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review

Topeak Ninja Master+ Cage X1AJ

8
£12.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Secure bottle retention with the bonus of flexible fitting and tyre levers included
Secure bottle retention
Light
Well priced
Adjustable placement
Tyre levers are quite small
Weight: 
68g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Ninja Master+ Cage X1AJ is quite the little package for the money. Not only does it work with Topeak's accessory mounting system, you are also getting some tyre levers thrown in, and a bracket to give you some adjustment for where to put the cage on your frame. Oh, it holds your bottle well too.

Ninja Master+ is a range of bottle cages and accessories that can (but aren't restricted to) fit together. There are multi-tools with their own toolboxes, for instance, that can be fitted to the bottom of this cage and others in the range. It's a handy way to carry your stuff without having to overload your pockets. 

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy this online here

This X1AJ is made compatible by swapping out the bottom tab for the one that comes with a Ninja kit, easy peasy.

2022 Topeak Ninja Master+ Cage X1AJ - detail.jpg
2022 Topeak Ninja Master+ Cage X1AJ - with toolbox attached.jpg

The cage itself is made from polymer which gives plenty of flex, allowing it to fit a whole range of water bottle sizes without issue. The chamfered edges at the opening of the cage help you locate the top and slide the bottle in.

Once in place it will sit there securely, even on rough terrain. Whether the bottle is full or empty makes no difference. I didn't have a single issue with it when off-road on the gravel trails.

> Cycling hydration: Is 1 water bottle or 2 best on long rides?

Included in the kit is an aluminium bar that Topeak calls an Alt-Position Cage Mount. Basically, it has a couple of cage bolt holes drilled through it which, depending on which way round you fit it, gives you a bit of scope to change where you position your bottle cage. Further up or down the tube. It's quite a neat and useful design if your frame is small or you are using frame bags.

2022 Topeak Ninja Master+ Cage X1AJ - adjuster strip.jpg

The final little treat are the two tyre levers fitted to the side of the cage, and when I say little, I mean little.

In all honesty, compared to a standard size tyre lever they are quite fiddly to use and don't give you a whole lot of purchase. That said, they are ideal in emergencies, as long as the compatibility of your tyres and rims doesn't make things too difficult to contemplate.

2022 Topeak Ninja Master+ Cage X1AJ - tyre levers.jpg

I'm not complaining, though, as they are a bonus.

Priced at £12.99, the X1AJ is competitive – Specialized's Rib Cage II, for example, is £17. And Lezyne's Matrix Team Cage has gone up to £22 since we tested it last year.

Conclusion

Overall, the X1AJ works well as a bottle cage regardless of terrain, and is well priced, especially considering the neat additions, which all add to the value.

Verdict

Secure bottle retention with the bonus of flexible fitting and tyre levers included

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Topeak Ninja Master+ Cage X1AJ

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?

Topeak says, "A stylish water bottle cage allows you to add tools, CO2 inflator kit or inner tube holder with interchangeable Cage Mount and is compatible with all Ninja Cage accessories for basic repair and maintenance. Included AltPosition Cage Mount provides an alternative way to raise and lower the water bottle cage on smaller frames and tighter spaces. Integrated tire lever holder keeps levers in place for fast access and makes changing a tube a quick proposition."

A good quality bottle cage with added versatility.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Topeak lists:

MATERIAL: Engineering grade polymer

CAGE OUTER DIAMETER: Fits standard water bottles

COMPATIBILITY: Ninja Master+ Cage accessories

ADDED FEATURES: 2 tire levers, One piece Alt-Position Cage Mount

SIZE: 14.9 x 8.8 x 7.8 cm / 5.9' x 3.5' x 3.1'

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

A great bottle cage with added versatility.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Holds a bottle securely.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Tyre levers are on the small side.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

As a bottle cage it's well priced compared to some on the market, like those mentioned in the review, and they aren't coming with any accessories either.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's very good: works well, good value, plus you get accessories like the adjustable mounting bar and tyre levers.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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