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The Dawn To Dusk Sideburn 8 cage is a very good option for restricted-access bottle cage locations. When paired with Dawn To Dusk's own bottles, the retention is impressive while easy access is retained.
Side-entry bottle cages used to be the preserve of children's and small adults' bikes, where frames didn't allow removing a bottle from the top of the cage. That's changed now with low, complex frame and suspension designs, and also a desire to fit bikepacking bags inside frame triangles. So a side-entry cage might be on the cards for anyone.
The Sideburn 8 seeks to deliver ease of access matched with impressive bottle grip strength – as with Dawn To Dusk's other cages, the 8 stands for 8lbs of pull force required to extract one of its bottles.
Measuring with digital scales, yes indeed, to pull one of Dawn To Dusk's bottles straight out of the cage does require 8lbs of force. Pulling at 90 degrees requires less force – about 5lbs. As your bike is very rarely going to be subject to significant side impacts that would exert a force on the bottle in that direction, the 8lb figure is the relevant one here for long-term bottle retention – as that's in the up-down-back-forth plane that most bike impact forces are realised.
The full-carbon construction is flawless – the cage is a smooth matt black, with subdued logos that still look new a year on. The sides are sculpted to allow easy bottle entry and exit in the desired direction.
The Sideburn 8 is available in left- and right-sided openings, so if you wanted two cages in one bike's triangle, you'd choose one of each so they both opened on the same side of your bike. This is because one bottle is always flipped around – seat tube and down tubes effectively facing each other. For me, I'm left-handed, meaning I go for the right-opening cage on the down tube, leaving my dominant left hand on the handlebar (and, as I'm in the UK, that's the rear brake too).
The vast majority of my riding with the Sideburn 8 was done on my e-mountain bike, a midlife-crisis-on-wheels full-sus with 170mm fork and 3in tyres with protective inserts. Around here (Dunkeld, Scotland) most of the ups end in black-graded downs littered with impressively immobile rocks. As I dislike riding with anything on my back/waist wherever possible, every ride involves a full Dawn To Dusk 725ml bottle in the Sideburn 8.
Over a year's riding I've seen off two seriously armoured tyres, one set of pedals, a set of cranks, a rear mech and two pairs of metallic brake pads. I recall three rather spectacular high-speed excursions into the heather, including one that ended abruptly against a lovely medium-size scots pine (no trees were harmed in the process). Across these increasingly-foolish middle-aged shenanigans my water bottle has stayed exactly where I put it, thanks to the Sideburn 8.
The £55 price is good value compared with the other high-end carbon side-entry cage we've reviewed, the £65 Arundel STR/DTR cages. Dave didn't measure the pull force needed to remove a bottle, but looking at the photos and 28g two-thirds the weight spec, there's clearly less carbon in there.
The £46 Blackburn Clutch is another carbon side-entry cage, and even lighter at 22g, but I can't believe it offers the same retention strength.
If there's a better advert for the Sideburn 8's grippy credentials than surviving my last year's riding, I'm not fool enough to make it. Dawn To Dusk has absolutely nailed the balance between retention and ease of access with this design, and in my opinion it's worth every pretty penny of its £54.99 price.
Possibly the grippiest side-entry cage in the world, for frames with no clearance for normal cages
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Dawn To Dusk Sideburn 8 cage
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's for people with small-framed bikes, or needing to use bikepacking bags with water bottles.
Dawn To Dusk says:
Not Your Everyday Side Access Cage
Side access cages have all been about, well...access, but what about holding onto your bottles. There is no need to sacrifice a hold on your bottle so you can access your bottle – you can have the best of both worlds! The Sideburn 8 's carbon design possesses a secure 8 lbs of retention force on bottles, so you can have your drink where you want, whenever you need one.
Details, details, details. The 5mm tall upper hook, in tandem with the thick bottom shelf, clutches onto bottles preventing launching. Pair the cage with any of the Dawn to Dusk bottles and achieve an additional 2-3 lbs of grip thanks to their deep neck grooves.
How Easy? So Easy!
The sleek cutout featured on the Sideburn 8 's are deeper than many others on the market. This allows for effortless bottle access. Look closely and you will see funnel-edged arms that help guide your bottle back into its cage so you can keep your eyes on the path ahead. No more focusing on how to get your hydration while riding...go on and enjoy being in the great outdoors.
Tip: When mounting the Sideburn 8 on seat tubes, make sure you select the access that is opposite of your dominant hand. If you grab bottles from your right hand, pick left side access.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Dawn To Dusk:
Behind The Design
Selecting a cage over the past century has typically been based on weight, color, style and price. But as more riders move off-road, the requirements change to become bottle retention, ease of bottle access, and then weight, color, style and price.
We wanted to design the ultimate side access cage. Using matched high pressure, high temperature molds and high strength carbon fiber matrix, we were able to create a cage that grips the bottle so well that it takes an 3.6 kg (8 lbs) pull to extract the bottle. Every curve and thickness of the design has been optimized to ensure the cage retains the bottle over tough terrain. Tested and proven on the frame and attached to round seatposts using the Bear Hug Mount.
1. Carbon hook projects 5 mm into bottle groove for excellent bottle retention
2. Deep cut away 60 mm (2.4') for fastest access
3. 3 mm thick solid carbon shelf to handle heavy bottles
4. Funnel-edged sides for easy insertion
5. Special high temperature, high pressure, doubled molded, carbon fiber composite for great rigidity.
High temperature, double molded, carbon fiber composite for great rigidity
Easy, Moderate, Tough
Left – Sideburn 8 Graphics, Right – Limited Edition Sideburn X Graphics, Right – Sideburn 8 Graphics
Behind Seat Tube, Down Tube, Seat Tube
Very clean and smooth, looks great.
Grips tighter than a Tory donor to a PPE contract.
Still looks like new a year's battering on.
Heavier than other carbon cages, but it's stronger too.
Price is mid-range for carbon side-entry cages, but it almost certainly trumps everything else for strength.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly. Grips firm, releases easy.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's mid-range in price, but I suspect offers a stronger grip than lighter contenders.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
As with other Dawn To Dusk cages, really the only complaint here is the price. Otherwise, it's excellent.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.