We don’t know anyone who actually enjoys the hassle of packing a flat kit, especially when it comes time to cram the tube into the bag. Why is it that the bag always seems to be just a smidge smaller than needed? This inevitably leads to repacking the thing at least three times before everything fits like it should. This has become such a normal occurrence that we all just figure this is one of those “it is what it is” situations, so we just have to deal with it. Fortunately for us, the good people at XLAB thought there must be a better way.
XLAB Gear Box
The XLAB Gear Box Kit starts with the XLAB Gear Box. The Gear Box is a hard case designed to fit in your water bottle cage and is built to carry everything you need when a puncture threatens to end your ride. Split into two compartments to separate the tube from the other tools you need to complete your patch kit, the Gear Box features sound proof inner padding to help you forget it was along for the ride in the first place.
On the outside is an ‘anti-launch’ finish that performed just as advertised. We rode with the Gear Box in an XLAB Gorilla Cage and never had an issue with it shifting around. In fact, the biggest challenge we faced was quickly swapping it between bikes as it fit quite snug when fully loaded.
The Gear Box alone retails for $24.95
XLAB Gear Box Kit
For those looking for a virtual all-in-one solution, you can choose the XLAB Gear Box Kit, which fills an XLAB Gear Box with just about everything you will need. The Kit includes a Gear Box, XLAB Tri Tool Kit (more on that in a second), XLAB Speed Chuck inflator, two XLAB C02 cartridges (16 gram), a patch kit, and two tire levers. All you need to add is a tube of your choosing, and you’re all set.
The completed kit retails for $59.95.
XLAB Tri Tool Kit
The XLAB Tri Tool Kit is a multi-tool for triathletes by triathletes. It’s included in the XBOX Gear Box Kit, or you can also purchase one on it’s own for $24.95. The multi-tool includes six hex keys (2mm, 2½mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm), a T25 torx (Zipp users rejoice!) and a flat screwdriver.
A combination open wrench (8mm) and tire lever fits around the multi tool and is secured by a silicon band.
We have actually been riding with the Tri Tool Kit for a while, and it’s definitely come in handy more than once to tighten a loose bolt mid-ride. The handle itself gives you plenty of room to grip, and handling even fairly tight bolts have not been an issue.
XLAB Speed Chuck
The XLAB Speed Chuck inflator is a push-to-inflate inflator and, like the Tri Tool Kit, is a part of the Gear Box Kit or may be purchased separately ($22.95). Designed to fit both Presta and Schrader, the speed chuck allows you to easily control the rate of inflation and can fully inflate a tire in just a second (though we never felt the need to validate that claim).
We used the Speed Chuck on a number of occasions – both intentionally in the AeroGeeks garage, as well as out on the road. Our biggest issue with the speed chuck was that we had become so used to standard threaded inflators that we forgot about this inflator’s push-to-inflate design, so we kept having trouble understanding why it didn’t just work like it was supposed to. Luckily a fellow editor only laughed at us for a minute before they showed us the error of our ways and helped us get back on the road.
We will always be fans of any product that helps to keep us on the road longer. And when it comes to the XLAB Gear Box Kit, not only does it make packing of our flat kit easier, but it also lets us quickly swap it between bikes without messing around with Velcro straps. Needless to say, we’re sold. The fact that the Gear Box Kit also contained two great products—the Tri Tool Kit and Speed Chuck—is just icing on the cake. Whether you’re buying a new bike and need your first flat kit, or you’re looking to upgrade and simplify, make sure to take a good look at the XLAB Gear Box Kit. From what we’ve experienced, we doubt you’ll need to look much further.