Installing a Bottle Cage - "Towards the Bikend"

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In recent months, I published some posts that concerned the world of cycling, for example talking about how to mount cleats on specific bike shoes, some parameters used to decide the training methods, how to mount a handlebar stem, etc.

On those occasions I had used a sketchy and somewhat confusing cover image: well, in the last few days I created a slightly "cleaner" design, with a motif that I'll use for the next episodes of this simple blog section. I also created a logo for this initiative, coining the name Bikend, that is the insertion of the term Bike within the expression Weekend. But I'll talk about this in another post, showing the creation process step by step. As for us, our blog section will be called Towards the Bikend, and you can see the logo inside the cover image, or in the dividers inside the article.


Towards the Bikend is a blog section that includes the publication of various posts, all centered on the theme of "bike world". In the past, I published a few posts, but never too formal. Instead, I decided to give a more structured face, finding myself disassembling an old road bike from top to bottom, and thinking I could show - with the help of some photos taken during the different passages - a sketch of how to proceed. However, the project plans to go beyond this boundary through content that concern multiple aspects of the bike world, from training methods to local initiatives, perhaps also passing through some cycling itineraries.

Let's get started... Bottle Cage!

As the first post inside this initiative, I thought I'd show the assembly process of one of the simplest accessories you find on a bike: the bottle cage.

In this specific case, I bought a bottle cage to mount on my mountain bike. Starting with a hint of culture, many bikes have the option of having two bottle cages, one front and one rear, located roughly in the center of the frame. For the uninitiated, the frame is that part of the bike that constitutes its supporting structure, that is the set of various tubes and parts - usually in metal or other very resistant material - which will serve to counteract all the forces applied on the bike. I don't have an image to show you immediately, I think I'll write an article about it in the future. But you can get an idea by searching for "bike frame" on the web and taking a look at the images you will find.

In the figure, you can see the point where I wanted to mount the bottle cage, highlighted thanks to a red rectangle. I'll use this rectangle throughout the whole article to highlight the parts I'm going to tell you about.


In the image, it's also possible to see the front bottle cage, the one already mounted on the bike at the time you buy it. You find it in front of the point highlighted in the image: it is that black object hooked on one of the frame tubes.

In the photo below, I show you the installation area of the second bottle cage from another point of view.


If you notice well, in this area there are two fundamental points from which pins come out. The pins will be used to attach our bottle cage. But, of course, they will need to be unscrewed first.

In the photo below, you can see the first step, which is to use a hex wrench to remove the two pins. The hexagonal key size may be different depending on the structure of the pins, so it must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. You usually find every possible variation in a commercial hex key set for home use.


In the image below, I show you what the pin and its housing looks like after unscrewing the component.


At this point, I grabbed the bottle cage purchased. In my case, the bottle cage was equipped with some own pins, which however were not compatible with my bike. The next step was therefore to remove them.


If, as in my case, the pins are firmly screwed to a washer, you will need to use something that grips the pin and something that grips the washer. In my case, a hex wrench for the pin and pliers for the washer (more appropriate would be a combination wrench of the correct size, which I did not, however, have).
And so here we are, it's time for the real installation. If you have noticed it, in the figure above, the bottle cage has a central groove with passage points for the pins: you will have to make sure that these passage points coincide with the slots on the bike frame, those that we have left empty and that you find in the second photo of the article.


At this point, we need to start screwing the first pin, but without tightening it too much. I can't tell you whether it is better to start with the highest or lowest one, as this varies a lot from the bottle cage architecture. Some bottle cages have in fact greater mobility and can adapt better to the frame, which is instead made impossible in cheap models like the one used by me.


The last step is to stabilize the second pin as well, and finally tighten the first with the correct power. At the end of the procedure, you can proceed with a very homemade manual check: place your fingers on the bottle cage and try to move it with slight force. You will need to feel the plastic wobble slightly, but also notice that the fixing points still remain perfectly stationary: this will be a sign of correct installation.


Summarizing briefly

The basic steps are:

    • Identify the attachment points
      of the bottle cage on the frame;
    • Unscrew any pins present
      (with a special mechanical key);
    • Prepare the bottle cage
      (removing any pins already mounted);
    • Place the bottle cage on the frame
      (in correspondence with the empty slots);
    • Insert the pins and screw them
      (with the correct force)
    • Check for correct fastening.

And finally

The article is ended... but there is a BUT: as I'll do for the next posts, I want to remind you that this is nothing more than my personal experience and that the technical parameters can be controlled in a much more professional way by various authorized dealers and professionals working in this sector. There are user manuals, assembly, and disassembly technics, advanced tools, etc. that can facilitate and make any procedure and information I report safer. Make sure you never compromise your bike or your health.

Having said that, I greet you and I hope I didn't bore you. See you in the future for a next post. If you want to know more about the process of creating the blog section cover and the logo behind “Towards the Bikend” keep following my blog and the #bikend tag.

See you next time!


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