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B'Twin's 700ml Bike Tool Box is basically a drinks bottle with a flat screw-top lid for easy storage of tools and similar ride essentials. Hardly a new concept - many of us have been bodging our own using redundant bottles, offcuts of mountain bike inner tube and elastic bands for donkey's years.
This one is genuinely waterproof, though, and seems sturdier than several other brands I've tried. It also comes with a two-year warranty. Materials-wise, we're talking sturdy, moulded Polyethelene with a rubberised lid. The latter screws drum tight, forming a genuinely waterproof seal without recourse to freezer bags or similar untidy improvisations.
Capacity isn't whale-like but the generous neck means tyre levers patch kit, multi tool, CO2 cartridges/inflators, spare batteries and keys slide straight in. Savvy loading is a must, though, to prevent annoying chatter every time you encounter washboard surfaces.
Lining the interior with low-density bubble wrap and packing your stuff sardine fashion worked a treat. Ours has also proven a great caddy first aid kits and spare glasses. It also doubled as a nifty receptacle for degreasers when giving drivetrains a really deep 'pro mechanic' style clean.
Cages are the obvious homes on TT or similarly pared-to-the-essentials road builds, and it's worked beautifully with all genres from 'bat-wing' carbon types to Ciussi pattern titanium versions. The latter's gel grippers necessitated a more definite yank before it would release, but there's no danger of ejection. Additional resistance is only likely to be frustrating if you're attempting to access stuff on the fly.
Alternatively, it slips neatly inside rucksacks, saddlebags or panniers for convenient segregation. Ours has spent much of its life tucked beneath my bike's down tube, blasted with gloop and dragged through the odd shallow river.
Even when totally immersed and subjected to my hosepipe torture test, the contents have remained bone dry, which hasn't been my experience with some costing a good bit more. If you've a glut of old bottles doing next to nothing then by all means bodge your own, but I'll opt for this one every time.
Inexpensive waterproof caddy for tools and similar nick nacks, although DIY versions cost almost nothing
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Make and model: B'Twin 700ml Bike Tool Box
Size tested: Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
BTwin says: "carrying all your tools when out on your bike. It slides into the bottle cage for easy access. Weight: 68 g.
"All" is a little subjective but certainly keeps multi tools, Co2 inflators, patch kits, keys, cable ties and similar ride essentials easily accessible. This centralised segregation works well in panniers/saddlebags too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
750ml watertight Polyethelene construction, screw fit rubberised lid.
Two year guarantee should be all the peace of mind required.
Easy to use, entry/release from most cage types is convenient and predictable without ejecting over rougher surfaces.
Good materials and ready made convenience are the main draw here, but critics would point out these can be made from cast-off trade bottles at almost zero cost.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, this is a really clever take on a very simple principle and does an excellent job of keeping tooling/other equipment to hand. It's incredibly unobtrusive and essentially waterproof. Hardly a new concept but one of the best I've seen and used to date.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief and ticket price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 41 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)