Today I mounted up my brand new King Cage Manything Cages with SKS Adaptors onto my front forks for their first test ride.
I was using them on my Specialized Crux cyclocross bike, which has carbon forks with no lugs for cages on the forks. I have heard of people using the SKS adaptors on carbon forks so I thought it was worth a try. Plus with my short legs I’m limited in places where I can fit gear for bike packing – I have a very small rear seat bag and limited frame space. So the idea is to use these cages on my forks to hold dry bags.
Aside from the possibility of damaging my carbon forks, my main concerns were the impact on steering and bike handling, plus the possibility that the adaptors wouldn’t hold and would slip.
First up: the SKS adaptors. These come in a pack of two, but they are individual adaptors for each lug. So I ordered three packs to get three sets of adaptors for the two cages. The adaptors are basically a plastic triangle mount with a softer plastic backing and a Velcro strap with a non slip plastic strip on the back. They also come with screws so you just screw the cage into the hole in the front of the adaptor, then use the Velcro strap to attach the adaptor (with cage) to the bike. Very easy.
The mounting straps are really long. Like about twice as long as I needed for my forks. But I was reluctant to cut them off, so I bought some stick-on Velcro dots, stuck one to each strap, wrapped the strap around the adaptor, and stuck the end of the strap to the dot. These are still holding so far but I reckon I’ll need a sturdier option for a multi day off road trip.
The Manything cages are made of titanium and are super light. Something like 37g. They come with two orange Voile straps, which again were much longer than I needed. I figure this means I can mount much wider loads!
A note on placement of the cages. Because I’ve got disc brakes, on the left side fork I couldn’t mount the cage right at the bottom of the fork because it was just too close to the disc brake to fit the adaptor strap plus then tie the Voile strap around. So I put the cage higher on the left side, but the right side cage is at the bottom of the fork. This was a test because I may need the extra length for carrying some things.
For my test ride, I mounted a full water bottle to each side. One side was a 600mL bidon and the other was 750mL. The 750mL full bidon weighed 815g, plus the two straps it was 870g. Bottles secured, I headed off for my test ride.
For the test ride, I took my fun commute route to work, which goes through as many parks as I can. I also tried to find the roughest ground to ride over. My test encompassed:
- Limestone path
- Rough ground including tree roots and rocky limestone
- Steep seated uphill climbs on bitumen and grass
- Going up and down curbs
- Out of the saddle climbing
The test was an outstanding success!
I couldn’t even tell I had extra weight on the bike, let alone any difference in handling. And the loads and cages didn’t move at all. I could even still lift the front wheel to get up a curb, and that is not my strongest skill at the best of times. If I was really trying, I could notice a slight difference in cornering one direction versus the other direction for tight corners, which I think may be due to the weight difference. But it was a fractional difference.
I think the loads had minimal impact on handling because they were attached close to the pivot point for cornering i.e. the centerline of the handlebars. I also think having the weight lower helps with lowering the centre of gravity and therefore should improve handling.
The next test is to see what impact a wider load has. Plus a test ride on gravelly hills might be a good idea.