Are you looking to ditch your back-pack and carry more gear on your bike?
You’re in the right place … there’s now loads of ways to leave your pack at home and still ride with the gear you need.
Here are our favourite options for on-bike storage for your mountain bike.
We’ve been testing a selection of different on bike storage options to help you hit the trails without a pack.
In our experience there’s a few things you need to carry with you on most rides – the absolute basics are a multi-tool and some way of fixing a puncture. Beyond that you need water and you need a jacket for crap weather. The basics are fairly easy and there’s plenty of options to stash tools and pumps on your frame… The tricky part is getting that water on board and finding a waterproof, hassle free place for a jacket.
This round up is our pick of a few on board storage ideas that we’ve had good experiences riding and racing with. We’ve found that they all work in their own way and are best used in combination, depending on how much and what you want to carry.
Credit for this review goes to Wideopenmag test pilot Ben Plenge aka Mr Strength Factory Coach.
Specialized SWAT: Zee cage with EMT.
Zee Cage: £13.99 EMT tool: £40
Specialized were arguably at the forefront of the on-bike storage game with their SWAT range a few years ago. Standing for Storage, Water, Air, Tools, SWAT is all about innovative ways to ditch the back pack and whilst they seem to be primarily aimed at Specialized owners, many of the SWAT gadgets are really useful for the rest of us as well.
This basic and somewhat miniature multi-tool is probably one of the smallest on the market. It fits snugly into its own storage cradle which mounts to the bottom of SWAT compatible, Specialized bottle cages. It hangs below the bottle cage which will limit its use on some frames where the cage is mounted very low, above the bottom bracket. It is totally secure, and easy to access and didn’t rattle or ever come loose.
It features 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm allen keys, a T25 and slotted screwdriver head. Despite its size the EMT feels solid and well made and the anti-rust coating has done its job, keeping the tool looking brand new. It is fiddly to get the tools out if you have cold hands or gloves on, but once deployed they offer plenty of leverage for trail-side repairs. It doesn’t include a chain tool, but SWAT do make one that fits under your stem top cap.
- Small, light, easy access to tools.
Could be better:
- The additional £40 for the tool feels pricey
Specialized Henge Comp Saddle with Mountain Bandit Strap.
Saddle £79.99 MTB Bandit £17.
This is an under saddle inner tube and tool storage system designed to work with a range of SWAT compatible Specialized saddles. In this case we had the Henge Comp saddle with an RRP of £79.99, but you can pick up a basic Henge for only £29.99, lowering the barrier for entry for non-Specialized saddle owners.
The MTN Bandit securely carries a single CO2 canister, a tyre lever and a tube. The strap fastens to the base of the saddle with two allen bolts. The CO2 and lever then have their own elasticated compartments, keeping them apart and stopping any rattling. The tube is then held on by a chunky vecro strap.
Throughout the test the Bandit was totally secure and silent, keeping my spares handy and easily accessible. You could also store the CO2 inflator head on the canister, but I chose not to as it is right in the firing line of all the rear wheel mud and grit. The only other consideration is rear wheel clearance if you run your saddle slammed all the way down as the Bandit sticks out a bit and could get buzzed if you bottom out.
- Silent and secure storage
- Good price
Could be better
- Needs a compatible saddle
- Tube and kit get covered in mud from rear wheel
- Removable without tools.
- CNC’d from solid alloy.
- Stainless steel screw.
- Neoprene washer.
- Fits all tapered steerers.
- £27.99 RRP
- Via Gone Biking Mad
The Fork Cork is quite an innovative way to stash stuff in the bottom of your fork steerer tube. It is essentially an expanding rubber bung that you do up by hand with a small lever. I must admit I thought you would be able to fit more stuff up there, but your fork’s steerer tube taper does restrict what fits and how far up you can put stuff (lol).
In the end I kept my CO2 inflator head and my tubeless tyre repair kit up there, all wrapped up in a small plastic bag to stop it rattling. It keeps your kit dry and secure and it never rattled or fell out of the fork. The only problem I encountered was on one occasion when I wanted to access the kit I had stashed and I accidentally pushed the bag up inside of the steerer and out of reach. It wedged and had to be removed with long nose pliers when I got home.
My fault for being an idiot as the website does say to wrap them in a paper towel!
- Cool, quirky and low key storage for some small spares
- Should fit any tapered steerer
- Makes use of an otherwise redundant space
Could be better:
- Feels expensive for the amount of storage offered
All In Multi Tool
- Philips head, T25, and 3, 4 ,5, 6mm Allen keys.
- All parts replaceable.
- Built-in bottle opener.
- Fully customisable.
- 67.90 Euro
The All In Multi Tool is a bit different and feels really special. Almost like a small piece of highly functional, Italian art for your bike. The AIMT fits into the hollow axle of your bottom bracket, snapping into place via a strong magnet in its colour coded end cap. As well as being unique in the way it is stored, its operation is also a bit different as it is effectively a driver lever with a set of bits that slot into place.
Containing a Philips head, T25, and 3, 4, 5, 6mm allen heads it has most bike repairs covered. One of the great thing about the AIMT is the amount of leverage you can create, using the articulated head, it is kind of like a normal allen key, where you can spin it easily between your fingers to do it up most of the way, before using the longer lever to fully tighten it.
I have used it on a variety of cranks and it has never moved, rattled or come loose. The magnets are strong and it is actually pretty tricky levering it out of the Race Face cranks on my Cotic BFe test bike.
As cool as it is to use, it is missing a few essentials, like an 8mm allen head which many bikes still use for main pivot and crank bolts. Also, the driver bits have begun to rust which does not affect performance, but is a shame on an expensive piece of kit.
- Solid construction
- Innovative use of unused space
- Silent, secure storage
Could be better:
- A pricey alternative to your pocket
- You may still need to carry more tools elsewhere
- May not fit all cranks
Granite Design Rockband Carrier and Clever tool
- 45 x 3.2mm
- 33 grams
- Colours: Black, Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Turquoise Blue.
- Velcro attachment with grip surface.
- $6.99 plus $3 postage.
- Available via Wideopenmag
More than just a velcro strap for an inner tube, the Granite Designs Rockband has some nice additional features to make it more functional and versatile. Within the main strap it has another velcro loop that holds an inner tube in position, stopping it from unravelling as you fix it to your frame.
You can also fit a pair of tyre levers alongside the tube and even a CO2, or small multi-tool. It’s long enough to work with chunky carbon frames and is pretty versatile with where you mount it. I used it on my top tube, just behind the steerer and also on my down tube just above the bottom bracket, below the bottle cage. In both positions it remained secure as it has a small rubberised patch that grips your frame, preventing twisting.
The velcro is also very strong and stayed sticky even when wet and slightly clogged with mud.
The beauty of these is their versatility, offering a means of carry basically anything that you can strap on to any bit of your bike. We’d recommend using one alongside almost any of the other products in this group.
The Clever Tools is simple – it’s a pair of tyre levers that fit together and also work as a quick-link chain remover. They’re easy to use, tough and can be stashed in the Granite Strap without any hassle.
- It’s a bargain
- Secure and well made
- Different colours available
- The tool is neat, low cost and works well
Could be better:
- If you don’t want a Wideopen one, the postage time from Granite is pretty lengthy.
Syncros Matchbox Tailor Integrated Bottle Cage
- Nylon/glass fibre construction.
- 14 tools with chain tool.
- Adjustable mount.
- £39.99 RRP
The Matchbox Tailor from Scott’s in-house component brand, Syncros goes about storing a multi tool and chain tool underneath your bottle cage in a compact plastic cartridge. The storage compartment has two sections, the smaller of which holds a decent sized chain tool that also features a spoke key, and an 8mm allen key head.
Many multi-tool chain tools feel very small and fiddly in your hand, but the wide, flat design of the Scott tool means it has plenty to grip onto and makes it usable, even with gloves.
The second compartment holds a basic multi-tool that seems to be very specific to Scott bikes with its choice of tools. For instance it has a T15 as well as the normal T25 as Scott use this size for their Twinloc specific grips. The other thing that is very strange is the omission of a 6mm allen key which I only discovered when I went to remove the front axle on my Rock Shox Yari and discovered I didn’t have a 6mm.
This is something that will undoubtedly catch a lot of people out as nowhere do Scott list the actual tools in the multi-tool. Luckily, I soon switched to a fork with a QR axle and on my main, Merida 160 test bike I did not actually have any other 6mm bolts. Check your bike’s bolts before you buy.
The actual bottle cage sits out from the frame, making clearance tighter on some frames, and also meant I could only carry a small bottle on my Merida. To make it more versatile, it does have three possible mounting positions and the side entry cage works well at keeping your bottle secure and handy.
- Great price.
- Chain tool and 8mm allen included.
Could be better:
- No 6mm allen key.
- The cartridge gets gritty and can get stuck.
Blackburn Outpost Corner Bag
- Straps can mount to your frame in multiple locations for a secure fit
- Internal divider pockets means no rattling
- Weight: 130gr
- Capacity: .7 litre
- Water resistant material
The Blackburn Outpost Corner Bag makes use of that big empty space in your frame, filling it with almost a litre of storage. It comes with loads of straps and can be mounted back to front or upside down meaning that it’ll fit lots (although not all) frames.
The bag offers .7litre of space which seems to be enough for all of those puncture repair essentials and tools… or if you can find somewhere else for your inner tube can fit a small jacket, some snacks and your phone, keeping them all dry with its tough, water resistant material.
The Outpost Corner works well and the velcro straps mean that it’ll sit tightly into your frame without and rattling or moving around. Combined with something like the Granite Strap, it’ll let you carry a load of stuff on your bike and genuinely does help ditch your bag. It’s also quick and easy to swap between bikes meaning you can just throw it on the roady for your Monday morning commute.
We’ve found the Blackburn to fit most, though not all, of the bikes we’ve tried it on. Bikes with particularly chunky down tubes or a large section at the down tube and head tube don’t work.
- Makes use of dead space on your bike
- Keeps your gear dry and clean – so good for snacks and extra layers
- Works on loads of frame designs
- Great quality construction
Could be better:
- Not a universal fit … so may not fit chunkier frames
- Weather resistant
- Comes in various lengths and widths
- Works as tubeless tape
- £3 a roll
It’s sticky, you cut it to any length and it’ll attach to anything or anywhere. What more do you need?
We’re only half joking with this one… It’s super light weight, it costs less than £3 a roll and it’ll safely and securely strap literally anything to your bike frame from bananas to inner tubes to split links to cans of your favourite bitter. If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive solution that also doubles up as tubeless tape then, well, look no further.
- Cheap as chips
- Tough and versatile – attaches anything to anywhere
- Doubles up as rim tape, useful round the house, fixes stuff
Could be better:
- It’s just sticky tape… but what did you expect?