Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

review

Lezyne Matrix Air Cage

8
£30.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Useful bit of extra security, and an elegant combo of cage and AirTag holder
Secure
Well-camouflaged
Doesn't impede AirTag function
Outside the bike
Weight: 
56g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the road.cc scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

Hiding an AirTag compartment in a bottle holder, the Lezyne Matrix Air Cage is a tidy bit of extra security for your bike.

If you need a place to stash an Apple AirTag for a chance of recovering your bike if it's stolen, the Lezyne Matrix Air Cage is just the job.

Lurking in its plastic body is a concealed compartment; an AirTag fits snugly, with an o-ring to help keep out the elements. Best of all, at first glance the cage looks just like any other cage.

The Air Cage lets through the radio signals an AirTag uses to do its thing, because it's basically plastic. As we discussed in a previous review – the Muc-Off Secure Tag Holder – wrapping an AirTag in metal reduces the range. Though of course it does make for a robust shell.

Nevertheless, the Matrix Air has proven itself plenty robust without aluminium. After several months on my bike, the AirTag still works, and it lets me know if I leave the bike anywhere but at home.

The Matrix Air is similarly shaped to Lezyne's Matrix Team cage, and made from the same Composite Matrix material; I'm going to guess that's the marketing department's name for some sort of fibre-reinforced plastic. I haven't deliberately tried to break it, but it seems pretty tough. The stuff Lezyne uses for its mighty Power Lever XL tyre levers has the same name, and feels similar to the fingernail-scratch test.

2023 Lezyne Matrix Air Cage - back.jpg

Lezyne supplies a pair of T25 security screws to mount the Matrix Air Cage to your bike. These are the Torx screws with a tiny protrusion in the middle so you need the right hollow-tipped bit to turn them; Lezyne includes one of those too. These bits are freely available (it turned out I already had one in my Wera Zyklop set), but they're an extra level of inconvenience for a casual thief who's wary of trackers.

2023 Lezyne Matrix Air Cage - security bit.jpg

On the other hand, they're a bit of a flag that there's something unusual about the cage, so if you don't want to tip your hand, you'll use standard hex screws to mount it, or get some more security screws for other parts of the bike.

Lezyne claims the matrix Air Cage is 'dual side-loading' and that's sort of fair. It's a bit easier to get a bottle in at an angle than some regular cages, but you can't shove a bottle in completely sideways the way you can with, say, a Bontrager Side Load Water Bottle Cage. Those cages are VERY handed, though; Lezyne makes angled bottle insertion easier from either side.

My only specific misgiving about the Matrix Air Cage is that it's outside the bike. I think Muc-Off has the right idea with the Stealth Tubeless Tag Holder, which stashes the AirTag inside your tyres. No doubt a savvy thief would find it eventually, but it's a lot less obvious than any other AirTag holder.

2023 Lezyne Matrix Air Cage - back open.jpg

Unfortunately the size of an AirTag means the Muc-Off only works with 38mm+ tyres, so it's useful for mountain bikes and many gravel bikes, but not so much for most tarmac-only road bikes.

But how useful is it really? While the Matrix Air Cage undoubtedly works as a place to stash an AirTag, the bigger question is just how viable is the AirTag as a post-theft recovery aid?

Apple stalks

Apple has received trenchant criticism of the way AirTags can be used for covert tracking and even stalking, and that's led to some tweaks in the way they work. If you have an iPhone, you get an alert if an unknown AirTag is following you around. In fact this happened to me when I borrowed an acquaintance's Brompton, but since I wasn't a thieving scumbag I just thought 'Oh Morrie's put an AirTag on this,' rather than 'Argh, AirTag, must find and destroy!'

But to arm themselves against AirTags, thieves don't have to use iPhones. Tracker Detect is an app for Android phones that similarly detects AirTags.

2023 Lezyne Matrix Air Cage - 2.jpg

Apple doesn't say how long it takes for someone to be alerted that a strange AirTag is moving with them, but with that borrowed Brompton I got an alert in a matter of hours.

For a tech-savvy thief with an Android phone, Apple says that if Tracker Detect 'detects an AirTag ... near you for at least 10 minutes, you can play a sound to help find it.' There are any number of how-to videos out there showing how to disable an AirTag speaker.

Core functionality

To protect people against being covertly tracked, then, Apple has reduced the amount of time available for tracking a stolen bike (or anything else) with one. However, people are still finding them useful – as in this story from April – so it's definitely worth fitting one. You just have to be ready to move fast if the worst happens.

There are other uses for an AirTag on your bike other than post-theft bike recovery. If you're lucky enough to have a large bike parking facility like Cambridge's 3,000-capacity Cycle Point, the Find My app will guide you back to your bike if you've forgotten where you parked it. Or maybe you've parked up in town and then had a few... an AirTag will help you and your hangover find your bike the next day. You're still going to need a serious lock though, and please don't ride under the influence.

And as of iOS 17, you can share an AirTag's location with other people (it was previously a single-user device). That means you can have a friend or loved one track you when you're out on a ride and, if you crash, they'll still be able to find you even if your phone battery's flat.

Rivals

The only widely-available direct rival I can find is Topeak's Ninja Cage Z With AirTag Mount. It's a lot cheaper at just £12.99, but lacks the Lezyne unit's sealed compartment; it just holds the AirTag between the cage and your frame.

There are loads of other AirTag mounts out there; we like the previously mentioned Muc-Off Stealth in-tyre widget, which is £15. Accessory-maker Topeak has its own Cage Mount For Airtag that fits under your bottle cage and costs £9.99, and Lezyne itself does something similar as an under-seat mount with the £18 Matrix Saddle Tagger. Search for 'AirTag bike mount' and you'll find dozens more.

Conclusions

Being mindful of the limitations of the AirTag as a security device, this is a relatively inexpensive bit of extra security that does a really good job of concealing an AirTag.

Who should buy the Lezyne Matrix Air Cage? If you want the extra security to track your skinny-tyred bike should it get stolen, this is about the tidiest option.

Verdict

Useful bit of extra security, and an elegant combo of cage and AirTag holder

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Matrix Air Cage

Size tested: Width: 82.5mm. Length: 150mm. Height: 90.6mm.

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 a bottle cage that incorporates a concealed compartment for an Apple AirTag, so you can track your bike if it gets stolen.

Lezyne says:

"Designed with a built-in, discreet holder for an Apple AirTag, the Matrix Air Cage is a revamped take on our popular Matrix Team Cage. Featuring the same minimalist, dual-side-loading design, it goes one step further by cleanly hiding the AirTag between the bottle cage and bike frame for an added level of security. It's also constructed from the same lightweight, incredibly durable Composite Matrix material and goes one step further with its IPX7 waterproof rating keeping the AirTag dry. By developing it to be virtually indistinguishable from a standard water bottle cage, the Matrix Air Cage is a perfect solution to hide an AirTag and utilize Apple's 'FindMy' app to help locate a stolen or missing bicycle. And it's been verified to work with Apple's ultra-wideband signal. Lastly, it comes with a set of stainless steel TR25 security bolts, complete with an included tool bit."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Claimed Weight: 44g (we think they weighed it without screws – fair enough since you'll already have them on your bike)

Dimensions:

150mm, 82.5mm, 90.6mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Tidily moulded from tough, reinforced plastic.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Works very well as both bottle cage and AirTag cubby.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

Lighter than the combination of a cage and an AirTag holder.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

A reasonable price for the combination, but there are significantly cheaper options.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Flawlessly, both as a secure bottle grabber and as concealment and weather protection for an AirTag.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Tidy combination of cage and tag holder; sealed protection for AirTag.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The only widely-available direct rival I can find is Topeak's Ninja Cage Z With AirTag Mount. It's a lot cheaper at just £12.99 but lacks the Lezyne's sealed compartment; it just holds the AirTag between the cage and your frame.

There are loads of other Apple AirTag mounts out there. We like the Muc-Off Stealth in-tyre widget, which you can find for just seven quid, while accessory maker Topeak has an AirTag mount that fits under your bottle cage and costs a tenner. Lezyne has something similar as an under-saddle mount. Search for 'AirTag bike mount' and you'll find dozens more.

Did you enjoy using the product? Insofar as one can 'enjoy' using an entirely passive widget, 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

I'm impressed with the engineering elegance here, but the price tag pulls it down a bit.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 56  Height: 5ft 11in  Weight: 100kg

I usually ride: Scapin Style  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

Add new comment

3 comments

Avatar
henryb | 4 months ago
0 likes
Quote:

"Best of all, at first glance the cage looks just like any other cage."

Except that it says "AIR CAGE" in big letters on it

Avatar
andystow replied to henryb | 4 months ago
1 like
henryb wrote:
Quote:

"Best of all, at first glance the cage looks just like any other cage."

Except that it says "AIR CAGE" in big letters on it

Easily sorted. I'd start with spirits, then acetone, and work my way up to emery cloth until something worked.

Avatar
thax1 replied to henryb | 3 months ago
2 likes

And then it emits a loud chirping noise, plus the bike thief's phone then shows notifications that he's being tracked and offers helpful information on locating the AirTag and disabling it.

Other than that, a great anti theft device....

disclaimer: I have them on all my bikes, but still disappointed by the way in which they've been nerfed.

Latest Comments