Pannier racks are brilliant for ferrying gear on your bike, but they have a few drawbacks for roadies: they won’t work without specific rack mounts, they aren’t exactly quick to fit, and they’re overkill for some people.
Enter Tailfin, a Bristol-based startup that that has designed a new way of doing things. The project, which launched on Kickstarter this morning, makes lavish use of carbon fibre to reduce weight, it can fit nearly any road bike, and it’s described as quick to fit and remove.
Founder Nick Broadbend tells BikeRadar that he came up with the idea after experiencing “genuine cyclist pain at existing products either not fitting my road bike (no rack mounts) or looking terrible + the rack hasn’t been properly redesigned in 50 years. I wanted to take that challenge on!”
The Tailfin rack weighs just 275g – around half that of existing alloy racks – and ships with a custom-made quick-release skewer that has built-in mounting features.
Thus, it’s not compatible with thru-axles, at least for now. The rack is mounted to the bike by forming a stable triangle between the ends of the skewer and the seatpost. The seatpost connector is said to be carbon-friendly and designed to fit almost any size.
There are three colour options for the Tailfin rack: Pitch Black, Frozen White and Visible Carbon.
So why no thru-axle compatibility? Broadbent told us that there’s “no reason it’s technically not possible”. If his Kickstarter campaign reaches the £50k goal, then he’d like to do a stretch goal for a thru-axle skewer. Other stretch goals he’s considering are deep aero seatpost compatibility, and a clip-on mudguard.
The Tailfin system also includes dedicated panniers, sold separately, which weigh 600g – that’s a little over half the weight of Ortlieb panniers, for example. They contain a rigid backbone, to keep items stable in transit, and reduce any sway or swing whilst cycling.
Each pannier has a sizeable capacity of 24 litres, with the ability to accommodate even the largest 17inch laptop, if used for commuting. The pannier fabric is a high performance, advanced sailcloth laminate, making it very waterproof, durable and lightweight.
“Creating a light and elegant product was important, but it was critical that the product function was also better than existing racks and panniers,” comments Broadbent. “Fundamentally, I wanted to enable every rider’s journey to be effortless, by designing the most advanced rack and pannier system ever.”
So what’s the damage? Well the Tailfin system is available on Kickstarter now, with prices starting at £132 / $190 / €169 for the rack, and £45 / $65 / €57 for each pannier. If the campaign goers well then also considering launching an alloy version in future, costing around £80.