The Topeak Ninja Pouch+ Road is a combination of bottle cage, tyre levers and a pouch for storing an inner tube. It's all reasonably well made and likeable enough, but the concept is limited by pouch size and it's relatively expensive compared with a standard bottle cage, wedge pack and tyre levers.
According to the blurb, the Ninja system 'conveniently holds a spare tube (up to 700x25c) in an inconspicuous area, keeping the clean lines of your bike. Easy access to the integrated tyre levers makes changing a tube a quick proposition'.
It's essentially a composite cage with clip-on tyre levers and a detachable foam EVA pouch. The pouch is designed to swing out, enabling easy access to the tube inside and, theoretically, making tackling roadside punctures that bit quicker.
The cage is an excellent host to most types of bottle, right up to 750ml. It even proved compatible with specialist shapes such as the Relaj. In common with its Shuttle stablemate, there's some adjustability, which is great news for smaller semi/compact geometry frames. That said, I'd recommend checking its dimensions aren't going to cause overcrowding issues; mounted on my winter trainer's seat tube, achieving slick releases without catching my hand on the top tube or fouling the down tube-mounted cage required a bit of minor re-jiggling (the semi-compact frameset in question is broadly equal to a traditional 58cm rig).
The clip-on tyre levers performed better than expected too. Their relatively long, narrow profiles favour nimble fingers but did a reasonable job of liberating 700x25 folding bead tyres, though some tighter models induced some obvious signs of flex. Being honest, I'd say they're great for emergencies but wouldn't be my first choice.
The Pouch+ has a waterproof zip and does a good job of keeping out heavy showers and road spray. Sustained close-range blasts with the garden hose revealed some minor ingress but this hasn't been a problem out on the road in all weathers. A quick once-over with a damp cloth is sufficient for dismissing grimy patinas.
As I said, it incorporates a hinge type system so you can swing it round, slip open the zipper and whip out your tube when required, and the action is very smooth. It's designed to swallow a vacuum-sealed tube up to 700x25 in size, but I managed to fit in a 700x23 plus a super-compact multi-tool; the fabric was showing some obvious signs of indigestion, though thankfully the zipper wasn't.
Overall, I've found the system quite pleasant to use, though the pouch size makes it a bit limited. It's also a bit expensive compared with the alternatives. For £24, I'd be inclined towards Topeak's Shuttle cage, something like the Passport Frequent Flyer seatpack and some store-branded tyre levers.
Looks neat and feels quite refined but of limited use and a bit expensive compared with standalone products
road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Ninja Pouch+ Road
Size tested: 18.5x10.8x7.8cm
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: "Keeping with the stealth ethos of the Ninja series, the Ninja Pouch+ Road conveniently holds a spare tube (up to 700 x 25c) in an inconspicuous area keeping the clean lines of your bike. Easy access to the integrated tire levers makes changing a tube a quick proposition.
It's an interesting combination of bottle cage, tyre levers and tube pouch, but while all are well made, the pouch's size means it's of limited use. Consequently, the system feels relatively poor value compared with a cage, store branded tyre levers and wedge pack.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Engineering grade plastic cage
Pouch will hold 650b or 700c tube (not included)
2x engineering grade plastic tyre levers
Bottle cage works really well, even with some oddly shaped bottles. Tyre levers are reasonably effective too. The pouch is of rather limited use, though, since it will only just swallow a packet-sealed 700x25 tube.
No obvious weaknesses so far.
The cage is really good but the pouch is a bit limited in use and makes the system difficult to recommend at full rrp.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the cage and tyre levers have delivered on their design-brief and the complete system feels quite refined. Bottles are a really secure fit, yet removal is effortless. The clip-on tyre levers wouldn't be my go-tos but are more usable than their size would suggest. The pouch, though, while conveniently placed and seemingly sturdy, doesn't offer the sort of parking space required, nor does it justify the system's asking price.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Plastics and other materials of decent quality. Cage very dependable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pouch is a bit limited, and the asking price is steep compared with more traditional options.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
A decent cage and tyre lever combination, but the pouch is of limited use. It's also a bit expensive for what you get.
About the tester
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)