Fabric's latest range of bottles does away with the need for a cage, and its Tool Keg works the same way, attaching securely to a couple of frame-mounted nylon studs for a convenient and waterproof way to carry your spares.
Carrying your tools and spare tube in a water bottle is an old roadies' trick, which Fabric has updated with this offering. The bottle comes complete with enough nylon mounting studs to fit two bikes. Fitting is easy: remove your bottle cage, screw in the studs and slot on the Keg. If the fit isn't snug you can tighten the studs in a little. The job took five minutes tops.
The keg slots down onto the studs and clicks into place. Once there, it stayed there, despite me taking the bike over some rough bridleways and railway paths. While the lid doesn't have a seal, everything inside stayed completely dry, which is far from the case with some fabric saddlebags.
The thinking behind Fabric's cageless tool keg and bidons is that a bike without a bottle cage looks better than a bike with one, and it weighs less too. Of course, it will only look better if you replace the bottle cage with something better looking. The Keg itself, to my eyes, is not a thing of beauty. A second drawback is that it takes up the space you might usually fill with a bottle of water; on my winter bike, that meant nowhere to put a bottle as it only has one set of cage studs. If you're considering the Tool Keg, though, you're presumably okay with that.
Inside the screw-top pot Fabric have provided a neoprene bag. This prevents your tools rattling around and shows the company has given some real thought to this product. I was testing Fabric's own Sixteen multitool so I put that in, along with an inner tube (cx size), two tyre levers and my spare chain link. That was it pretty much full, which was a bit of a surprise as the Keg looks quite large; the problem is that, being a rigid container, it won't stretch to accommodate irregular shapes like a fabric saddle bag will.
If you like the cageless system but don't like the look of the Keg, you could perhaps just drop your tools into one of Fabric's own water bottles and use it the same way. That would be bigger, a little cheaper, and they come in a range of colours and not just black and white.
Secure, waterproof and light, but it doesn't hold much gear
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fabric Tool Keg
Size tested: n/a
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?
The Fabric Tool Keg Bottle is a handy way to carry your tools and other bits rater than stuffing your saddle bag or jersey pockets.
Fabric says: "The Keg offers a simple and secure solution to the problem of carrying spares and valuables when riding. Utilising our revolutionary cage-less system, the Keg can be swapped easily with a bottle when required. BPA-free and watertight, the Keg is manufactured to the same high standards as our cage-less bottles."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Screw top Lid
Mounting bolts supplied
Comes with a Neoprene liner
Made from heavy grade, BPA free plastic. The moulding was clean, the lid screwed on easily and securely. The neoprene liner is quite basic but useful.
Mainly, I found this a little small, especially for the winter road bike, which uses a chunkier inner tube. Otherwise, it stayed securely on the bike and was easy to get at if needed. Fitting and removal are quick and easy. It kept the water out.
The only place where wear might be an issue is at the nylon fixings, though so far they've been completely reliable and, unlike a bottle, it won't be constantly removed and replaced.
No heavier than many fabric saddle packs. Lighter than some.
This is an economical way to carry your tools and tubes. Cheaper than most saddle packs. (Not as cheap as your pockets, however.)
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lightweight, dry and rattle-free. It stayed securely on the bike. I didn't think it was anything to look at, and I was surprised to find how little I could fit into it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Secure fitting; the neoprene liner stops the contents rattling. Waterproof storage for your shiny multi-tool.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not as big as it looks from the outside. Takes up a bottle mount.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not really for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, this will find many fans.
Use this box to explain your score
It's a good idea, well made, waterproof and fits securely to the bike. If you're happy to lose a bottle cage mount it's a good option, if a bit small.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking