Guest Article: Reverence: Cannondale Immix Bottle Cage


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.

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75 Replies to “Guest Article: Reverence: Cannondale Immix Bottle Cage”

  1. Can we get a picture of the bike with cages? I proudly displayed my Cannondale(btw I fuckin love riding it), now its your turn Steampunk.

  2. Nice one Steamy. I understand the reverence towards such a simple device. Having spent a hell of a lot of time deciding on which cage to adorn the BMC, I fully appreciate where you’re coming from.
    Plastic? Not on such a beautiful frame. Carbon? Always feels like it’s too flimsy to hold a bottle securely IMO. I do like the look and the combination of carbon and titanium of your Immix though.
    At the moment I’m using a carbon wrapped alloy cage. Shape is similar to an Elite with the bidon held nice and secure, nothing rattles and it blends in with the frame colours and decals. I’m still not 100% satisfied though…the search continues

  3. Nice find, SP. I like to imagine the conversation: “Mom, Dad, great to see you. Been ages. Well, off to the bike shop. Don’t wait up.”
    Too bad the Immix (sounds vaguely therapeutic) is d/c’ed, it is close to what I’ve been (fruitlessly) looking for: simple, good lines, and (mostly) alloy. Putting carbon cages on a steel bike seems gauche.
    BTW, I am encouraging my wife (runner who is tri-curious) to go for a CAAD-10 as a first bike. And if she has a road bike, it logically follows that I should have two.

  4. Nicely done SP. When I bought my new carbon monocoque compact bike, it lacked cages. I have a shit ton of them, but got a through ass kicking when I mentioned putting ti-wire/ brass buttoned bidon holders on my new steed. Went with fiberglass (Profile) holders. Still, these are the sexiest cages I’ve ever owned:

    Thing is, I can’t tell/ remember what it’s brand name model number is. Anyone? Oli? Frank?

  5. Nice article SP, I am going through that same search for suitable bidon cage myself. I too find them be an abomination on the bike alebit a necessary one. I try to convince my self that they are a training add and make sure the bottles are always present and full and acting like weights to increase my training. I must admit that every chance I get to remove them though and ride without them I do. Whilst hydration is important sometimes I can make do with a few extra stops at “refuelling stations” and enjoy the lines of the steed that little bit more.

  6. Nice article. I understand the fascination. The cage is a key functional component when you think about it. Mine is a piece of crap, titanium cage that doesnt hold my bidon correctly. Every time I ride, the rattling gets in my nerves.

    Still on the humt for that perfect cage.

  7. @steampunk
    Chapeaux Steamie! That a thing of beauty. I love the way that the elders of this site gently guide the uninitiated through the many pitfalls that line the route to enlightenment (although there may be some aspects of enlightenment that I’ll choose to ignore such as @Frank’s recreational activities in India)

    I must confess to never having given too much thought to bidon cages or the effect they have on the aesthetics of a bike. In fact I gave so little attention to the subject that I missed the word “effect” in the description of the last pair that I brought on ebay! My carbon cages are, in fact, cheaply painted metal of some kind. They’re relatively light and I do take the second one off before shorter rides but I now realise that I’m fooling myself. They must go and I want a pair of Immixes. There’s a place in Germany that has them but is €55 a bit steep?

  8. @Chris
    touche Chris – humbling when one’s newbie attention is drawn to a part of the bike you have never really thought much about
    Alas, I suffer from the hopeless matching gear syndrome – so mine are Spesh, and look dull, and are of course neither carbon fibre, nor attractive, though they do blur/ match in with the frame

    I guess the only way to break the habit is to build a bike from Ebay individually sourced components, as the orange V-coggers do, and apply the rule that no matching gear will be used, in an attempt to break the single manufacturer psycho stranglehold

    Also +1 for Canon d’Allez – all of a sudden, the plethora of these bikes in my vicinity take on a less plethoric greyness (no offence intended to you CD fans out there)

  9. whoops my link there was to a shop in France rather than Germany and they’re out of stock! This place in France does have them at the aforementioned price

    I also found these in Australia which might be worth considering if you like the overall form of the Immix cages but aren’t a fan of CF.

  10. @Dr C

    Indeed sir, there is much to learn.

    I have a CAAD 8 which I love (though I have little to compare it to) and I’m rather drawn to the aesthetics of the Canondale aluminium frames. While they do incorporate some hydroforming, they seem to have retained a relatively simple straight tubed look that many of their competitors seem to be forgoing in favour of curved tubes. (no offence intended to the Specialized fans!).

    Carbon fibre, is another thing. at the moment I’m not sure that my level of riding warrants it or that I’d really notice the difference. For the time being, I’ll be content with some stealthy component upgrades and hopefully some major weight savings and power increases from the engine.

    The idea of building up a classic steel bike from ebay is quite an exquisite one that I fear must wait for a couple of years. I think there are at least two or three bikes that I need to get before then, a cross bike, a rain bike (although it could be argued that the two needs could be satisfied with one bike) and city commuter (Boris is doing a great job with his hire scheme but the numbers of users are overwhelming him and there are rarely any bikes in the rack when I get off the train in the morning).

    While individually sourcing the parts is a given, is not a vintage campy gruppo mandatory.

  11. @Chris

    @Dr C

    Carbon fibre, is another thing. at the moment I’m not sure that my level of riding warrants it or that I’d really notice the difference.

    While individually sourcing the parts is a given, is not a vintage campy gruppo mandatory.

    No idea even what campy stuff is out there yet, as Spesh only do Shimano (except where the Roubaix Pro is concerned, which comes with Ui2, if you are Brett or Frank or Minion, but if you are British or Irish, they stick SRAM Red on it…. quel que fuck?

    Ref Carbon Fibre – I don’t think it probably changes your performance much, but I really noticed the difference going from Alu to CF, though it maybe was also going Allez to Roubaix, but the acceleration and tightness downhill is awesomely bicycletastic – really feel connected and driving, rather than being driven, IYKWIM – defo think if that is what you want to blow your dow on, then have no guilt

  12. …..I suspect I have just done some metrosexual retro spending excessively justification….

    Main difference I suspect in performance came from the massive BB chainstay area, rather than the Alu-CF – maybe not possible to create the same large pipes out of Alu – WTF do I know??

    Looked at Madone 5.2 the other day, gums went all squishy looking at its BB

  13. @Dr C
    There may be a huge change in tightness/stiffness (phnar phnar) with your comfort bike but the CAAD8 is pretty taut. It doesn’t have any of the flex that my last bike had when you put the power down.

    I’m not trying to rubbish CF, I’m just quite happy where I am and reckon my limited budget (officially capped at nil with a requirement to get some of the crap in the garage onto ebay) would be better spent on clever upgrades – A decent bike fit being the first one I think.

  14. Nice article, Steampunk. I have spent many a day and night thinking about this seemingly insignificant part of my bike(s). I find that the cages only look wrong when they are not actually holding a bidon. When there is a bidon in the cage, and said bidon is coordinated with the frame color(*), all is right. I do agree that the material of the cage should match the material of the cycle. And color, in the case of carbon, is also significant. If your carbon bike is matte, no glossy cages, either. I would add these opinions to my choices in pedals, too, taken, of course, as far as I possibly can take this rationale.

    (*) I absolutely can not stand when folks have a dark-colored frame and an ass ugly white bottle in the cage. Or some ugly bottle that was a “gift” or “free with purchase” on the frame that is emblazoned with some sponsor, store, or frame maker (minus additional points for riding one frame and carrying the bidon of another), or some such other crappy bottle. Look, get a simple, clear or not completely opaque, unstained bidon. Stylish. If more than one, matching in design and style (i.e. two of the same damn bidon). If more than two, at least two should be matching. Size of said bidons? Dependent on length of ride and how Pro you want to look (smaller size = Pro)…and if you have support following you with replacement bidons (if you have a SAG vehicle, definitely go with the smaller size).

    I experimented with the insulated bottles this summer riding on several Hawaiian islands. They work…for a while. Anything in the heat for 4-5 hours is going to be hot after a short while, I don’t care what the manufacturers claim.

    OK. Rant over.

  15. One thing I’ve grown to appreciate as I ride more & more, & blossom into a Velominatus, is the simplicity of tools which work. That bottle cage looks like nothing, but it proudly does the job. I love tools that do their job, look good doing it, and are small, sleek, light. On the other hand, I hate tools the fail to do their sole job in this world.

    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.

    Nice one, Steampunk!

  16. Steampunk–congratulations on acquiring the second cage. Isn’t it hilarious how wrapped up we get at finding the one thing that completes the bike but escapes us for much longer than it should? When we finally get what we’ve been looking for, it’s such a delight and a relief.

    Of course, everyone around us who doesn’t share our enthusiasm thinks we’re completely daft.

  17. Beaut, Steampunk. I’ve come close to purchasing those cages on at least two occasions and am now sad that I did not as they are discont’d. They are elegant indeed. And Cannon D’Allez is funny shit.

    The local hardman I ride with is totally put together aside from his bidon cages. His kit, bikes, and Rule compliance are all spot on but every third or fourth time I ride with him he loses a bidon. I, being the gentleman that I am, do the work of a domestique and pick them up for him because I’m usually behind him.

    The Cuissi’s are a great cage with a classic look. I’ve got two pairs. I’ve got some genero carbon cages on my BMC which work extremely well.

  18. Xyxax – Oh no, a tri-curious wife! Be careful, my friend. That’s dangerous there, very dangerous. She’ll be cutting date night short so she can get her full 10 hours of rest, putting bar extensions on her road bike…and going for jogs! The horror.

    I saw a guy riding yesterday. I thought, “He looks terrible on a bike.” All jerky and the opposite of smooth and Casually Deliberate. Then I spotted the bar extensions and it all became so clear.

    Also rode with a friend last week, plus two others. One was a gal. Great! Someone fun to draft! Then she mentioned she was tri-curious. Talk about a turn off. Bar extensions utilized by a female cyclist are like man-hands, they just ruin an otherwise potentially nice gal.

  19. @Ron

    Xyxax – Oh no, a tri-curious wife! Be careful, my friend. That’s dangerous there, very dangerous. She’ll be cutting date night short so she can get her full 10 hours of rest, putting bar extensions on her road bike…and going for jogs! The horror.

    Worse still, she’ll be wanting a swimmer and a runner to join the two of you…

  20. @Ron

    My wife is regrettably tri-curious as well. She joined a beginners tri-club this spring and I’ve been torn between encouraging her (for the overall fitness upgrade) and treating her with disdain as a cycling aesthete. The biggest problem is her insistence that I, too, should join the tri-club next summer. Not wanting to openly denigrate an activity that has given her a lot of newfound pride, my responses are always non-commital. Perhaps a Rule #42 violation, but as I’ve said before, marital tranquility sometimes requires bending of the rules here and there.

    One plus resulting from her joining the tri-club is that we finally went and bought a decent road bike for her, which I proudly built up for her, and we ride together once or twice a week. She, too, has brought up the notion of putting clip-ons on her bike. (“Clip-ons” is an apt name, because they are the cycling equivalent to wearing one of those course and unsightly polyester clip-on ties from TJ Maxx with a $1000 suit). Rest assured, my fellow Velominati, that I have exercised my right as the bike’s builder to categorically shoot down any such suggestion.

  21. Don’t be too hard on the tri boys and girls.

    It gets a lot of people onto bikes who might not otherwise, which has got to be a good thing. And once they are on a bike they have a much better chance of adopting la vie velominatus.

    In fact when I first came to Abu Dhabi the only rides in town were the ones organised by the tri club, so I have that to thank them for.

    The other advantages are that they spend a lot of money on bikes and the bike industry, and they sell a lot of quality stuff on eBay, some of it barely used :-o

  22. 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.

  23. @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.

  24. @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

  25. 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.

  26. @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.

  27. @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!

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

  29. @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

  30. 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.

  31. 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!”

  32. @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.

  33. “…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

  34. 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.

  35. @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.

  36. @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?

  37. @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.

  38. @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…”

  39. @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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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 . . . .

  42. @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.

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