Wrenched & Ridden review: Arundel cages and seat bag

The devil is in the details: Nick Legan tries Arundel's bottle cages and seat bag

The devil is in the details

Wrenched & Ridden: Arundel
The Arundel Sideloader works especially well on bikes with smaller triangles; mountain bikes and smaller sized road bikes.l

Arundel accessories are clearly designed by people who ride bikes. Small things like the aesthetics of a bottle cage, the ability to carry two water bottles and the best way to carry spare tubes all count when cycling is a big part of your life.

Cycling is a huge part of my life and with these three accessories Arundel has answered my prayers for bottle cages that look good and work well and a seat bag that can carry more than a credit card without rubbing my thighs.

Sideloader and OtherSideloader Cage $60
For dual suspension mountain bikes and road and ‘cross bikes with small frames, carrying two water bottles can be difficult if not impossible. A side-loading cage can help. Arundel’s Sideloader is the best cage of this type I’ve used. Many side-loading cages don’t work that well in reality. The Arundel does and looks great at the same time.

For the most part I used the Sideloader mounted on my 29er seat tube. This makes it a right side (drive side) entry. The OtherSideloader is a left side (when on seat tube) version.

It made carrying a large bottle possible, if only just, and allowed much better access when I carried a small bottle. I never lost a bottle and the 32-gram weight certainly isn’t heavy.

The dual mounting holes help make tight fits more workable. At $60, the Sideloader isn’t cheap, but it does fill a special need category in a lightweight, highly functional cage. Highly recommended!

Stainless Cage $25
Uber-light carbon cages that couldn’t hold a bottle under hard braking have ruined the look of many classy bikes. I’m no style snob, but if your bike is steel, your cages should be metal too. Arundel’s Stainless cage is not only pretty with its polished finish but it also works.

Garmin used these cages at Roubaix in past years. I used this cage on both my road bike and my adventure ‘cross bike and never had a bottle eject. Over time the cage can open a bit, but a simple tweak can fix that.

Despite its firm hold, bottles are still easy to grab. As the Arundel website says, the Stainless cage “has taken forever to get right.” At 53 grams, the Stainless is clearly heavier than a carbon cage, but that weight is more than offset by its classic looks.

The Dual seat bag $18
Like bottle cages, seat bags may seem like a detail, but if they don’t work well, cycling isn’t as enjoyable. Many seat bags hit the back of my thighs. Bags small enough to avoid this issue are often so small that you need a shoehorn to get a tube and tire lever in.

The Dual is designed to carry, as its name implies, two tubes and two Co2 canisters. I’m more of a frame pump guy and I put two tubes, a multi-tool and tire lever in with no problem.

Wrenched & Ridden: Arundel
The leather patch protects the seatpost and the bag. It's also a great Old-World touch.

Importantly, the Dual carried all that without interfering with pedaling. The vertical orientation of the bag keeps it slim and in line with the seatpost.

Small, well-executed details make a big difference. I love the small leather reinforcement where the bag contacts the seatpost. Other bags can wear through at this point and scuff your post in the process.

The simple metal ring/Velcro strap works well. It would be nice if the strap with the metal ring was a little longer, but how often do you normally take your seat bag on and off?

You can have any color you like as long as it’s black. Well, almost. All the Dual bags are black, but Arundel offers six piping color options: black, grey, blue, red, yellow and pink.

At $18 I think the Dual is a steal. I plan on ordering them for all my road bikes.