SYNCROS IS CACHE 2.0HV BOTTLE CAGE REVIEW
Review by Robert Johnston
When you head out for a ride, being prepared with the right tools can be the difference between a long walk back home or a simple trailside fix. As riders look to ditch their packs in a bid to free up movement and comfort, many risk leaving themselves under-equipped to deal with a simple maintenance event. Pushing their integrated systems throughout the bike, Syncros hopes their iS Cache 2.0HV bottle cage, multi-tool and pump combination will persuade riders to hit the hill equipped to save the day should a mechanical occur.
The foundation of the iS Cache 2.0HV system is the Syncros iS (integrated Storage) Cache Cage, which can be purchased separately for $49.99. The iS Cache cage is a side-entry bottle cage made from glass fiber-reinforced Nylon, featuring a flippable “wing” section to allow for the side of entry to be changed to suit rider preferences. The shape of the iS Cache is designed to sit neatly within recessed downtubes, in order to capitalize on any aerodynamic and aesthetic gains and offer high bottle retention to prevent any mishaps in the rough. Sitting below the bottle in the cage are an 8-function multi tool including separate chain tool, which add minimal stack height to the bottle to stealthily carry some essential tools for trailside repairs. The tool contains the following functions: T30/T25/Hex5/Hex4/Hex3/PH2/Chain tool/Chain link holder, which should cover the most frequently required tools on trail and cross-country machines. Its forged and machined tool bits are coated with a corrosion inhibitor to survive the nasty weather.
What gives the tested model the “2.0 HV” name is the high-volume pump that’s included, with a neatly integrated mount to attach it to the iS Cache bottle cage. This MTB-optimized pump is designed to deliver a high charge volume for each stroke, at 67CC, to get high volume tires up to a maximum 70psi pressure with ease. The head features a reversible design to fit Schrader or Presta valves, with a sealing lever to ease attaching and releasing the valve. This head is attached to a retractable hose, reducing the likelihood of damaging a valve and making it easier to handle in use. The iS Cache 2.0HV bottle tool cage and pump system retails for $64.99 and weighs in at a claimed 245g all-in.
Mounting up the iS Cache 2.0HV system is a touch fiddlier than a standard bottle cage, but certainly manageable. You’ll be best served to use the longer bolts that come included, to ensure you get adequate thread engagement in the frame. Switching the side, you want the bottle to enter from is easy thanks to the flippable wing, which features a neat tab to keep it held in place until the bolts cinch it down. The pump bracket is optional in case you change your mind and decide to make alternative inflation provisions and sits the pump in a relatively sleek position that allows it to work on the same side as the bottle entry if you have a single-sided frame.
The cage itself is quite flexible, allowing a bottle to shake around a little through rough terrain. This was especially notable when the cage was installed upside down, which is rare of course, but notable all the same. Though the bottle can move a little, the cage sports some impressive bottle retention regardless of the orientation mounted, and I never lost a bottle throughout the punishing test period – both with Syncros own-brand bottles, and a variety of other shapes and sizes.
Popping the pump in and out of its bracket with the in-built rubber straps is quick and easy, with good retention that only faltered once throughout a few months of testing. The multi tool – especially the chain tool section – is slightly trickier to get out the cage, especially with cold or gloved hands, but far from impossible once you figure out the most effective approach. This tight fit gives peace of mind that they’ll stay firmly in place for the times you ride without a bottle in the cage, so it’s welcome in my eyes. The integration of these tools is impressive, and they add very little stack height to the bottle and fly almost completely under the radar until called upon
Speaking of the tool, for its low profile it packs a reasonable level of usefulness. That said, with no 2.5mm, 6mm or 8mm hex keys, it won’t cover all eventualities – especially on a full suspension rig. I would personally like to see the T30 replaced with a 6mm kex for my personal use. The tool is appropriate for the majority though, especially on lighter weight, shorter travel bikes where 6mm hardware is less prevalent. It has survived some absolute ragging without any complaints when trying to get the required torque out of its short length, and the bits have resisted corrosion and wear relatively well. The chain tool is surprisingly good for how small it is too, with enough leverage to pop both a 12spd chain and a single speed BMX chain without too much effort (not at the same time.).
The pump can be a little fiddly to get onto the valve, but its design means that it won’t unthread the valve core, and it grabs on and seals around the valve effectively meaning less wasted air. Having that telescopic tube makes life a whole lot easier when you’re pumping, negating the need to carefully manage the amount of movement of the pump to avoid damaging the valve. The size is a good compromise, and it will get a high volume tire up to pressure eventually, but it’s not the quickest pump to inflate meaty rubber, though far from the worst. It makes for a satisfactory pump to rely upon on the trails should the worst happen.
The Wolf’s Last Word
All in all, the Syncros iS Cache 2.0HV system performs well all-round and seems like good value when you consider the price tags that a simple multi tool or pump can carry when purchased individually. It may just be the best option to strap kit to your bike to prevent a loose bolt or flat tire from ruining your day in the future.