Three Tool Rolls: Quick Review

Three Tool Rolls: Quick Review – by Guitar Ted

About a month ago we introduced three different tool rolls and discussed why you might want to go this direction with storage. With plenty of miles on each of the tool rolls here, I am ready to give my thoughts on what each one does best and what they don’t do so well. As a bonus, I will also have a quick look at KOM’s “Tube Strap”, which is even more minimalist than a tool roll!

The SILCA Seat Roll Asymmetrico as it sat on a bicycle laying against the ground
The Seat Roll Asymmetrico by SILCA

SILCA Seat Roll Asymmetrico: $50.00 Available online here.

This tool roll is from the traditional mold and – as was explained to me by SILCA – not really intended for gravel tubes or bigger items. (*Although their webpage claims otherwise) It is really for road use where you might have a 700c X 25mm tube folded up into the Asymmetrico. That did not stop me from trying a bigger tube though! By the way, SILCA indicated that they are working on a tool roll specifically for the gravel rider, so keep that in mind as I move through my points here.

  • Weight: 85 grams
  • Features: 2-Ply Ballistic Nylon Construction, Hypalon Outer Jacket, BOA®L-6 Closure, padded rail guard, and a *claimed tube capacity of 700 X 45mm
The Seat Roll Asymmetrico by SILCA laid open to show its interior pockets
The Asymmetrico’s fabric is flexible and slippery making it more difficult to roll up.

My Take: The Seat Roll Asymmetrico was definitely the smallest of the three tool rolls here and stuffing a 700c X 35mm tube into the central pocket was almost too hard to bother with. I managed it though, but with a tire lever and a CO2 cartridge and applicator I had the most difficult time wrapping the Asymmetrico and it really was not ideal. Paring things down to just a 700 X 28mm tube, a tire lever, and a bare CO2 cartridge worked far better.

This tool roll has no way to secure the fold over flap, and with the material being so slippery, it wants to squirm and move around more than I’d like, making this the most difficult of the three to pack and secure. On the bike, with the load pared down, it stayed on the saddle and the BOA® closure was secure enough. I thought the rubber pull strap for the lace was a bit silly looking and hooking that over its cleat was a bit more fidgety than with the KOM tool roll.

The KOM Seat Tool Roll as mounted to the author's bike
Guitar Ted was able to ‘over-stuff’ the KOM tool roll but this made it hard to roll up and get on the bike.

KOM Saddle Roll: $39.99 Available online here.

This tool roll was a little bit bigger than than SILCA and more accommodating to use because of that. It features KOM’s own ATOP ‘reel/knob lacing‘ closure system which releases with a slight counter-clockwise turn instead of a pull on the dial. KOM claims the Saddle Roll is made from water resistant materials to keep the elements out. Claimed tube capacity is 700c X 40mm.

  • Weight: 107 grams
  • Features: Three pockets, strong, non abrasive, and water resistant PVC coated nylon cloth wrap, ATOP lacing system for closure, stretchable outer Velcro attach style secure strap. Claimed capacity for 700c X 40mm tube, levers, multi-tool, CO2 cartridge.
Repair items lying on the ground which the author was able to put into the KOM Saddle Tool Roll
Guitar Ted was able to jam all of this into the KOM Saddle Tool Roll, but it probably is not recommended to do so!

My Take: This tool roll is a bit easier to wrap due to its fabric. The fabric is stiffer than SILCA’s is and therefore the flap doesn’t want to squirm around and become a nuisance when you are wrapping the KOM Saddle Roll. The capacity claim is a good one- but barely. I was able to put all that was claimed into this tool roll, but it could not be wrapped up without some difficulty. Moving to a smaller tube- a 700c X 35mm, in this case, made life a lot easier. Or one could ditch the multi-tool and get a bigger tube in there. At least the KOM Saddle Roll gives you those options.

I managed to squeeze in a tire lever, chain tool, multi-tool, a ‘real’ 4mm hex key for adjusting flat mount brake calipers, stem bolts, etc, a small bottle of lube, a bottle of Stan’s sealant, and a bit of extra 11 speed chain. This besides the tube itself. So, the Saddle Roll is amenable to a bit of over-stuffing. However; the pockets are deeper and harder to extract stuff out of. I found a squeezing motion from the bottom of the pocket to be effective when my fingers couldn’t reach something. The outer, stretchy security strap is a nice touch, but SILCA’s is wider, albeit not stretchy. I wanted both things. (Or an even better idea. See the Burrito Pack below) The ATOP system works great, but the strap across the seat rails is narrow and not nearly as nice as SILCA’s is.

The Topeak Burrito Pack as mounted to Guitar Ted's bike. The third of the compared tool rolls.
The Topeak Burrito Pack. The size of this pack may be an issue for some riders as it could graze the thighs in some instances.

Topeak Burrito Pack: $39.95 Found online at various outlets or at Bike Shops

The Topeak Burrito Pack comes at this storage idea from a completely different angle than the other two tool rolls. Being the largest tool roll of the three, it easily handles more items and larger volume tubes are no issue. This tool roll does not use a lacing system but the standard hook and loop style closure system. Topeak says this Burrito Pack can be attached to seat rails, seat posts, or frame tubing. Tube capacity is an enormous 29″ X 2.35″. (Note- 29″ is based on 700c diameter for comparison)

  • Weight: 91 grams
  • Features: Three compartments, polyethylene/engineering grade material used in construction, water resistant, cleans easily, stain resistant. Secure Strap attachment system.
Comparison between the SILCA Asymmetrico and the Burrito Pack tool rolls.
It’s all about the flaps- The Burrito Pack can hold so much due to its larger flap and hook and loop closure which the SILCA Asymmetrico (and the KOM tool roll) lacks.

My Take: The Burrito Pack easily takes the prize as the easiest tool roll to wrap and it has the most capacity. I liked the two stretchy security straps which loop over the Burrito Pack once you’ve folded it up. That seemed to be a better solution than the single strap idea the other two tool rolls utilized. Before you get there though, the flap which folds over your cargo has a hook and loop closure. This eliminates ‘flap-squirm’ and was a great feature which makes the Burrito Pack a lot easier to deal with when packing it up.

Okay- you either believe in hook and loop closures or you despise them because you’ve had a bad experience with them. But in my testing, the strap used to attach this pack to my saddle seemed pretty secure and it was easy to attach. This one became my favorite of the three simply because I could get everything I wanted into it without compromise. That said, it is pretty big. Almost too big, and I can see where the Burrito Pack might graze thighs in some cases. Bonus for the Burrito Pack: If you do some careful shopping, it can be had for far less than suggested retail making this the least expensive of the three as well.

At The Finish: Which tool roll would you take? The answer depends upon a few things. Do you believe in road traditions and will only take juust enough to get you by in a pinch? It is hard to deny that the SILCA offering is classiest and it is the lightest of the three. Not only is it light, but it holds the least, making you choose less stuff, and therefore wins the prize for minimalism. I really liked the single wide security strap, but I wish it was stretchy. The saddle strap over the BOA® strap was the better of the two that used a lacing closure system too. (Note: Hopefully the upcoming ‘gravel’ version will be even better.)

The KOM Saddle Roll is a great choice for those wanting to take a ‘little bit more’ than the bare minimum. It is still pretty lightweight, and the fabric it is made from is sturdier than the SILCA offering and thus easier to wrap. The ATOP closure is every bit as good as SILCA’s and I had no problems with the roll on the bike. The pockets are a little deep and narrow, making extracting certain items more of a chore. I also wasn’t enamored of the saddle strap which was narrower than SILCA’s and not as padded. The stretchy security strap was an awesome idea, but it too was a bit on the narrow side.

The Topeak Burrito Pack is by far the winner in capacity and ease of use. The idea for two securing straps which are stretchy is a better idea than one, and I felt this makes the Burrito Pack least likely of the three to drop any cargo. The Secure Strap attachment system is fine by me, but it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea from a security standpoint. Although I’m willing to bet it works as well and as long as a lacing system. Maybe not…. But I think it is an okay way to do this job. Size overall may be a problem in certain situations and – of course – this pack is maybe not totally onboard with the minimalist ideals. However; if you use a bike that has 45mm tires or larger? This is your best choice, just from the standpoint of the size of tube you can put in it.

The KOM Tube Strap with ATOP Dial as mounted to the top tube of the author's bike
The KOM Tube Strap can mount to a top tube, as shown, a seat tube, or seat post.

Bonus Quick Review: KOM Tube Strap: $29.99 Available online here.

If going really minimalist is an idea you are onboard with, it doesn’t get much more minimal than a simple strap attached to a seat tube or post with a tube, CO2, and a tire lever. I first saw this idea many years ago when racers would use a simple piece of duct tape and wrap a tube to their seatpost. Well, since then different takes have been offered on this super-minimal idea and here is another. The KOM Tube Strap w/ATOP Dial.

Like the KOM Saddle Roll, the Tube Strap uses a lacing/reel type closure with a counter-clockwise release click. The interesting thing about a tube strap, and this one is no different- You can put whatever size tube you want in there. Using a lace/reel closure means you can go from a roadie-sized tube all the way up to a 29″er tube.

The KOM Tube Strap mounted to the author's bike shown laying along a rural road.
The KOM Tube Strap allowed Guitar Ted to go sans seat bag so he could run the Redshift ShockStop seat post.

My Take: The KOM Tube Strap was used on my Black Mountain Cycles MCD and I put a 700c X 40mm tube in it along with a tire lever and a CO2 inflator and cartridge. All this was easy to get into the Tube Strap and then mounting it to the top tube in a space that was out of the way for me made it fairly unobtrusive. However; mounted to a seat post, I found it interfered with my thighs when pedaling. So that wasn’t good. Mounting it to the top tube was the best option then.

In fact, I never noticed it was there on the top tube at all during several rides, including a 100+ mile effort which took me over multiple types of terrain and very rutted out roads. All throughout, the KOM Tube Strap never budged and kept the cargo secure and safe in case I needed it.

At The Finish: When compared to the three tool rolls above, the KOM Tube Strap actually owns up to the minimalist ideal without making compromises in tube size. It also was super-easy to use, lightweight, and was the cheapest (at regular retail) than the three bags above. I am pretty impressed with its secure attachment and ability to accept a wide range of tube sizes yet still handle a tire lever or two with a CO2 inflator and cartridge. If I had to choose from everything I reviewed here, I would probably just grab the KOM Tube Strap and use it to make more room in a seat bag or top tube bag for something else I wanted covered up, like nutrition, clothing, etc.

Note: The Topeak Burrito Pack, KOM Tube Strap, and the KOM Cycling Saddle Tool Roll were sent to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. The SILCA Seat Roll Asymmetrico was purchased at retail from SILCA. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for these reviews and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

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Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004, he has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and backroad events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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4 thoughts on “Three Tool Rolls: Quick Review

  1. Thank you for the thoughtful review. I have personally been storing spare inner tubes right at the junction of the down tube and seat tube using a zippered top tube bag now for several years. I like having the inner tube separate from my tool kit because I have a few different bikes with different size tires, but I only have one tool kit. And as you pointed out, the inner tubes are one of the bulkiest part of any repair kit.

    I am curious what do you think about the long-term prospects of storing an inner tube exposed to the elements as with the KOM strap? I have always kept mine inside a zippered pouch. Do you think it’s necessary to protect the tubes from UV rays?

    Thanks
    Sam

    1. @Sam Placette – Thank you for reading this review! As for the tube exposure: While it is true that a tube can suffer damage from UV rays, I would think you would be removing that tube long before the damage done would render that tube worthless. Of course, there are extenuating circumstances, but generally speaking, I do not think this is an issue for most folks.

      In my experience, tubes generally end up getting scuffed by other objects to the point that they fail before UV light embrittles the rubber enough to cause a failure. So, my first concern would be for a periodical inspection of the tube in the tube strap to make sure that the other items wrapped up with it haven’t chafed a hole in that tube , or that mud and dirt haven’t done similarly.

      1. Makes sense. I think I will start using the tube strap in conjunction with a thin piece of fabric wrapping the tube to protect from abrasion. Thank you!

  2. I used a Silca roll briefly and returned it. On any bumpy terrain, the pack would flip over the Boa cables that secured it to the seat and open. After losing a couple of ice tools on the side of a dirt road, I returned the Silca tool roll. This was the only Silca product I have ever been disappointed with.

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