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The Ninja Cage X is a practical alternative take on the bottle cage that will hold your drink very competently but, more interestingly, will also allow a range of compatible accessories to be carried via its QuickClick mount.
Topeak has decided that the humble bottle cage could be so much more and has created the Ninja Master range. Of course, there have been mini-pump-carrying bottle cages for yonks, and we tested Topeak's Ninja Pouch+ Road and the Ninja CO2+ almost two years ago. But this Ninja Master system is different because, rather than being stuck with one accessory from the outset, a wide selection of accessories can be clipped and unclipped to the QuickClick Mount found at the bottom of the cage.
At its core, the Ninja Cage X is a fairly standard bottle cage made of plastic – or 'engineering grade polymer' according to Topeak. It weighs in at 44g, which is light enough for most of us, and it accepts normal cycling water bottles. If that's not good enough, rather than using the included QuickClick mount, you can purchase an optional PET bottle mount, which will allow you to carry 600cc consumer bottles.
As that interchange-ability suggests, the QuickClick mount is not fixed and has to be fitted into the cage when you bolt it all to the frame. It's not too fiddly, although I tried fitting the cage using Topeaks's own Ninja Toolbox T8 multi-tool (full review to come) and started to lose my temper. Because of the size of the QuickClick mount, a small multi-tool doesn't offer enough clearance and a proper hex key is needed.
Once in place, though, everything is fairly sturdy. It's not the toughest-looking cage in the world, but it holds a full bottle securely on even the roughest surfaces, while still allowing you to retrieve your drink easily when you need it.
As well as the Toolbox T8, I've also tested the Ninja Roadbox and the Ninja Free Strappack (separate reviews of each will appear shortly). All attach via the same system – a little coupler found at the top of each accessory clips into the underside of the bottle cage QuickClick mount. To keep everything secure, you then twist the accessory in place. To release, you reverse the twist and press a little button on the mount side to finally detach.
It works well, although it's all a bit plasticky and doesn't have what Alan Partridge would call a 'lovely action'. While Topeak warns owners not to force the accessory away from the mount, it does sometimes take a concerted effort to disengage. That said, the accessories stay in place well during a ride and I had no fear they would be found skittling across the road at any point.
Considering its extra functionality, the Ninja Cage X's £12.99 recommended price is pretty fair. The bottle cage does its main job perfectly well, and the potential to turn it into a handy accessory holder is fun. (Of course, you may wonder what's wrong with jersey or shorts pockets and a seatpack, but don't be a spoilsport!)
In truth, some of Topeak's compatible accessories are better than others, so it'll be up to you to decide which bits of kit you'd find most handy to access quickly at any one time. The beauty of this system is that you can change your mind on a whim. So, as a way to enhance how you carry your ride essentials, it's a fun and useful addition to your bike.
As is the nature of kit testing, within a week of posting my reviews of Topeak’s Ninja Masters accessories, something interesting occurred. Specifically, the QuickClick mounting bracket on the Ninja X bottle cage started to fall apart, with the top cover coming loose. It’s not something that a bit of Superglue can’t fix, but it’s not good either. So consequently, we’ve dropped the score by a further point.
A good bottle cage that operates as the basis for an interesting system of accessory carrying
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Ninja Cage X
Size tested: 14.9x8.3x7.8cm
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 the Ninja Cage X is "A stylish water bottle cage that is compatible with Ninja cage QuickClick™ mounting system with a simple twist for the ultimate combination of accessories."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Engineering grade polymer
Fits standard water bottles
Compatible with Ninja cage accessories
Includes Ninja QuickClick mount
Optional Ninja PET bottle mount
14.9cm x 8.3cm x 7.8cm / 5.9in x 3.3in x 3.1in
No faults but not super-strong.
Held a full bottle well although the QuickClick mount is a little sticky.
So far, so good, though I have my doubts it'll last a lifetime.
Very decent considering the extra functionality.
Typical bottle cages from other well-known brands, such as Zefal's Pulse B2 or Tacx's Ciro, are priced the same or slightly higher. Considering its performance and extra potential, the price is very reasonable.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It held a water bottle well and it carried all its compatible accessories securely.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I think it can be very convenient with the right accessory (I personally like being able to get hold of a multi-tool quickly).
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
QuickClick mount sometimes doesn't want to let go of an accessory. Generally feels a little cheaper than it could.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Ninja Cage X does its job very well and the added practical potential of the QuickClick mount makes this an intriguing prospect. However, it's not perfect. It works but doesn't feel that sturdy, and there's still that important question: what's wrong with your seatpack or jersey pocket? The cover coming loose drops the score to 6.
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