Wolf Tooth Morse Cargo Cage Review + Cargo Straps
The new Wolf Tooth Morse Cargo Cage offers a fresh take on the decade-old oversized overflow cage concept. It borrows a couple of ideas from the brand’s other house-made products and introduces some novel features. We had the chance to slap a pair on the bike and put them to use prior to launch day. Find the review here…
Just when I’ve settled comfortably into the idea that everything’s been done in the ultra-niche realm of cargo cages, something else comes along. And let me tell you, we’re lightyears away from the original first-generation Salsa Anything Cage that was released in 2010. We were all pretty excited about the prospect of an oversized cargo cage back then, and it was the only option at the time. I broke two of them in South Africa in 2013 and had to have the aluminum tubing welded mid-trip. Then I broke them again. I was glad to see that particular product get updated with a sturdier design, and I was equally as happy to see other companies create new variations on the cargo cage theme after that.
Nowadays, there are dozens of options available—small and large cages made from stamped aluminum, steel, plastic, titanium, and even 3D-printed composite. To further befuddle folks who are weighing out the options, Wolf Tooth Components just tossed their hat in the ring. The new Wolf Tooth Morse Cargo Cage borrows a trick from the brand’s bottle cage with the same name and introduces a couple of clever features we haven’t yet seen. We had the chance to try one out prior to the launch for this first-ride review.
The Wolf Tooth Morse Cargo Cage is relatively simple at first glance. It’s made from stamped and bent 1/8” (3.1mm) flat-stock 5052 aluminum, which they claim is corrosion-resistant and durable. It doesn’t look too dissimilar to other cargo cages on the market, but its mounting options set it apart. All told, the Morse Cargo Cage has six alternative positions to bolt it onto a standard 64mm-spaced three-pack set of bottle bosses.
The main channel in the center uses the brand’s popular dot-dash mounting pattern that was introduced on their Morse Cage bottle cages a few years ago. This allows it to have 35mm of vertical adjustment via four bolt-hole combinations. Then there are two other ways to mount it using the three hole sets on each of the angled sides of the cage. As you can see in the photos above, that gives it a flatter profile on forks with offset cage mounts.
Wolf Tooth Cargo Straps
In addition to the cage, Wolf Tooth also released their new Cargo Straps. These 20” (51cm) straps look and act almost just like Voilé straps. They have the same aluminum buckle and are made from a similar heavy-duty rubber compound. However, they also have a couple of unique features. As you can see in these photos, each strap has two knobs on the sides near the tapered end. These effectively keep the strap from unthreading the buckle when unlatched. This is super handy when bikepacking and removing contents at camp or during a break, as it keeps the straps from falling out. Similarly, each strap also has a plastic keeper loop to secure the excess strap and stop it from flying around. Unfortunately, I found the straps to be a little too long for my taste. When securing a Nalgene, there’s about 8” (20cm) of excess. It’s easy to tuck the remainder into the cage, but if it was two inches shorter, it would be perfect for most cargo, in my opinion.
Wolf Tooth didn’t specify a maximum load rating for the Morse Cargo Cage, but they mentioned that it was designed to carry bags, cylindrical items, or oversized bottles like a 32-ounce Nalgene. In my opinion, a two-pound payload is more than adequate for a cargo cage, and it’s about the max anyone would want to carry on a fork leg or under the down tube. It would be challenging to fill a cargo cage-sized bag with two pounds worth of food, and I can’t imagine lugging 64 ounces of water on the fork, except maybe on a rare, water-starved route such as the Ruta de los Seis Miles in the Central Andean Dry Puna, which requires about 10 liters of water.
With that in mind, I mounted the two cages onto my Tumbleweed Stargazer chromoly fork for a real-world test. One cage was installed using the angled side mounts and one using the centered Morse mounts. I loaded them up with two oversized bottles—a 40oz Klean Kanteen and a large Nalgene—with about 36 ounces of water each and went out to try and break them on some rough and rutted dirt. I’m happy to report that after a couple rowdy rides, they were still intact with no signs of stress.
Obviously, a long-term test is in order, so I’ll be sure to update this down the road if there are any issues, but I feel this was a pretty good start for this review, and I’m reasonably confident that these cages would hold up on a big trip. The only thing that really poses a risk is the fact that the cages are fairly large in size and the aluminum is relatively thin in places based on the design. It could potentially get bent if the bike was dropped or if the cage collided with a rock or a tree. And if you plan on tossing your bike in the under-compartment of a bus, you’d probably want to make sure the cages are protected from getting bashed in—the same as you would a bottle cage.
I noticed one downside about the Morse Cargo Cage when I bolted it on using the angled position. The packaging shows the strap threaded as pictured above, where it interlaces under the top rail and around the second one. It’s unclear if this is the recommended position, but that’s how I did it—this keeps the bottle from touching the cage directly. On my standard chromoly fork, it was impossible to thread the strap through in that fashion without using washers. Not a dealbreaker, but something to note. When asked, Wolf Tooth replied, “there isn’t a wrong way to thread the straps as long as the cargo is secure.”
Morse Cargo Cage vs. Other Cages
There are a few cargo cages on the market that are similar looking to the Morse Cargo Cage. The two that I had on hand are the Tailfin Cargo Cage and the Widefoot CargoMount, which might be the most similar in appearance to the Morse Cargo Cage. The Tailfin model is completely different as it’s smaller and CNC-machined from 7075-T6 with molded, rubber-padded “feet” where it sits against the mounting bolt locations. The Tailfin is significantly smaller but seems to be a little more sturdy feeling. The Widefoot is made in the USA like the Morse cage, and it also has some vertical adjustability using three bolting positions.
As mentioned, the Morse is a little different than the others with its angled mounting options. It’s also the lightest of the three. At 48 grams, it weighs 13 grams less than the Widefoot and 11 grams less than the Tailfin. And at $39, it’s also the least expensive—$6 cheaper than the Widefoot and $11 less than the Tailfin.
- Model Tested: Wolf Tooth Morse Cargo Cage
- Actual Weight (without straps): 48 grams (1.7 oz)
- Place of Manufacture: Minnesota, USA
- Price (without straps): $39.95 at Wolf Tooth
- Price (with straps): $51.95 at Wolf Tooth
- Manufacturer’s Details: Wolf Tooth Components
- Vertical adjustment comes in handy when working around other bags and racks
- Optional angle placement is a clever feature that might be useful with angled fork bosses
- Lightweight design
- Straps have two innovative features to keep the ends from coming loose
- Fair price for US-made equipment
- Might interfere with rack struts, depending on your fork
- Cage is a little too big for some uses
- Not enough spacing at back when mounted on angle placement; straps have to be routed around outer two rails
- Straps are a little too long
I’m always excited to see what the folks at Wolf Tooth dream up next. They repeatedly seem to reinvent products by engineering fresh and innovative features that you might not otherwise think of. The Morse Cargo Cage is no exception. Albeit a relatively simple design, the angled mounting points and clever straps provide some handy details that separate it from the other cages on the market. It’s not without a couple of minor cons, but seems very well-built, it stood up to a burly ride with a heavy load, and it offers a useable form factor for carrying a variety of gear or provisions. What’s more, it’s made in Minnesota and comes in at a reasonable price point.
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