In the booming enduro and gravel disciplines, the rules require riders to fix any mechanicals during a race day themselves. As many riders do not want to wear a backpack or hip pack for tools and spare parts, various manufacturers are coming up with alternative storage solutions. While athletes in the Olympic cross country discipline can rely on their mechanics to fix any issues in the tech zones, the booming enduro discipline and many gravel races require riders to do any repairs themselves. In order to do so, riders need to take a selection of tools, a spare tube and some food with them – and find ways to safely fix these things to their bicycle. With their Swat technology storages built into some of their frames, Specialized has been a pioneer in this regard. A more low tech way to fix tools and an inner tube to a frame are rubberized velcro straps.
For an uncluttered look, more refined solutions are welcome – and some can be seen at the Taipei Cycle Show in March: Known for its wide variety of folding tools, Topeak has been very active to combine these tools with bottle cages as part of their ‘Ninja TC’ series. Fitting the ends of rizer bars and drop bars alike, the ‘Ninja C’ tool is a compact chain tool that offers proper ergonomics – and that can save a cyclist’s day. For gravel pilots, Topeak’s ‘Ninja P’ pump fits into the seat post of a bike, with some rubber rings keeping it safely in place and making sure there are no strange noises.
Another manufacturer offering bottle cages with integrated tools is Nuvo. Fresh from celebrating its 50th birthday, this company is known for accessories and parts made from plastic or metal. As part of its n+1 aftermarket brand, Nuvo has a bottle cage with an integrated folding tool, a pair of tire levers and a water-sealed compartment for a chain tool, self-adhesive patches, coins or keys. Scott is following a similar path with its Syncros accessories brand.
For tubeless riders, Krönyo integrates the plugging tools to fix holes in tires into handlebar end plugs. Muc Off has a similar product with their Stealth Tubeless Puncture Plug. And with EnCase, Wolf Tooth fits an entire multitool that covers most trailside repairs into the ends of a handlebar. Merida has teamed up with saddle manufacturer Velo Enterprise to integrate a folding tool that slides into the back of a series of new, sporty saddles. Fizik has a similar solution with their Alpaca Tool Carrier that mounts under the saddle.
There are more places to store hidden tools on modern bicycles including the hollow bottom bracket axle where Giant has matching tools to fit as part of their Clutch series. One more space that can be used for storage sits within the steerer tube, and this is often used to store CO2 cartridges for quick flat fixes. With companies such as Fabric, Granite Design, Bontrager, One Up and again Giant, a selection of accessory makers offer multitools that slide into the head tube as well.