BBB FUEL TANK XL BOTTLE CAGE

Long-term (12 month) Test 180g £11.95

The BBB Fuel Tank XL Bottle Cage is designed to safely lug bottles up to 1.5 litres on the bike and judging by our test model, it’s built to last.

Why would I want one?

OK, at 33cm long and 180g, you won’t be seeing a BBB Fuel Tank Bottle Cage sitting pride of place on a TT missile, or most people’s training bikes for that matter but it’s a very practical addition to a tourer, gravel bike or tandem.

Couldn’t finish that bottle of burp juice you bought on impulse at the last rest stop? Perhaps you’re on a long ride to the beach with children en-tow, or where good quality drinking water is otherwise in short supply. 

 

Materials

The Fuel tank is made from T shaped aluminium alloy and treated to a durable, black powder coat finish. BBB say matt but I’d say satin. Powder coating enjoys an enviable reputation for durability and this one is near perfect a year on, save for a couple of very minor stone chips and superficial scuffing. 

This would be tougher still, had an epoxy primer been applied first. Nonetheless, it’s still better than I’ve come to expect from factory finished cages, racks and even pedal bodies. Besides, you could always pop it down to your friendly local project finishers with some other parts - should it get too tatty for your tastes. Welds are similarly neat and uniform throughout.

Competitors employ a rubberised strap to lock the bottle neck snug, ruling out any chance of mortaresque ejection, over poorly surfaced roads.

BBB have opted for a hinge type clamp, which is fairly smooth, equally dependable and is easily adjusted/retightened using a 4mm Allen key.

 

A quick drop of wet lube on the bolt is all that’s required to keep it from corroding. Winter’s salty tongue has left some unsightly brown freckling but it hasn’t turned remotely arthritic.

 

Simply open the collar, slide the bottle in place and close. Not that these are designed with mid ride swigging in mind. However, I’m pleased to report, the clamp is easily operated in full finger, winter weight gloves.

      

Mounting

It’s worth adding a quick slither of thread lock on the mounting hardware and you’ll definitely want longer, aftermarket screws, should a mini pump also be riding shotgun on the bosses. Oh, and only fit to a threaded boss, not an adaptor, such as this SKS (below).

Traditional touring lorries with horizontal geometry, shouldn’t present any main triangle compatibility woes, there may even be sufficient parking space for two.

Small to medium sized, semi/compact geometry framesets has generally dictated down tube fitting. This genre of cage can rule out a second, standard pattern, which may be a deal-breaker for some folks, so it’s an idea to measure first. 

Frames, like my Univega, sporting a third set, beneath the downtube may provide another viable option but double check there’s sufficient, real-world clearance between the mudguard/tyre.

Performance

Standard 1.2-1.5 litre coke and mineral water type bottles slot straight in. Snug fit = silence, whether you’re blasting along the backroads, or thundering through the town.  Less demanding fire-roads and bridle path haven’t induced any annoying buzz ort chatter.

1 litre mixer and glass bottles proved a slightly baggy fit around the base area.

Fine if you’ve stopped for a bottle of something, a mile or two from home but not ideal when blasting along dirt roads for any distance. I’ve discovered this is easily solved using an insert made from old inner tubes stitched together. Or you can improvise with some bubble wrap. Either way, even after a day’s riding, carbonated drinks shouldn’t lose their fizz, or taste flat.

 

While extremely rugged and arguably a better choice for rough stuff/bike camping/expedition riding, unlike the Modula XL https://issuu.com/vortexcreative/docs/sdc_3_rev?e=0%2520%2F14991123 , which, in a pinch,  can be persuaded to carry 2 litre bottles. 1.5 litres is tops with the fuel tank XL.

 

Conclusion

Dedicated PET cages are a niche product. Topeak Modula XL strap closure saves a few grams and has a slight edge, if you need to carry bigger bottles now and then. At the other extreme, the Free Parable Design Monkii   or Gorilla cages might prove more practical options for riders of smaller frames.They are lighter, consume less space and will also entertain other odds 'n’ ends - including hobby sized bottles of camping gas!

 

Nonetheless, the BBB fuel tank is keenly priced and gets my money where durability is top priority. 

Verdict: 3.75/5 Tough, versatile cage for touring and other riders wanting to carry PET bottles securely.

Michael Stenning

www.bbbcycling.com 

PUBLISHED AUGUST 2017

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