The Topeak Ninja Free StrapPack is a detachable multi-use strap that can be fitted to compatible Topeak Ninja Masters bottle cages. It's simple and well made for what it is. However, despite the fact that it causes less rubbing issues than other straps, ultimately it's far less useful than a basic frame strap.
- Pros: Clever attachment system; no frame rubbing
- Cons: Will only carry small items
Topeak's Ninja Masters system is a clever way to encourage your bottle cage to do more than just carry a drink. While other methods of turning your bottle cage into a mini-pump or CO2 holder have been around for a while, the Ninja Masters system is a little different in that it uses a QuickClick bracket found at the bottom of compatible Ninja Masters bottle cages (read my review of the Ninja Cage X here) to attach Ninja Masters accessories (such as the Ninja RoadBox and Ninja ToolBox T8).
The system itself works well. You place the Ninja Masters coupling found on the upper surface of the accessory into the bracket on the bottle cage until it clicks into place, then twist the accessory to secure it. To remove, you just reverse the process and press a little release button. On the road, the bracket holds any accessories nice and securely.
In the case of this Free StrapPack, everything is as simple as you could imagine. The body is made of 'engineering grade polymer' according to Topeak, and features a nylon/Velcro strap which is easily tightened around its cargo. Topeak says it'll take most inner tubes (it happily accepted a 29 x 1.75in spare), along with a multitool or CO2 cartridges. Personally, I felt most comfortable just using it to carry the spare tube.
In terms of performance, if you keep its duties within the realms of reason, it works pretty well. Although the QuickClick mounting is only a fairly basic plastic – sorry, 'engineering grade polymer' – construction, it keeps hold of the Free StrapPack well. Certainly there is no rattling to worry about – with a bottle in place and the Velcro done up tightly, you hardly know it's there.
Pros and cons
The main advantage the Free StrapPack has over other straps is that it attaches to the bottle cage rather than directly to the frame, so it's a great answer to anybody who is worried about any direct rubbing issues, or bits of grit getting between the strap and your lovely pristine paint job. While there's not a whole lot of room down there under the bottle cage, with a bit of judicious placing of the inner tube, you can even keep that clear of direct contact with the frame, too.
However, that lack of clearance is also the biggest disadvantage the Free StrapPack has compared to other straps. While you're not necessarily going to want to use a typical frame strap to carry truly epically long items, the practical potential is there to transport anything as lengthy as your top or down tube will allow. With the Free StrapPack, if it's more than a few inches long, it just won't fit in the space available. So it's fine for inner tubes and CO2 bottles, but not much else.
Value and conclusion
Despite its name, sadly the Free StrapPack is not available gratis. However, priced at £9.99 – between the £8 Voile Strap and the £15 Louri Frame Strap – it does seem like good value, particularly as Topeak has had to incorporate a 'body' into the product rather than just supply a strap. You may feel the less limited uses possible with other straps offers better real-world worth, though.
There's also another thing to mention. Initially, I quite liked the idea of using the Ninja Masters system to essentially fit and forget useful bits of kit. But that does seem to rather miss out on the convenience of the QuickClick bracket. My personal favourite of the Ninja Masters accessories I've tested is actually the RoadBox, which offers some uses away from the bike.
Finally, if you're happy to keep a spare inner tube below your bottle cage and not even consider alternative uses for the QuickClick mounting system, you might be better opting for the Ninja Pouch+ Road, which costs a little less than the Ninja Master bottle cage and Free StrapPack combined, and features an inner tube-sized box that is fixed in place.
Decent inner tube strap for Topeak Ninja Masters system but there are both better straps and better Ninja products
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Ninja Free StrapPack
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?
Bottle cage-mounted multi-use strap.
Topeak says: "Compatible with Ninja cage series. Ninja Free StrapPack provides an alternative way to pack most inner tubes with a mini tool or CO2 cartridges for your ride. Not compatible with fat bike inner tubes."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Engineering grade polymer body
Weight: 17g / 0.6oz
Ninja Master cage series
Ninja Universal Bracket
Will accept inner tube with mini tool or CO2 cartridges
All pretty decent but it's a very simple bit of kit.
Held an inner tube in place securely. No issues, but not as practical as other frame straps.
So simple it should last forever. The bottle cage QuickClick mount will probably be the first thing to go.
Not a lot to it.
It's priced between the £8 Voile Strap and the £15 Louri Frame Strap – so not bad value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It held a spare inner tube nice and securely and even kept it from rubbing the frame.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Did its job without fuss.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Beyond holding some relatively small items, it's not as practical as other frame straps.
Did you enjoy using the product? It was OK.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your overall score
While the Free StrapPack does what it sets out to do and is constructed well, it's not the best use of the Ninja Masters system and definitely doesn't have the potential range of uses as other multi-purpose straps.
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