans Iowa sponsorship years ago. So, the bottom bottle was sussed but not before I had tried two other cages to see if they would work. That's besides trying the Cat Eye cage! One was an old Profile composite cage from the 90's. I used to have it on my Bontrager Race mtb. Anyway, I could mount that cage so low that the bottle interfered with the inner chain ring! That cage ended up on top. The range of adjustment with the Profile cage is amazing, and they tend to have a great hold on bottles without causing issues retracting a bottle or inserting a bottle while riding. This cage would have originally had a rubber "O" ring acting as kind of a spring retention, but they always broke and they are not really necessary anyway.

Click to make the image bigger if need be.

So, I was able to 'shove up' that Profile cage, but what about the lower cage? I tried several in this position, but nothing allowed 100% clearance of the Jet Green bottle to the upper bottle cage. I came across my old Velocity bottle cage. The 'original', Australian made cages had a modular base system and twin tubing that ran across the entire backside of the cage. This allowed the end user to position the modular bases anywhere along that twin tubing as long as you could line up the bottle bosses. So, I used this feature to 'shove down', in effect, the Velocity cage until I was able to achieve the best possible result using what I had here. 

Now before I continue, I want to put out a call to all you small-time tinkerers with metal 3D printers or small CNC machines- "Please make something like this out of titanium and a design that isn't as flexy as the old Velocity cage is." 

Someone could make a good living doing that, because in effect, this cage design is essentially a Wolf Tooth B-Rad and bottle cage in one. Think of all the places you'd make use of this. Got a top tube bag that interferes with a bottle? Move the modular bases so the bottle clears. I think the range of adjustability on the old Velocity cage is well over an inch, although I've never actually measured this. That said, it would be more than enough adjustability for probably 90% of cases where it was necessary to have this feature. 

So, after installing the cages I had it where the Jet Green would go in behind the Profile cage, but the nipple of the bottle was touching the base of the Profile cage. Still, that was just enough clearance to make things work. I grabbed another ByeKyle Strap but for the Jet Green it was too short, so I utilized a Moots ankle strap I got at Interbike ages ago to use as a retaining strap. Now with this set up I was ready for a riding test.

I could have gone out on the gravel, but with the intermittent showers all day Wednesday and the fact that gravel isn't really rough enough, I opted for the more extreme choice for testing; alleyways. Our alleys are full of dust and what I call 'decomposed gravel', but what really makes them great for testing accessory mounts is all the potholes, ripples, and whoop-de-do's that these narrow byways have. So that's where I went. 

It cleared- but just barely!

I hit as many potholes and bumps as I could, and unfortunately I did get that big Jet Green bottle to shift sideways part way out of the Velocity cage. Thank goodness I had that Moots commuter strap on there or that bottle would have come out and caused some mayhem. So, I stopped and noted that the full bottle had enough mass that it actually bent the tubing of the Velocity cage outward a bit. I just wasn't comfortable using this cage now and I was glad I found out in the alley and not amongst hundreds of other riders at the beginning of Gravel Worlds. 

So, while I am close to having this sorted, I am not quite there yet. My solution will be to get my big B-Rad rail from the Orange Crush bike and use it on this pink BMC. That rail has a 'pad' which could be set in various places, and that metal pad has a strap on it which is supposed to be used for a tool roll. It is wide and has a rubber/foam base on it. With the base and the longer B-Rad I can not only move the cage up on the upper end but I can use that 'pad' and strap to better cinch down the Jet Green bottle as well. Plus I can use a better, more secure cage on the lower end of the down tube without fear of the Jet Green bottle interfering with the upper bottle.

I also added a home made cue sheet holder and a home made light holder on the left fork blade made out of a carbon steer tube I cut off years ago. Those things are good, but I may have a newer idea for a light mount if I can find a bolt long enough for that. Stay tuned.....

All this will be important for Gravel Worlds since this is the set up I am going to use there. I want to do plenty of riding on this set up beforehand so I need to get this squared away before long here. I'll talk more about the set up in other posts and update this bottle cage deal as well soon.


MuddyMatt said...

Hi Mark, looks like you've got things how you wanted which is great.

I was just wondering why you don't simply flip the bottles round so the larger bottle is mounted at the top of the stack on the down tube, instead of the bottom? I might have missed it in your write up but that might allow a little extra clearance around the bottle tops after sliding the top cage down rather than up.

Or, use the side loading Cat Eye on the seat tube and put the large bottle there? Then swap the others around a little. Anyway, it's not my ride and you know what you will need for the big event!

Good call using straps!

NY Roll said...

GT, Mike Johnson had a popsicle stick go metal with thread thru holes made up so he adjust his bottle cages down for tangle bag use. I had a set a few years ago. It was in essence a Aluminum shim. Then B-Rad came out. I think his popsicle stick concept was a better solution if you wanted to maintain a single water bottle. You could just buy a B-Rad base 2 and slide the bottle cage into position as well.

Stud Beefpile said...

I assume you're familiar with the WTC Morse Cage, but I'll throw that out just in case. King Cage also has some lowered offset cages.

Guitar Ted said...

@MuddyMatt - I guess I haven't explained that, so here goes: The reason for the current arrangement is access while riding. That Jett Green bottle isn't something I would want to handle on a gravel road, especially if I am fatigued. (Too much weight, unwieldy with one hand), and so I wanted it in the lowest position. Plus, the heavier the object, the better it rides down low. The smaller bottles I wanted where i could access them easier while riding.

Guitar Ted said...

@N.Y. Roll - Why does this news of Mike Johnson's tinkering not surprise me? He was quite the problem solver when he was an active rider. I sure do miss him.....

Guitar Ted said...

@Stud Beefpile - Thanks! I am familiar with that cage and it's perpetual out of stock status. I still think a modular approach, like an improved Velocity cage, would be a killer product.

S.Fuller said...

Thanks for this. GW's is coming up and I have a bike that has ZERO cage mounts on it. Sussing out solutions to that now. :)

DT said...

Interested in seeing the cue sheet and light mount eventually!