We always love geeking out on new ways to splitting up the gear we carry on rides. Dispersing some of the weight to our bikes can result in more fun on the trail, and shorten the time it takes to get ready to roll. Systems like Specialized’s SWAT and OneUp Components EDC allow integrating a bit of storage to your bike, so when we discovered the Topeak Ninja System, we were looking forward to trying it out. Topeak was gracious enough to send over two side load Ninja Cages (the Ninja Cage SK) as well as the Ninja Mountainbox and Toolbox T16 for us to try out.
The Topeak Ninja series offers a variety of on-the-bike carry solutions for both road and mountain bike applications, with EDC tools always at the ready. Topeak offers a few different iterations of the Ninja cage featuring what they call the QuickClick mounting system. Some models also offer integrated tire lever carry; however, with limited space on many of our bikes, the Sideload Cage SK is our cage of choice, as it facilitates easy retrieval of a bottle.
Topeak Ninja Cage SK
The Ninja Cage SK is a reversible water bottle cage that can be mounted to easily access a bottle from either side. The clever design can be inverted to be used in either orientation.
- Material: Engineering grade polymer
- Compatible with Topeak Ninja cage accessories
- Listed weight: 40g/ 1.41oz
- Flip for left or right-hand bottle access
- Fits standard water bottles
The first thing I did was to bolt the Ninja Cage SK to my primary trail bike (Transition Sentinel, size medium) and mount the Toolbox T16. Unfortunately, space is tight on the Sentinel, and the length of the toolbox had it contacting the shock so it was a no go in the stock configuration. (it might squeeze in with a Wolftooth B-RAD Adaptor though)
I also have a Mountain Pouch Topeak sent over to try, and unfortunately, it takes up even more real estate, so it was a no-go on both my 27.5″ and 29″ trail bikes as well. While it was a bit of a bummer, I’ve got several other bikes in the quiver and proceeded to move on to find a frame with a fit that would pair well with the Ninja System. Fortunately, Topeak sent two cages over so I kept one on my trail bike so I could see how the Side Load Ninja Cage functions, though neither of the storage accessories would fit.
Though I couldn’t fit the accessories on the Sentinel, I liked the cage and have been running it, first on the Sentinel, then moving it over to the GT Force test bike I’ve been running. It does exactly what you need a cage to do, hold a bottle securely while providing easy access. Even without the additional functionality of the modular accessories, it’s been a great bottle cage.
As you can see in the product images, the slot for the mounting bolts features a small bit of adjustability. However, the Quickclip piece doesn’t have a lot of room for adjustment, so it is minimal.
The other Ninja SK Cage found a home on my cross/gravel bike, a Kona Rove ti. I acquired the Kona Rove from our friend Adam of Genvalle components and it’s been the go-to multi-surface super-commuting adventuring road-y machine. With two bottle cage mounts, there’s a lot more space to play with for mounting accessories.
At $15, the Ninja Cage SK is priced about the same as comparable side load bottle cages, so its worth picking one up, even if the tools or storage accessories won’t fit in a limited frame space, as its great to have the option and it functions as needed on its own. (especially if you have multiple bikes like us and tend to rotate gear between them all as you could potentially fit a tool down the road)
For more info visit Topeak.com
Topeak Ninja Toolbox T16
The Topeak Ninja Toolbox T16 multitool features 16 functions and comes housed in a weatherproof toolbox that pairs with the Ninja series bottle cages. The mini tool fits perfectly into its toolbox housing, which in turn mounts directly to the bottom of the bottle cage.
- 2 / 2.5 / 3 / 4 (L-type) / 5 / 8 mm Allen wrenches
- 6 mm hex tool bit
- T10 / T15 / T25 Torx® wrenches
- #2 Phillips / flat head screwdrivers
- 14G / 15G spoke wrenches
- CrMo steel chain tool* and chain hook
- Listed weights: 92g / 3.24 oz (Ninja T16), 40g/1.41 oz (Toolbox)
In terms of actual use on the trail, the selection of tool heads is pretty standard, and covers most of the trailside adjustments and emergency repairs you’ll find with a typical multi-tool, as well as the drawbacks.
It isn’t as comfortable or ergonomic as some of the other multi-tools in my current rotation, but I don’t find it a deal breaker considering how often I actually use it. What is cool, is easily accessible it is.
It took me a while to realize that the best way to use the T16 is to leave the box in its mounted location; instead of struggling to release it from the Ninja cage, you can simply rotate it, flip the release and easily retrieve the tool. It takes longer to remove the rubber band around the tool than it does to retrieve it. In comparison to other on the bike storage systems I’ve tried, it’s a pleasure to use.
The most similar tool I currently have in rotation is a SWAT multi-tool from Specialized that is so difficult to remove I try to never use it. It’s worth noting the Topeak model is a big upgrade from the SWAT tool in every way, with more features and ease of retrieval. (kudos, Topeak)