Crankbrothers BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit Review


Words and Photos by Travis Reill

Being prepared for common mechanical issues while on a ride is usually a lesson you only need to learn once. I discovered this a couple of years ago after a three-mile walk/push to my car after a broken chain on the trail. So, I’m always looking for ways to carry the essentials to ensure I can avoid simple mechanicals ruining the ride.

That initially meant throwing those items in my hip pack, before trying an enduro strap. More recently, I added a bike with frame storage and got to listen to the kit rattling around in there. All of these solutions worked, but I was still on the lookout for a better way.

I was excited when Crankbrothers sent over their new BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit. The kit has nearly everything needed on a ride, and is conveniently connected to a water bottle cage. If you are holding a water bottle, you might as well hold everything else you need too, right? Read on to find out if this is the ultimate solution for tool storage on your mountain bike rides.


• Bottle Cage Tool Set
• 18 Tools
• Left or Right Side Bottle Entry
• The Fully Decked-Out S.O.S Tool


  • Well Equipped

  • High Quality Throughout

  • Ditch The Pack


  • Major Clearance Issues


As you may have guessed, the “18” in the Crankbrothers BC18 tool kit refers to its number of tools. They are as follows:

  • 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches
  • t10 and t25 torx tool
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Tire plug kit with four plugs
  • Tire lever
  • Chain tool
  • Size 0, 1, and 2 spoke wrenches
  • Valve core tool
  • CO2 head

It is important to note that the Crankbrothers BC18 doesn’t come with a CO2 cartridge or a spare chain link. However, these were items that Crankbrothers considered during design, leaving space in the tool kit to carry them. The side-entry water bottle cage is reversible, allowing the opening to be on either the drive or non-drive side of the bike.

The bottle cage base mounts directly to the frame, with the tire lever clipping in directly down the middle. A groove on the backside of the tire lever holds the tire plug kit, causing the tire lever to be relatively thick at about 10mm.

Crankbrothers BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit

On either side of the bottle cage are brackets for holding a CO2 cartridge and the multi-tool. The multi-tool comes in a cylindrical metal tube, similar to Crankbrothers’ Cigar Tool Plug Kit. The top of the cylinder screws off and houses two of the four tire plugs, with the other two on the backside of the tire lever. A spring at the bottom of the cylinder pops the multi-tool up upon unscrewing the lid, and also keeps the tool from rattling around while riding.

The multi-tool comes apart into two pieces. The top houses the chain tool, CO2 head, valve core tool, and spoke wrenches. The spoke wrenches and valve core tool are conveniently labeled. All the other wrenches and the flat head screwdriver are held in the bottom section of the multi-tool. Rather than a separate fold-out 8mm wrench, a magnetic 8mm hex head lives on the inside of the multi-tool, enclosed by the other folding wrenches. Each wrench is around one inch long when folded out, offering limited leverage for the tightest bolts.

As far as weight, the Crankbrothers BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit comes in at 247 grams. A CO2 cartridge will add another 25g to the overall weight. If CO2 isn’t your thing, the drive-side clamp holds the Crankbrothers Klic HV pump. Crankbrothers also covers the BC18 with a five-year warranty, protecting your $99 investment for the long haul.

Crankbrothers BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit


Getting the Crankbrothers BC18 mounted is a bit tricky due to the reversible nature of the water bottle cage. This means one extra piece to hold, making working in an area with limited space more difficult. Since most full suspension frames are quite tight around the bottle cage area, it can lead to a few swear words, but it’s far from insurmountable.

The bottle cage firmly holds a water bottle in place, even in rougher terrain, but remains flexible enough that the bottle goes in and out with relative ease. The brackets on either side of the bottle cage also tightly hold their respective items. I never worried about losing the multi-tool or the CO2 cartridge. Not only do they fit rather snuggly into the brackets, but additional rubber straps fully clamp down each item so they won’t go anywhere.

While I thankfully didn’t have to use the tire lever or patch kit during my time with the BC18, I did get some use out of the multi-tool on a few occasions – mainly for trailside bolt checks. While the length of each wrench didn’t allow for much leverage, snugging up a bolt or two until I got a proper torque wrench on them was no problem.

I did have two main issues with the Crankbrothers tool kit. First, with the tool’s small size, it was difficult to get proper leverage, especially with the 8mm wrench. With that said, it is important to keep in mind that this is a trailside tool for trailside repairs. It is meant to get you back on your bike, not to replace a bike shop mechanic or your fully equipped tool box.

The other issue I had was the overall size of the Crankbrothers BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit. I found it to be too bulky for a lot of frame designs. The space in the front triangle on most full suspension bikes is already limited, and a bottle cage doubling as a tool kit is much bulkier than a traditional bottle cage. Simply put, it did not work perfectly on four of the five bikes I tried to attach it to. With the BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit on the bike, a bottle then wouldn’t fit. The Trek Fuel EX being the exception, thanks to its huge open space in the front triangle.

Smaller-sized frames with diagonally mounted shocks seem to be where you can have fitment issues with the BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit. The kit will roughly occupy 8.25 inches length-wise, with a 4-inch width when holding a full water bottle. While the cylindrical tool holder and CO2 cartridge stick out past the water bottle just a hair, they don’t hit your legs or interfere with pedaling in any way. It was the height of the BC18 when holding a water bottle that was an issue. With a bottle, the kit is about 3.5 inches tall, which is about a quarter of an inch taller than a regular bottle cage.

It can be difficult to measure the bottle cage area on your bike to see if the BC18 will fit. My recommendation is to make a jig: grab some tape and cardboard to make a rectangular box 8.25 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 3.5 inches tall. This will give you a good visual of the clearance you’ll have around the water bottle.

The other bikes I tried it on either didn’t have enough room for the water bottle to fit, or the shock would knock the bottle out. These were all medium-size frames, so a larger frame, or a hardtail may not have the same issues. Some of them may have benefited from slightly different bottle cage boss positioning, so an adaptor to shift the location of the BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit may have helped matters slightly, but it’s not ideal.

The Wolf’s Last Word

I really like the Crankbrothers BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit. It holds bottles, tools, and air cartridges firmly and provides peace of mind, knowing you can handle common trailside mechanicals. However, due to its bulky size, it may only fit on a few mountain bikes. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it, but I would ensure it fits my frame first.

Price: $99 / €99
Weight: 247 grams (without co2)

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