Whether you’re obsessed with watts or grams, much of cycling has become about chasing marginal gains. Look closely at build lists of the lightest weight bikes and a name you’re going to see often is Tune. Born in the black forest of Germany, Tune has a reputation for manufacturing some very lust worthy parts. Admittedly I’m a sucker for Tune. To me they are an aftermarket alternative that offers weight and performance gains but with the right balance of durability. That means they are as good to look at as they are fun to ride.
A year ago I wrote a blog comparing the new Tune Wassertrager 2 water bottle cage to what many would call the ‘standard’, the Arundle Mandible carbon bottle cage. You can read that blog here. Now it’s a year later and clearly time for an updated and more detailed review.
Here’s a good place to start. What is it? The Tune Wassertrager (german for water carrier) 2 is the latest iteration of Tune's carbon bottle cage. It retails for about $65USD (via Tune, Fairwheel Bikes, Blacksmith Cycle, Starbike) and saves an astonishing 2/3 the weight off even most carbon cages. But is it any good? Let’s get into that.
design & construction
The Tune Wassertrager 2 is made of entirely of carbon fibre, as you’d expect. While they don’t say specifically what brand or type of carbon fibre Tune has used, it’s clear that the outer layers are a unidirectional carbon. Unidirectional means the fibres all run in the same direction rather than in the more common weave pattern that people associate with carbon fibre. The overall shape of the Tune Wassertrager 2’s design is more of a wrap around cradle with a top down entry. Immediately you can see how this allows the designers to use less material and keep weight down compared to the more common pinching or clamping designs. To be specific, the Tune Wassertrager 2 weighs a paltry10grams per cage and it’s two included 7075 M5 aluminium bolts each weigh ~1 gram. That’s a total of 12 grams per bottle cage.
In the Wassertrager 2 product manual it says the bottle cage is designed for use with conical shaped bottles. Conical bottles have a tapered shape where the bottom is smaller and rounded rather than a straight cylindrical shaped bottle. This makes it easier to get in and out of bottle cages and has claimed aerodynamic benefits. But I’ve never seen any data to back that up. Don’t fret, Tune does include a conical shaped bottle with the Wassertrager 2. These are actually bottles manufactured by Tacx called ‘Source’ and come in both 500m and 750ml sizes.
This is all not to say that the Tune Wassertrager 2 will not work with conventional bottles. In fact the manual and website claim they will, however I’ve got some more to say on that later. But in case your bottle of preference happens to be smaller in diameter, Tune have designed rubber inserts that can be added inside the cage for a more secure fit.
on the bike
Probably the most important aspect of any product is how well it functions as intended. Look around the internet and you’ll surely come across comments from cyclists claiming that the Tune cages eject, drop, or toss bottles. This may be an anecdotal comment based on reputation of the original Wassertrager. From my experience over the past year I have not dropped or even come close to tossing a single bottle. I’ve carried bottles across all sorts of terrain without worry.
The top down entry of the Wassertrager 2 makes it easy to grab and replace bottles while riding. it may be the easiest of the cages I’ve tried in recent years. If the included conical bottles are not your thing you’ll be happy to hear that the Wassertrager 2 also works well with the widely popular Purist bottles from Specialized that are so commonly available in custom designs. It also holds the other various Tacx manufactured bottles quite well and easily.
The Tune Wassertrager 2 looks good, saves weight, and does what a water bottle cage should do. It holds your water bottles….. unless they are made by Camelback. The other most common water bottle that gets custom branded is the Camelback Podium. An example of this is the wildly popular Rapha Bidon. The problem I’ve found is that you can get the Camelback bottles in but getting them out is a struggle. It can take two hands to get the Camelback bottle out and definitely is not something you’d want to try while riding.
While the Velominati rule #52 would say bottles shouldn’t exceed 610ml, I don’t care much for their rules. And so another issue I’ve come across with the Tune Wassertrager 2 is when using the larger 750ml bottles. On long summer rides in the heat I like to carry larger bottles. The cradle design and light weight nature of the Wassertrager 2 means that the top heavy 750ml bottles flex the cage quite a bit and the top of the bottle bangs and rattles against the frame. Less so once you’ve consumed some of the fluids but it can be distracting and annoying.
So if you prefer Camelback Podium or the larger 750ml bottles take these points into consideration.