Part of an excellent backpack-killing solution
The Topeak Ninja TC Mountain holds a water bottle and a supplied multi-tool safely and silently away from the elements. Ninja stealth, Germanic reliability.
I am one of those preachy new-school no-backpack riders. All my stuff goes on my bike. A water bottle is all I need. Well, for hydration anyway.
Like any mountain biker I also need to take some other stuff with me. But these days we don’t really need to take that much stuff out with us on 99% of the rides we do.
However, there is an elephant in the room when it comes to strapping stuff to your bike if you ride in the UK. Everything gets covered in filth. Which doesn’t really matter for most stuff (inner tube, CO2 canisters, levers) but it is a real issue for the long term life of your multi-tool. Tools stored on bike frames get gritted up and rusty. They stop working. They fall apart. They damage bolts (and much worse). I’ve killed at least two decent multi-tools by strapping them to my bike and riding around oblivious to the effects of bad weather.
What’s the answer? Well, you could keep your multi-tool in a jersey or short pocket but then you run the risk of landing on it in a crash (done that, ouch) and it’s also back on the slippery slope back to carrying stuff on your body.
This is Topeak’s answer. And it’s my answer too. I flipping love this product.
It’s essentially a bottle cage with a weather-sealed, indexed-pivoting box at the bottom that holds a multi-tool inside. A really excellent multi-tool to boot (read our 10/10 Topeak Mini Pro 20 multi-tool review). The tool doesn’t rattle around thanks to a rubber sleeve that keeps it a snug fitment.
You cannot get the Ninja TC Mountain without the multi-tool. You have to pair the Topeak Ninja TC Mountain with the Topeak Mini Pro 20 multi-tool. Which is no bad thing because it is a genuinely excellently multi-tool.
Niggles? I’ve experienced a water bottle becoming slightly unshipped from fully-in but, it must be said, not whilst riding; it was when dropping the bike over a wall or such like. But still, a firmer grasping cage wouldn’t be a bad idea. You can get the cage-less Topeak Ninja T (£46.99) and combine with your bottle cage of choice.
Also, it might not fit (or allow full-sized bottle use) on some bike frames and/or rear shock designs, even despite the mounting eyelets being generously long.
A helpful hint in this case is to get hold of a Shimano SM-BA01 Di2 Battery Adapter bracket that effectively offsets your bottle bosses by about an inch or so (that’s what I had to use when moving to a piggyback rear shock).
I suppose I should also point out the obvious and point out that it weighs a tiny bit more than a normal bottle cage but… that’s missing the point. If you subtract the weight of the multi-tool (153g) the cage and integrated tool storage box is around 100g. A regular bottle cage is about 50g, so we’re really talking about an additional 50g on your bike. AKA pfft!
Is it expensive? Yes, I think it probably is a bit. Even factoring in the £31.99 tool, it does still leave it being nearly twenty quid for a bottle cage with a clever box stuck under it. But I don’t begrudge this because the product works so darned well. The fifty quid asking price does feel a lot easier to swallow if you’re also genuinely in need of a new, comprehensively featured, multi-tool as well. You can always get the cheaper cage-less version and/or hunt around the sales to make your pennies go further.
It sits there and does nothing... until you need it. At which point it spits out a dry, rust-free, excellent multi-tool and saves the day before pivoting and snap-shutting away again in a pleasingly James Bond's Q-like fashion. Using one of these in combination with an enduro strap-around system for my other rust-agnostic bits has proven to be an excellent backpack-killing solution.