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Last year, I used some plastic clamps I bought from a LBS to mount two stainless steel Salsa water bottle cages to my rigid fork as shown in this picture:

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Unfortunately, the plastic clamps wouldn't tighten sufficiently so as soon as I hit the first downhill on plain old pavement, one of the water bottle cages slid into my spokes. This significantly deformed the Salsa cage and damaged at least one spoke knocking my wheel slightly out of true.

Now (after the fact), I know that Salsa stainless steel cages have slits that can be used with stainless steel hose clamps. I want to try mounting Salsa SS cages to my rigid fork again using stainless steel clamps from a hardware store instead of the plastic style clamps I got from an LBS. Only this time, I want the cages to stay in place for a 200 mile gravel ride.

My suspicion is that the stainless steel clamps will tighten much better than the plastic clamps did so the cages will be much less likely to move, but now that I'm transitioning to gravel, the stakes are higher.

If I try this again with stainless steel clamps, is there anything extra I can do (besides installing braze-ons or rivet nuts) that will keep the cages from rotating on a 200 mile gravel ride?

I was thinking I could get some really strong "string" and somehow tie it to my cages and brake posts to prevent rotation, but the strongest "string" I know of is fishing or weed eater line and that doesn't seem to tie in knots very well.

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    Have you considered a hydration pack as an alternative? – Criggie Feb 18 at 3:16
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    Do you have to carry 200 miles (320 km) worth of water and food? Is this a completely unsupported event/ride ? – Criggie Feb 18 at 3:22
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    There may be two possible downsides that come my mind: Bottles on the fork will add from 1 to 1.5kg to the fork, altering the steering characteristics. And in case the the holders slip they might get into the spokes. – Carel Feb 18 at 8:23
  • Have you considered a front rack? And carry your bottles etc on there? – Criggie Feb 22 at 3:36
  • I would not recommend putting riv-nuts into your fork - its structurally critical and failure is immediately bad. However rivnutting into the downtube and seat tube are fine if done carefully (and STRAIGHT!!) – Criggie Mar 19 at 7:29
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Hose clamps should be more than adequate, although they will chew up the paint on your forks. You might consider an intermediate layer (could be as simple as electrical tape) to protect the paint. And of course give the setup a shakedown ride, and monitor it during the big ride.

There are strings that are stronger than fishing line (you can get carbon-fiber or dyneema yarns), but it wouldn't be feasible to tie them with sufficient clamping force.

  • I made it through the DK200 last Saturday using hose clamps with Salsa cages. The cages didn't budge the whole ride. I didn't even have to use an "intermediate layer". One may have to tighten the hose clamps occasionally though as I've had one of them come lose on a local ride once. Fortunately, this was not an issue during the DK200 since the clamps were apparently tightened recently. One more thing, this is a bit off topic, but I found it useful to wrap duct tape around the bottom of the Salsa cages to keep the water bottles from falling out the bottom on super rough gravel rides. – Shawn Eary Jun 8 at 21:06
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I'd look closely at your bottle cages and see if the rear straight bit has any sort of tang that could be bent/curved a little.

Then I'd consider mounting the bottle on the top of the fork leg so that the top of the cage "leans over" the curve at the top of the fork, the fork crown if it was traditional.

Then use two hose clamps per side, with one above and one below the cage. The curve will help stop the cage from rolling into the wheel forwards or backwards. Mind out for interference with your V brakes though.

Added bonus, bottles will be easier to reach if a bit higher.

  • Would a sketch help? – Criggie Feb 18 at 3:21
  • I upvoted your post and marked Adam's as the answer, but a sketch still might help. – Shawn Eary Mar 19 at 2:50

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