Stuff We Like: King Cage Iris

King Cage Iris
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We gave up plastic water bottles in 2008. We were at least mildly concerned about BPA, but mostly we were tired of foul tasting water and excited to finally have a few reasonably priced alternatives in stainless steel.

We’ve been very happy with Klean Kanteens; they’re easy to clean, tough as nails (the bottle pictured here has been in daily use since 2008), and they don’t contaminate water. The only issue that we ran into is that they rattle in some bottle cages.

People have come up with a number of ways to silence rattling bottles including wrapping the bottle with twine, covering the bottle with a sleeve made of leather or neoprene, or even sewing leather sleeves onto the cage itself. All of these solutions work fine, but we’ve been searching for the perfect cage that doesn’t require any modifications.

King Cage Iris

Synthetic cages are quiet and inexpensive, though they leave something to be desired aesthetically, and they can be fragile in cold weather. I had decent luck with a Profile Design nylon “Kage”, and Klean Kanteen offers a polypropylene cage specifically for their bottles.

Our current favorite cage for holding stainless bottles is the Iris from King Cage. The Iris is made in Durango, CO from tubular stainless steel. It’s a pretty, but stout, cage that silently carries either the 18oz or 27oz Klean Kanteen stainless bottles. Velo Orange sells a similar cage that I haven’t yet tried, but I’m guessing it too will perform well with stainless bottles.

Specs:

  • 48 grams
  • 304 Stainless steel tubing
  • Made in the USA
  • $17.50

King Cage

25 Responses to “Stuff We Like: King Cage Iris”

  • Mr. S. says:

    Klean Kanteen’s cage broke on me in cold weather. That’s what plastic does. It’s also incredible they use such an ugly material with such nice bottles.

  • Aaron C says:

    Just an FYI on the Kleen Kanteen cages themselves – they break very easily. Specifically the tab that holds the bottle from dropping out the bottom. I’ve had two break.

    I have the Velo Orange bottle cage that looks just like this one, and it lets the bottle bounce around like crazy and make a lot of noise. I wonder why this one doesn’t do that. Stiffer, maybe?

  • Ted says:

    I noticed your bottle cap is not a “sippy straw”. Therefore, you must need to stop riding to unscrew the top and drink. (Or dangerously unscrew it while riding.) I recently changed over to stainless bottles as well, but I’ve had a real problem finding bottles that have a sippy straw that reaches the bottom of the bottle. The only retail bottle I found was at Wal-Mart. Anyone found other options?

  • Alan says:

    @Ted

    I’m usually not in any hurry, so I just stop to take a drink.

  • Aaron C says:

    Ted, I use the “sport cap” with my Kleen Kanteens. It doesn’t have a straw, you have to tip it upside down to drink but it’s very easy.

  • Matt DeBlass says:

    I have a stainless bottle that I sometimes use jammed in an elite cuissi bottle cage (it fits tightly, but not quite as neatly as the CK cage you show, and it does scuff the bottle a bit, so is less than perfect). I use it for short hops and commutes, because I do have to stop to drink, but like Ted I’m trying to find a bottle top that I can sip from on the go. I’ve seen a few that have a kind of flip-top lid that I may have to try.

  • adam allstar says:

    Klean Kanteen does make a ‘sport cap’ for the narrow mouth bottle.

    I got a wide mouth bottle for my bike, I find that the lid on the wide mouth covers more of the top of the kanteen, keeping dirt and road grime off the bottle when I drink from it.

    The iris cage is totally awesome for using either one of these kanteens, highly recommended!

  • Elliott @ Austin on Two Wheels says:

    My biggest issue with the metal bottles is how quickly the water heats up. This is a real issue for 6 months of the year in Texas. I’ve put refrigerated water with ice in Klean Kanteens and had the water be uncomfortably hot within 15 minutes on a ride (plus the bottle sweats something wicked getting my legs wet.) That’s why I often use insulated bottles like the Polar bottle. On the metal bottle side, thinksport produces a very nice insulated stainless steel bottle. The only problem is that the insulation takes up more space so you either have a bottle that doesn’t fit bottle cages or one that carries less water.

    Regarding the water bottle cage, Dimension also make a version of that design that is powder coated metallic. I’ve used both the Dimension version and Velo Orange stainless steel and have been happy with both.

  • Pete says:

    @Ted-
    Kleen Kanteen also makes a “sport top” that is the classic pop-top kind of thing that’s been on sports bottles for years. The only catch is you can’t squeeze a metal bottle, so you kind of have to suck the water out, and they provide a valve to let air back in. It works, but it’s bit noisy.
    @Alan:
    The VO cage is also available from Delta in a satin stainless finish, if you don’t need shiny chrome: http://www.deltacycle.com/Inox
    I have a couple of these and they seem to work well with stainless bottles, though I’m using (new, BPA-free) insulated plastic bottles at the moment.

  • Alan says:

    @Aaron

    The VO cage has recently been beefed up; I’m wondering if yours is an older model?

  • Aaron C says:

    Probably, I bought a pair of them on ebay about a year and a half ago.

  • Adam Allstar says:

    @ elliott, Klean Kanteen also makes their double walled insulated kanteen, which knocks the socks off of the think sport bottles. I had one in the past, too many parts to keep track of with those.

  • Alan says:

    @Aaron

    That probably explains it…

  • Pete says:

    @Elliott – I use the insulated Polar bottles for the same reason. The insulated KK is nice but the capacity is reduced, which isn’t great for hot bike rides, and the wide-mouth insulated KK doesn’t accept the sport cap.
    Geez – bottles and cages can get pretty involved! :)

  • Velouria says:

    Klean Kanteen + King Cage Iris is our preferred set-up as well. We wrap the bottles in twine to prevent rattling.

  • Don In Portland says:

    I’ve been using the new Camelbak insulated bottles that are BPA free for about a year and have been pleased with the insulating performance, lack of plastic taste and a nozzle that is absolutely water tight when closed.

  • Micheal Blue says:

    Alan, your comment that stainless steel doesn’t contaminate water may not be accurate. I’ve read (on Dr. Mercola’s website) that the metals in stainless steel potentially may affect the water/food. The metals are chromium and nickel. Nickel is a toxin. Stainless steel that is marked as 18/10 contains 18% of chromium and 10% of nickel. Apparently, stainless steel that is magnetic is better. The safest is glass. It is possible to place a glass water bottle in something padded and carry it in a basket or pannier.

  • Brett says:

    Michael,

    Mercola is a complete scamster and fraud who babbles pseudo-science to hawk his wares and drive traffic to his site, playing off the uneducated. Stainless steel is the golden standard in food processing and many industrial operations because of its low reactivity. Tap water will be juuuuuust fine.

    Glass? In your bottle cage? Well, now I know who I have to thank for all the glass on the bike path. Plus, glass has silicon! And sodium, OH NO! And oxygen, which is an oxidizer! My water will turn me into a cyborg, be salty, and possibly explode! Newsflash: you can’t look at the elements in a material separately to judge how dangerous they are.

    Second, on plastic bottles: it’s not the plastic that is foul-tasting; it’s probably the stuff growing in the bottle from not cleaning them. A $2 bottle brush, or even a piece of paper towel tossed in with a cup of water and a drop of soap, will clean even the most difficult bottles (the paper towel provides a little bit of scrubbing action; shake and swirl the bottle after putting the towel in.) Soak it with hot water for an hour or two, scrub the threads of the bottle and cap if they look dirty, rinse thoroughly, and leave upside down on a rack to dry. If you smell anything, it’s probably your dish soap; try a more natural soap like Ecover (which works better than most stuff anyway.)

    Lastly: spending $18-20 on a bottle cage makes baby cry. REI sells a $10-ish stainless steel cage with rubbery grippers:
    http://www.rei.com/product/746416/novara-stainless-steel-water-bottle-cage

    Looks pretty sharp, too.

  • Alan says:

    @Brett

    I don’t know about plastic bottles; we cleaned them religiously and they still always ended up getting nasty over time. No such problem with stainless.

    Thanks for the link to the REI cage. It looks nice, though it may not be a good fit for the larger KK because of the tab at the top.

  • Alan says:

    @Velouria

    “Klean Kanteen + King Cage Iris is our preferred set-up as well. We wrap the bottles in twine to prevent rattling.”

    In my experience Klean Kanteens are quiet in the King Cage Iris. If yours aren’t, you can bend the outer arm of the cage slightly to tighten the fit. Of course, twine is nice anyway, even if only for the aesthetic value. :-)

  • Steve says:

    I have the REI stainless cages and they are good for the money. Probably not a great option for non-traditional bottles like those kk. I also like those camelback insulated bottles. Those are the only ones I’d buy now.

  • drew says:

    As an owner of two of the Velo Orange water bottle cages I would definitely NOT recommend them. They are made of really bendable tubing that constantly gets bent out of shape, they are not at all robust. Also, my stainless steel water bottle bounces and clanks around very very loudly inside them. They really suck for the price, don’t buy them.

  • Alan says:

    Drew,

    When did you purchase your cages? V/O recently redesigned their Iris-style cages and made them beefier…

    Alan

  • tim says:

    Good looking Salsa cages work well and contain my metal water bottle.

  • bongobike says:

    I agree with Elliott on the temperature problem with uninsulated stainless. At least here, in Texas, it’s worthless when it’s warm. They make neoprene sleeves that fit these SS kanteens, but I’ve never used them, so I don’t know how effective they are at insulating in the TX heat.

    I never have any problems with water tasting bad in my plastic bottles. I now mostly use the Polar bottles and wash them in the dishwasher after each use–no problems. I only use uninsulated bottles in the cool months.

 
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