Monkii is an an innovative range from Cycle Miles; a small Hampshire based firm that is specialising in producing products particularly suited to adventure cyclists. I recently received three of their products to review; the Monkii Mono waterproof pack and the Monkii Mono cage, which can both be fitted to any tube with the Monkii Clip. Over the past month I've been trying them out and using them in different ways and I have to say they're pretty clever...
Those that have read my Comprehensive Lite-Touring Kit List blog will know that when you are touring you need quite a large saddle bag to fit in all the tools and spares that I have suggested. Cram it all into a saddle bag with straps and the straps will likely break, even on a good quality Topeak pack. Put it in your panniers and you can be sure that when you get a puncture at 8pm in the pouring rain, your spare tube has slipped down to the depths of your bag and is completely inaccessible.
The Monkii Mono provides a solution; a large waterproof case that can be mounted in multiple positions on the frame using the Monkii Clip system.
The Monkii Clip is a clamp system that allows any of the Monkii products to be mounted onto a tube or seat-post anywhere on the bike (as long as the tube is small enough and round). I chose to mount the Monkii Mono on the seat-post; this works well and although you can occasionally feel it on the inside of your leg if you are bouncing around a lot, it is largely unnoticeable, and certainly less obtrusive that many saddlebags.
The Monkii Mono will happily hold two or three road tubes, a large mutli-tool, two puncture repair kits, tyre levers, Brooks saddle cover and a few other small items. The Mono mounts to either bottle cage bosses or to the Monkii Clip through a slide-and-click system; this seems to be incredibly secure and is certainly a major improvement over straps on a saddle bag when you are carrying this much weight in a pack.
The Monkii Clip means that you could mount the Mono virtually anywhere on the bike; the logical place would be if you didn't have a second bottle cage to put it on the seat-tube; if you have bottle cage bosses this could be with the provided clip-on bolts, or if you have an old frame then you can use the Monkii Clip. The adaptability makes the product very versatile, and I have even considered using it on the top-tube or downtube, as a easy to grab bag that could replace a handlebar bag for lighter tours.
Overall the Monkii Mono combined with the Monkii Clip is a very useful piece of kit for those looking to increase their carrying capacity. You don't have to be a tourer to understand the virtues of having less stuff in your jersey pockets, and the Monkii Mono will mean that you can transfer the load safely and securely almost anywhere on the bike without noticing it.
Bike commuters out there will know the aggravation when that Thermos of hot coffee doesn't fit in your bottle cage. Those tourers out there will know how important it is to carry an extra bottle of water with you for when you are running low.Those with old steel frames will know the problem of not having a second bottle cage mount. Combining the Monkii Cage and the Monkii Clip could solve all of these problems.
I've been using the Monkii Cage for commuting; strapping in your Thermos you can securely take your coffee into work without fearing a spillage in your rucksack or pannier. The Monkii Cage may not be a perfect substitute for a standard water bottle cage if you are using standard water bottles, as when you pull the bottle "out" you take the whole cage with you using the of the slide and click system, meaning you have quite a handful. However, if you are using it to carry an odd shaped bottle, a flask or a large water bottle, it is perfect! It securely holds the bottle with rubber pads and a strong velcro strap. I didn't notice the flask rattling at all, which is a serious result, as this is what normally happens if you try to put a flask in a normal cage.
I can see that the cage will be very useful for touring as well; combine it with the Monkii Clip and you can mount a third water bottle anywhere on the bike; seat post, top tube or under the down tube, the options are endless.
I'm considering building up a fixie/single-speed in the summer to use for commuting and the Monkii Clip will save a lot of hassle drilling a bottle cage boss onto an old steel frame. For those looking for a simple, innovative and secure way of carrying extra fluid, the Monkii Cage provides and well designed and versatile solution.