The Topeak Ninja Master Toolbox T8 is a handy multi-tool and holder that can be attached to the bottom of Topeak's Ninja Master bottle cages. It's nicely made and well thought through, but there are cheaper and more practical standalone options out there.
The Toolbox T8 is more than just a multitool: as part of Topeak's Ninja Masters range, it can be fitted to compatible Ninja Masters bottle cages (such as the Ninja Cage X I tested) via a little coupler on the Toolbox's top surface and the QuickClick mount on the bottle cage. It's an interesting and useful setup that allows you to attach and detach compatible accessories as you wish, including the Ninja RoadBox and the Ninja Free Strappack (review to come).
In this case, Topeak hasn't found a way to attach the T8 multi-tool directly to its Ninja Master system, so the multi-tool itself sits in a little 'Toolbox'. I explain the Ninja Master system's performance in more detail in the Ninja Cage X review, but essentially, the box's coupler clips into the mount, then you twist the box for security.
To remove it, you reverse the process and push a little release button. It generally works well, although I have found that disengaging accessories from the mount can be a little sticky.
On the road, the Toolbox T8 sits in place very securely. One thing I certainly didn't notice was any rattling, and to that end Topeak has come up with a bit of a workaround. The T8 multi-tool comes packaged with a thick rubber band around it, which acts to keep it held snuggly in the box. That's fine when you're riding along, but it's a bit of a faff when you actually need to use the tool. It's also another item to lose at the side of the road. Misplace the rubber band, and it sounds like there's a prog rock drum solo happening underneath your bottle cage.
Despite that, I really like the opening mechanism for the box itself: it's secure and strangely pleasing to use. It's just a shame Topeak hasn't lined the box with a cushioning or damping surface, rather than going down this rubber band route.
This is the smallest multi-tool in the Ninja Masters range: Topeak also makes T16 and T20 versions with, respectively, 16 and 20 tool bits. Our test product only has a relatively lowly eight options, but they've been usefully thought out to accomplish most on-the-hoof jobs: there are hex keys from 2mm to 6mm; a number 2 Phillips screwdriver and a T25 Torx head.
Despite its diminutive size and reasonable price, the T8 is also very nicely constructed. The body is built from forged aluminium and the individual tools are hardened steel. In the hand, it feels like a proper bit of kit and, while there will always be compromises when using such small form tools, in this case there have at least been no concessions on construction.
At £27.99, the Toolbox T8 is priced higher than some standalone options that you could simply stick in your jersey pocket (such as the Cyclo 20 and Topeak's own X-Tool). With only eight functions, it's also a little low on practicality. However, I am impressed with its build quality, tool choice, and the lengths Topeak seems to have gone to to ensure you are buying more than just the Ninja gimmick.
That said, while I like having a multi-tool easily to hand, I actually found the other two inner-tube-carrying Ninja Masters accessories more useful in a 'fit and forget until you need it' kind of way. But if you are interested in the Ninja Masters system and think the space underneath your bottle cage would be the ideal place to store your multi-tool, I'd have no problem recommending the Toolbox T8. Just have a look at the larger T16 and T20 options first to see if they suit your needs better.
Well-made multi-tool and holder that attach to Ninja Masters bottle cages but fall down on practicality
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Ninja Master Toolbox T8
Size tested: Box contains 8-function multi-tool
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: "With a simple twist to engage with Ninja Master series bottle cages, this weatherproof tool box contains an eight function metal mini-tool for basic repair and maintenance."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
2 / 2.5 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 mm hex keys
No. 2 Phillips
Hardened steel tools
Forged aluminum body
Total weight 119 (71 g - Ninja T8 multitool / 40 g - ToolBox)
Very impressed by both the ToolBox and T8 multi-tool construction.
Pretty good. The ToolBox is held in place securely while the T8 multi-tool has a decent selection of tools but is hampered by its small size.
Seems very sturdy.
ToolBox adds extra weight compared to carrying a multi-tool in a pocket.
Not a budget option for a small eight-function multi-tool, but not bad value when you consider good build quality and added Ninja Masters-compatibility.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
ToolBox worked securely; T8 multi-tool was decent albeit limited by its size.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Build quality was surprisingly impressive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Rubber retaining band is annoying.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The ToolBox T8 is higher priced than other standalone multi-tools, such as the Cyclo 20 or Topeak's own X-Tool.
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
While I am impressed by the Ninja Master's attachment system and the ToolBox T8's overall build quality and design, a standalone multi-tool may be better value and offer better practicality, while the Ninja Master's attachment could be put to better use.
About the tester
I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29 My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy
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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, leisure