Topeak Ninja TC Road Bottle Cage - Review

Jul 5, 2016
by Richard Cunningham  

Topeak Ninja TC Road Cage 2016


Topeak offers two versions of its TC bottle cage, one for mountain bikers and one for roadies. Both have sturdy, molded, reinforced Nylon cages with slotted, stainless steel washers to keep them secure on the bike, and both feature a sealed tool box on their butt ends with a high quality multi-tool stashed inside. The off-road TC cage has a larger compartment, housing a 23-function full-service tool, while the TC Road tested here, features a more compact compartment, housing an eight-function tool. In addition, the TC Road cage has a pair of tire levers that lock into place along the sides of the cage's frame mount, which could be quite handy for fixing fussy tubeless tires in the back country. If you can get past its designation, the TC Road is the better choice for a rider who wants to pare down to the least cumbersome kit without sacrificing too much back-country self-sufficiency.


Topeak Ninja TC Road Cage 2016
Topeak Ninja TC Road Cage 2016


The TC Road's compartment has an over-center locking lever that squeezes down on a gasket to keep the elements out. There is enough room alongside the folding tool to stash money, pills, or patches, and the compartment indexes vertically or horizontally for easy access. The tool includes 2/2.5/3/4/5/6mm Allen wrenches, a Phillips-head screw driver, and a T25 Torx wrench. As mentioned, its two slim tire levers lock into place alongside the cage (replacement levers are available). A nice feature is its stainless steel lined key-hole mounting slots that allow the cage to be installed without removing the screws completely. The TC Road cage sells for around $54 USD and is said to weigh 169 grams ready to rock. Contact: Topeak Cycling
Topeak Ninja TC Road Cage 2016
A look at the side-mount tire lever. They slide forward to unhook, which prevents them from unlocking in heavy brush.


Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotesI ignored the TC Road cage for a long interval simply because of its non-mountain bike designation. It was when I couldn't find a water bottle cage in my arsenal that would fit the tight confines of all three of my current test bikes that I reached in desperation for the TC Road. With the tool compartment rotated horizontally it handily fit where three other conventional cages did not. The cage is mega secure, grasping full, extra-length bottles tightly enough to keep them from rattling over monster rock chatter, and could remove and replace a bottle with reasonable ease and accuracy while underway. The tools are all I need for trailside adjustments and the tire levers (which I thought I'd never use), actually work quite well.

I prefer to use a hydration pack to keep my essential items handy and in the same location, but for shorter mid-week training and test rides, Topeak's TC Road cage has reduced my carry-on luggage to almost nothing: a smart phone, a Co2 and a Schwalbe Evo tube stashed in my short pockets. No pack, no cargo bibs - I can ride in a T shirt without looking like I am shoplifting fire extinguishers.
- RC


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93 Comments

  • + 144
 To avoid Specialized legal wrath, they should call it Topeak Water And Tools.
  • + 22
 This would go together nicely with Transitions Tubes in Tubes System
  • + 52
 Compact Utility Ninja Tools
  • + 44
 Ah! The infamous T.W.A.T.!
  • - 1
 @metareal: Uh huh. Hydration, with a compartment to stash your tampons."
I can find the door.
  • + 5
 they still won't have Matt Hunter
  • + 0
 One extra tool compartment and it's described like the whole world.
  • + 1
 @SteveDekker: Thanks for the suggestion.
  • + 53
 " I can ride in a T shirt without looking like I am shoplifting fire extinguishers. - RC"

I laughed.
  • + 21
 Topeak dusted off the old Joe Murray Combo cage design (from over 25 years ago) and just replaced the patch kit box with a larger sealed compartment. Watch though, specialized will probably sue them for daring to sell a product that intergrates water and tools together....
  • + 6
 my 92 kona explosif was an example of joe murray's ahead of his time thinking. loved that patch kit. not so much the double straps pedals, though. I laugh when people say they are acared of spd not letting go. once my whole shoe stayed in the pedal while I bounced away barefoot doing the rock garden
  • + 1
 Maybe - but the Spaz composite cage is far better looking, works a treat and can take a tool on its bottom very easily. And I bet its cheaper.
  • + 1
 @headshot:

The Zee Cage II w/ tool is $60USD. A Joe Murray Combo Cage was originally about $15 but NOS examples today fetch about $25 each.
  • + 21
 I was hoping for a quick bong conversion =(
  • - 1
 XD! hhahahahahahah
  • + 1
 but it has a place to store pills, so at least you'll never run out of ecstacy again
  • + 1
 Only if is pure MDMA! And if so, we won't be doing a lot riding so, lets get back to those bong rips! hahahahha
  • + 11
 Is it just a question of getting used to riding w a hydro-pak? Ive been riding w a camelbak for 16yrs... Cant imagine going back to having to reach down for a water bottle.
  • + 12
 Yes, you can indeed get use to a lot!
Lately I have been riding without camelbak and I got rid of my sweaty back which was very nice. Smile
  • + 1
 @Happymtbfr: I didn't think of the sweaty back syndrome, interesting...
I don't see many other advantages of riding with a cage though!
  • + 1
 @Happymtbfr: waist pack rider and proud of it! Mountainsmith Tour TLS. I'll never go back to sweaty backs!! (unless I need more than 2.5L of water)
  • + 3
 @sam264: Coming from a DH background it just feels more natural riding without a pack. Given most of the influence on changes of direction and handling obstacles come from the movement of the rider, having a pack on your back slows down and restricts this movement. If I'm out for a 1-3 hour rip round the woods, definitely no pack thank you. Longer epics you're forced into carrying clothing, tools etc.
  • + 1
 Well, I agree with @graeme187: for short trip I take a bottle and for longer one a pack. Both have their pros and cons. I never tried to ride with a fanny pack yet...
  • + 1
 @graeme187: I like to ride with tools and stuff all the time - even a 1 hour shred from my front door means a long(ish) walk home if I get a mechanical halfway round. I don't tend to feel like the pack restricts me, but it can get annoying over jumps.
  • + 1
 @sam264: This. I hate it when the pack hits my helmet.
  • + 6
 Really?! P.B. is telling MTBers to go with a road model!
Your turning into that guy that I stop for to give a quick link and lend my m17 so they can fix there broken chain. That's it. Im gonna tell you weight wienies to go chain-less next time I see ya.
  • + 13
 just because its a road model doesn't mean its a bad cage for mountain use
  • + 9
 Yeah, can't wait to snap those puny levers in half a second trying to remove a tight-bead tubeless tire.
  • + 10
 I think he went with the road one because it was the only one that would fit.... least that's what the article said.
  • - 1
 no telling weight weenies the deal
  • + 3
 @onemanarmy: how dare you actually read the article and understand that weight isn't mentioned a single time...you and your comprehension.
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: I feel like you should have to answer a short quiz before posting, to ensure that you read the article.
  • + 8
 Just how do you get your bike that clean! Bonus points for matching the orange Top cap of the water bottle with the frame colour.
  • + 1
 I take it you missed all the dirt around the pivot I thought the paint was all chipped at first lol
  • + 1
 @mhoshal: thanks for pointing that out ... was viewing on my cell and never picked that up .... but still overall a decently cleaned bike
  • + 2
 so we went from storing everything in our seat bags to wearing/putting everything in our packs to keep the weight off the bike. now were saving weight/eliminating our packs by putting all of our crap back on the bike in random ass places....wtf?
  • + 1
 Agreed!
  • + 6
 This plus specialized Swat downtube and you won't even need pockets Eek
  • + 29
 Sure, because at that point you'll be out of money. No need for pockets anymore! ZING!
  • + 3
 That would be why Specialized has been making one of these for a few years now: www.specialized.com/us/en/accessories/zee-cage-ii-left-with-tool/104938

They also make a stand-alone one with a bracket to attach to the lower cage bolt, to work with any cage, but I've had no problems with Zee cages.
  • - 3
 @groghunter:

yes but again...the idea is copied from mountain biking legend Joe Murray's Combo Cage design, which was sold thru Kona dealers 25 years ago. (something RC should know/remember since he was designing bikes and making frames at that same time - its not like he came to the bike world after the product existed)
  • + 16
 @deeeight: Dude. it's a bottle cage with a tool attached to the bottom. Not the space shuttle.
  • + 0
 @groghunter:

No but it IS an example of Specialized claiming to have invented stuff they clearly didn't.
  • + 1
 @deeeight: Show me an example of them "claiming to have invented it."

Also, it's a tool, with another tool attached to it. "invent" is a strong word for strapping one thing to another thing.
  • + 1
 A note : I bought the TC Mountain cage for my Giant Reign (2016 Large A1). The cage doesn't fit with the tool box pointed "up"; however rotated left/right as RC shows above it will fit. Kinda disappointed as it looks way cleaner with the tool box pointed up not sticking out - there's just not quite enough room to clear the shock.
  • + 3
 "Schwalbe Evo tube stashed in my short pockets" ... want to send a few "samples" my way? Schwalbe is not going to sell them until early next year...
  • + 2
 Any guesses when the mountain version will be released? Looks beefer with a better multi-tool.

topeak.com/products/Ninja-Series/ninja_tc_mountain
  • + 2
 Should mention, the better tool comes with bottle opener. Wink
  • + 3
 @spinko: See above - I have one; I bought via an Australian online shop.
  • + 1
 @RowanH: Thanks!
  • + 1
 @spinko: your whole bike is a bottle opener. Good examples are your spokes and your pedals. There once was a video of a bmx rider who counted on how many places on his bike he can open a beer bottle.
  • + 1
 I lost the MTB Version in the first tour AS it just lost the connection to the metal connection. So I am not sure how seroius this pink bike test was!!!
  • + 3
 Is the bottle hidden battery compatible?
  • + 3
 Ninja...does it make awesome smoothies too?
  • + 3
 How secure are the tools in the casing, any rattling?
  • + 2
 No rattling. There is a little rubber cover that keeps the tool snug and quiet.
  • + 3
 Looks like RC is working on a Whyte T-130 review! Psyched for that.
  • + 1
 Yeah, he is working too long on it!
Where is it Mr C?
  • + 1
 @gapos999:
See loads in the UK, highly rated apparently
  • + 5
 @gapos999: If I write the review, I'll have to send it back ; )
RC
  • + 3
 @RichardCunningham: Haha!
RC thats the best review sum up ever!!!
  • + 1
 Is it metric shock compatible and enduro rated? If not, I'm out! It will be obsolete in 5 mins if not!
  • + 2
 @RichardCunningham How much weed do you think I could fit in there?
  • + 1
 It depends dry or sticky should fit a 7 from BC or a 14 from snoop Dogg dry land
  • + 1
 Does anybody make one without the tool, just a case? I already have a nice multitool.
  • + 2
 brace yourselves for the wrath of Specialized
  • + 1
 what about the need of a side release cage when the shock is in the way and I have no room to pull the bottle out?
  • + 1
 & because I posted this right above you, I look like a fanboy, but since you are basically asking for this exact thing: www.specialized.com/us/en/accessories/zee-cage-ii-left-with-tool/104938
  • + 1
 Pretty sure the tool holder is sold seperately to the cage, so you can mount it underneath any bottle cage you want
  • + 2
 Who need a Specialized SWAT? Big Grin
  • + 1
 Would the bottle clear the shock and fit in medium frame Specialized Enduro?
  • + 1
 Some people call cars "road cages"...I like the side load spesh model posted above
  • + 1
 nothing like a tool rattling around on a ride. Needs an insert to keep her still
  • + 1
 There is a rubber wrap on the tool that is removable. Can't hear a thing. I've used this guy before - they also offer a beefed up MTB version. topeak.com/products/Ninja-Series/ninja_tc_mountain
  • + 1
 But is it metric or standard
  • + 1
 Boost version coming out soon.
  • + 1
 Guilty, I'm a shoplifter Smile
  • + 1
 Finally a good place to stache my greenery Wink
  • + 0
 A review of a bottlecage! Those are mad times! Whats next? A rigid fork? A front derailleur?
  • + 3
 Have a snickers chill out
  • + 2
 Weed stash
  • + 1
 does it fit in an ibis mojo hd3 with an x2?1
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham Can we get that review on the Whyte T130C please?
  • + 3
 It will post soon.
  • + 1
 Somewhere to stash your Stash?
  • + 1
 "Road Cage"
  • + 0
 That's all we need, bottle cages reviews
  • + 5
 It's not a bottle cage, its a combi-tool carrier that has a water bottle attachment.
  • + 1
 Still not as interesting as the Fabric Cageless Water Bottle. I actually own 2 of those. Awesome pieces of art. Only downside is that there's no bigger size and that on very bumpy parts it is harder to mount them back onto your frame. Then again you shouldn't be having your water bottle in your hands on technical sections anyways. Overall I love them and would buy them again.
  • + 1
 nice product
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