Topeak's Ninja range generally centres on hiding tools discretely away in your frame, but the Ninja CO2+ puts your emergency puncture fix on proud display, under the incorporated bottle cage.
It's a funny-looking set-up. I didn't like it at all when I first laid eyes on it. That chunky black plastic isn't the kind of thing I want near my Sunday best bike. The lumpy aesthetics are made worse by the integrated tyre levers that clip to the side of the bottle cage. However, I fitted it to my all-steel, purple-to-black-fade tourer/shopper/winter sacrificial bike and, once in place, I had to admit it looked a lot better; even more so once there was a bottle in it, which hides quite a bit of the item's mass. As a bottle cage, I couldn't fault it. It's made from very strong, flexible plastic and the grip is excellent. The mounting slots are long, which allows for plenty of positional freedom. You need to supply your own mounting bolts.
Secured underneath by a tidy Torx bolt is the inflator kit holder, complete with two 16g CO2 cartridges and Topeak's own 'Micro AirBooster' inflator. This is a neatly-machined aluminium piece, finished in a fetching anodised pink. The big end screws easily onto the CO2 can thread until the end of the cartridge is pierced. Then the inflator head is either pushed (presta) or screwed (Schrader) onto the valve. The inflator is spring-loaded, so a firm push down is all that's needed to release the gas. As soon as you relax the pressure, the flow is cut off. It works very well.
I like the way the tool mounts into the bracket, pushing into a clip and then secured by a knurled alloy knob which threads into the inflator head to keep it from falling out. The CO2 cannisters are gripped around the neck by a clip, then snap down into the mounts, where they never rattled or threatened to fall out.
Even the skinny-looking tyre levers were up to the job. They attach to the side of the cage mount by hooking over a plastic pin and slotting down to lock them in place. In use, the hooked end becomes a spoke hook and they made easy work of shifting the tyres I tried them on.
It all just leaves the question of what problem Topeak are trying to solve with this product. I've always carried my CO2 inflator in my pocket or tool pack and, in putting it on show under the bottle cage leaves open the possibility of theft when your bike is parked in a public place. But if you don't like carrying things in your pockets or using a saddle pack, it's a viable third way.
Good bottle cage with integrated C02 Inflator tool and cartridges for people who can't bear to put them in their pockets
road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Ninja CO2+
Size tested: NA
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?
From Topeak's website: "Help is ready to spring into action when you need it and Ninja CO2+ is the ultimate quick fix! The included Micro AirBooster and 2 threaded 16g CO2 cartridges make fixing flats easy with quick access by a simple twist. Integrated tire levers make the system complete."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
CAGE MATERIAL Engineering grade plastic
CAGE OUTER DIAMETER Fits standard water bottle
INFLATOR HEAD Presta / Schrader Push to inflate
INFLATOR MATERIAL CNC aluminum
TIRE LEVERS 2 engineering grade plastic levers
ADDED FEATURES 2 threaded 16g CO2 cartridges, Compartment for CO2 inflator & cartridges
SIZE 19.3 x 9.6 x 7.8 cm / 7.6' x 3.8' x 3.1'
WEIGHT 226 g / 7.97 oz
Design and execution both seem excellent.
Everything worked as it should.
Tough as old boots! The inflator tool is also well made.
Without the tool and inflator cartridges the cage weighs 95g so not really one for your UCI-troubling bike. However, it is very secure.
With CO2 inflators typically costing between £10 and £20, http://road.cc/content/buyers-guide/183431-14-best-cycling-tyre-pumps-an... and bottle cages coming in at under a tenner to over £40 the whole package for £40 isn't bad, assuming you don't already own a CO2 inflator.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. The bottle cage was secure and strong, the inflator tool worked just as it should and the tool mounting bracket was also a neat design that held onto its load securely. Even the tyre levers are good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I liked that I was prepared not to like it, and them I did.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Chunky plastic looks (though it looked much better once fitted).I thought the risk of theft might put some people off.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No because I already own CO2 tools.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Topeak have come up with a good design and executed it well, Everything worked as it should, it is all well made and even the looks grew on me. However, you need to accept the premise that a bottle cage is a better place to keep a CO2 inflator than a pocket.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
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, mtb,