SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 25th
The Topeak Versamount is a neat and reliable means of fitting accessories. Bottle cages to small framesets, or those without braze-ons being the most obvious examples. However, the 1.2kilo payload means they’re also practical for adding lightweight bike packing luggage to carbon fork blades and other contexts where adding bosses is impractical, or undesirable.
Pros: Convenient, secure paint friendly and easy to fit.
Cons: Plastic band screws require careful tightening.
£7.99 buys a pack of 2 bands, made from sturdy “Engineering Grade Plastic” (sturdy composites, for the rest of us). Fundamentally, two cable ties fed a massive course of steroids.
These will accommodate tubing between 20 and 60mm diameter, which should cater for most scenarios, from pencil thin steel race bikes to oversize/suspension forks. These secure via a set of composite screws, while the accessories mount via stainless steel Allen screws, which sit in stainless steel collars.
Rubber shims serve to protect paint, although also meaning less load on the band and fasteners. These may require some deft pruning on very thin tubing but they’re reasonably thick, so won’t implode at the first snip.
Hardly time consuming. However, a methodical approach - measuring twice and snipping once - definitely wins the day. Though not essential, holding the band’s tension with pliers, while snugging the composite Allen screws down, helps getting everything just so. I also found a lick of “thread lock” to the plastic threads, though not essential, to be a good idea, especially if you are going to be using bigger bottles/mounting stuff to fork blades, say on a gravel/cross/mountain bike.
Tighten with a 3mm Allen key and, if you’re not going to be porting them between bikes with very different tubing diameters, prune the excess band. An old set of wire snips used for generic workshop (not cables) duties are ideal for this, although strong craft scissors should also chomp through them.
I had recently acquired a top tube bag intended for braze on mounting, which is theoretically more secure than the Velcro straps. Unless kept vice-tight, these can slip slightly and leave “tan lines” in lacquered/painted surfaces (same goes for other frame fitting bags, too). There are two sets of holes in the bag’s base.
Placing the Versa Mount at either end of the bag’s drillings ensured it sat level along the bike’s top tube, although I’d originally positioned tethered to those up front, thus also confirming the Versamount are easily adjusted/repositioned to suit.
Much the same story when it comes to adding cages to framesets with no, or single mounts and though a bit pricier than some cage specific designs, keeping everything aligned while tensioning proved that bit easier.
Though less aesthetically sharp than dedicated bosses, the Versamount are still very neat and unlike the metal clips, there’s no risk of it scratching paint, and on metal frames, allowing corrosion to start beneath. Starting with cages, there’s been no issues with slippage, or movement, with mini-pump riding shotgun and using full 800ml bottles.
Same story with tool caddy types and 20 function multi tool, Co2 inflator, spare tube, 15mm wrench, spare batteries etc. Calling its bluff, I switched to the BBB Fuel Tank Cage and a 1.25 litre bottle of tonic water. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Versamount took everything in its stride, although kept a closer eye on the fasteners. This also means they’re a good option for mounting full-length mudguards to oversized forks without eyelets. Yes, galvanised banjo clips will also do this job but, unless you’ve applied some helicopter tape to the paintwork, be prepared for nasty scratches.
My hunch also paid off with the top tube bag. While the capacity isn’t huge (I’ve tended to port the K-lite dynamo USB charger , phone/camera/whatever gizmo I’m charging) it hasn’t moved a milimetre, or needed snugging tight, in several weeks and 500 miles.
Save for adding a drop of thread lock, the system has felt very secure, compared with others on the market I’ve tested. The set marrying the Enigma carbon cage to my Holdsworth’s downtube has served two years with no hint of discolouration, let alone more serious, structural impact.
On the face of things, £7.99 is arguably quite pricey for what is essentially two zip ties on steroids. However, they are very solid, easy to fit and will manage more than just bottle cages.
SKS adaptor comes in at £9.99 and employs Velcro straps, will manage tubing diameters between 15 and 75mm so can be removed, or ported between bikes easily. Elite VIP Bottle Cage Clamps also follow the Zip-tie on steroids narrative, will manage tubing between 25 and 70mm and costs £7.99.
Ultimately, the Versamount are a neat, paint-friendly solution for mounting bottle cages and sturdy enough for other tethering jobs. Easily the best of the breed I’ve tested to date.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Neat and sturdy band-on brackets - not just for bottle cages
PUBLISHED JUNE 2021
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH