Stash a Chain Tool in Your Handlebar with the Topeak Ninja C – A Review

Finding a compact multi-tool that won’t take up much space in your frame bag is pretty easy… until you factor in the chain tool. By the very nature of what a chain tool must accomplish, they can prove to be unwieldy for the minimalist mountain biker. Some such mountain bikers choose to roll the dice, leaving the chain tool at home. I, on the other hand, always make sure to carry a breaker with me, because when you need one… you really need it.

The Topeak Ninja C Chain Tool reduces the amount of gear in your pack or frame bag just a little bit more by stashing your chain tool in the ends of your handlebars.

Photo: Topeak

Technically, the Ninja C is two pieces, one for each end of your bar. One portion is the primary chain breaker itself, and the other is a 4mm hex key for operating the breaker, a chain hook for ease of repair, and a small plastic holder for a chain pin (not a powerlink). If you’re packing a multi-tool with a 4mm hex already, you could do away with that half of the set altogether.

The Ninja C weighs a scant 77g, and if you dropped one half of the tool, it’d be even less–so light that you can’t even notice it.

This tool has ridden around in my bar ends for about a year and–knock on wood–I’ve had no cause to use it yet. That said, the chain tool itself is a fairly standard setup identical to any number of chain tools out there, compatible up to 11-speed chains. I have no doubt that it will break your chain just fine, and you’ll be on your way in short order.

Grab the black bottom, twist the metal top, and the rubber in the middle will bulge more or less for the perfect fit in your bar end.

The real story is the storage of the tool, and I’ve found the Ninja C to be secure in all the bars I’ve used it in. In order to adjust the fit for a variety of internal bar diameters, simply grasp the main body of the tool and twist the head, which adjusts the rubber piece that provides tension within the bar. (If you’ve used a set of pogies before, the tensioning device is similar.) Pop the tool in, and if it fits snugly but can still slide all the way into the bar up to the tool cap, you’re golden.

I’ve had no issues with the tools coming loose or rattling within the bars, even on the gnarliest descents around. They’ve been secure over the entire course of my test.

While the OneUp EDC made waves earlier this week with their tool integration, and admittedly it might be the most comprehensive integration we’ve seen yet, the beauty of the Ninja C is that it works on any bike, as long as you can pull out a bar plug and expose the bar end (meaning almost every set of lock on grips). It requires no specialized tools, and no modification to your bike–just twist the cap to the proper fit, shove it in, and ride!

While a $22 tool (MSRP) may seem like a small thing, every time you simplify your kit, that’s one less thing you need to worry about, one less thing you need to pack. The Ninja C saves valuable room in your bag and is absolutely critical when you need it.

Looking for a multi-tool to pair with the Ninja C? Check out the Mini 10 from Topeak.

Thanks to Topeak for providing the Ninja C for review.