Arundel’s Looney Bin is a $39.95 bikepacking essential
Words and Images - James Raison
Arundel’s Looney Bin bottle cage has become revered by many bikepackers because it, literally, opens up the humble bottle cage to bigger and better things. I’ve been using one for a few years now, and Arundel’s Australian distributor BikeSportz sent me another so mine wouldn’t be lonely. Recently I put it to a tough test; mounting it under my down tube and punishing it for a week along the Mawson Trail where it got loaded with dust and pummelled by rocks and gravel. It’s still alive and kicking.
The Looney Bin is a simple beast; a bottle cage with a rotating dial that allows it to expand and contract to accommodate a wide range of round items. I say “round items” because you can go beyond the bottle and shove dry bags, or food items if they’re the right shape. It’ll squeeze around a narrow 600 ml bottle and open up to easily fit my 1.5 l Sigg bottle with more room to expand. Arundel’s site claims it’ll take 62-92 mm bottle but that’s not useful unless you know the dimensions of the bottle you want to use. I can’t quite run it full expanded under the bottom bracket on my Bombtrack because it runs into the chainring. As always, you just have to try the bottles or other items on your bike to be sure.
There’s a small rubbery spot on the inside of the retention dial that keeps bottles firmly kept in place. Once your bottle is inserted, you crank it closed. There it stays.
ON THE BIKE
My Looney Bins have spent their time mounted under the bottom bracket, or on the outside of fork, which means their job is quite simple: hold my large bottles immobile during brutal rides. They perform this task admirably. The cage took a hammering from the 900+km of riding thew Mawson Trail. The dial mechanism became loaded with dirt and stiff to turn. Removing and washing it after the trip has loosened it somewhat but it hasn’t returned to original smoothness. As stated above, my chain also took a small bite out of an arm of the Looney Bin because I mounted it within millimeters of my chainring. I don’t expect my BB mounted Looney Bins to live long. I use them knowing they’ll likely perish after a few bikepacking because the plastic can only be so resilient while smashed by dirt and rocks.
The Looney Bin is less convenient when used as a standard bottle cage inside your frame. Bottle ingress and egress is a bit awkward because the rubber stopper and wrap-around retention are designed to keep bottles firmly in place rather than mobile. My advice; use these somewhere you don’t need to constantly access your bottle. Under the BB, or on fork mounts is ideal. They get annoying to wrestle when in the frame.
Arundel’s Looney Bin exists at the crossover of cheap and functional. Anyone looking to hold some oversize bottles or other round items should pick one up. You’ll get loads of utility out of your $39.95 investment.
Disclosure statement: One Looney Bin was sent for review by Bikesportz. It’s not a paid review and we don’t get any benefits from Arundel product sales.