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Randoms: It's All In The Details - Pond Beaver 2020

Apr 15, 2020
by Brian Park  
Lowering Cage (right) vs the standard one (left).

King Cage's Bottle Lowering Cage

• Lowers your bottle ~1.1 inches
• Fits most standard bottles
• Made to secure a bottle without marking it up
• Made in Durango, Colorado, USA
• Available in both 304 stainless tubing & 3-2.5 titanium tubing
• 48g (stainless) or 28g (titanium)
• More info at kingcage.com

bigquotesKing Cages have long been the standard in understated, high-end cages. They're made in the USA, and their classic shape just works. They may not be as easy to get bottles into as side loaders on bikes where it's a tight fit, but in my experience, they hold a bottle very well.

Their new Bottle Lowering Cage (I don't think there's a marketing guy over there) does just that, moving the mounts up and the bottle down by just over an inch. That might give you more room for a full-sized bottle in your frame, and theoretically, it'll also lower your center of gravity. Either way, it's a really nice little detail.


AbsoluteBLACK's Integrated Top Cap

• One-piece integrated bolt & top cap
• CNC machined from 7075 aluminum
• Uses a 5mm hex key (max 5nm)
• Compatible with standard star nuts and ENVE's compression plug; not compatible with some expanding star nuts
• Available in Black, Red, Gold, Green
• Weight: ~5g
• Designed in UK, made in Poland
• Price: $19.95 USD
• More info at absoluteblack.cc

bigquotesThis one isn't all that new, but they made a slight change to this very simple, very neat piece a little while ago. The weight weenies will be devastated to hear that it's gained ~1.7g, weighing in at a truly weighty 5g. On the other hand, it's added some cool looking ridges now, which everyone knows makes you faster.

Joking aside, this slick little top-cap and bolt simplifies things at your cockpit if you don't keep a SWAT or EDC tool in your steerer.


Giant Loop's Pronghorn Strap

• Made of super-tough stamped aluminum fasteners and 3/4" stretch polyurethane
• The shape of the prong is designed to hold the strap in place until tension is applied
• Length shown on the strap (in inches only)
• Arrows embossed onto strap ends indicate how the strap properly threads
• The metal buckle is sheathed in polyurethane to prevent scratching
• The buckle prong holds the strap in place for pre-fitting and chaining straps together
• Color-coded by length
• 18″ - Black, adjustable from 6.5″ to 15″
• 25" - Gray, adjustable from 6.5″ to 22″
• 32" - Orange, adjustable from 6.5″ to 29″
• Limited lifetime warranty
• Price per pair: $19 USD - 18", $21 USD - 25", $25 USD - 32"
• More info at giantloopmoto.com

bigquotesThere are plenty of ski straps out there for holding stuff on your bike, from Voile to OneUp and a boatload of others. Oregon-based moto luggage specialists Giant Loop have been looking at making more bike-friendly stuff over the years, and it's nice to see them throw their hat in the ring with the Pronghorn strap.

The details look very nice. The aluminum buckles seem solid and are sheathed to avoid scratching my paint while I'm not paying attention.

Yep, they're 3x the price of a Voile original ski strap, but there are some nice refinements here. [update: they're actually only 1.5x the price of a Voile strap, as Giant Loop ones are sold in pairs.] My biggest nitpick is that I want them all available in black.


Effetto Mariposa's Tappabuco Tire Plugs

• Stores two bar-end tire plugs safely inside your bar, loaded and ready to use
• One side is for 1.5mm plugs and the other for 3.5mm plugs
• Fits in most MTB and road bars, as well as most Shimano and SRAM cranks (15–20mm holes)
• Spare strips available, but aftermarket ones work too
• Weight: 13g for the 3.5mm side and 11g for the 1.5mm side
• Price: $25 USD, 19.99€
• More info at effettomariposa.eu

bigquotesEffetto Mariposa is known for their torque wrenches, but they've got a growing selection of tire sealants and other bike-related stuff. Their Tappabuco (Italian for "stopgap" or literally "hole plugger") tire plugs are similar to a bunch of other bar-end plugs on the market, but it's a nice touch that they've done two sizes of fork/plug.

Theoretically, that'll avoid needing to employ my patented keep-jamming-more-plugs-in-there-with-increasing-levels-of-panic approach. Realistically it's just nice to have a backup for when I mess it up the first time.

Yes, it's similar to other kits out there, but some of the other kits aren't ready-to-go like this one and require unthreading and fettling, or they have just one size and a reamer in the other side—this one does away with the reamer that nobody ever actually uses when plugging a tire. Hmm, I wonder why I keep having to jam more tire plugs in there. Depending on the market you're in, it's also cheaper than the alternatives.

The Tappabuco fits in most road and MTB bars, as well as the inside of most SRAM and Shimano cranks. Gotta keep those extra 13g nice and low for cornering, bro.

Author Info:
brianpark avatar

Member since Dec 29, 2010
218 articles

  • 75 2
 You can also stick tyre plugs, energy gels, bratwurst whatever you need in the volume space part if your fork. Loads of room in there. Plus as you ride and use it up you have the added benefit of your fork spring rate coming more and more linear Smile
  • 150 0
 as a german Im really pleased to now this storage trick for my Bratwurst. Thank you very much.
  • 9 1
 @Dan278: You're probably going to have to at least straddle the bars to get it in...
  • 7 1
 I tried that with my bratwurst and it definitely did not do good things to the fork's spring rate. Way too progressive even on long, rough trails with big drops and braking bumps. Then I tried finger weenies. Best volume spacers out their, and the compression cycle warms them up nicely for after ride snack.
  • 1 0
 What about beer?
  • 6 0
 @Dan278: If you experienced early suspension forks a bratwurst probably performs better than the pool noodle-esque elastomers did...
  • 3 0
As a german the only legitimate way to go is with a Wurstblinker!

  • 6 0
 @Dan278: Just make sure you don't mistakenly put a 36mm bratwurst into a 34mm fork.
  • 3 0
 @Loki87: aber nur mit TÜV Zulassung Wink
  • 1 0
 @DJ-24: I think Im gonna wait for the 2021 38mm Bratwurst for the Enduro.
  • 1 0
 @DaFreerider44: That is what a hydration pack is for ... ditch the bladder and load up your favourite keg of beer!
  • 1 0
 @Dan278: the banana is the past, the Enduro bratwurst is the future.
  • 1 0
 @Dan278: *mein Bratwürst
  • 1 0
 @mountaincross: Chicken or all beef??
  • 23 0
 The top cap thing is weird to me , like when it starts to tension up the headset isn't it going to start binding on the top of the stem ?? like isn't that exactly why conventional ones are sperate , cause your top cap stops as it takes up tension and then the bolt will still rotate a bit.
  • 8 6
 It is a novelty item/company.
  • 9 1
 The top cap only stops rotating because of friction between the top cap and the stem. However, bolt still turns because you are overcoming the friction between the underside of the bolt head and the top cap. In this one-piece scenario the bolt and the cap are coupled. Meaning that as you tighten the bolt, you will need to overcome the friction between the cap and stem. Functionally, it's the same. But the torque applied vs bolt stretch is likely different.
  • 10 1
 This has been commonplace in the bmx word for over 10 years. It has never been a problem there.
  • 1 0
 I've got about 2,500 miles on their previous version of this top cap. Never had an issue, but it's aluminum so I'm cautious not over-tighten it.
  • 2 0
 @Austink: Was just going to say the same thing. On a side note, I'd love to see something similar to Odyssey's stem cap standardized for the mountain bike world. It would be great for those steerer tube tool kits since it threads into the wall of the steerer instead of a star nut.

  • 1 0
 @gibspaulding: agreed. It would take rockshox/fox all of an extra minute to thread the inside of the steerer tube a couple of inches and we wouldn’t need star nuts anymore.
  • 1 0
 @Austink: I don't think I want unneeded threads inside one of the the most stressed single sections of metal on the bike. To have enough threads for it to work for any frame, there would be many cases where the threads would extend down to below the level of the top of the headset.
  • 1 0
 @velodonata: that is true, but if they started with a steerer tube with a smaller inner diameter and threaded it out to where the narrowest tube wall is the same as current steerers, the whole thing would be stronger if anything.
  • 1 0
 @Austink: Yes, but also heavier and more expensive to manufacture.
  • 2 0
 @velodonata: I'm sure a small tread causes less chance of damage than a sharp startnut that first gets hammered into your steerertube, leaving scratches, and then gets pulled up again with force so that the sharp blades expend (and slightly cut) into the steerertube.

The thread will not put "expending" pressure on your steerertube (on sharp points), just upwards pull (spread over a bigger surface area).

It works perfectly well on BMX, where impacts on the bike are just as hard as with downhill and freeride, or even worse (huge hucks to flat without suspension etc).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying one system is better than the other one (I'm not an engeneer and don't have any numbers from test results comparing these two). I'm just saying that you don't have to be afraid for the BMX style top caps, as the concept is not more fragile than a startnut + it has been proven for probably over a decade on BMX.
  • 1 0
 @Mattin: My original point was that the threads would need to cover a lot of area to account for varying steerer lengths, and on some bikes would be exposed to the stresses at the point between the stem and the headset. The star nut is installed after cutting the steerer and is thus never below the stem. I'm not all that up on current BMX standards, or how they implement their threaded steerers. Don't they usually use steel steerers?
  • 17 0
 upon further investigation those cages actually aren't that expensive. Stainless cage is pretty hot actually
  • 28 55
flag jclnv (Apr 15, 2020 at 12:04) (Below Threshold)
 And not from the virusland dictatorship either.
  • 3 2
 You should be able to get these at every other random weekend-flea-market...
  • 31 3
 @jclnv: I was convinced they are made in US. Go figure..
  • 42 3
 @jclnv: Took me a minute before I realized you weren't talking about the US
  • 17 2
 @jclnv: slowclap. . . i guess. . . but I think we are winning a virusing right now. And homeboy just said he has absolute power so. . .
  • 22 39
flag jclnv (Apr 15, 2020 at 12:30) (Below Threshold)
 @ryan77777: SARS, H1N1, COVID-19 and a government who misled the world and caused a pandemic. Don’t know how you could be confused by that comment unless you’re just too woke for the facts?
  • 4 0
 Also, if you're someone who reps your shop/team/company water bottles even the ti cages save you money in pretty short order by not having to buy new bottles every three rides when the logos are scoured off.
  • 1 0
 Their Morse code cage is really nice - has multiple mounting positions
  • 4 0
 I've got them on my Kona Rove. I can carry two bottles and still have clearance for a half frame bag to hold my fly rod and some tall boys.
  • 21 4
 @jclnv: sweet choice of forum to push your agenda. This is were we bitch about wheel size, e-bikes and the price of everything. We don't have enough bandwidth to add in your wokeness
  • 7 2
 @jclnv: www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/2009-pandemic-timeline.html The first reported cases of H1N1 were in California, not China, and they think maybe Mexico had some unrecorded cases earlier. Get your facts straight and stop parroting the nonsense you read on Facebook.
  • 6 0
 Bought a King cage a decade ago after my fancy carbon cage ejected my only bottle in a long XC race. Also noticed the pros we're buying them with their own money. Haven't lost a bottle since.
  • 6 0
Dude, don´t mention Mexico, you´re gonna make this worse!
  • 3 3
 I have had nothing but King cages on any of my road bikes for years, years and years....now, one is on my MTN bike. As for steel? Um, two of my roadbikes are custom Ti.....steel King Cages, thank you (the ti ones welds break).
  • 2 4
 @fullfacemike: Apologies, Safari auto-corrects H5N1 to H1N1.

Facebook? Isn’t what I stated simply factual at this stage?
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: Even if it really was a typo and not just a convenient cop out, H5N1 has less than 1000 reported cases in humans EVER with only five of those in the last three years so it's hardly the ongoing threat you want it to be. www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/2019_11_25_tableH5N1.pdf?ua=1
Sure, facts, whatever. Can we get back to talking about water bottle cages, please?
  • 4 0
 Been running them for nearly 20 years. Best value in the bike world.
  • 4 3
 @fullfacemike: My original comment was directed at the significance of not supporting a corrupt regime by purchasing domestically manufactured products. In this case bottle cages. I don’t understand why that is controversial? Maybe talk to some small business owners who are currently being decimated to gain some perspective.
  • 3 0
 @jclnv: if that was the intention of your initial post, I believe you were not successful. Perhaps the dictatorship part of your statement could be related to low cost manufacturing, but virusland entirely brings current pandemic into comment. You then reference SARS, H1-N1 (apparently mistakenly, but regardless) and COVID-19, and say you don’t know how it could be misleading what you stated initially. I’m not trying to argue the merits of either side, just pointing to the utter and complete logical inconsistency of your statements here. You clearly made a point about viruses and government cover-up, then when called out a bit, backpedal and claim to be defending small time manufacturing. Stay on track...
  • 5 2
 @VwHarman: It’s all part of the same story. A culture that eats endangered wildlife or tortures domesticated animals in unsanitary conditions leading to deadly viruses that cause untold financial suffering and a fracturing of social cohesion across the globe. A nefarious dictatorship that tried to cover up the seriousness of the virus and is currently financially bribing the WHO in a desperate PR move. I for one consider a product that isn’t manufactured there to be more attractive than ever. I thought people would be educated enough on the situation to understand the nuances in my original comments.
  • 2 1
 @VwHarman: You should listen to the dude, he sounds like a total authority on the subject.
  • 3 0
 @jclnv: that’s the thing, there was no nuance in your original comment. You might have an understanding internally of the links you feel are there, but your comment wasn’t nuanced. If it has taken something like Covid to make you rethink the country of origin for your purchases when you are able, that’s great. Supporting more local economy will always have a greater impact on our own day to day lives as opposed to supporting Chinese manufacturing, or Jeff Bezos for that matter. However, some of us have been paying attention to global supply chain and localized economic benefits long before covid-19. Lay out the nuance, it leads to a much better convo.
  • 17 4
 The sheer number of backpacks you could buy for all the crap that people invest in not wearing one. I would even keep my Evoc on my back if it was empty. I'm not a professional EWS racer.
  • 24 3
 Opinions are different ... I used to ride with backpacks, but they never felt good when jumping/changing direction quickly. I tried riding without one and it made a world of a difference Smile never gonna go back. Also, less sweating ;-)
  • 6 0
 @Stokedonthis: Yeah- I’m a crusty OG freerider so it’s backpacks for life, but I sure do get sick of the sweat...
  • 3 0
 I prefer wearing backpacks, but last time I needed to replace mine it was cheaper to get a fanny pack. It's not great when I need to carry layers in the winter, but I don't feel the need to leave it at home when it is hot outside like I would do with my backpack in the middle of summer.
  • 3 0
 @DirtbagMatt: Try the Osprey Savu. Can use as little or as big of a water bottle and/or bottles as you want & the empty slot for a bottle can act as compression straps for a set of knee pads, etc.

Rode one all summer and just happened to get lucky with my first hip pack. Everyone who has the other brands has gotten jealous of mine. It's cheap too.
  • 3 1
 I wear a backpack when I absolutely need it, but I would happily spend multiple backpacks worth dollars to not wear one.
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: Agreed! To be honest I haven’t tried many different hip packs, but also haven’t felt the need to. The Savu is sweet.
  • 9 0
 Not sure if this is allowed on PB or not but I wanted to give a shout out to my homie Ben Kinsella, who helped Giant Loop with the design of the strap. He's trying to make it on his own running a small engineering shop up here in WA, so it's cool to see him get more clients interested in his talents. Atlasdesignhouse.com
  • 1 0
 Shout it out! I work for GL and Ben seems super skilled.
  • 9 3
 One piece head set cap? Few companies already tried this gimmick..
Such poor engineering.

If I want to go light, I'll go with Extralite HyperCap. Half the weight, proper preload and does not break.

King ti cage and your bottles will not fall off.
  • 11 2
 They should sell it with a screw extractor kit so you can remove the thread stuck in your star nut when it breaks
  • 43 0
 Are you even a real weight weenie if you don't over-torque your stem bolts and just take the topcap and star nut out?
  • 6 4
 A real weight weenie doesn't use a headset cap (seriously you don't really need them after the stem is on tight.)
  • 11 3
 "If I want to go light, I'll go with Extralite HyperCap. Half the weight, proper preload and does not break."

Interesting, for the record the Hypercap has a max torque of 2N/m where the Absolute Black goes up to 5N/m
The Hypercap is requires a 3mm hex key where the Absolute Black screw uses a 5mm allen key
Finally, the Hypercap is a 2 piece design where AB is a one piece system.

Based on that, from a mechanical standpoint, I'd say the AB is better and less prone to breakage. Now of course it is not gonna stand 40N/m, not that it was designed to do so in the first place...
  • 1 1
 I think a real-real weight weenie will have the headset cap, so he can brag about it. Also because it does not want to end up with a hole in the chest.
  • 3 7
flag RedRedRe (Apr 15, 2020 at 12:07) (Below Threshold)
 @Barkit: If you don't get the differences, I am not going to be able to explain it.
  • 2 1
 @RedRedRe: hole in chest? A real weight weenie cuts his steerer just shy of the top of the stem. Spacers above the stem = grams, plus a danger of stabbing you.
  • 2 0
 @RedRedRe: I rely on my stem to prevent chest holes.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: Back when I worked at a bike shop, there was one customer (who himself was a bit on the heavy side), who always punched out the star nut after he tightened the stem, because of weight reduction.
  • 4 1
 @Barkit: @Barkit: I've owned both. I've seen a few of the AB caps fail with a weird spiral crack, which is likely why they've beefed it up. its fine if correctly torqued. I wince every time I time I need to undo the extralite. even with copious antiseize during installation I still expect the 3mm allen to round off.

With both of these using alu threads I'd recommend installation with a bog standard oem cap & steel bolt properly torqued. when the stem bolts are tight, only then replace the oem ahead cap with either the A.Black or Extralite. yes its a faff, but in use, while riding, neither cap has had an issue in over 6years (old version of A.Black)
  • 1 0
 @scantregard: Interesting and good to know. Don't you think the failure was due to overtorquing though?
In my experience, spiral crack is the type of premature fatigue failure which happens because of that .
  • 3 0
 @RedRedRe: how much unnecessary chest weight do you think the steerer would remove? Drillium for the rider is net next step in weight weenie tech.e
  • 6 0
 I don't get how they can charge so much for straps. I have been using ones from lee valley for my lights and batteries, etc , and they have work excellent a fraction of the cost.
  • 1 0
 Those Lee Valley straps look good for around the house type stuff but they are skinnier and have that plastic button thing. I would trust a metal buckle for heavier loads.
  • 7 2
 Bar end tire plugs are absolutely brilliant... now if only I could get the rest of my tools, snacks, and water in there too I wouldn’t need a backpack...
  • 4 9
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 15, 2020 at 11:04) (Below Threshold)
 Agreed! I want that!
  • 13 1
 I heard that you can use energy gels as tire sealant and just slurp some out when needed
  • 3 0
 Just get a little trailer for your bike, problem solved! Check out Thule stuff
  • 1 1
 if you get that loop and a waterbottle cage you probably can ditch the backpack
  • 2 0
 My experience with a similar concept was that over time the plugs got damaged rendering them dysfunctional. These look a more durable so they may be fine.
Also I’m a hack on a bike so it’s entirely possible that others don’t destroy bike parts like I do
  • 2 0
 sahmurai.com - Been out in a few variations for a while.
  • 3 0
 HAHA Just imagined someone drinking water out of their handle bar at the side of the trail.
  • 1 0
 After a 15 years of whatever is cheapest aluminum cages bent to hold my bottles tighter, I grabbed a couple of SS King cages to do some bottle positioning so I could cram more crap on my bike. One of my biggest cycling purchase disappointments ever... They look great, but I popped them on my bike, put some standard bottles in, and proceeded to test hop the curb in front of my house. Both bottles flew into the street when I landed. I tried a bunch of different bottles, now these are just hanging in the garage.
  • 5 0
 Then sell me your King cages. They are the best.
  • 5 3
 Those bar-end tire plugs are a stroke of genius. Great application. 1-piece top cap though, that's for dentists with torque wrenches.
  • 1 0
 After years of constantly launch bottles out of zee cages.. I have switch to exclusively running king cages on my bikes. I haven't launched a bottle since I switched plus I get extra style points with the gravel bikers C=3
  • 1 0
 How long before someone clips and tree, losing a bar end plug on the trail and then someone else rides over it giving themselves a flat (and plugs it at the same time)?
  • 1 0
 That bottle cage isn't gonna hold anything...that kind of cahe olds your bottle for 10 seconds then it falls off lol
  • 2 0
 AB topcap, ridged for your pleasure.
  • 3 0
  • 1 0
 kony 2012
  • 1 0
 Why did I just read "p0rnhog" for those GL's straps? Too easy.
  • 1 0
 I love details
  • 1 0
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