Artisan Cycles in Albert Park occupies a small shop front amongst the cafes of Victoria Avenue, just a stone’s throw from the beach and Beaconsfield Parade which is part of the famous Beach Road cycling route. It does not look like a typical bike shop. Instead of rows and rows of mass produced bikes there is a select number of more unique bikes and frames of visibly high quality just inside the front door.
I spoke with the proprietor Dan Pickering who is a bike enthusiast. Artisan Cycles sells Cyfac bikes and Arundel accessories. Dan explained that the Cyfac produces about 1000 hand made frames a year in France while Arundel is a two man US operation that started out aiming to make high quality carbon bottle cages at a reasonable price.
Arundel’s carbon fibre bottle cages look very smart but one look at my steel touring bike and Dan suggested the Arundel polished stainless steel bottle cage as the right match.
What can one say about a bottle cage? The most striking feature is the highly polished finish. You then notice the shape which is quite different to conventional bottle cages having two wrap around arms. The back plate is soldered to the frame and has the Arundel name proudly embossed into it. The cage has a solid feel that contrasts with the delicate appearance of the 4.2mm tubing.
For the weight weenies, the cage weighs 52 grams according to my kitchen scales, which is a whole 3 grams more than my aluminium cages. A typical touring bike has 3 cages making 9 grams extra or the equivalent of a couple of teaspoons of water.
On the bike, I found the cage held my bottle less snugly than I am used to but despite a ride over numerous speedhumps and bumpy tracks the bottle held firmly and there was certainly no danger of it bouncing out. I did however find it easier to return my bottle to the cage, not just because it was not as tight a fit, but the wrap around shape makes the cage easy to spot on either side of the top tube, almost like a bullseye. It was also easy to find the edge of the cage by feel so functionally I think Arundel have got the design right.
If you are looking for a strong, light bottle cage that adds a bit of bling to a classic style bike; or if you just think steel is real then the Arundel stainless steel bottle cage is well worth a look. If carbon is more your thing, Arundel have built a solid reputation and are worth checking out.
You can pick up the Arundel Stainless Steel Bottle Cage in the store or online (artisanonline.com.au) for $25.95.