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The Topeak Tubi Pod X is a frame or seatpost-mounted tubeless repair kit that contains almost everything you could possibly need to deal with a puncture, though it's designed with large volume gravel or mountain bike tyres in mind, rather than road tyres.
Topeak's Tubi Pod X sits in the middle of its pod-type Tubi tubeless tyre repair range. It's a step above the Tubi Pod I reviewed recently, with greater capabilities and a very different design.
Unlike the cheaper Tubi Pod, and the majority of pod-type repair kits that consist of a single housing, the Pod X is made up of a pair of pods.
Both pods snap onto their plastic housing and sit parallel to one other. In the middle of the mount there's a slot for the included knife and the whole shebang attaches to your frame or seatpost via a Velcro strap built into the mount. A rubber pad on the underside of the mounting bracket keeps the Pod X securely in place, even over rough stuff.
At 11.6cm long, 4.3cm wide and 2.4cm deep, and weighing in at just 63g, the Pod X is reasonably small and quite light when you consider what you get in the kit.
The slightly shorter pod of the two is made from 'engineering grade polymer' and inside it contains five repair plugs. As with the Tubi Pod, they're chunky and long, at 3.5mm x 10cm, though in this case you get an extra two of them. This is a better deal if you're planning a multi-day ride where there might be a greater chance of multiple punctures.
The longer pod is made from sturdier aluminium, and inside one end is a 2-in-1 insertion tool and reamer, and in the other end is an air stop. Both end caps can be removed simply by pulling them off, and o-rings on the side of each end keep them snug and protected from the elements.
Cleverly, the air stop is held in place magnetically, so when you plug it in the puncture hole – to prevent air escaping – you can leave it in place while you access the end containing the insertion tool. This allows you to prep the puncture repair plug. As I mentioned in the review of the Tubi Pod, I'm not convinced an air stop is absolutely necessary in a tubeless repair kit.
Plugging the hole in your tyre is a pretty standard affair: first use the reamer to roughen up the hole, then grab a plug (I recommend using just half the length unless it's a big off-road tyre) and slot it through the end of the insertion tool, then jam it into the hole.
Unlike with most other repair kits, where you need to use your fingers to hold the ends of the plug in place while you remove the tool, the Pod X has a plug retainer integrated into the neck of the tool. While the insertion tool is inside the tyre, you simply unscrew the retainer from the body, allowing you to remove the tool without the plug coming along for the ride. Is it totally necessary? Maybe not, but it's a neat trick. (You can see how it works here on Topeak's website.)
The party tricks don't end there either – once you've got the plug ready to trim, the insertion tool can be unscrewed from the main body of the pod and in its place you can screw in the knife.
This gives you a decent amount to hold on to while you cut the remainder of the plug. The knife isn't particularly sharp, though, so it does take a while to cut through the excess, and you need to be careful not to pull out the plug while you do so.
Even if some of these design touches aren't totally essential, it's nice to see Topeak has considered the whole repair procedure from start to finish, finding ways to make it a smoother, more enjoyable experience. And let's be honest, repairing punctures isn't much fun.
OK, let me get the small gripes out the way before I move on to the bigger one. First: why isn't the knife integrated on the inside of the pods? As it is, it sits externally, and although it's held securely in place, and it didn't come out during a ride, I do wonder how it would fare in winter weather. Admittedly, I can't imagine the stainless steel getting tarnished much, but it's something that would certainly bother me.
Second small gripe, and this is totally personal preference, is that I like to keep my bike tools neatly hidden – usually in a bar bag or seat bag of some kind. Because the Tubi Pod X is designed to mount externally, whether to your frame or seatpost, you don't really have that option. Yes, you could separate the two pods and stuff them into a bag, but it feels like you're defeating the purpose somewhat.
On to the biggest issue with the Tubi Pod X, and that's the size of the insertion tool and repair plugs – as with the Tubi Pod, they're just too big to work with road tyres. No problems in the gravel/mountain bike tyre department, though. Topeak would seem to have designed this kit with bigger tyres in mind.
As the setup is practically the same as the Tubi Pod (and the more expensive Tubi Master – full review on that to come), the results were the same – that is, good for sealing punctures up to 5mm. As with smaller kits, it wasn't able to seal anything bigger.
There are plenty of tubeless repair kits out there that get the job done without much fuss or flare and for a lot less money than the Tubi Pod X's asking price of £39.99, such as the Ruzer Pro at £18 or the dirt-cheap Zefal tubeless repair kit at £7.99.
The Ruzer Pro is the better option if you want space and weight saving – it's a more compact form, and lighter too. It also works better with road tyres, because of the smaller size of the tool and plugs.
The Zefal kit is very basic against the Pod X, but it's over £30 cheaper and the tool and plugs wouldn't take up much space in a bag, as long as you don't mind them jangling about inside.
Throw the slightly cheaper Dynaplug Racer tubeless repair kit into the mix (now £37.99), and the Tubi Pod X fares better; the Racer isn't as impressive by comparison. It does work fine, but Topeak's offering is much more comprehensive.
Comprehensive tubeless repair kit with some neat touches, for bigger tyres
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Tubi Pod X
Size tested: 11.6x4.3x2.4cm
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 compact, tubeless tire repair kit. Tubeless repair tools store inside a machined pod while five tire plugs store in a lightweight polymer pod. Both pods secure to a mounting module that can be strapped to a frame tube or seatpost – ready and waiting for action."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
2-in-1 tire reamer / plug insertion tool, knife, air-stop
TOOL MATERIAL Stainless steel
POD MATERIAL Aluminum / Engineering grade polymer
ATTACHMENT Adjustable nylon strap
MOUNT Bike frame, tubes
ADDED FEATURES Tool stop, repair plug compartment, mount module, and 5 pieces of 3.5mm x 10cm tire repair plugs included.
SIZE 11.6 x 4.3 x 2.4 cm
WEIGHT 63 g
Very well designed and built.
A struggle to get it to work with a 28mm tyre, though not impossible – it's better with bigger gravel or mountain bike tyres. The plug retainer is a neat touch for keeping the plug in place. The knife is handy, but it's not particularly sharp, so cutting plugs takes a while.
Tough exterior and sealed from the elements, so it should last a long time. A question mark over how the knife will last after being subjected to a few winters, though.
Very light given how comprehensive this kit is (plus there's a mount to take into consideration).
It's one of the more expensive kits out there, but the Tubi Pod X makes up for that with its smart design and wealth of capabilities. The frame mount is a worthy inclusion too, meaning the kit is to hand when you need it.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The kit works well at sealing punctures, but it's better designed for gravel or mountain bike tyres. The knife could be sharper, though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The design is very smart – it feels like it's been built to make the repair process as smooth as possible.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's designed for mounting to frames, and I prefer to put it in a bag. Not a fault, per se, just a preference.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Expensive against kits like the Ruzer Pro and the Zefal tubeless repair kit – the latter more so – but it stacks up well against the Dynaplug Racer, which isn't as comprehensive as the Topeak Tubi X.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? For off-road riding, maybe, but not for road riding.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a good option, despite the high cost – you really do get a lot here and it's all very well made. Aside from a CO2 inflator, there's everything you might want to repair a puncture. The neat frame mounting will be seen as a bonus by many, especially if you want to save space/don't have room in your luggage.
About the tester
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,