JET Roll XX: Quick Review- by Guitar Ted
The market for bags and how you can carry stuff in those bags on your bicycle has expanded to the point that the idea of minimizing what you carry has almost been lost. Putting frame bags on and stuffing them with all manner of gear has been the fashionable thing to do these days. However, “traveling light” has its advantages in some situations, and maybe none more so than when racing. However; minimizing your kit can also simplify your rig, make it easier to ride, and in the end, it makes you focus on what you really need to have. In the case of JET, even their name (Just Enough Tools) makes the point with a clever acronym. The JET Roll XX is just one of the many variations on the theme of minimizing your kit that we got to try out. Here’s how it worked out for me……
I wanted to take the purpose of the JET Roll XX- that being that it was good for gravel road adventures in rural areas- and see if it would help me to refocus my kit, make it more efficient, and also more stylish. Before I get to where I am with regard to those points and the JET Roll XX, I think we should look at where I was coming from.
Here is a look at my Twin Six Standard Rando in the “before” mode. (Image Right) I have used a Topeak Aero Wedge bag for years to house everything I needed to have for repairs on long, remote rides on gravel roads. I typically would carry a tube or two, tire levers, chain breaker, bits of chain and quick links, a multi-tool, wet wipes, spare derailleur cables, a patch kit, and a small pair of locking needle nose pliers. There were times I also had a small mini pump in there, but I typically will take a frame pump instead. I do that for several reasons. I don’t like the idea of CO2 cartridges, and I use frame pumps because they take less effort to use. Plus, in case of angry dogs, you have something to fend them off with. But I digress…….
This was my kit before the JET Roll XX. The conundrum was how I was going to pare things down to get it all inside the roll and not leave anything I deemed to be “necessary” behind. The term “necessary” is going to be defined differently by most of you reading this in terms of repair kits. Please keep in mind that this review of the JET Roll XX is centered around what I deem as “necessary”, and that your definition of that may affect how you see this product in the end.
Here we see all the stuff I was trying to get into the JET Roll XX. Well, not the cup of coffee! But this is most of what I was packing. Much of the stuff was in a Lezyne tool bag, and as you can see, everything else was just kind of slammed in there any ol’ way I could manage it. It wasn’t efficient, necessarily, because when I did need anything, I pretty much had to remove the entire contents of the bag to find stuff. Plus, as you can see, the entire works isn’t very stylish at all. Functional? Yes, in a way it was very functional, but it was ugly for sure!
The nice thing about the JET Roll XX is the pockets and how it helps you compartmentalize everything you are taking with you. The other thing a tool roll does is that it lays everything out right at your finger tips. The very nature of the design makes it so that everything is available, and “digging” into the main compartment of a saddle bag is not necessary. Finally, you don’t have to utilize the JET Roll as a standalone bag. You could use the tool roll as a handy way to move your basic tool kit from a frame bag, hydration pack, or commuter messenger bag, for instance. You could make one tool kit self contained for your entire fleet of bicycles. That really cannot be done with a saddle bag.
In the end, it is how it functions that really matters. So, was I able to pare down my kit to work within the JET Roll XX’s confines? Mostly, yes. I did have to leave out the bulky locking needle nose pliers, which honestly, I probably would rarely use. The JET Roll XX already comes with a glueless patch kit, so my bulky Remo patch kit was left out, as were my large Maxxis tire levers, because the JET Roll already had two tire levers in it. Okay, so I got all that wrapped up and fitted to the bike’s saddle rails using the All City double track strap. So far there have been no issues with this tool roll coming loose or dropping off the bike at all. It is, in fact, a rock solid way to carry my emergency repair items. Now, what about when one has to use the tools? How did this compare to a saddle bag?
To find out, I ended up doing a mock repair stop, since I never had an issue with a mechanical during the test period. (Now I’ve jinxed myself!) I stopped, removed the JET Roll XX from its straps, and laid it out as if I were going to do a repair. It takes no longer than getting stuff from out of a saddle bag, and actually, it is probably quicker. Well, it is quicker if you know the trick to using those old school toe straps. The act of pulling on the loose end while having them threaded through the buckle correctly will actually release the buckle and loosen the JET Roll XX so you can remove it and lay it out on the ground. This makes a mini workstation no matter where you find yourself. Tools and parts can be laid on the tool roll so you won’t lose anything.
Having everything in its place also speeds up repairs and keeps you cool when you are under stress. There is nothing like the gasket blown when you can’t find your chain breaker when you really need to find it, as an example. Organized tool rolls really are easier to work from in that regard. Speaking of speed, you don’t even have to replace the JET Roll XX back under the saddle if you are in a big hurry. Due to its self-contained design, replete with a button closure, you could just as easily pack the JET Roll XX into your jersey pocket, hydration backpack, or in a frame bag. This would even speed things along more, if time is a factor.
Even if time isn’t a factor, the JET Roll XX can be tossed into any bag or pocket helping to cut down on multiple tool kits for different bikes. As stated previously, you could pop the JET Roll into your daily commuter rucksack, then toss it into your hydration pack for a quick trail ride, or strap it on underneath the saddle on your road bike for that stylish, minimalist look. One JET Roll could serve as a tool pack for your entire fleet of bikes.
At The Finish: The JET Roll XX has a lot to like about it if something like an organized tool roll makes sense to you. That said, it is $70.00. One could buy a couple, or a few, saddle bags for that much. However; when you consider how many times you’d have to replicate your tools, or how often you may have to swap tools around, having a modular, self-contained, moveable set of tools maybe starts to make more sense and that price doesn’t look quite so big.
Style is important to some and the tool roll has style points galore. The JET Roll XX fits the model and updates it with true functionality and features that set it above the old school ways. It really is an improvement. Some may decide that a “simple strap” is all they need, but on gravel, I’d rather have an enclosed roll to keep out the dust, dirt, and grime from my repair bits. Plus, the ability to take the tool roll off and move it to another bag, or into a jersey pocket, is a step above such minimalist tool/tube carrying straps. Whether or not you see the value in the JET Roll XX is a question to consider. However; in terms of the genre’, JET has made the JET Roll XX a top notch choice in the minimal tool carrying category.
NOTE: JET sent over the JET Roll at no charge to RidingGravel.com for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.