Make some room in your saddle bag
Ever wish you had more room in your saddle bag or enjoy riding without one all together? With Topeak’s new Ninja series water bottle cages, you can do just that. Topeak offers three types of integrated systems:
• Ninja TC road – 8-function multi-use tool
• Ninja Pouch+ Cage – spare tube
• Ninja CO2+ – Threaded 16 g CO2 cartridges (2) plus inflator
What’s nice is if you already have a cage that is lighter and/or matches your bike, Topeak offers just the accessory. It simply sits between your bike frame and the existing bottle cage (See image).
All three of the Ninja samples I tried have a nice rotation feature that provides easier access to the multi-tool, spare tube, or CO2 cartridges/inflator. They also were simple to install as with any other bottle cage.
Ninja TC Road – Multi-use tool
I took the Ninja TC Road cage on my trip to N. California in March. It was nice to have a multi-tool should an “on the road” adjustment be needed. In fact, I did need such a tool on one ride to adjust my seat height.
The tool is housed in an easily accessible case under the water bottle cage. The marketing materials do not state it is waterproof but with a clasp and gasket seal it looks to keep the elements at bay. The tool itself has a wide rubber band around it to keep it secure inside the case and avoid rattling.
The multi-tool has most everything you’ll need on the road for a quick fix and get you back home. The 8-function tool includes 2 / 2.5 / 3/ 4 / 5 / 6 mm Allen wrenches, Phillips head and T25 Torx wrenches. There’s also a MTB model that offers a 23-function multi-tool with wrenches, chain tool, chain hook, and all important bottle opener.
Weight of road: 169 g / 5.96 oz. (w/ Tool)
Weight of MTB: 255 g / 8.99 oz (w/Tool)
The Pouch+ comes with the water bottle cage, two tire levers and a pouch to hold a spare tube. While I like the idea of getting a spare tube out of my saddle bag and reducing the possibility of something damaging it while I ride, only certain size tubes and valves stem lengths will fit. My everyday road bike has aero wheels so I require an 80mm valve stem. I was unable to fit a tube with a long stem into the pouch. If I used a 42mm stem, with a valve extender, it would fit fine. Unfortunately with my cross bike uses a 28×35 tube and is too big to fit in the pouch. Hope that Topeak would come out with a cross/MTB version of the pouch.
For anyone using a short valve stem and up to 700x25c tubes, this will work nicely for you. Note that Topeak does not provide a spare tube.
Weight: 101 g/ 3.56 oz
This cage comes with two integrated tire levers, Micro AirBoster inflator and two threaded 16g CO2 cartridges. The inflator was tested on a Presta valve (didn’t have a Schrader) and worked well. Per the marketing materials the inflator head does supports both. Moving two cartridges and an inflator out of my saddle bag really freed up a lot of room.
Weight: 226 g/ 7.97 oz
Tire levers integrated into the cage
Should you get a flat on a ride, all three models have integrated tire levers into the side of the cage. They easily slide off when needed, but are secured not to fly off on a bumpy road or trail. This is a nice convenience since it gets one more item out of your saddle bag.
Personally, I felt they were a little too narrow and small. When I tried to change a tire, I had some difficulty. I did get the tire off the rim but it was hard for me to get good leverage. I asked my boyfriend to try the levers and while it wouldn’t be his first choice to use at home, on the road he found them to do the job just fine.
It’s always beneficial to reduce the amount of stuff we shove into our saddle bags. With Topeak’s Ninja series, you can make room to secure more important valuables like a cell phone, wallet or car keys. I really like the concept and for those who want to match their cages to their bike or are weight weenies, the option to purchase just the accessory provides a nice option.