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Guest Article: Reverence: Cannondale Immix Bottle Cage

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A Velominatus is never to judge a book by its cover; appearances and predispositions are quickly cast aside at the discovery of a diamond in the rough. After all, the pursuit of perfection necessarily requires that we are a breed who turn over the last stone in search of it, even when all hope has long since been lost. But the gems to be found when peering past outer appearances, these are the reward for our effort.

Even those items which are necessary evils, those we’d just as soon have no need for, these items are not exempt from our quest to discover the perfection; a mini-tool, patch kit, C02 chuck, chain catcher. Today, @Steampunk describes such a component: his Immix Bidon Cage.

Yours in cycling, 

Frank

The Velominati appreciate the finer things. While we adhere to Rule V to varying degrees of devotion, we are at the same time fragile and fickle beings. A ride can be ruined simply by receiving a less-than-stellar espresso pre- or post-ride or by discovering a mystery clicking sound buried somewhere in our drivetrain. We crave the very best. Style and performance are shared badges as we search and yearn for that ever-elusive momentary glimpse of la volupté. Cannondale is rarely the first name associated with the search for this most austere experience in cycling, though they make some good bikes. When compared with handcrafted Italian frames or components, Connecticut’s finest might lack some class or caché (in these instances, I pronounce Cannondale in the original French: Canon D’Allez), but moving beyond the romance of all things European there are some bits and pieces that warrant some appreciation. Submitted for consideration: the Cannondale Immix bottle cage.

First, a confession: I loathe bottle cages. I appreciate their importance and how one’s performance is enhanced by being properly hydrated, but I find them unsightly””interfering with the frame’s symmetry. Too: they remind us of our protean form and that we cannot ignore the physical demands of our bodies for nutrients and hydration while we ride. But for this minor detail, I would ride without them. Furthermore, as an inveterate steampunk, I dislike plastic. It’s hard to escape this infernal material when it comes to the bidon, but I won’t stand for it on my cage. Carbon fiber isn’t much better, and typically is more prominently visible from a distance, with its thick, bold silhouette. And don’t get me started on wind resistance when the cages are empty.

With this important caveat out of the way, the appeal of the Immix cage becomes more significant. For me, it balances function and form. The carbon fiber base sits nicely flush against the downtube or seat tube””and, in my case, matches my fork. Sturdy. The cage has been on the bike for more than two years and it continues to clutch the bottles tightly and without any wobble. Full or empty, the bidons remain snug, a mere afterthought until such time that I should need a drink. Sleek. The titanium bars minimize the visual intrusion of the cages on the bike and yield a very light (29g) overall product. These look fast, without the crazy and distracting lines of their carbon fiber competitors.

Here’s the rub: the Immix cage has been discontinued, apparently because they were over-zealous in clutching their charges. I’ve not had this problem; the bottles are snug, but easily removed while on the go. The great tragedy, however, was that I only got one. I had bottle cages, which (see above) I didn’t like very much, but ordering two fairly expensive bottle cages online (product unseen) seemed somewhat foolhardy. Cannondale doesn’t ship to Canada (odd, since they’re owned by a Canadian company), and my LBS even failed in procuring a second cage. Opportunity finally knocked this week; I traveled to Vancouver to visit my parents. Online, I had found a Cannondale dealer there who still had an Immix cage in stock. Almost directly off the plane, I headed straight for the store to collect my second cage. The guy behind the counter didn’t much seem to care that I was excited to get my hands on this product, which had probably been collecting dust on his shelf; nor did he seem surprised/amused/relieved to part with a product that had been collecting the aforementioned dust for so long. No matter: in some small, strange way, my ride is complete. Regardless of what you are field testing in your bidon, you want it held tight, without drama and with a little bit of style. In a minor but significant way, the cage is a crucial piece of every ride.

// Guest Article // Reverence

  1. @Ron

    When you are out there with only your #1 & a few things in your jersey, the beauty of self-sufficiency comes into focus. You rely on the Guns, but even they need a few tools of support.

    I carry a multi tool, patch kit, C02 chuck, and two cartouche C02’s. That is all. And I helped a poor guy out of a completely fucked situation yesterday. He’d dropped his chain and somehow crammed it between the small chainring, chain stay, and the wheel. There was no way it was coming out. With just my minimum tools available, I got it out for him without so much as a smattering of grease on my fingers.

  2. @Chris
    none taken
    you certainly don’t need CF to mash the fuck out of the big ring up a hill before blowing up, so the enjoyment bonus of CF is quite overrated on those terms

  3. Always interesting to see where people go with their gear selections. For me, my bidon cage quest was given up the day I got the Zipp cages. I have them on all bikes except my steel, which I feel – as @Xyxax suggests, is inappropriate.

    But provided the cage is made properly, carbon is the perfect cage material. It never fatigues or loosens up. It is flexible enough to allow easy passage to the bidon while clamping down hard enough not to allow it to escape, even with a ride over the cobbles.

    Metal cages, always seem to rattle, fatigue, bend, misshape…it’s a disaster.

    As a final point, as much as I can understand your reverence to this cage, the two materials seem like a failure point…is the titanium bonded to the carbon, or does the carbon just hold onto some loops of connected Ti? In any case, it is a pretty cage.

  4. @Cyclops

    The thing that will ruin my ride the quickest is when I’ve done some sort of adjusting in the stem/headset and then head out for a ride and try to focus on the V-Locus and notice that the stem is .25 degrees off the centerline. It drives me nuts the whole ride.

    OH MY HOLY MERCKX THAT MAKES ME CRAZY. And with the 130mm and 140mm stems I ride, it takes an Act of Coppi to get it straight.

    @Steampunk
    Forgot to mention, fantastic work on the Canon d’Allez. Into the Lexicon with that one, my friend.

  5. @frank
    where were you when I needed you – I managed to wrap my chain between the crank arm and the cog going up a hill – couldn’t get the fucker out as it had been driven in with maximum angry-V – thought I was going to have to amputate – eventually sorted thanks, but hands were completely black, as you never showed up!

  6. indeed the cages must complete the lines of the bike. But a worn big ring is more resplendent than all.

  7. @Cyclops

    The thing that will ruin my ride the quickest is when I’ve done some sort of adjusting in the stem/headset and then head out for a ride and try to focus on the V-Locus and notice that the stem is .25 degrees off the centerline. It drives me nuts the whole ride.

    0.25 degrees – you are too sensitive – women like that in a man

  8. I have these cages from Serfas. They are carbon and LIGHT! 22g. Yet they are not bulky looking and they hold the bottle tight and they only retail for $45 USD.

  9. If you recall the 75 year old French/Italian guy that was racing at the Southeast Idaho Sr. Games I mentioned in posts from this past summer – he rolls up to the line for the 40k with no water bottles. Old School hard core settles the issue. With French accent – “I need no silly bidon cages, imbecile. Viva la France!”

  10. @Cyclops

    If you recall the 75 year old French/Italian guy that was racing at the Southeast Idaho Sr. Games I mentioned in posts from this past summer – he rolls up to the line for the 40k with no water bottles. Old School hard core settles the issue. With French accent – “I need no silly bidon cages, imbecile. Viva la France!”

    Good thing you didn’t accuse him of having a camelback hidden under his jersey. He may have taken his spare tire off of his shoulders and beat you until you begged for mercy.

  11. here’s the appropriate pic:

  12. “…And don’t get me started on wind resistance when the cages are empty…”. Jesus, I’m now panicking… I’ve never even thought about this… What else am I missing? I pride myself on maximising my psychological aero profile (even though my ‘real’ aero profile is similar to a house). Great reverence article, Steampunk… Thanks

    @Frank admire your minimalist approach to self-sufficiency on rides… I’ve added a chain link to my inventory since my chain snapped a while ago 25 km from home… Contrary to labelling, the Lezyne multi-tool chain thingy works fine with Campy 11speed chains… as well as a tube of Nuuns for bidon replenishment… All of which fit nicely in my man pouch in middle jersey pocket

  13. @frank
    Frank, what would Seattle do without you? Do you wear your V kit under your overalls?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eCdIe0wdvU
    And you do it with less tools too! What a hero!

  14. I have to admit here that my cheapness took over when I bought cages along with my bike last year. I like nice stuff, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend $30-$40 EACH on some of the fancy-pants cages they had at the LBS. I bought the cheapest metal cages they had, but they didn’t look quite right with the bike.

    Shortly thereafter, I replaced those with a pair of the $12/pair Chinese carbon cages that are all over Ebay. They are light, look fine, don’t have any logos, and I have yet to launch a single bottle out of one in several thousands of kms of riding. And I didn’t even have to buy them (I traded a friend some of my Google-fu SEO work for them, as he had purchased a large quantity to resell here).

    Those cages are probably my most proud Velominatus Budgetatus acquisition.

  15. @wiscot

    I imagine he’s sort of like superman. When mild-mannered programmer-by-day Fr0nk hears a call of distress, he quickly runs to the nearest LBS, dashing into their changing room and emerging as V-MAN. Swooping off on bike with extreme seat-to-handlebar height ratio to save the day.

    I hear he ever wears his underwear on the outside. Weird, I know – but he swears it’s a folk cure for gonorrhea or somesuch nonsense.

  16. Seat? Jesus. I meant saddle. I need more coffee.

  17. @mcsqueak

    I, too cheaped out on my cages and bought some plastic ones a while back. I confess, though, I feel a little guilty when looking at them, because they are a bit of an eyesore.

    Maybe I’ll try a set of those Chinese cages as well. Do you have a pic of the style that’s working for you?

  18. @mcsqueak
    Yeah, that S logo on the chest is in a V shape. Much of Superman’s kit is lycra too. The cape might be a problem if it gets caught in the spokes though. I like how he magically transforms clunkers into nice new shiny bikes. I think I need to break down in his hood so he can work his magic.

  19. @redranger
    Maybe not the best example””given the back lighting (the bidon’s actually full, though you’d never know it)””but here’s a pic from this morning’s ride:
    The bike (and the rest of me) is inching (I mean centimetering) towards Rule compliance.

    @frank
    Wish I could claim Canon d’Allez as my own. Don’t remember where I heard it, but I liked it. Those Zipps are fine! I imagine I’d need matching wheels to pull them off, though””talk about “establishing a need…”

  20. @The Oracle

    I just posted a picture of my bike in the “Bikes” section, as I don’t want to threadjack Steampunk’s post too much. So you can see my cages there.

    @Steampunk

    Those look really good on your C’dale. I agree that more “bulky” black carbon cages wouldn’t have matched the look of the bike very well, especially since the frame is that matte grey color.

  21. I find it hilarious how fast this group can put up 45 posts on bidon cages. Like a lot of stuff, there are any number of solutions that work, and a shit ton that don’t. I agree with most of the above… but here’s my choice:

    Here’s what they look like mounted.

  22. @sgt
    Man, even WW II canteens would look good on that Wilier.

  23. I too have tried lots of cages over the years. Steel, alloy, plastic, handlebar-mounted, frame mounted. Currently I’m using the Elite ones that a lot of Pros use. Pretty cheap if you shop around and available in a bunch of colors. So far, so good in handing any bottle I’ve used. (Current preference in that department are a pair of the Clean Bottles that my brother gave me. They’re smooth and slide in and out really well.)

    When you think about it, bottle cages are basically cat nip for cyclists: always new designs coming out and relatively cheap that they are an affordable splurge/update. I must have half a dozen in my bike bits cupboard . . . .

  24. @sgt
    Arundel make good bits fo sho.

  25. @wiscot
    Can one draw a linear relationship between the size of one’s storage capacity for bike bits (box, drawer, cupboard, walk-in closet, room, second house) with one’s experience, expertise, mania for cycling? Or is it exponential?

    I have a drawer.

  26. @xyxax
    Xynax, I think it is exponential. It’s a three shelf cupboard. Top shelf is mostly saddles. Second shelf bars and old shoes. Third shelf components. What other sports have such a continual need/supply of new bits?

    While I’m here, can old helmets be recycled or destined for the bin?

  27. really like this bidon / bottle cage combo. Apparently worth an extra 30 or 40w

    shame the bidons don’t match though. Looks cheap. But cyclist is welsh (and yes, serious breach of Rule #40 (and 26)… I have had a go at him)

  28. Very interesting thread. I have been contemplating new cages for a while but havent found anything truly harmonious yet. Currently running Elite Ciussi`s but I dont really like them, sure they hold the bidon well but I find the chrome “Elite” badges vulgar.

    @Roadslave
    Glad to hear that, also running Campag 11spd and have been living in fear of a Shleckanical of some kind.
    I know some people have reservations about the latest Campy groups but remember folks These go to 11

  29. @Roadslave
    Be advised that I have seen the results of a Campag 11sp chain that had been rejoined skipping the peening of the rivet, and they were ugly results indeed involving splintered carbon fibre, smashed nuts and broken bones. The chain looked perfect and ran without issue for several weeks, but when it went it was in the middle of a hard hill effort and he mated briefly with his stem before falling sideways into the road, breaking his handlebars, putting a nasty divot in his top-tube and shattering his wrist.

  30. @Oli…. Bloody hell! It got me home. And I’ve been riding it since… but no longer. Am changing chain tomorrow evening before Saturday’s ride… cannot risk damage to my princess. Not to mention the smashed nuts (ow). Thanks for heads up.

  31. @Oli
    Well when you put it like that Oli, perhaps investment in the Campag tool might come before any thoughts of new bidon cages.

  32. @wiscot
    Fuckall that’s funny! Well played!

  33. I love the Elite cages I have. They hold my bottles snug and I think they look sexy on my new bike. At some point I would like to get the carbon versions since I have a carbon bike.

  34. @roadslave
    Fuckin Veuve Cliquot, that shit is good.

  35. I haven’t been all that satisfied with my side loading cage. This discussion turned dissatisfaction to loathing. Picked one of these up. I should give it a good try out tomorrow on an 80km ride.

  36. @itburns, sgt

    I’m running a pair of the these very cages as well, which upon first sight struck me immediately as the most minimal of all the carbon cages.

    I have the oil slick (non-woven) finish, but dammit, they have since put out a matte oil slick style which would be an even better match to my raw/matte carbon frame.

    Even so they do look rather spiffy. And for those that need them, they have this cage in a white as well. Good equipment.

  37. Great article Steampunk, I’m happy you find your perfect combo!
    For me well, you know what I think about bottle cages!

  38. @Pedale.Forchetta
    How do you stat hydrated?

  39. Update on the cage. The Arundel Mandible. Sorry about the double picture post. I first thought @sgt was using a sideloading cage from Arundel because of the angle of his picture.

    Cage is nice. Strong grip but you don’t have to fight it. Top is flared so guides bottle down. Increased my psychological speed by 10%. Actual speed – not so much.

  40. @RedRanger
    I’ve always with me a bottle, but in the middle of the jersey pokets.

  41. @Pedale.Forchetta
    Must be an Italian thing. When I was in Sicily most of the locals I saw would ride with just one bottle. the second cage was used for storage(not sure what its called)

  42. @RedRanger
    For rides no longer than 150Km one bottle is ok, but just because there are a lot of ‘fontanelle’ or drinking fountains in the country.
    But for serious distance I too mount bottle cages!

  43. For a visit here today one bootle was enough! *wink*

  44. @Pedale.Forchetta
    I remember those fountains well. I dont think I ever used one myself. We dont have things like that here. Since I live in Arizona and most rides take me away from the city I always ride with 2 bottles. this is the the Carini fountain:

  45. @RedRanger
    I’ve to say that I love to see you Sicily photos!

  46. @Pedale.Forchetta

    @RedRanger

    I think its really awesome that places such as Italy, Switzerland, etc. have public drinking fountains available, seemingly all over the place. We have some here in Portland which I utilize on almost every ride, but they always get turned off during the winter, which is annoying.

  47. @ToeOverlap
    TO – who made your frame? I have a matt black(ish) carbon frame (Canyon – no weave just blackish) with one ally cage (lakes) and one plastic one (paron elite) I have to say I like the cheap ally one but I could be tempted by matt mandibles …

  48. It looks like Canon d’Allez currently sells a similar design in aluminum: GT 40 cage.

  49. Blackburnproduct warranty is good: “WITH BLACKBURN, YOU’RE COVERED FOR LIFE. PERIOD.”

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    @redranger
    Maybe not the best example””given the back lighting (the bidon’s actually full, though you’d never know it)””but here’s a pic from this morning’s ride:
    The bike (and the rest of me) is inching (I mean centimetering) towards Rule compliance.

    @frank
    Wish I could claim Canon d’Allez as my own. Don’t remember where I heard it, but I liked it. Those Zipps are fine! I imagine I’d need matching wheels to pull them off, though””talk about “establishing a need…”

    Off topic but ….  the big dog is noticeably absent a chain …. oops …..  I feel your pain ….  I too have strayed and photographed my steed in the little dog ……   damn

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