Topeak Ninja TC Road Water Bottle Cage Review

by Brian Mullin on September 9, 2016

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Topeak has a new product lineup named the Ninja Series which has integrated tools that are housed stealthily inside your bike, whether it’s inside the handlebars, seatpost or the bottom of the water bottle cage. The Ninja system offers six products within the suite. The Ninja TC Mountain and Road water bottle cage and built-in tool case, the Ninja T Mountain and Road attaches to water bottle bolts and has a built-in tool case, the Ninja C built-in tool inserts into the handlebar ends and the Ninja P built-in tire pump inserts into a seatpost.

Ninja TC Road

The $55 Ninja TC Road water bottle cage has a built-in tool box on the bottom with an included hidden Ninja T8+ multi-tool and features integrated tire levers along the sides. The holder uses a composite fibreglass material that is suitable for aluminium and plastic bottles.

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The compact and straightforward Ninja T8+ multi-tool has a smooth and machined profile that is comfortable in the hands and includes 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5 and 6mm Allen wrenches, a Phillips’ head and T25 Torx wrenches for common on the trail or road maintenance and adjustments. The integrated tire lever holder keeps them in place on the side for fast access when needed for a tire and tube change.

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Impressions

You can easily access the lower tool case with a simple twisting of the case from either side of the bike and an unclasping of the watertight door. Just pry the T8+ multi-tool out and remove its motion and sound damping rubber band and use the tool as required. Remove the tire levers by sliding them upward off their tabs, and they’re ready for use. Another innovative feature is it has stainless steel keyhole mounting slots that allow the cage to be installed and removed without taking the bolts off completely.

Due to its depth below the standard cage design, it might not fit on all bikes, especially full suspension mountain bikes. On one of my bikes, I had to leave the tool case pointing outwards since it wouldn’t fit in the lower cradle of the frame. They also make the Ninja TC Mountain, that is the same design but holds the larger Mini 20 tool which is a precision full metal 23 function mini tool that’s made to handle most any repairs. The Ninja TC Mountain does not have the integrated tire levers.

It was easy to slide a water bottle in and out of the holder, and the wings were sufficiently stiff for security and flexible enough for egress. The tool case had a distinctive notch when rotating on its axis to keep it securely in place when positioned in line with the water bottle cage, but it was easy enough to twist sideways for access to the case. Unclasping and clasping the door to the case had a firm feel, and the gasket seal seemed to keep everything dry even after some severe rain storms. The T8+ mini-tool had all the typical tools I usually need for field repairs, though you might opt for the Ninja TC Mountain to get the Mini 20 if you want a chain breaker. The integrated tire levers appeared to be useful, and it was nice that they would always be on the bike when you’re out riding, but they’re obviously not the most robust and beefy levers on the market, so I usually carry my monster ones in my pack.

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Bottom Line

The trick and innovative Topeak Ninja TC Road bottle cage system with its stealthy built-in tool case and hidden T8+ mini-tool and integrated tire levers are a functional and useful entity. You can carry a water bottle, flip the case sideways, pop open the door and pull out the mini tool and take care of field repairs. What makes the system handy is that you always have some basic tools permanently attached to your bike to take care of emergency fixes and adjustments when out on a ride, and it would be highly useful for quick strolls when you are bringing along the hydration pack.

 

Specifications

  • Bottle cage with integrated tool case and mini-tool that can be removed from both sides
  • Holder made of fiberglass composite suitable for aluminum and plastic bottles
  • Ninja T8+ Mini Tool made of hardened steel: 2/2,5/3/4/5/6 mm hex keys, T25 star key, cross-head screwdriver
  • Including two fiberglass composite tire levers
  • Size: approx. 17,5 x 8,3 x 7,8 cm
  • Weight: approx. 169 g (including tool)
  • MSRP $55

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