We’re fans of Arundel cages at Competitive Cyclist. Come to think of it, we’re fans of their handlebar tape and seat bags, too. Arundel has a fairly simple mission, “come up with some cool bike equipment that people want to buy.” Bottle cages were a great place to start. Everyone needs at least a few.
Problem is, it’s a popular accessory. Bike companies make them, carbon-fiber companies make them, accessory companies make them, too. So many have waded in these waters, and yet so few really good designs have resulted. Many don’t excite the eye and hold bottles poorly. Some look good and hold poorly. A few don’t excite the eye and hold well. There are some that look good, hold well, but break too frequently. A small group have that “it” factor and hold well. Arundel is in this camp. They somehow pulled off the feat of designing several good-looking, firm-holding cages.
Arundel debuted with the Dave-O. It was different than what was available at the time and yet there was something almost traditional about the look. The bottle was held by both tension from the arms and the surface area of the carbon-fiber arms contacting the bottle. The Sideloader and Othersideloader are quite clearly derivatives of this initial design. The Mandible takes a similar shape, yet uses thinner arms and greater tension to hold the bottles in place.
The Trident, a design departure from the rest, was their second design, debuting in 2004. They conceived it early, but it took two years of work to bring to market because the design was harder to execute than the Dave-O. The curved lips at the top of the left and right Trident arms apparently were difficult to produce.
Our Trident cages weighed in at 36g apiece. Not the lightest cages they make, but only several grams over. The included steel bolts weighed 3g per bolt. We went with the shiny Gloss finish, known as “Oil Slick” to Arundel; it goes well with everything.
It’s easiest to explain the Trident as a combination of two other Arundel cages. It has longer, flatter arms than the Dave-O, which means that surface area is part of the retention system. But as the clamping area is smaller than the Dave-O, it uses tension similar to the way the Mandible does to help keep the bottles in place.
In terms of functionality, Arundel believes that the cage will be best for those who like to grab “the bottle by the waist as opposed to the neck.” We never gave hand position much thought before reading this comment. We’ve just grabbed whatever was convenient.
Setting these up, we suddenly gave this matter a little thought. We never had a problem in the past. Whatever real estate on the bottle was available, our hand seemed to find it and yank. We seem to go more for the neck in general, but never noticed any need to grab from the waist, or a limitation with any cage we’ve used.
Arundel also suggests that, in terms of aesthetics, the Trident goes well with monocoque carbon-fiber frames. We understand what they’re referring to, as the large arms are blockier when viewed from the side in the way that elongated molded tubes seem larger. The Trident shape thus continues the aesthetic of having large pieces of carbon-fiber visible from the side.
We have mixed feelings about the look of the cages. They certainly are a departure from other Arundel cages and most other cages on the market. The arms look strong. Still, we’re not crazy about the way they look without a bottle cradled between those strong arms. It almost looks like a conductor holding an orchestra’s attention.
We were riding these cages when we packed our bike for a trip. We decided not to take the cages off before showing the bike in our travel case. Just put bottles inside them. While we were a bit concerned, the folks at Arundel assured us they would survive the trip. They did.
In terms of design, these have but a single set of holes for bottle mounts, unlike the Mandible, which has two sets. We prefer getting our bottles as low as possible and we were utilizing the lower set on the Mandibles when we swapped those out for the Tridents.
But really, complaints here are quibbles. These are excellent cages. They should be simple, and these are.