Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bike Tool Kit Containers

Back in early October I did one of the Moment Cycle Sport shop rides on a rainy morning.  After the ride I expected my bike to be a mess, and I was not surprised my jersey had a mud stripe on the back, but I didn't expect my tool pouch to be thoroughly soaked along with everything inside it.  I looked around for a better tool pouch, but the ones I found were pretty much all alike.  So I put my tools in a Zip-loc bag and shoved them back into my old pouch.

After I installed my Oasis One-Twelve hydration system there was no longer room for a tool pouch under my seat, so I had to find an alternative, preferably something waterproof.  Since I was no longer using the bottle cages on my frame, the obvious approach would be to find a tool container that would fit into a bottle cage.  After lots of searching, I found the following products on the market:
  • The Cage Rocket Storage Pod, which is carried locally by REI, initially looked like an ideal solution, but it had two main problems:  First, it has a large base that keeps it from fitting into all bottle cages.  Second, the shape of the opening made it difficult to completely fill the interior. A minor additional concern is that REI didn't carry the waterproof version.
  • The Trek Waterbottle Softshell Pack isn't waterproof, and is soft enough that I was concerned it could pop out of a bottle cage.
  • The Bike Rider Tool Bottle is a screw-top bottle which seems to be available only in Australia.
  • The BBB Tool Can for Bike Tools is another screw-top bottle.
I also found two DIY solutions:
  • Use a 10 oz peanut butter jar.  This is the "free" version of the above screw-top bottles.  Unfortunately, I only get peanut butter in 40 oz jars, so this would cost me extra.  So I suppose technically it would belong in the list above.
  • Modify a 24 oz bike bottle.
Since I already had lots of 24 oz bike bottles, I decided to try that method before spending any money.  The instructions are dead simple:
  1. Cut away the indented ring.
  2. Fill the bottom with tools.
  3. Shove the top into the bottom.
Of course, few things in life are ever really that simple.  Making a flat, straight cut through a plastic bottle isn't easy (especially after a second cup of coffee).  I ruined one bottle figuring that out.  No worries: I had at least a dozen of them.

I next found that not all 24 oz bike bottles make good tool bottles.  First, you need at least 1" of bottle available between the indented ring and the cap, else the top won't stay straight when pushed into the bottom.  Scratch another bottle.  And the bottle must not taper too much near the cap, else there will be a gap around the top after it is shoved into the bottom.  One more bottle dies.

After destroying three bottles (and perfecting my bottle-slicing technique), I found some Bontrager bottles that had all the needed features.  Well, I did have some other bottles that also looked like good possibilities, but no way was I going to cut up one of my TCSD bottles!

My old tool pouch contained the following items, all of which fit nicely into my modified bottle:
  • 3 tire levers (2 aren't enough when my hands are numb)
  • 1 CO2 chuck
  • 2 CO2 cartridges
  • 1 tube
  • 1 patch kit
  • 1 set of Allen wrenches
  • 1 small rag (wrapped around the CO2 chuck)
When pushing the top into the bottom, I adjusted the height so it would be tightly retained by the bottle cage I was going to use.  Here's a closeup of the tool bottle on my bike:

As you can see, there nothing about it that shouts "Steal me!", which may be another advantage.

Since the whole search for a replacement tool container started after a rainy ride, I modified my other Bontrager bottle to hold a $5 plastic poncho.  That'll keep the mud stripe off my jersey!

1 comment:

  1. I just got the following email:

    Hey Bob, We have a nice alternative. We call it the De Soto Gear Box. It sits in the same please as a bento box would, on the top tube connected to it and the stem. Ours has a full zipper on it, it is wide enough to fit 3 iphones placed together, and can easily be removed if you are using it as a wallet if you go for coffee after a ride. Of course if you want to use it under the seat, this very Gear Box works just fine for that too.

    Kind regards, Emilio

    Emilio De Soto II
    Founder - President - Triathlete
    De Soto Triathlon Company 7584 Trade Street, San Diego, CA 92121
    TEL: 858 578 6672 FAX: 858 578 6021 SKYPE: emiliodesoto

    You can check out this product here