My survey of bicycle handlebar cup holders

I bought a pile of inexpensive bicycle handlebar cup holders to mount on my family’s bikes. They’re not as alike as you might think!


Bicycle handlebar cupholders

All of these cup holders are designed to mount on the handelbar. They hold the type of travel mugs that taper in size, with a narrow bottom and wider top. They’ll also hold the “to-go” paper cups typically available from just about every coffee shop, donut shop, gas station, corner store and fast food outlet in America.

The instructions for all of these cup holders warn to use a splash proof lid. Even minor bumps in the road or path can result in hot coffee spurting from the sippy hole at the top of many disposable cups.


PDW Bar-ista cup holder

Handlebar size

When you buy a handlebar cup holder, pay attention to the handlebar size. The Portland Design Works “Bar-ista,” for example, is designed only for 26 mm handlebars. Most handlebars designed for road bikes, mountain bikes, and hybrids today have 31.8 mm diameter clamps that taper down to either 22.2 mm or 23.8 mm, depending on the type of bars and bike you use.

My road bike drop bars have a weird oval shape with cable channels. The PDW Bar-ista does not fit on this. My daughter’s hybrid bike with “flat” riser bars tapers down to a size the Bar-ista fits near the shifters and grips, but you can’t fit a cup because those pesky brake cables.

The 26 mm size limits you to older style bikes with traditional bar diameters. The PDW fits my wife’s Breezer Villager. It will fit on bikes that use old style 26 mm Italian handlebars from the 1980s, or even 25.4 mm mountain bike standard from back in the day.


Rav-X "Coffee Ring" doesn't fit on 31.8 mm bars

That RavX “Coffee Ring” (available from same manufacturer under several different brands, including more familiar bike brands such as Bell and Origin8), claims to fit “most bar diameters,” but that’s a lie. It doesn’t clamp on anything over about 26 mm. As with the PDW cup holder, it might fit where the bar tapers towards the grips, but you can’t slide your cup in because the cables interfere.

If your bars fit, however, I really like this RavX cup holder ring because it comes in several different colors.


Ibera Cup Clamp cup holder

Finally, the Ibera Cup Clamp has the clunkiest mounting bracket, but it’s also the only one in my little survey that fits oversized drop and flat handlebars such as mine. Hence, this is the one you saw on my bike during San Jose Bike Train this morning.

How do you carry hot drinks on your bike?

15 Comments

  1. These are interesting, my wife bought one for her step-through frame bike because it doesn’t have any cage mounts. We have not installed it yet though. I’m going to check with her to see if she wants me to now!

    For my bike, I carry my hot drinks in a 5-6 year old stainless steel Starbucks travel tumbler right in a bottle cage. It’s got a top that seals quite nicely so I don’t get burned by accidental splatter, and it is very close to the diameter of a standard bike water bottle.

    Here’s a pic:

    https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8587/16196743066_d0abc880fa_z.jpg

  2. I use a tall skinny (non-tapered) thermal mug that fits securely into a standard water bottle cage. Much simpler than all of these half-baked solutions. I keep a water bottle on the down tube and my thermal mug on the seat tube, where it sits upright. I can make coffee at home and bring it with me or bring the mug into any cafe and no longer use disposable paper cups.

  3. I have the origin8 version, though I use it more for Slurpees and sodas than coffee. I mounted it facing the other direction to avoid the cables, etc. My only complaint is that the clamp often slips. It also makes a convenient handle for pushing the bike! And a conversation starter too.

  4. “How do you carry hot drinks on your bike?” In my belly. I don’t generally ride for more than an hour at a time, and for that length of time I can avoid sipping my tea.

    Incidentally, the wordpress login button for comments isn’t working, and hasn’t been for some time.

  5. At the moment in one hand, while the other hold the handlebar. That’s not so good, I was looking for a cup holder until they told me that would be hipster. But after your review I chose one.

  6. I have had a problem with all cup holders on the market because they are way too stiff and hence cause the drink to splash through the little mouth hole. I don’t understand why somebody can’t create one that has a little damper on it …

    I did just buy this one (from Dijital Fix, dijitalfix.com, on Valencia in SF)
    http://bookman.se/collections/accessories/products/cup-holder-ghost-white

    and, though it’s still pretty stiff, I like how you can easily detach and re-attach it.

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