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review

Topeak Tubi Pod

6
£29.99

VERDICT:

6
10
High-quality tubeless repair kit, but pricey, and better for gravel/mountain bike tyres than road rubber
Good build quality
Insertion tool has reamer built in
Generously sized repair plugs
No knife for trimming
Expensive
Big and heavy
Weight: 
92g

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.

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The Topeak Tubi Pod is a neat, self-contained tubeless tyre repair kit with almost everything you need to fix punctures at the side of the road easily. However, it's not the smallest or lightest out there, and the size of its tools and plugs means it's only really suited to fixing mountain bike or large volume gravel tyres.

At 11cm long and 2.4cm in diameter, the Tubi Pod is roughly the size and shape of a small cigar, and 92g according to the road.cc Scales of Truth. It's about three times bigger and heavier than the Ruzer Pro tubeless repair kit I tested back in February. So, what is it about this tubeless repair kit that makes it so comparatively hefty?

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Contained within the grippy aluminium pod is a plug insertion tool that also doubles as a reamer, as well as an air stop, and three long and chunky repair plugs that slot through the centre of the pod. When not in use, each tool slots into corresponding outer compartments within the main body. It's all very neat and tidy, and ensures all parts inside are secure.

2021 Topeak Tubi Pod - open tool.jpg

The Tubi Pod packs easily into most small bags, including saddlebags, though you might find it a bit too chunky to fit neatly in some of the more compact tool rolls out there – the Lezyne Roll Caddy, for instance.

Each end cap is colour-coded, so it's obvious which end goes on which. They fit snugly over the main body, and o-rings keep the innards watertight. Knurled sections on each end add a touch of grip, and the aluminium finish has a grippy texture, making it secure to hold even when your hand is wet.

2021 Topeak Tubi Pod - open.jpg

Both tools are made from stainless steel and appear to be made to a very high standard. There's nothing wrong with the Ruzer Pro I mentioned, but in comparison its solo insertion tool seems pretty weedy stacked up against the tank-like thickness and heft of the tools within the Tubi Pro.

The reamer is a definite advantage in Topeak's kit, and I like the way it's built into the shaft of the insertion tool. I'm not entirely convinced by the air stop, though; I imagine if you've got a pretty sizeable puncture that's not left any debris inside, most of your air will have probably gone already before you can make use of the air stop. And if there is debris left behind? Then you can just leave it in while you get your plug ready.

2021 Topeak Tubi Pod - open tool 2.jpg

Personally, I would have preferred the space inside the Tubi Pod to be dedicated to a knife for trimming the excess off the repair plugs – something I do consider to be essential. Without it, you'll have to carry a blade to do the job, so that's yet another thing to carry. The pricier Topeak Tubi Pod X and Tubi Master both come with such a knife.

The advantage of the Tubi Pod's size is the ability to carry repair plugs that are much longer and bigger than some repair kits, like the more compact Ruzer Pro. The Tubi Pod's are 3.5mm wide and 10cm long; that said, I found that you could get away with about half of this, in a pinch.

2021 Topeak Tubi Pod - open inserts.jpg

If you do get a puncture, the Tubi Pod is effortless to use. Just slot a repair plug through the insertion tool end, push it inside the tyre hole, hold down onto each bit of plug sticking out and slowly remove the tool.

> Tubeless tyres: 14 hidden pitfalls you should try to avoid

One thing to be aware of is that it's not ideal for less voluminous tyres, by virtue of the tool and the plug being much too hefty to cope with anything below about 35mm in width. There's just not enough room in the tyre to get the tool or plug in properly. I did just about manage to insert a plug into a 28mm tyre by putting the tool on an angle, being careful not to nick the rim tape, but that was just to see if it was possible – I won't be doing that again. For large volume gravel tyres and mountain bike tyres, though, it's well suited.

> Puncture prevention 101: learn how to swerve flats with these 11 top tricks

Talking of size, I could effectively seal a hole created by a 5mm screw, but anything bigger was a no-go. Not particularly impressive, then, given the Ruzer Pro is capable of doing the same job, with much smaller tools and plugs at its disposal. It's possible the plugs seal bigger holes on chunkier, less fragile mountain bike tyres, but I didn't test this.

As I've already mentioned, the Tubi Pod's main competition comes from the much more svelte Ruzer Pro, which offers a similar level of performance. Sure, you don't get the reamer or the air stop (though I don't think you need it), and the plugs are bigger, but I found the Ruzer Pro to be perfectly capable and effective at sealing punctures up to 5mm. It's much smaller and lighter, too, and it costs £12 less.

For even less cash you could opt for the Zefal Tubeless Repair Kit. It doesn't come with a nice purpose-built container, but you get plenty of repair plugs and a decent insertion tool with reamer built in. It's just £7.99, which is significantly less than the Tubi Pod.

Verdict

High-quality tubeless repair kit, but pricey, and better for gravel/mountain bike tyres than road rubber

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Topeak Tubi Pod

Size tested: 11x2.4cm

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, "A minimalist tubeless tire repair kit stores inside a machined alloy pod. The repair tools are integrated into the pod end caps that feature knurled surfaces delivering extra grip when repairing tire."

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

Topeak lists:

TOOLS 2-in-1 tire reamer / plug insertion tool, air-stop

TOOL MATERIAL Stainless steel

POD MATERIAL Aluminum

ADDED FEATURES Repair plug compartment, 3 pieces of 3.5mm x 10cm tire repair plugs included

SIZE 11 x ø2.4 cm / 4.3' x 0.9'

WEIGHT 90 g / 3.17 oz

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

It's fine with larger gravel or mountain bike tyres, but too hefty to work with smaller road tyres – there's just not enough room for the tool or plugs. It also needs a knife to trim the excess of repair plugs.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The finish is quite hardwearing. The unit is sealed against the elements too.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
5/10

Heavy compared to other repair kits.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

There are cheaper kits out there, though the Tubi Pod is very good quality.

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

Topeak doesn't state what size tyres this is designed to work with, but I found it too hefty for smaller road tyres, though it's fine with larger gravel or mountain bike tyres. It's easy to use and the plugs are good for repairing punctures up to 5mm.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It's a very high quality kit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's not really designed for repairing road tyres.

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

One of the more expensive repair kits we've tested on road.cc, £12 more than the Ruzer Pro and £22 more than the Zefal Tubeless Repair Kit.

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 overall score

The Tubi Pod is nicely built, easy to use and works well at sealing punctures. However, it's expensive, and I think some might be put off by its size and weight – plus it's also only good for larger gravel/mountain bike tyres. The omission of a repair plug knife also makes it less useful and convenient than it could be.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'4  Weight: 175lbs

I usually ride: Steel audax bike  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,

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