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Topeak Tubi Pod tubeless plug kit review

Topeak’s tire plugging kit up is typically well made but why is everything so big?

Topeak Tubi Pod tubeless plug kit review
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Nicely made, but much bigger and more expensive than it needs to be and doesn’t even work well

Pros

  • +

    Very tough, nicely made cylinder case

Cons

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    Heavy

  • -

    Excessively long

  • -

    Worm plugs are too long

  • -

    Worm plugs are too thick

  • -

    Paper worm backing is a fight

  • -

    Air stop is top heavy

  • -

    Claw tool is too big

  • -

    Claw tool pulls the plugs out

Topeak describes this as “The minimalist’s tubeless tire repair kit” but either they’re being ironic or they somehow haven’t realized it’s absolutely massive and that oversizing actually causes more issues than it solves.

Design

The hard anodized alloy ‘pod’ cylinder is neatly ribbed and laser etched and it’s tough enough to stand on without getting squished but it weighs 27g just on its own. Once you’ve added the two screw-on knurled end caps with their opposing stopper plug and claw tools and the plug worms it weighs 60g and measures 105mm long. That’s half the size of some pumps and double the size of most puncture kits.

Topeak Tubi Pod tubeless plug kit review

As part of the kit you get a plugging tool, fork tool and some plugging worms (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Performance

It ‘needs’ to be that long because the three supplied plug worms are 100mm long, except that you’ll only ‘need’ a worm that long if you’re trying to repair a car tire. For even a DH tire half that length will do fine so it leaves a huge pair of rabbit ears sticking out of the repair. Not only does that make them much more prone to pull out, but they’ll also potentially flail against your frame and take the paint off. As the kit doesn’t have a knife to cut them down once inserted we’d suggest cutting them in half as soon as you get the kit. Why Topeak haven’t done that already is baffling though. So is the decision to only provide the biggest 3.5mm size of sealing worm. They also use a paper backing that’s really hard to peel them off without ending up with some of the paper coming with it and interfering with the bonding.

The pointy conical ‘air plug’ tool for sticking into the wound and stopping the leak until you get the worm into the claw attachment is a cute idea that’s worked well in its mini form on Topeak's best mountain biking multi-tool's that we’ve used. Unfortunately the heavy metal head on the Tubi Pod version means it often requires careful balancing to stop it falling over and pulling out which just adds an extra level of faff and stress. Having the two tools opposing each other in the tube is also the other reason the Tubi Pod is so long. 

Once you’ve dragged, squeezed and fought the fat worm into the big ‘robot claw’ insertion tool you’ll have to twist and rive it through the poor tire to get the oversized tool and fat worm into the hole. That means you’ll often end up with a much bigger hole - and therefore more significantly damaged tire -  than necessary. Because the fork split is so narrow and there’s no sloping of the inside of the claw it generally pulls the worm back out as you remove the tool unless you manage to hold it in place with the ‘air plug’. To be fair that’s an issue with most claw designs but the size of the Tubi Pod tool and the worms mean you’re likely to lose a lot more air in the process. 

Oh, and it’s really expensive too. 

Verdict

A quick search of other Topeak tool reviews on Bike Perfect will confirm we normally get on really well with the German brand’s gear but we can’t recommend the Tubi Pod. Everything about it is much bigger than it needs to be and it’s expensive too. More damningly not only does it often fail to seal your puncture without repeated dual tool juggling it ALWAYS leaves a massive hole in the tire even if you only started with a small one. 

Tech Specs: Topeak Tubi Pod

  • Price: $TBC / £31.99 
  • Weight: 60g
  • Colors: Black
  • Size: Too big

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg