Oversized (OS) cages and bottles are nothing new to most bicycle tourers. With these cages you can carry twice as much water as regular bidon bottles (1500ml vs 750ml).
The OS cages will fit your average 1.5L water, juice or soft drink bottles available worldwide. This means you can replace the bottles at almost no cost when they reach the end of their life!
We have used three different bottle cages so far. Only one has stood the test of time: the BBB Fueltank.
Mounting oversized cages to your bike
Clearance is an issue, but most bikes can accommodate at least one. If you are thinking of getting a custom touring frame, the bidon bolt locations can be specifically chosen to fit OS cages.
OS cages fit on the standard spacing for your current seat tube bidon cage. If you want to mount a down tube OS cage, you will need to add a bidon bolt location a notch higher than your current one.
Modifying your frame to accommodate two oversized cages
Every touring bike I have owned had been modified to take two OS cages. The cost is no more than $50 and can be completed by anyone capable of modifying bicycles. We use local frame builder Ewen Gellie.
The process involves adding an additional bidon bolt location on the downtube, the same spacing but one notch higher than your current two. Be aware that your frame will require heat treatment, so this will ruin any paintwork around the bidon bolt location. You can protect this section of bike with some electrical tape or get a new paint job if you're finicky about your bike. I figure my touring bike gets scratched up enough to worry about paint…
Bikes will require a minimum downtube length of ~600mm and seat tube length of ~500mm to fit two cages. Kat's 500mm seat tube is almost millimetre perfect for OS bottles.
The best 1.5L bottles we have found
We find that Coca-Cola produce the hardiest plastic bottles, however other soft drink bottles are almost as good. We have also seen but not tried soft drink bottles in some countries (eg. Germany) which are re-used by various companies and seem to be thicker again.
Using pop top lids on your OS bottles
You can use pop top lids on your bottles to allow you to drink and ride with ease.
Read all about them HERE.
Different oversized bottle cage brands and models
BBB OS – Pass
This is the ONLY cage we've had success with. The aluminium tubing is thicker and larger than everything else available with a great clamp for holding the bottom in. The only downside is adjusting them, where you actually need to take the cage off the bike in order to adjust to a different sized bottle.
Minoura AB1500/1600 – Fail
The Minoura went well for a couple of months, however broke halfway down the cage.
Topeak Modula XL – Fail
The Topeak also worked well for a short period of time, snapping part way down the cage on two separate products.