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.
The Zefal Pulse L2 Cage is a super-light carbon fibre bottle cage that holds a variety of bottles securely and is exceedingly good value.
At just 21g, it's three grams (the weight of one tea bag!) over the claimed 18g weight, but it's not only light, at £17.99 it won't lighten your wallet by too much either. Zefal says the cage is used by the Team Lapierre Magic Unity, so it should be good enough for the rest of us.
The cage is constructed from carbon fibre in France. It doesn't have the 'Hello, I'm carbon fibre, look at me!' aesthetic to it – but a more refined, subtle look that at first glance you could mistake for the somewhat less sexy polyamide plastic. The look really isn't my cup of tea (umm, must make a cup...) as I actually prefer the Arundel-style carbon cage, but I think the Zefal would suit any frame, whether road or mountain bike.
The cage comes with a pair of 7075-T6 aluminium bolts, which are also seriously light – almost half the weight of the ones on my bike they replaced. Thankfully, unlike those, they've got a larger 4mm hex head rather than a 3mm head, which makes them easier to torque up without fear of rounding off the head (although there's an argument for having a 3mm hex head where you're less likely to over-torque the bolt).
Light, it may be, but the cage is also exceptionally sturdy. I tested this exclusively on my gravel bike, so it's been exposed to some rough stuff, and it felt tough and secure enough to take on anything.
The cage uses a top-entry system of inserting your bottle, and you notice straightaway that the holster sits very high on the cage. This makes it a little trickier if you're also using a frame bag as you have to insert it at a higher point. I had no issues with my XL frame, but this is worth bearing in mind if you have a smaller frame, where it may not be possible.
The cage has been designed to accept bottles with a variety of diameters, and although the bottles I use on my gravel bike didn't feel super snug when I put them in, they were certainly secure enough – there was no rattling and none of them fell out on rough descents.
My only minor criticism is that the cage's mounting holes don't allow for any fore-and-aft adjustment, which makes it slightly less flexible if your're fitting it to a gravel or adventure frame, where you're trying to optimise space within the main triangle.
Twenty quid isn't a lot of cash to splash to get a carbon fibre bottle cage that weighs a mere 21g. The Topeak Feza Cage Tubular Carbon R10 beats the Zefal for weight at a ridiculous 12g (yep, that's four whole tea bags…), but while George loved it, the Topeak also costs a whopping £60 – three times the price to save you the weight of… one grape!
The anodised aluminium Supacaz Fly Cage Ano costs £20, and although arguably slightly more attractive, at 22g it weighs a whole gram more (the weight of a small prawn cracker!). In spite of its slender appearance Stu found it sturdy and it's available in a massive range of colours.
The Elite Vico Carbon bottle cage is slightly pricier at £24.99 and weighs 23g – two small prawn crackers or two thirds of a tea bag heavier! Jim rated it, though he found that some bottles were a tight fit.
For best value, Zefal's own Pulse A2 cage is very hard to beat. There are eight colours from which to choose and while aluminium rather than carbon, it still only weighs 26g and costs just £7.99. Neil thought it at an excellent cage for the money.
A very light weight cage for not that much money, the Zefal's Pulse L2 cage is also very good at keeping your bottles secure, even during rough gravel rides.
Light, strong and capable carbon bottle cage for a decent price
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: Zefal Pulse L2 Cage
Size tested: One Size
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?
Zefal sayss: "Only 18g! You'll find it difficult to get hold of a lighter-weight bottle cage than the Pulse L2. Critically, it ensures the bottle is held in place at all times; no matter what the conditions are. It boasts exceptional mechanical properties thanks to its carbon fibre material."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Highly resistant cabon fibre
7075-T6 light aluminium screws
Super-strong carbon fibre and lightweight aluminium bolts.
It not the tightest fit I've ever come across, but bottles stayed securely in the cage even over rough descents on my gravel bike.
No issues so far.
It's not cheap, but considering the weight I think the value is pretty reasonable.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It held bottles secure over rough stuff. The high neck is easy to use, though a little trickier when using a frame bag.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's easy to insert bottles.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No fore-and-aft bolt adjustability.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Given its weight of 21g it's one of the best value bottle cages out there. The closest competitor is the Supacaz Fly Cage Ano which is only a gram heavier, and costs about the same. Pound for pound, however, the Zefal Pulse A2 cage is hard to beat at 26g and only £7.99
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
Very light, easy to insert bottles, secure over rough stuff, and pretty good value.
About the tester
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,