Five Ways To Lighten Your Mountain Biking Load

4th Dec 2018

Tools that store in your bike

It varies, of course.  For long rides you might well need extra clothes, additional repair equipment, food and first aid equipment.  But I find a lot of my rides are around a couple of hours in length and, for this type of thing, it is great to go pack free.  Over this summer I’ve been refining ideas to get everything I need on (or in!) my bike and I know there is a big following of people and manufacturers that are responding to riders keen to streamline their ride.  Here’s my guide to five repair items that can easily be stored either inside your bike or fastened on your bike.  Infact, everything is here to free you up to enjoy your ride unencumbered.......

One Up Industries EDC

This is awesome.  The wizards at One Up have produced a multi-tool, tyre lever, CO2 storage and chain link storage device that fits neatly inside your head tube.  It is a work of pure genius.  Like all works of genius there are a few shortcomings.  One is that you have to cut a thread into your head tube and also it may not fit every fork type (One Up have a compatibility checker on their website).  But, if it works for your bike, it is very cool.  You can get this fitted at your local bike shop or One Up produce a DIY kit and instructional video which makes it simple enough if you want to fit one yourself.

The EDC (Every Day Carry) combines a well featured multi-tool (2, 2.5, 3, 4,5,6 and mm Allen keys along with a T25 Torx, flat head screwdriver, chain tool, quick link breaker, tyre lever, spoke key and presta valve core tool).  There is a handy storage place for a chain link and a spare chainring bolt.  Under the multi tool there is a useful storage capsule that could hold a few small items link a few tyre patches and some cash or you can ditch the storage container and a 12, 16 or 20 gram CO2 cartridge can be screwed securely onto the bottom.  It is just so unobtrusive, lightweight and darned clever and we love this thing.  The full cost of set up is around £60 (for the top cap and tool) plus you will need it tool to fit it (or sort this with your bike shop) so it is an investment, but it will certainly pay dividends in ride freedom.  Check out the stacks of videos about these tools on You Tube for all the info you need and the details are available on the One Up website here

Sahmurai Sword Tubeless Repair Tool

This will only be of interest if you ride tubeless (and please convert to tubeless if you can) but for sans tube riders this is an absolute boon.  We haven’t spelt Samurai wrong - this kit was developed by experienced rider Stefan Sahm and the kit looks like a sword - so you get where this ended up! Although that apparently the full picture, as S.W.O.R.D. in this case apparently refers to Super Wicked Original Repair Device!

Anyway, the Sahmurai Sword is a double pronged tubeless repair weapon that fits easily and securely into your handlebars.  On one side a tubeless repair plug can be pre threaded into the repair tool and the other end incorporates a reamer that allows you to prep the hole which will optimise the repair.  The kit comes with plenty of plugs and also features some very cool looking bar end logos.  We also the love the fact that a dangerous ‘weapon’ is stored securely.  A simple and clever idea. 

I should just say that there is a version 1 and version 2 of this tool.  I originally tried the first version (this is shown in the photo above) and after storing it in my handlebar for a few weeks, the first time I needed to use it the tool had got stuck in my bars.  Then, when I had to twist harder to remove it the locking mechanism snapped with part of it stuck inside the bars (which led to a very frustrating couple of hours trying to remove it!). So, I really can’t recommend the first version.  Luckily, there is now a version 2 and this addresses all the problems I had with the version 1 tool.  It is much more robust and has no moving parts in the locking mechanism.  I have had no problems with this model and recommend it highly.  The Sahmurai Sword kit costs £24.95 inc p&p and you can buy these in the UK from the really helpful folk at Cyclorise here

Tubo Lito Inner Tubes

Even when riding tubeless I carry a spare tube.  Having a tubeless set up has massively reduced the number of punctures I get, but they still do happen and there are some punctures that even something like the Shamorai Sword (above) can’t fix.  Normal tubes can be taped or strapped to your frame but they are relatively bulky.  I recently came across some tubes called Tubo Lito which reduce both weight and bulk while also possibly performing better than standard butyl.  

Tubo Lito tubes are made of a thermoplastic material that is said to be both stronger and more puncture resistant than standard butyl tubes and, while we can’t verify any of that, they certainly seem like they would get you home in good shape.  You can still strap them wherever you like but their low bulk also makes it possible to store one under your seat. For a single tube they are  expensive at around £23, but everyone we’ve shown them to so far has been impressed enough to think them well worth the money.  They are available in the UK here.

Genuine Innovations Air Chuck Elite CO2 Inflator

Carrying CO2 cartridges rather than a mini pump has considerable advantages....and some disadvantages.  It is quick and easy to use a CO2 cartridge and they are light and compact to carry (especially if you carry one in the One Up EDC listed above).  The disadvantages are that they are more expensive (once you have bought a pump there is no ongoing cost) and, of course, if you use them up mid ride you have no back up to get you home.  

But for shorter rides they certainly tick all my boxes.  There are loads on the market but the best I’ve come across is the Genuine Innovations Air Chuck Elite.  This little set up is compact, very controllable, quick to deploy and, given its quality and performance, great value.  For larger MTB tyres (27.5 or 29”) I find the 20 gram (rather than smaller 16 gram size) canisters do the trick.  These gems are available from various websites and cost about £20 including cartridges.

One Up Industries Gear Strap 

Lastly, I said there were five things but thought this could sneak in as you need some way to secure that Tubo Lito or CO2 cartridge to your frame.  For those bits that I can’t avoid strapping onto the outside of my bike I love the One Up xxx strap.  Sure, you can get away with duct tape or cable ties (releasable cable ties are great for this), but this simple neoprene strap grips like a Moray Eel and yet is gentle on your frame and very easily removeable. Details are again available on the One Up website here.  

Posted by Paul