I was looking for a seat mounted bottle cage holder for my TT bike, as I’ve tried the front mounted aero bar systems in the past but without much success (personal preference I guess). I found a few companies selling the XLAB systems, but was initially put off by some of the reviews saying that both the cages and bottles worked lose during rides… however as there were only a couple of reviews I took a chance and ordered one with the mind-set that I’d return it if I wasn’t happy with it.
First impressions were good and I was able to install onto my ISM Adamo seat without issues and I would imagine this would fit any two railed seat without a problem. The two cages fit independently so it doesn’t matter how far apart the rails are. These clamp in place using allen key bolts which seemed very secure, so I can only assume the reviews from people saying that these worked loose could be a result of them not installing them correctly or perhaps there were compatibility issues with their seat rails.
The mini bag that sits in-between the two cages is quite small, which may disappoint some people. However I would say it was big enough if your main purpose is for TT or Triathlon racing and after all you are likely buying the product with aerodynamics in mind so you’ll not want to be weighting yourself down with a host of tools and spares. That said I was able to fit a spare tube, gas canister, valve, tyre leaver, 5mm allen key and a chain quick link which should (in my opinion) get you out of trouble if you’ve serviced your bike prior to the event.
I must be honest the first opportunity for me to test this was at a middle distance triathlon event and I usually wouldn’t recommend trying out new products for the first time in an event, as you want to be comfortable and had time to get familiar with products like this without risking jeopardising your event. It was however faultless and I was comfortable reaching for the bottles behind and gettingthem back in the cages… obviously this will get easier too the more I use them. The cages keep my bottles secure and there’s an elastic style band with them, so pressure is maintained on the bottle and there was no movement over the 90km’s, even when the surface was rough. I used my fail safe 750ml SIS bottles, but perhaps anything bigger than this could be top heavy and work loose.
On the day of the event the weather couldn’t have been any wetter and the small bag was saturated, resulting in all of the equipment inside being wet. However, this wouldn’t put me off and can be easily rectified by storing your equipment in a sealable freezer style food bag… problem solved!
Overall I’m very pleased with the purchase and have no regrets and the price is very reasonable compared to other products (currently £35.99 on offer at Wiggle). You can spend in excess of £100 on similar products which don’t even have the storage bag for tools.