In my perpetual quest to carry ever more stuff without panniers, I'd like to fit a second bottle cage under the downtube, for small bottles (e.g. 200 ml of stove fuel). There's space for something small, as my tourer is massive with relaxed geometry, but even an adjustable bottle cage like the Topeak modula EX won't quite fit (and won't go thin enough for such a small bottle). The shapes of the Salsa Anything Cage and Topeak Versacage are ideal, but they're bigger than standard bottle cages, not smaller. The mounting hardware to use the versacage without threaded bosses also adds a lot of standoff, unlike cheap bottle cages that are designed to fit with cable ties or straps.

I took this photo for something else, but it illustrates the available space under the downtube and above the toolcase. lowered bottle cage

So, assuming there's nothing on the market, how can I make something, perhaps starting from a bottle cage or even a pump mount? It needs to be pretty robust as it's hanging under the frame, and wants to carry a bottle around 50 mm in diameter (about 2/3 of a standard water bottle).

  • I've had a few ideas, but I'm not completely happy with any of them, so don't (yet) want to steer anyone else's thoughts
    – Chris H
    Mar 4 '20 at 16:33
  • I realize you asked about cage-based options, but are there other locations on the bike you'd consider for storage? Handlebar bags strapped under your bars are commonly used in bikepacking, for example, as are bags strapped to the seatpost.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Mar 4 '20 at 21:33
  • Bottle cages used to be crafted from sheet metal. Mar 5 '20 at 2:50
  • @WeiwenNg this is in addition to all of those. I have a large saddlebag, handlebar bag, small frame bag and two small toptube bags already. Until I get a new sleeping bag I'm not sure exactly how much space I'll need
    – Chris H
    Mar 5 '20 at 7:28
  • @DanielRHicks interesting. I have some aluminium sheet available, but would still need to figure out the attachments - the simplest idea would have two nuts or pop-rivet tails against the bottle, making it sit badly
    – Chris H
    Mar 5 '20 at 7:31

Cheapskate option: Even though it might not be the prettiest solution you could try the following: Take a 'normal' aluminum bottle cage (similar or equal to the ones you have mounted on your down tube currently) and by pushing down on the part furthest away from the frame bent the bottle cage such that it will clamp down on bottles with a smaller diameter. I've done this many times and it's worked great for me. (and personally I find the result doesn't look too bad).

If you don't bent it too extremely the paint should survive (even at the bend points), if it does crack or otherwise become damaged you could touch it up with a permanent marker (the cheapskate way), a paint marker or some black (or whichever color you bottle cage has) paint.

enter image description here

Before bending it clamped well on a regular bicycle water bottle and after bending It can be used for this (much smaller diameter) salad dressing bottle :) enter image description here enter image description here

If you want I can send you some bottle cages (I've got a bucket full of them) if you pay the shipping (should be 9,5 euro if i checked correctly). But for that price you might be better off just buying one locally :P

  • Thanks for the offer. I've got a couple of spares myself, and that's one option. When I've bent aluminium before (tent poles) I've found heat useful in softening the metal to make it less likely to crack
    – Chris H
    Mar 5 '20 at 7:26
  • I've just chosen a suitable bottle and reworked an old cage. It seems successful. I thought the cage was anodised a nasty bronze colour, but actually it was very faded black, and Tortec rather than a cheap one.
    – Chris H
    Apr 24 '20 at 12:35

There is an option on the market as well, in the Specialized Burra Burra.

While the cage itself doesn't really 'hold' anything, I have one and find it super useful for strapping in any range of item sizes (water bottles, MSR fuel bottles, growlers, etc.). I didn't love the straps it came with, but a cheap ski strap (e.g., this one ) works perfectly. Anything cylindrical stays seated very well against the aluminum tubing of the cage.

enter image description here

  • Good spot, thanks. I just wish they'd put slots to strap it onto unusual parts of the frame like a cheap plastic bottle cage (and give dimensions)
    – Chris H
    Mar 11 '20 at 7:16
  • 1
    @ChrisH There are slots that would probably work great for that. I edited my post to show a picture of them. I would think some cable clamps around a down tube and through those slots would be a rock solid mount.
    – Poquontchn
    Apr 23 '20 at 20:32
  • 1
    Your picture makes it look much more promising. They've managed to completely hide the slots in the photo on the product page, and don't mention any possibility of straps
    – Chris H
    Apr 24 '20 at 6:02

Switch to side entry cages and sew a frame bag that neatly hugs the contours of the bottles. Space maximized.

  • I think I see what you're getting at, though my sewing skills would need some work. This is also a good answer to my other recent question, linked in the photo caption above
    – Chris H
    Mar 5 '20 at 7:33
  • 1
    I actually did this recently, though in addition to the extra mini bottle cage
    – Chris H
    Jun 8 '21 at 8:38

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