Thursday, December 11, 2008 4.00pm
By James Huang, Technical Editor
Carbon bottle cage masters Arundel Bicycle Company have improved on their excellent Dave-O design with the new Mandible. Thicker cross sections throughout yield a substantially stiffer and tighter hold for even less likelihood of bottle ejection, especially on rough trails or poorly maintained dirt roads.
Considering we have yet to lose a single vessel out of a Dave-O, it seems like we could fill a large bottle with osmium and it would still be soundly in a Mandible after doing the Megavalanche.
Yet in spite of the rock solid hold, it’s easy to insert and remove bottles thanks to the intelligently designed shape. There’s a total lack of sharp edges to snag as well as a flared opening up top that smoothly guides bottles into the target – a small feature but a useful one that many other carbon cages omit.
The Mandible is lighter than the Dave-O at just 28g, though not by a lot. Just 2g separate the two and Arundel had to work pretty hard to get there, using foam core construction usually reserved for fancier items such as carbon rims.
Naturally, that extra complexity adds to the cost, to the tune of a heady £43.94 (US$64.95) each – £10 ($15) more than the Dave-O. Still, given the Mandible’s unusually stout and secure hold, it seems like a relative bargain when pitted against some of the rest of its premium ultralight carbon cage competition.
Both the Elite Custom Carbon and Tacx Tao Carbon are far more expensive (as in about 100 percent and 50 percent more, respectively) yet neither grips a bottle quite as well. And let’s not forget Campagnolo’s Record Carbon cage at nearly three times the cost.
Treat yourself if you have the cash to spare or treat someone else if you know they would never indulge themselves. Either way, whoever ends up with the thing is bound to be happy with it.
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