Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Topeak Elementa Gearbag

8
£46.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Cracking saddle bag that stays fixed to your saddle rails when opened, with an excellent ratchet bitset included
Unique strap fixing system
Quality ratchet and bit set
External CO2/plugger straps
Minimalist looks
Restricted on space
Weight: 
170g

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.

What the road.cc scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

The Topeak Elementa GearBag attaches to your saddle with a unique strap system that makes opening and closing dead easy and faff-free, and the included ratchet set will sort most road or trailside fettling woes. With its small capacity it's definitely one for minimalists, though.

The age-old conundrum of how much to carry on your bike, in what and where will never be solved, because there are as many combinations of things needing carriage, things to put them in and places to put them on your bike as there are stars in the sky. Well, stars visible on your average British evening, anyway. So let's get 'right' or 'wrong' out of the way first – there is only 'what's right for you, today, on this particular ride on this particular bike'.

> 15 easy ways to carry stuff on your bike

If we zoom in on small saddle bags – that is, ones that fix under your saddle – that really narrows it down to about a thousand wee bags ranging from a few quid to over £60 for ones featuring BOA-strap fixing.

2024 Topeak Elementa Gearbag - back.jpg

The first aspect to note of the Elementa GearBag is its size: it's small. Like, 0.3-litres-capacity small. Or about half a pint. Not much stuff is going in there.

2024 Topeak Elementa Gearbag - pouch open.jpg

You won't get even the most compact pump in there, but handily, if you use CO2 canisters there are two elastic straps for them on the outside. The elastic is lined with silicone on the inside, to firmly retain those canisters over the roughest trails. I opted to use the second loop for the excellent Dynaplug tubeless repair tool, and the straps will retain anything roughly CO2 canister shaped, like the other Dynaplug options. I guess that could also mean slotting in a micro pump if you really needed to carry one, but even the smallest will protrude a bit.

Inside, there's just enough space for a butyl 700C x 50mm tube which should suit all but the largest-shod of gravel bikes, and a couple of short (about 12cm) tyre levers. If you opt for a compact TPU tube like a Tubolito you'll get more space to play with. With care it is just possible to fit the excellent 13cm-long Topeak Power Lever Pro in alongside a TPU tube, meaning you then have a chain tool and master link pliers along as well as two levers.

Rail Wing fixing

The second and unique-to-Topeak feature is its patented 'Rail Wing' fixing system, and for me this is the standout reason to consider the Elementa. For decades saddle bags have mostly been held in place with a Velcro strap passing through the saddle, over the seat rails and around the bag – which means when you loosen it to get access to the bag it flops around and possibly comes off entirely, as with any BOA-secured bags and rolls. This means that every time you need something, you have to find a place to put the bag down without losing anything, and have to refit it once done. Not much fun in the rain and cold, wearing gloves.

2024 Topeak Elementa Gearbag - rail wing system.jpg

Topeak's Rail Wing system uses two smaller Velcro straps to secure the main strap to the rails, meaning the bag stays firmly in place once the main strap is loosened. The first few fittings are a bit of a lesson in Reading The Flipping Manual, but you quickly get the hang of it, making swaps between bikes relatively painless.

2024 Topeak Elementa Gearbag - strap detail.jpg

One small irritation is that if you want to secure the two zip pulls under the Velcro to stop the metal rattling, you need to partly unzip the lower compartment so the pull can go under the strap. There's no chance of anything falling out, but when you're spending this much, even minor design faults shouldn't exist.

Ratchet set

The final and again – as best I can tell – unique aspect of the Elementa GearBag is the built-in ratchet set, complete with its own elasticated storage tray. This tray fixes using Velcro inside the bottom lid of a second zippered compartment below the main one that your tube and levers live in.

2024 Topeak Elementa Gearbag - ratchet pocket open.jpg

The ratchet itself clicks nicely into a plastic clip and has a reversible ratcheting head with knurled thumbwheel for quickly snugging up fittings. The ratchet feels identical to that used in Prestaratchet, Feedback Sports and other quality ratcheting tools.

At the handle end there's a magnetised hole to insert bits for use in 'screwdriver' mode for fast spinning or for use in areas where the right-angle ratcheting head is possibly obstructed. The ratcheting head is rated to 30Nm, which is a wildy excessive spec for a tool this small, but it's comforting to know if you really needed to welly down on a pedal or crank in the middle of nowhere you could – just remember to bring the right bit.

2024 Topeak Elementa Gearbag - ratchet and bits.jpg

You get 10 bits ranging from a Shimano mech-friendly 2mm hex, through 2.5-6mm hexes, then Torx 10, 15 and 25, plus a Phillips 2. Each bit has a raised, knurled section to afford grip when removing the bits from their elasticated, numbered sleeves, and when removing from the ratchet head or magnetised handle. I cannot overstate how good it is to see a tool company actually think about the challenges faced by people with gloved, cold, wet hands wrangling tiny, slippery metal bits in and out of tools with strong bit-retaining springs or magnets.

> Emergency essentials: 10 things to take with you on every ride

I had reason to use the ratchet and bits in anger on a number of occasions, and each time the fact the bag stayed firmly fixed to the saddle while I removed and replaced bits with double-layer gloved fingers was much appreciated. The alternative would have been needing to lie the bike down in order to wrangle a removed bag and tools.

Value

By itself the ratchet and bits would easily be worth £20 – making the overall £47 price of the bag much easier to justify.

Stu rather liked the less-featured version of the Elementa GearBag, the £20 Elementa Seatbag M – no toolset, but more (0.5L) space for stuff, and sharing the Rail Wing fixing system.

My go-to under-saddle storage for the last six years has been the Silca Seat Roll Grande Americano, though having to constantly re-thread the strap over saddle rails is a faff I could do without. Silca has updated its BOA-closure bags, and its Mattone Seat Pack carries everything inside as opposed to slotting in the CO2s externally; it's £60.

Conclusion

I like the Topeak Elementa GearBag. It's very well made, very well thought out and does exactly what it sets out to do: carry tube, levers, CO2, and give you a great ratchet-bitset for fettling. And when you're faffing by the side of the trail or road in the cold or wet, the fact that it stays firmly fixed to your bike will be much appreciated.

Verdict

Cracking saddle bag that stays fixed to your saddle rails when opened, with an excellent ratchet bitset included

road.cc test report

Make and model: Topeak Elementa Gearbag

Size tested: 11.4 x 7 x 5cm

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?

It's for people wanting to carry minimal spares under the saddle, including a toolkit.

Topeak says: "Ultra compact seat bag is hidden under the saddle with hook and loop fastening strap. Rail Wing System allows quick access to essentials without removing the whole bag.

"The GearBag adds a hidden tool compartment that separates tools and personal items for better organization. It includes a ratchet tool and 10 bits, ensuring that you won't forget your tools when you go out cycling."

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

Topeak lists:

CAPACITY 0.3 L

COMPARTMENT 2

COMPATIBILITY Up to 700 x 50c inner tube / 2 tire levers

MATERIAL 1000D Polyester, water repellent and stain resistant / Aluminum hook and ring

ATTACHMENT Hook and loop fastening strap (Rail Wing System)

TOOLS Hex bits: 2 / 2.5 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 mm

Torx® bits: T10 / T15 / T25

#2 Phillips screwdriver

Ratchet tool / Magnetic holder

SIZE 11.4 x 7 x 5 cm

WEIGHT 163 g

FEATURES Hidden tool compartment

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

High quality construction.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

The Rail Wing system works very well indeed, meaning the bag fulfils its USP of staying put when opened.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

After a month of rides it still looks like new, and with its two-year warranty you shouldn't have concerns.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

At 170g including the ratchet and bits, it's pretty svelte.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

Easy to use with large zip tags – so is that 'comfortable'?

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Considering you're getting a bag and ratcheting bitset for the price, it's very good value.

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

Needing to fish out a tool for trailside work is very easy and faff-free, with minimal chance of dropping anything.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

That it opens and closes easily with one hand on the bike.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

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

At £47 it's actually very well priced for the function and included ratchet/bit set. Silca's Mattone seatpack is bigger, but £60 (empty).

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; the only criticism I have is that it could be a smidge larger, which would accommodate just a bit more stuff.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe  My best bike is: Nah bro that's it

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L

Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.

Add new comment

5 comments

Avatar
STATO | 1 month ago
0 likes

The main problem with the ratchet, is the short bits mean the head of the tool needs space right next to whaterver your are tightening, which for a lot of modern bikes means it wont work for a lot of bolts.

Reviews like this really need to go through all the common bolts that might need doing.  Bars and stems are easy, cable clamps on some mechs (front especially) may be harder, but things like brake hood bolts have no chance. 

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to STATO | 1 month ago
0 likes

Who adjusts their hood bolts on a ride? Most of them are off-axis so require ball-end hexes anyway. The idea isn't that this does everything, but you could always carry a ball-end bit if you needed to adjust a new setup. 

Avatar
arckuk | 1 month ago
0 likes

A nice little pack, but the ratchet driver and extensive set of bits might be a little overkill. I use a Lezyne Road Caddy, which is slightly smaller but when stuffed to the brim can carry a tube, CO2 (or two), Park tool tyre levers with a few wraps of electrical tape and a spare split link, Park tool sticky patches, Multitool with chain breaker (think I've only ever used this once), spare contact lens, a rubber glove, a couple of zip ties and a £20 note.

Avatar
JeremyD | 1 month ago
0 likes

Am I the only one who actually struggles to find a seatpack small enough? I carry 2 TPU tubes which takes less space than 1 butyl tube, 2 co2 cartridges and a small head, 2 plastic levers, a tiny chain breaker and 3 small allen keys that cover 90% of my bike's bolts. Currently using a Zefal seatbag with 0.3l of volume and I have to strap it like a mad man to avoid the "shopping cart song" on every broken road... 
That ratchet is cute and all, but I can't remember how many times I have used my multi tool on the road. Either you're in big trouble and the bike is toast, either you can bring it home and avoid losing 15 minutes on the side of a road with you mates waiting

Avatar
STATO replied to JeremyD | 1 month ago
1 like

The XS Elementa might suit your need, 0.2L.

 

Latest Comments