forte stainless steel bottle cages

After years of poor performance, dropped bottles, and countless broken cages, I finally got sick of aluminum water bottle cages, and decided every bike of mine should sport stainless steel water bottle cages. The venerable King Cage can be pricey and hard to find, so I picked up a few sets of the Forte stainless steel cages from Performance Bike.

Forte, the Performance Bike house brand, is easy to find and usually on sale – a good combination!

This cage comes in two models: the Terra Lite, for mountain bike use, and the Strada Lite, for road use.

Let’s look at the differences…

The Terra Lite Cage

forte stainless steel terra lite cage

The Terra Lite weighs in at 55 grams and is noticeably larger (the tubing is thicker) than its on-road compatriot. That thickness also leads to a super tight grasp on the water bottle (a good thing.)

This cage is ideal for rough trails that could rocket bottles out of most cages – it’s the tightest-gripping cage I’ve used. However, it takes a little effort to pull the bottle out with your hand, and it requires extra attention to get the bottle back in the cage nicely.

I have ridden some rocky singletrack with this cage and there has been no movement from my water bottles. This is probably the most secure grip you can get from a bottle cage!

For an XC mountain bike racer, the grip might be too tight, since you want the bottle coming out and going back in very quickly. But for general mountain biking, it’s great.

The Strada Lite Cage

forte stainless steel strada lite cage

The Strada Lite weighs in at 45 grams (10 grams less than the Terra Lite.) The tubing is much smaller in diameter, giving it a very sleek look.

Unlike the mountain bike version, this cage provides a very loose grip on bottle, which makes for a very easy entry and exit. Great for those times you need to keep your eyes on the road ahead!

But luckily, the grip is still tight enough that the bottle won’t fall out, as long as you stick it in the cage the whole way.

See, the grip gets progressively stronger as the bottle slides in, making it seem like the cage is tapered. It’s extremely easy to get the bottle started in the cage, but as you slide it in, you notice it tighten down on the bottom of the bottle. This makes it easy to use but still secure.

I haven’t tried the Strada Lite on rocky singletrack, although I’ve been on a few rough roads and never dropped a bottle. This turned out to be a great bottle cage for road biking.

Why Stainless Steel?

At about $10 each, these cages cost two to three times more than most aluminum cages, but there are numerous benefits.

Stainless steel cages are much stronger than aluminum cages, and they’re more flexible. While aluminum cages can snap at any time, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll experience a failure with a stainless cage, whether it be from a wreck or from jamming a big water bottle in there.

The smooth stainless steel looks great on any bike, and it won’t mark your bottles. These cages are also lighter than aluminum cages!

And even though stainless steel is more expensive, from an overall perspective, you can afford to splurge on a $10 bottle cage! It’s “affordable luxury” at its finest!

So yeah, I highly prefer stainless steel cages to aluminum!

My final verdict is…

At $10 each, these are a good deal. They’re way better than aluminum and they’ll last practically forever. Get some if you’re on a budget.

For road bikers, the Forte Strada Lite is awesome. For most mountain bikers, the Terra Lite is great.

But for XC mountain bike racers, if you’re not on a strict budget, you should really consider the stainless steel King cage, which is a little lighter, looks a bit cleaner, and just works better overall.

Official website: www.PerformanceBike.com

Product Review Details
Company: Performance Bike
Product: Forte Stainless Steel Water Bottle Cage
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2008-10-30
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: Yes; paid affiliate.

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4 Comments
  1. What is the best water bottle that one can hold,ouside of the cage whilst on the move, to refresh ones thoughts of an enduring improved and winning performance?

    Thanks.

  2. @john

    Any bottle made by Specialized (you’ll see the “S” on the bottom) is good. Although it’s more about what’s inside the bottle.

  3. Does anyone sell a water bottle cage which mounts to the bicycle’s handlebars?

  4. @Kyle

    Yes, I’ve seen a few different options. Aside from the coffee cup type holders and aero bottles, here are a couple standard bottle cage holders:

    http://www.velo-orange.com/vohatowaboca.html

    http://www.amazon.com/Pyramid-Bicycle-Handlebar-Mount-Bottle/dp/B000AP0ABO

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