Tacx Foxy Bottle Cage

tacx cage2b
Tacx Foxy

Advertised on the packaging at feathery 22g, this bottle cage did not deliver. The actual weight was an unremarkable 35g, and the design is poor. It is a closed loop design, which is less tolerant of different types of bottles, and on some frames parts of the cages interfered with each other. Tacx customer service was disappointing, and merely confirmed the information on the packaging was incorrect, but took no responsibility for the issue, leaving the shop to take a loss because of Tacx’s mistake.

generic cage
Generic Alloy Cage

Overview:

✘ Not Recommended

 

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J&L Carbon Steer Expander

jl plug
J&L Expander Plug

The J&L expander plug for carbon forks weighs only 7g, saving up to 34 grams over a generic alloy expander plug. The minimal design resembles the Extralite expander, at a fraction of the cost. However, this design does not offer as much support as the generic plug. If you have a fork with an aluminum steerer, a star nut weights about $10, making this a poor value. If you are concerned about breaking your carbon steerer, this plug is not recommended. Consult the manufacturer if their fork requires an expander plug to reinforce the clamping area. At $13, and saving 2.6g per dollar, it represents a good value, moderate cost upgrade. It can be purchased on eBay.

generic plug
J&L Expander Plug

 

Overview:

Price: $13 [Moderate Cost]

Value: 2.6g/$ (0.38$/g) [Good Value]

✔ Recommended with caveats

This expander does not offer as much structural support as a stock expander. Some manufacturers may require the carbon steerer be supported from the inside with a full length expander plug.

Aerozine Top Cap

aerozine topcap
Aerozine Top Cap

The Aerozine alloy headset cap weighs only 7g including bolt and features an extra light weight CNC machined top cap, with an aluminum M6 bolt, saving up to 11 grams over a generic alloy top cap with steel bolt. The cap itself is not much heavier than a carbon fiber top cap, much of the weight savings comes from replacing the steel bolt with an aluminum one which is 1/3 the weight. This bolt is non-structural, and only serves to lightly pre-load the headset before tightening the stem, and to keep the top cap on. It features a more attractive design than the J&L Top Cap, but a worse value. At $10, and saving 1g per dollar, it represents can acceptable value, low cost upgrade. It can be purchased on eBay.

generic top cap
Generic Top Cap

Overview:

Price: $10 [Low Cost]

Value: 1.1g/$ ($0.90/g) [Acceptable Value]

✘ Not Recommended

The J&L top cap is half the price and only 1g heavier, making this only an acceptable value in comparison to a generic top cap. On the margin, that extra 1g of weight savings for an additional $5 (0.2g/$, $5/g) represents a very poor value. Only get this is you prefer the aesthetics.

J&L Top Cap

JL topcap
J&L Top Cap

The J&L alloy headset cap weighs only 8g including bolt and features an extra light weight CNC machined top cap, with an aluminum M6 bolt, saving up to 10 grams over a generic alloy top cap with steel bolt. The cap itself is not much heavier than a carbon fiber top cap, much of the weight savings comes from replacing the steel bolt with an aluminum one which is 1/3 the weight. This bolt is non-structural, and only serves to lightly pre-load the headset before tightening the stem, and to keep the top cap on. The domed design looks generic, but it is available in multiple colors. At only $5, and saving 2g per dollar, it represents a good value, very low cost upgrade. It can be purchased on eBay.

generic top cap
Generic Top Cap

 

Overview:

Price: $5 [Very Low Cost]

Value: 2g/$ ($0.50/g) [Good Value]

✔ Recommended

 

500g for $150?

A complete Shimano 105 groupset weighs about 500g more than a Dura-Ace groupset, and about 200g more than an Ultegra groupset. But when you buy an Ultegra bike or groupset over a 105, you usually end up paying hundreds of dollars for less than a pound(454g), usually around one dollar per gram of weight savings($1/g) or less. A Dura-Ace equipped bike has even worse returns on $/g. Cost of replacement for parts and consumables also increases for that marginal weight loss.

Instead of trading in your 105 bike for an Ultegra bike that’s only a bit lighter, it might be better to consider some upgrades. If you upgrade your bike later, you can still carry over the parts to your new bike.

Bike Upgrade Guide