About road bike saddlebags, tool rolls, cans, and the self-assembled case. I show you my way to the lightest and most practical toolset for the road.
224g – that’s how much my repair kit for road cycling weighs. And that includes Minitool, tube, pump, and tire levers. Including a small bag to keep everything together. For comparison: a road bike butyl tire alone already weighs over 100g.
In this post, I show you my way over saddlebags, bottle cage toolboxes, tool rolls, and my final setup after a long search. An Ultralight bundle I put together myself, which is small enough to fit in an old Sennheiser headphone case.
A supposedly self-critical word has become established in Internet racing lingo: Weight Weenies. A forum of the same name already exists. Here racing bike enthusiasts internationally how to drill holes in the carbon shoes to save another time 3 grams on the kit. Sounds crazy, but the topic of weight on a road bike is a special one. I am still undecided how strongly I join this circus. But a little input comes here nevertheless.
When it comes to the emergency kit, saving weight is just as important as a practical function. This results not only from the number of hex keys but from the everyday function. If you are now and then road bike, gravel bike, or with the cargo bike on the road, then you inevitably have various Immerdabei (or “Every Ride Carry”).
These include mini tools, tubes, mini-pumps. And I was tired at some point of always collecting all sorts of different equipment. Which you then have to take with you when you are on the road with a particular bike. The organization is part of the function.
Challenge on the whole subject is: pack size/weight as a package – it must be practical. And functional: it has to fit the bike. On the cargo bike, I need other tools than on the road bike.
So My Criteria are Short:
- Multi-Wheel: The package must be there quickly for each use. It should not be fixed on the road bike, to then be missing on the gravel bike.
- Functional: This should always cover the essential functions of the wheel. So all conceivable hexagon and T25 for disc brakes.
- Pump on Board: In the best case, the mini pump is integrated into the bag, so that this does not always have to be packed extra and needs its own place. This criterion is relatively difficult to meet because most options, especially in saddlebags, are just not designed for it. Personally, however, this point would be important to me.
In this article I focus time on no specific wheel, it should just fit for everything. The road bike is but a primary use case. Here my way goes over road bike saddlebags, a tool roll in burrito form, and then to a mix of the individual bundle and an XL edition.
Saddlebags And Alternatives
The following options are available to always have all your tools with you:
- Saddlebags: Can be conveniently taken from bike to bike quickly with everything. Offer no place for the pump.
- Tool Roll: Can be fixed in the jersey or on the wheel. Flexible in fixing, whether under the saddle, in a bottle cage, or somewhere on the frame. Here also fits the pump well pure.
- Toolbox: Fixed to the bottle cage and thus also practically stowed, can thus be removed super quickly from the bike to the next bike or on the road. Offers plenty of space, even for a very small mini pump. Occupies but a valuable space, because you usually have only two bottle cages on the frame.
- Individual Bags and Designs: You can also use any self-fitting bags and cases and fix them with lashing straps on the frame.
Road Bike Saddlebags
Let’s start from the back. Saddlebags are the first conceivable option to transport tools. These you get on any bike very quickly off and on again. Although these are frowned upon on the road bike, that is rather with a wink to understand. Who wants to know what is meant by this – here is the reference:
Saddlebags have no place on a road bike and are acceptable on mountain bikes only in extreme cases.
Please do not take it too seriously. In the past, I have repeatedly heard comments about how one would like to shape one’s sport according to these “rules”. According to my understanding, the rules were always exaggeratedly formulated to write evenly also something mockingly about his peculiarities. No matter at this point. Back to saddlebags.
This option was the first thing I had in mind. However, I do not like that the pump must always be taken extra. A saddlebag with an integrated holder for the mini pump I have not found, but there are certainly also. However, I was not completely satisfied with this variant.
Burrito Tool Roll
More flexible is the tool roll. The basic principle had simply been wrapped in cloth tools. This also remains, you have pockets in which the tool finds its place.
Lezyne offers such tool rolls, but you can also find even higher quality models, eg from Silica. This is then the premium version with Boa click closure. However, the volume was then designed somewhat smaller. In the Lezyne variant, I like that you can also loosely put the pump in there. But well fixed that is not, the pump falls out there also times and is then perhaps gone.
With this setup, I was on the road for some time. But I was not quite satisfied with it.
Tool Tin For Bottle Holder
Also super practical are tool tins. Here you definitely have space, because these are loose 20cm in length. So you get everything under. Even for multi-day trips, everything fits in here:
- Mini pump
- Leathermen (multitool with saw and knife)
- Cable tie
- Tire lever
- Chain lock
- Minibike lock
Yes, even a small bicycle lock fits in this package. Sounds like a lot, but in fact, my toolbox is perfectly prepared for everything with it.
I have opted for the toolbox from Fidlock. This requires namely no more bottle cage and the adapter can also be mounted on the underside of the down tube. This is the perfect place for a toolbox.
Since the weight is very low and distributes the center of gravity further down. At the same time, this can is less sensitive to all the dirt that is flung at the down tube.
Now I can simply buy Fidlock bottle cage adapters and so quickly mount the box on any bike. Best on the down tube, if the frame has the appropriate holes.
Alternatively, you can also work very well with bottle cage adapters, where simply the appropriate holders can be attached arbitrarily to the wheel. And already the tool comes with every bike, no matter what tour I want to ride.
My Road Bike Kit
The toolbox is the companion for all bikes. Except for the road bike, which is outside. Because here I really want to save some weight, besides, there is also no space on the bottle cage-free. For this, there is then the following small individual solution.
Since I drive on the road bike also minimally a different setup fits this combination quite well. In a case is a Schwalbe Aerothan tube. This is the basis for road cycling.
From the toolbox, I then only have to unpack the pump, mini tool, and tire levers. The small pouch is so small that it even fits loosely in the jersey pocket. All tools are ultra-light and small. In total, this package also comes to only 224 grams.