Mountain bikers — and mountain bike brands — are finding creative ways to get weight off our backs, and onto our bikes again. One solution Topeak came up with is their Ninja series, which includes the two bottle cage storage options I checked out recently.
Perhaps the most practical Ninja bottle cage is the Ninja TC Mountain (shown above, $59.95 with tool), which attaches a multi-tool storage box to the bottom of the cage, and includes a really nice multi-tool. In fact, the Mini Pro 20 is probably my favorite multi-tool ever, and I’ve been carrying one in my pack for at least five years now.
The Mini Pro 20 muti-tool actually boasts 23 features including:
- Tire lever
- 2-L, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10mm Allen keys
- T10 and T25 Torx®
- #2 Phillips / Flat head
- Chain hook
- Bottle opener
- 14G, 15G, Mavic® M7, and Shimano® spoke keys
The finish on the tool is chrome, and it’s probably the only multi-tool I’ve owned that hasn’t rusted due to the sweat and humidity associated with mountain biking in the south.
The tool, wrapped in a wide, stretchy rubber band, fits snugly inside the box for a rattle-free ride. Other multi-tools might fit as well, though there’s a chance they will rattle. The box rotates to either side, making the door easy to access and open.
I also tried the Ninja Pouch+ Mountain (MSRP: $34.95), a bottle cage with a pouch underneath that’s designed to hold a spare tube. Unfortunately I can’t imagine fitting a standard 29er tube in the pouch, though Topeak claims it’s possible to fit a 29×1.9″ / 2.35″ tube. Honestly, unless you’re carrying a flyweight 29er tube, it ain’t fittin’. My solution: a Tubolito tube, shown in the photo below. Alternatively, you could stash other small items like a CO2 inflator, multi-tool, or snacks.
Tubolito tubes are super compact and durable, though they are pricey at more than $30 for a single tube. The latest Tubolito tubeless-replacement tube is even more compact, so much so that I’m guessing two would fit in the Pouch+ Mountain. Like the TC version, the Pouch+ rotates for easy access. The Pouch+ Mountain cage includes two tire levers that snap to either side of the unit.
Because the pouch is a good bit larger than the tool box, it may be tough to fit this cage on certain frames. On an XL Ritchey Ultra hardtail I can fit the Pouch+ Mountain on the vertical mounts, though it doesn’t leave room for the TC Mountain cage on the down tube. The good news is a regular cage fits just fine, giving me two spots for water bottles.
Frankly the Ninja bottle cage options are a bit overwhelming, but the upshot is mountain bikers can customize their Ninja cage setup for the items they need to carry or to maximize available space in the front triangle. Topeak offers a side-access bottle cage, a cageless version (for folks who really like their current bottle cage but want to add storage), and an add-on box designed specifically for the Ninja 16+ multi-tool.
Thanks to Topeak for providing the Ninja gear for review.