ToPeak Ninja 16+ Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightest in the test, small, durable
Cons: Mediocre ergonomics
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Our Analysis and Test Results
ToPeak targets weight-conscious cyclists with the Ninja 16+, but we found it capable and versatile enough that it would make a great tool for any rider. While it isn't the most fully featured model in ToPeak's line, it still packs 16 functions in its tiny body. With its carbon fiber reinforced polymer frame and chrome steel tools the Ninja 16+ will have you covered for the majority of your trailside issues and will go unnoticed in your pack or jersey pocket for the rest of your ride. Our testers were excited to try out this enticing little package, and it quickly became a favorite for its feature-packed, lightweight, and easy-to-use nature.
The 16-function Ninja 16+ impressed us with its capabilities. Packed into its small frame are all of the common hex sizes and then some with 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm wrenches. Also included are 3 Torx wrench sizes with T10, T15 and T25, #2 Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, a chain breaker, a chain holder, and 14G and 15G spoke wrenches. These tools represent everything you need to conquer basic repairs in the field. You will not often encounter a situation in which this tool won't be able to solve your mechanical issue.
With such a lightweight focus, the Ninja 16+ is outstripped in its capabilities by a few other tools that we tested. For those who aren't as concerned about counting grams, ToPeak makes the Mini 20 Pro which boasts the most features of any tool in our test at 23. The Pedros Rx-Micro-20 and Lezyne RAP-21 C02 also pack 20+ functions each, but come with a weight penalty of 67 and 101 grams respectively when compared with the Ninja 16+. Among tools in our test under 110 grams only the OneUp EDC can claim more features than the Ninja 16+, while the Lezyne V10 and the Specialized EMT Pro come up short at 10 and 13 respectively.
Despite its small size, the Ninja 16+ held its ground in the ergonomics department. At just over two inches long and one inch wide, it was the smallest tool in our test, but the length was just enough to fit comfortably in the palm when tightening or loosening a bolt. When applying torque, there are a few places where the tools attached to the sides of the frame create pressure points on the hand, but for the most part, the smooth polymer is easy to grasp. The chain tool is also well designed ergonomically with a textured spinner that can be threaded in and out by hand and a 4mm hex head to apply torque when breaking a chain. The removable 4mm L-type hex wrench you use in conjunction with the chain tool isn't quite as long as we would like but allows you to apply the necessary torque to break a chain.
The size of the Ninja 16+ means the tools themselves are slightly shorter than some of the other models we tested. Despite this, the small tool can still get to bolts in hard to reach places, and the 8mm hex wrench is long enough to reach crank bolts and pivot axles that are often recessed. The Ninja 16+ also has a removable 4 or 6mm hex socket that fits into the end of the 8mm wrench and creates a much longer, more leverage-friendly tool. If you're looking for a tool with longer wrenches, you may want to take a look at larger models like the Blackburn Tradesman and the Crankbrothers M19. Among the lightweight tools in our test under 110 grams, the Specialized EMT Pro ranks best in ergonomics but also has three fewer functions and weighs 13 grams more than the Ninja 16+
ToPeak designed the Ninja 16+ with lightweight portability in mind, and they hit the nail on the head. At 93 grams it is the lightest model we tested, and a rider can easily slip it into a jersey or bib pocket to forget about it until it's needed. The tools fit well into the compact shape of its frame and don't create any awkward bulges like the Lezyne RAP-21 C02. We aren't exaggerating when we say that the Ninja 16+ is barely noticeable in a pocket or a pack.
Among tools we tested the Ninja 16+ sits at the top of the portability rating. Only the tools that mount on your bike, the OneUp EDC and the Blackburn Switch Wrap, ranked in the same class in this metric, but the Ninja 16+ outstrips both of those tools in other areas. The OneUp EDC scored relatively low in ergonomics and is difficult to transfer between bikes, and, while being very portable and convenient, the Switch Wrap is not as fast or easy to use as the Ninja 16+. Riders looking for a traditional multi-tool will find that the Ninja16+ is the most portable in our test. It is also compatible with the ToPeak Ninja Toolbox T16 that mounts to the bottom of certain ToPeak bottle cages.
Ease of Use
Out on the trail, the Ninja 16+ is simple and quick to use. Following a traditional multi-tool design, the layout is easy to understand visually, and the tools are readily identifiable. Many of its harder to identify tools are labeled, so you can quickly find what you're looking for. The Ninja 16+ is ready to use as soon as you pull it out of your pocket or pack and makes a great tool for rapid mid-ride setup adjustments. The removable L-type 4/6mm hex socket keeps this tool from ranking among our top scorers in this metric. The 4mm wrench is one of the most commonly used on any bike, and having to pull out the small L-wrench every time you need to use it isn't ideal. Additionally, removable pieces are one extra thing to keep track of when performing a trailside repair and are easily lost.
While the Ninja 16+ rated as one of the easiest tools in our test to use, a few tools we tested edged it out. The Specialized EMT Pro has a classic multi-tool design with each tool clearly labeled, and its only removable bit is the not-often-used Phillips head screwdriver. Other tools that rated highly in ease of use include the Unior Euro17, the Pedros Rx Micro-20, and the Blackburn Tradesman, but each of these tools weighs at least 70 grams more than the Ninja 16+.
We initially had questions about the durability of the carbon fiber reinforced polymer body of the Ninja 16+, but our concerns were largely dispelled once we got our hands on the tool. When reinforced with carbon fiber, a thermoplastic polymer like that of the Ninja 16+ has a very high strength-to-weight ratio, but can also fail with fatigue over a long period of time. We worried that if the frame of the tool flexed or twisted during use that the material would fatigue and fail quickly. Unlike the plastic frame of the Euro17, however, the Ninja 16+'s body is incredibly stiff, and we couldn't detect any movement when applying high torque to the tool. Based on this and the lack of wear on the tool's chrome vanadium steel wrenches throughout the testing process, we're very confident in the Ninja 16+'s longevity.
The Ninja 16+ is our highest scoring tool in durability with a non-metal frame. It's on par with full-metal construction tools like the Crankbrothers M19 and the Blackburn Tradesman. These tools are all built to last, but the Ninja 16+ does it at a much lower weight cost.
With a $35 retail price tag, we think that the Ninja 16+ offers a lot of value. It is the lightest tool in our test while rating highly in versatility and durability. All of that for a price that falls right around the median of all the models we looked at is difficult to pass up.
Our testers thought very highly of the Ninja 16+. With an incredibly lightweight design, 16 useful functions, an intuitive layout, and quality construction, we would recommend this tool to any cyclist.
— Zach Wick