King Cage Longer Thing Cage Review: Stack, Strap, Repeat
The King Cage Longer Thing Cage is an extended version of the popular Manything Cage with a generous 15″ height, a bolt or clamp-on design, and a lightweight titanium construction. Find our review of the Longer Thing Cage and thoughts on extra-tall cargo cages here…
Attaching extra-long cargo to a bike’s fork isn’t a new concept. In fact, a dive into distance-ready rigs from the early 1900s will show that attaching awkwardly shaped items to the fork legs was an acceptable way to carry bed rolls and tarps. Francis Birtles was a notable historical figure who used this packing method. In the early 1900s, Francis landed in the spotlight after tackling several impressive ultra-distance bike rides, including the first west-to-east crossing of Australia—a story Francis later shared in his book Lonely Lands.
Looking at Francis’s setup, a few features that are eerily similar to modern off-road bikepacking setups stand out, including a set of flap-style mini panniers tucked under a larger load of gear on the rack’s platform and an early version of a full-triangle framebag. Then there’s a heavy-duty tarp rolled up at the front of the bike and secured to each fork leg.
Although the implementation is different, the concept of lashing awkward gear to your fork hasn’t gone out of favor today. Salsa Cycles released the original modern cargo cage in 2010, the Anything Cage, which became quite popular. Since then, other brands have created unique interpretations of this classic cargo-carrying solution. It wasn’t until 2016 that Colorado-based King Cage unveiled the Manything Cage, the first production titanium cargo cage to hit the market. It was (and still is) lighter and more minimal than other cargo cages, and does a great job of holding Nalgene bottles, Klean Kanteens, and other bulky gear. Several of us here at BIKEPACKING.com have been using them for many years without complaint.
If there’s one thing that all almost all cargo cages have in common, it’s that they’re designed for three-pack mounts and are generally around 8″ tall. This makes them great for attaching to forks and racks with cargo mounts, but it doesn’t always mean they’re the best option for longer items like tents and sleeping pads. That’s where King Cage’s latest cargo cage comes in.
Introducing King Cage Longer Thing Cage
The new King Cage Longer Thing Cage was born because Ron Andrews, the owner of King Cage, wanted a way to carry a 20″ long tent. He considered designing a handlebar-mounted rack but decided the different bar diameters, angles, and cables were complex enough to make a longer Manything Cage worth pursuing instead. The Longer Thing Cage is nearly identical to the Manything Cage minus a few obvious differences. At 15″, it’s nearly twice as tall and the tallest cargo cage we’ve seen. It’s made from a single piece of thick-wall hollow titanium tubing that’s hand-bent and welded into place. The curved foot at the base of the cage is slightly smaller than that of the Manything Cage, protruding about 2 1/4″ from the back of the cage.
Unlike the Manything Cage, the Longer Thing Cage has four bracket stays, each with a centre bolt hole with two slots on either side, that are 2.5″ (6.4cm) apart. The slots are for optional hose clamps that King Cage sells alongside the cage, ensuring a solid setup no matter how many threaded bosses you have available. For example, if your fork has three standard cargo cage mounts, you can order an additional 1 3/8″ hose clamp for the fourth attachment point. Or, if you’re like me and are running a suspension fork, you can order four 1 5/8″ hose clamps. You could probably get creative with smaller hose clamps and racks outfitted with cargo cage mounts too.
A closer inspection will show incredibly clean TIG welds and “King Cage Titanium” stamped into each bracket. After thousands of miles with my original Manything Cage without a single hiccup, I have no doubt the Longer Thing Cage will provide the same impressive durability. King Cages are built to last.
King Cage gives the option to buy two 20″ Voile Straps with each cage, which come with black O-rings that wrap around the cage to hold them in place. The addition of the O-rings is pretty ingenious, and I’m a little surprised this is the first time I’ve seen it. The weight of a single cage, without straps, is 80 grams, just 30 grams heavier than the hollow tube titanium Manything Cage and not much heavier than other smaller cargo cages.
You might be asking yourself, “Wait, what forks have quad-pack mounts?” For now, just a few do. Curve’s Seek carbon forks, Surly’s Grappler Dinner fork and Bridge Club fork, and the Stridsland Barnacle fork all have four evenly spaced cargo mounts, and there are likely a few other options out there. The nice thing about these super-utility forks is that no additional hose clamp is required for a proper setup; the cage can be simply bolted directly to the fork. For forks with three or fewer mounts, hose clamps are required. They’re only compatible with cylindrical tubes and, due to the length of the cage itself, won’t work well with curved forks with lots of offset or tapered fork legs. I asked Ron whether it was okay to use just three of the mounting brackets, and he said it was but suggested using the lower three mounts to keep the distance from the lower mount to the foot on the cage as short as possible. Adding a single hose clamp on the top mounting strap is suggested for heavier loads and rougher tours.
While it might be tricky finding a compatible carbon fork, the Longer Thing Cage should work just fine with nearly any suspension fork with 7.5″ (19cm) of uninterrupted space on the lowers. That being said, it’s not something we wholeheartedly recommend. Be careful with the amount of clamping force; you can read the test Logan did and how it affected the fork bushings and stanchions here. Installation is relatively straightforward. King Cage recommends using a layer of electrical or cloth tape to protect the fork and to give something for the hose clamps to grab onto. The hose clamps loop through the two slots at each bracket and are then tightened using a slotted screwdriver or small socket. I found the hose clamps didn’t require much torque for a rock-solid setup.
I was able to get out on several rides to test the overall stability, and I’m happy to report that there was no cage movement. As someone who’s logged some serious mileage with the Manything Cage, I find that the Longer Thing Cage functions in a very similar way. Simply position your gear and strap it in place. In most cases, your cargo will require two Voile straps to ensure it stays put, and the 20″ Voile Straps that King Cage offers are plenty long to accommodate tents, sleeping pads, large bottles, and even some pots such as my Vargo BOT XL shown above.
The Longer Thing Cage has two main advantages over standard cages. The ability to carry bulky gear or large amount water is quite appealing. Routes like the Baja Divide and other winter desert bikepacking destinations often require carrying five or more liters of water at a time, and sometimes standard bottles aren’t enough. Second, folks riding small bikes with minimal frame bag/saddle bag clearance could boost their carrying capacity without adding much weight to their setup. It’s hard to take issue with adding 80 grams to your bike when most lightweight racks weigh 600 grams or more and still require cages or panniers. Mind you, the Longer Thing Cages are only rated for 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) each, and most of our favourite front and rear racks are capable of hauling well over double that. I asked Ron about the weight limit, and he said this was mostly because the 5mm mounting screws can break and some bottle bosses can rip right out of your frame/fork. In short, the capacity isn’t limited by the cage itself.
- Built to last in the USA
- Versatile as long as you have quad-pack mounts or a cylindrical tube
- Keeps weight positioned low
- Quad-pack mounts aren’t common
- Hose clamps work and are solid but feel somewhat rudimentary
- Cage falls below suspension fork dropouts
- Weight capacity is limiting
- Load Capacity: 5 pounds (2.3 kilgrams)
- Material: Titanium
- Weight: 80 grams (no straps or hose clamps)
- Place of Manufacture: Colorado, USA
- Price: $66 USD (no straps or hose clamps)
- Manufacturer’s Details: KingCage.com
For anyone looking to boost their bike’s carrying capacity, especially for awkward gear such as tents, sleeping pads, and large vessels of water, the Longer Thing Cage is a viable solution. However, it isn’t without its quirks, the most obvious being that quad-pack mounts on forks and racks are few and far between. Plus, for those using hose clamps, you’ll need 7.5″ (19cm) of uninterrupted tubing (fork leg, down tube, etc.) in order to use all four mounting points. That said, at just 80 grams, the Longer Thing Cage offers a lot of more capacity than any other cargo cage. The fact that each cage is handmade in Colorado is the cherry on top.
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