2016 trends: Tool integration takes center stage

Clever ways to keep your tools tucked away on (or in) your bike

Integration has long been one of the cycling industry’s cherished concepts. From integrated headsets and bottom brackets to seatpost and stems, it has seemingly all been done before (with varying degrees of success). But a relatively new and hopefully more useful take on the concept of integration was the SWAT system developed by Specialized. Short for storage, water, tools and air, the concept of SWAT is basically tidying up — incorporating the items we already ride with into the bike.

Other companies have taken notice and are developing their own improved methods for transporting ride essentials. Here’s a look at a few of the items that caught our attention at this year’s tradeshows.

Industry Nine MatchStix

All the bits you need can be housed inside industry nine's thru-axles. a plastic sheath keeps them from rattling around: all the bits you need can be housed inside industry nine's thru-axles. a plastic sheath keeps them from rattling around
All the bits you need can be housed inside industry nine's thru-axles. a plastic sheath keeps them from rattling around: all the bits you need can be housed inside industry nine's thru-axles. a plastic sheath keeps them from rattling around

Anybody remember Pedro’s Tülio? That quick-release axle tool took years to develop. By the time it was finally introduced, the industry had ditched quick-release levers for thru-axles. Now, wheel manufacturer Industry Nine has taken advantage of the oversized diameter of the thru-axle to devise a new axle-based multi-tool.

Enter the MatchStix, a thru-axle multi-tool with up to 10 functions. Industry Nine claims that the chain tool with bits and a quicklink plus the front axle is less than 25 grams heavier than a 15mm front Fox QR or Maxle. Even better, replacing front and rear Maxles with MatchSticks can actually save 20-30g, the company claims.

Industry Nine plans to produce MatchStix for Fox and RockShox forks in 100 and 110mm version. There will also be MatchStix rear axles for RockShox and Syntace X12 standards in 142x12, 148x12, 150x12, 157x12mm versions.

Topeak Ninja tools

Topeak has a trio of integrated tools that are housed stealthily inside your bike.

Topeak has a new line of integrated stroage called 'ninja'. here is part one of three, the ninja p pump that slides into a round seatpost (27.2, 30.9 or 31.6mm). it's designed for road users only: topeak has a new line of integrated stroage called 'ninja'. here is part one of three, the ninja p pump that slides into a round seatpost (27.2, 30.9 or 31.6mm). it's designed for road users only
Topeak has a new line of integrated stroage called 'ninja'. here is part one of three, the ninja p pump that slides into a round seatpost (27.2, 30.9 or 31.6mm). it's designed for road users only: topeak has a new line of integrated stroage called 'ninja'. here is part one of three, the ninja p pump that slides into a round seatpost (27.2, 30.9 or 31.6mm). it's designed for road users only

The Ninja P is a road bike pump that lives inside a seatpost

Third and final is the ninja c chain breaker tool. designed to fit into the ends of your handlebars, the two-piece tool offers a chain breaker, chain pin holder and 4mm hex key: third and final is the ninja c chain breaker tool. designed to fit into the ends of your handlebars, the two-piece tool offers a chain breaker, chain pin holder and 4mm hex key
Third and final is the ninja c chain breaker tool. designed to fit into the ends of your handlebars, the two-piece tool offers a chain breaker, chain pin holder and 4mm hex key: third and final is the ninja c chain breaker tool. designed to fit into the ends of your handlebars, the two-piece tool offers a chain breaker, chain pin holder and 4mm hex key

Have a broken chain? The tool you seek is within your grasp, literally. The Ninja C chain tool lives inside your handlebar

The second topeak ninja item is the 'tc8+', combining a water bottle cage with a mutltool that twists for easy access : the second topeak ninja item is the 'tc8+', combining a water bottle cage with a mutltool that twists for easy access
The second topeak ninja item is the 'tc8+', combining a water bottle cage with a mutltool that twists for easy access : the second topeak ninja item is the 'tc8+', combining a water bottle cage with a mutltool that twists for easy access

The Ninja TC8+ mounts to Topeak’s water bottle cage and offers 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5 and 6mm hex wrenches, along with a Phillips head and T25 Torx wrench

Ritchey Barkeeper levers

Like Topeak, Ritchey has sought to utilize the empty space inside handlebars. 

Ritchey has a new tire lever bar plug, ideal for slipping into the ends of a mountain bike-style handlebar: ritchey has a new tire lever bar plug, ideal for slipping into the ends of a mountain bike-style handlebar
Ritchey has a new tire lever bar plug, ideal for slipping into the ends of a mountain bike-style handlebar: ritchey has a new tire lever bar plug, ideal for slipping into the ends of a mountain bike-style handlebar

The Barkeepers are bar plugs that double as tire levers

Fix It Sticks

Fix It Sticks’ tools are nothing new.  However, the company is developing a bracket that behind a water bottle cage so they can be easily carried on your bike.

Fit it sticks is still developing its water bottle boss mounting bracket : fit it sticks is still developing its water bottle boss mounting bracket
Fit it sticks is still developing its water bottle boss mounting bracket : fit it sticks is still developing its water bottle boss mounting bracket

This Fix It Sticks mount will make them easier to transport

Bar Fly

It looks like Bar Fly is out to show the world that it’s more than just a computer-mount company — it’s an anything-mount company. One of the Bar Fly’s latest projects is a tool and storage carrier that mounts behind a water bottle cage. Unlike Specialized's SWAT system, which uses three mounting points, Bar Fly’s design works the two water bottle bosses on any frame.

Bar fly is developing swat-style mounts to hold all your ride essentials: bar fly is developing swat-style mounts to hold all your ride essentials
Bar fly is developing swat-style mounts to hold all your ride essentials: bar fly is developing swat-style mounts to hold all your ride essentials

Bar Fly is developing versions to hold tubes and CO2 and another version that carries a multi-tool

Fabric Chamber tool

Okay, so the shotgun-shell sized Chamber tool from Fabric isn’t currently integrated into anything, but it should be.

Fabric is owned by Cannondale’s parent company, Dorel Industries, so it's possible that Cannondale will figure out a clever way to stow this little multi-tool on future bikes.

The Chamber is about the same size and shape as a 16g CO2 cartridge, so there may be some homebrewed possibilities if you’re the type who likes to tinker.

Fabric's new chamber tool is begging to be integrated into a bicycle. the chamber comes in a ratcheting and cheaper, non-ratcheting version: fabric's new chamber tool is begging to be integrated into a bicycle. the chamber comes in a ratcheting and cheaper, non-ratcheting version
Fabric's new chamber tool is begging to be integrated into a bicycle. the chamber comes in a ratcheting and cheaper, non-ratcheting version: fabric's new chamber tool is begging to be integrated into a bicycle. the chamber comes in a ratcheting and cheaper, non-ratcheting version

The Chamber tool is a perfect candidate for integration

Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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