Most mountain bikes can accommodate a water bottle via a cage mount. This is either installed on the top tube or down tube, but mostly on the latter.
But what if the bike you have happens to be on the other end of the spectrum and it doesn’t have any holes in it where you can install a cage mount and place a water bottle on it?
Well, that’s a problem that most downhill and enduro bikes have.
The aforementioned bikes are designed for shorter rides where they start at the top of the mountain and shred their way down. This is why they don’t really need a water bottle cage, compared to cross-country bikes that are geared more towards endurance and long-distance rides, which is why they need to have a bottle cage.
There is no need to worry, though, if your bike doesn’t have any holes.
Because there are many ways and alternatives for you to attach a water bottle to your bike. You just need to know the right way on how to install water bottle cage.
Zip ties are the cheapest way to fit a water bottle cage to your bike. Not only are they very cheap, but they can be easily bought anywhere. Place the zip tie at the top and bottom of the water bottle and use it as a hook that secures it in place on the bike frame.
This works most of the time, but you need to be a bit careful with this method because the bottle can slip out of the ties if you ride on rough terrain.
Only use zip ties if you are planning to ride on cement, paved roads, highways, or very light trails.
Clamps also do the job if your bike doesn’t have any holes. This works if you already have a bottle cage and you’re looking for a way on how to install it on your bike.
Simply install the hose clamps strap onto your frame and tighten it up firmly using the lever tool that sticks out of it. You can also adjust it using the two screw holes.
What’s nice about hose clamps is that you can fix them to any angle you like. This means that it doesn’t have to be in line with the down tube, which is great if you don’t want to stretch your arms too much while riding through trails. These water bottle cages are also more secure compared to zip ties.
Straps have been growing in popularity these days for enduro and downhill bikers. This is because they don’t need to put a bottle cage on their bikes.
Why? Well, a bottle cage can ruin the looks and aesthetic appeal of the bike, especially if it’s a downhill bike or enduro bike.
This kind of water bottle cage has a velcro strap attached to their interior portion which sticks both ends in place. This also works well if you don’t have much space on the down tube and you want a low-profile mount.
There are many choices for bottle cages out there, but the one from Cosmos is a nice choice because it’s affordable and is of decent quality.
This water bottle cage works great on full-suspension bikes that don’t have much space on the parallel side of the tube. You can simply strap water bottle cages like these on the sides of the frame. However, this bottle cage can compromise maneuverability.
A quick-release holder also does fine for bicycles that don’t have any holes on them for a bottle cage mount. This lets you put a cage on bike without holes.
Although they don’t look as nice as the water bottle cage mounts or velcro strap alternatives, they are still far more secure and safe for water bottles because they are mechanically attached to the bike frame via the quick-release lever just like a standard water bottle holder.
What’s also nice about these is that you can just attach them anywhere you look. This can be on the top tube, down tube, or even on your seat tube.
But that’s if you don’t have a dropper post. You surely don’t want to bring the hose clamps down to your tires once you pull the dropper down especially if you have an oversized bottle cage.
They are also very easy to fit and install. Plus they give a strong hold on your water bottles. You can even set it to different angles depending on your preferences. That is what’s nice about this is because you can put a water bottle cage on bike without holes without spending too much time and effort.
You can also go for this water bottle cage holder. But this bottle holder is only applicable if you have a fixed seat post. You can’t use this if you have a dropper post because it’ll just damage the cage and your bike when you bring the dropper down.
What’s nice about having a bottle cage on bike such as these is that they are latched onto your seat tube, giving a cleaner and more streamlined look on your bike. But the catch is that it’s on your back and it sure is going to get a lot of mud and dirt from your tires.
Nonetheless, it’s still a good choice to install water bottle cage with a seat mount if you’re more into aerodynamics because it clearly reduces air drag because it’s tucked behind your back.
Is it safe to drill a bottle cage hole on your bike?
No, it is not. There might be many DIY wannabe experts out there who have drilled holes on their bikes, and they later brag about it being successful because their bikes are still intact. Well, good for them.
But little do these guys know that bicycles are very sensitive objects. They are built to their specific measurements and geometries.
And any slight alterations, much worse, drilling holes for a few rounds just for the sake of having a bottle cage on the bike on these have a huge effect on performance, durability, and safety.
It’s just not worth it to drill a hole just so that you can have a bottle cage on bike.
Never drill a bottle cage hole on your bike because this can lead to cracks. It’s just not worth the risk. There are many better alternatives out there, other than drilling a hole directly on your bike’s frame.
Some mountain bikes don’t have holes on their frames where the rider can place a water bottle. This is why you need to know how to install water bottle cage properly.
That’s a downside for most downhill and enduro bikes. But there are many alternatives out there that let you put a water bottle or cage on bike without holes. You just need to weigh things out, choose the right option, and make sure it complements your riding style.
Having a bottle cage on bike is surely a big help to having you make the most out of the sport.