As a road cyclist it’s all about carrying tools and gear efficiently for road side adjustments or repairs. The new Topeak Plug ‘n Tool Roadie is part of Topeak’s Stealth series and combines a tool kit and tubeless repair kit that slide inside drop bars. The Plug ‘n Tool Roadie retails for $64.95 and consists of two tools: a tubeless repair kit that goes onto one side and a 4 bit Allen set into the other. In terms of compatibility, the tools replace your bar plugs and require a minimum of 86mm length and an internal diameter of 18-21.2mm. The tubeless repair kit includes three 1.5 x 50mm plugs and an insertion tool. Both pieces of the tool include a clever ring pull knob with rubber rings to securely hold them in place and easily remove them from the bike.
The Topeak Plug ‘n Tool Roadie is a simple and clever way to carry Allen bits and a tubeless kit directly inside your drop bars.
|Rating||8.0 / 10|
|Measured Weight (in g)||20 (tubeless repair kit), 58 (tool kit)|
|Likes||+ Clever design|
+ Multiple functions in compact form factor
+ Secure mounting with simple rubber ring
|Dislikes||– Smaller outer diameter may expose edges of bar tape when installed|
|Where to Buy||Topeak|
The Topeak Plug ‘n Tool comes in a compact cardboard box with black and yellow graphics that match Topeak’s logo. Illustrations and specs are printed right on it along with a stealth series tag along the front. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Plug ‘n Tools w/ 17-19mm rubber ring installed
- Optional 18-21mm rubber ring
- Instruction manual
Topeak includes the extra rubber rings to provide a snug fit for larger diameter handlebars. They can easily be swapped in by spinning the knobs off the tool and sliding the rubber rings in place of the re-installed ones.
Installing the Topeak Plug ‘n Tool requires simply pulling off your existing bar-end plugs and sliding the tools in their place. The tools require a minimum of 86 mm to be fully seated so handlebars with sharp curves may not have sufficient space. We installed the tools onto our Specialized Tarmac which had just enough space and then adjusted the tension on the rubber ring until we had a snug fit. Rotating the out knob clockwise compresses the rubber and increases the diameter while rotating it counter-clockwise reduces the tension. One thing to note is that the outer diameter of the ring pull knobs is smaller than traditional bar plugs so it’s important to have a clean bar tape installation. For the best results, we recommend cutting your bar tape flush with the bar ends otherwise you may end up with a bit of an exposed gap.
FIT & FINISH
The Plug ‘n Tool Roadie is Topeak’s clever stealth tool that is designed to slide inside drop bars. It consists of two tools, a tool kit and a tubeless repair which each slide into each side of a drop bar. The tool kit is slightly longer and drives the 86mm insertion length while both have a similar diameter 18mm internal diameter. Both tools have an all black design with easy to use ring-pull knobs to insert and remove the tools. Branding is limited to Topeak logos on the outside of the knobs and Topeak printed on the bodies of the tools. The tools are constructed of a combination of plastic and metal which helps them achieve their light weight. It’s a slick design that’s quite similar to the other Stealth tools like the Topeak BB Hide ‘n Tool and blends in with your bike when installed.
The tool kit consists of four steel Allen bits: 4, 5, 6 and a 10 mm bit. Note, the 10 mm bit is the actual bit holder itself which is a clever detail and eliminates the need for a fourth separate bit. The other three bits are stored in a circular pattern along the body of the tool with a simple rubber band holding them in place. To remove a bit you have to slide the rubber band off and then pry the bit off. To use the bits, you simply install them into the angled tip at the end of the tool. The hinged design provides additional leverage to help tighten or loosen bolts. With only four sizes, the tool kit is only sufficient for basic repairs so we’d still recommend carrying a more complete multi-tool.
On the other tool you have a tubeless repair kit. It consists of an insertion tool and three 1.5 mm repair plugs. The plugs are inside the plastic main body which twists off the core of the tool. Once you remove the plugs you’ll expose the metal 1.5 mm tubeless insertion tool which can be used to insert tools into a damaged tire. It’s a simple design which seems to have some additional space for more plugs. Compared to the tool kit, the tubeless repair kit is substantially lighter and shorter as well.
ON THE ROAD
We installed the tools onto our Specialized Tarmac and replaced the standard compressing bar end caps. Both tools fit well on our drop bars and have a stealthy look when they are installed. Only those looking closely at the bike would even notice that we didn’t have traditional bar ends on the bike. Both the multi-tool and tubeless repair tools fit securely onto the bike and didn’t rattle or come loose even on roads full of potholes or light gravel roads. As a multi-tool, the four bit tool isn’t a true replacement for larger multi-tools like the Topeak Mini PT30 but it’s sufficient for basic step and seatpost updates. While we didn’t have any flats, the tubeless repair kit is sufficient for most roadside repairs and has plenty of room for additional plugs as well.
Overall, we found the Topeak Plug ‘n Tool Roadie to be a well designed and clever way to carry tools on a road bike. The simple design replaces traditional bar plugs and makes use of the unused space inside a handlebar. With a four bit multi-tool and tubeless repair kit, the Plug ‘n Tool makes it easy to stay prepared on a bike without having to carry additional tools in a jersey pocket or saddlebag. Although the four piece multi-tool is pretty basic, everything is well made and ensures you can always make small adjustments on the road. The main downside of the tools is that the smaller outer diameter of the tools is a bit smaller than traditional bar plugs and may leave exposed edges. That said, if you’re looking for a simple way to carry tools on a drop bar, the Topeak Plug ‘n Tool Roadie is a great way to do it.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Topeak. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.