At a Glance
Topeaks Ninja series is another product designed to get more kit on your bike and less stuff on your back. A bottle cage and integrated case mean you can carry both water and tools simply and easily on your frame. The Ninja Master Cage X1 here features two tyres levers discreetly attached to the sides and a Ninja QuickClick mount on the base to attach a range of additional equipment. For this test, we used the Ninja Master Toolbox T20 twenty and the Ninja Master CO2 Fuel Pack.Buy Tools on
This set up gives the option of carrying either the tool, or the Co2 pack, but with two cages then obviously both can be accommodated. Both attachment press, then twist ninety degrees to lock into place on the base of the cage.
The Master Cage is £14.99, the CO2 pack is £36.99 and the Master Toolbox and tool is £41.99. You can buy the Tool and cage (slightly different model) as a Ninja TC Mountain package for £49.99.
- 2-L, 2.5, 3 (2 pcs), 4, 5, 6, 8, 10mm Allen wrenches
- T10, T25 Torx
- #2 Phillips, Flathead screwdrivers
- 14G, 15G, Mavic® M7, Shimano® spoke wrenches
- CrMo steel chain tool with chain pin breaker
- Stainless steel wire chain hook
- Super hard anodized tire lever
- Bottle opener with spoke holder
- Chrome vanadium steel tools
- Forged aluminium tool body
- Inflator works with Presta and Schrader valves
- CNC aluminium construction
- Includes 2 threaded 16g CO2 cartridges
On The Trail
Installation of this set up is no harder than attaching a bottle cage to a frame and is a thoroughly simple affair, the lower bolt doesn't even have to be fully removed for the cage to slide in and locate. What is immediately obvious is that care needs to be taken with full sus bikes to make sure that linkage and shocks don't foul the toolbox. Plenty of bikes are fine, especially hardtails but my Marin Alpine Trail and Pivot Mach 4SL would not take the cage. Even when moved up the frame on the Pivot, it would then need a side loading cage to get the bottle in and out. The moral here is to check your frame first, Topeak does a Master Cage SK which is a reversible side loader, which I would consider if I was getting this setup.
Once safely installed the tool is held neatly and firmly in place in the waterproof box. The box has a lever-based mechanical lid which gives a firm and weather-tight seal to keep it all safe and dry. One minor annoyance was the rubber wrap around the tool, which stretches over the tool body and stops any rattle inside. This just means there is one more stage from releasing you need a tool, to using that tool and if you're in a rush it's a fiddle with cold fingers.
The CO2 set up is neat and compact but the main drawback for myself was the cartridges only being 16g and knowing from experience that this may not be enough to fill a big 29er tyre. The cage that holds them is obviously shaped for 16g so this is definitely more for the skinnier tyre brigade than the enduro crew. It mounts nicely again on to the cage, and the valve system is clean, simple and easy to use but does require unscrewing to get it off the cage, so not one for the racers.
The tool itself is the real star of the show here, being easily deployed from the case with a ninety-degree twist and a quick flick of the lid (and then the rubber band around the tool). This is a tool I could probably strip and rebuild a bike with if I had to and I wouldn't get infuriated as with some mini tools. The quality is high and sheer breadth of tools available is seriously impressive. for example, the 8mm and 10mm Allen keys are actually useable with some force and a fully functioning chain tool.
Add to this the reliability of the waterproof toolbox and you have a fit-and-forget system to leave on your bike confident in the knowledge that you have a decent tool always to hand. Add a small pump attached to the cage and you have a self-contained repair unit always on your bike.
Although care needs to be taken to make sure it fits in your frame, Topeak offer a huge range of options to get tools stashed securely on your bike. with a reliable waterproof case and a truly excellent tool, the Ninja Cage system offers a simple and functional solution to stashing the most important kit on your bike.
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.