Tailfin is the brainchild of Nick Broadbent, whose aim is to improve luggage carrying for modern bikes. Existing options include rack-mounted panniers and frame-mounted bikepacking bags, but racks can be fiddly to fit, require tools and are usually left in place, while bikepacking bags don’t suit every purpose and seatpacks often sway.
Tailfin’s T1 rack, with its gracefully bowed monocoque carbon fibre spar, resembles an extra pair of stays, and fits any bike without rack mounts that has a rigid rear end.
It attaches with three clamps, two of which fix on to 8mm pegs, which project from each side of the relevant Tailfin quick release or thru-axle.
Alloy clamps at the end of each leg hinge open to wrap around the pegs and close like latches, secured with a spring-loaded pin. Opening the clamp takes a firm squeeze to release the pin, so two anti-theft bolts are supplied for security-conscious riders.
The third clamp sits at the end of a slim aluminium arm that pivots at the spar and attaches via a rubber-lined bracket and one of two rubber straps to the seatpost, even aero seatposts. Once the axle is in place, the rack can be fitted and removed in around 20 seconds.
The luggage mounting system needed an equally bold approach and Broadbent designed a modular system that accepts Tailfin’s panniers, and by adding the supplied extender bars, will carry any competitor pannier too.
Tailfin’s SL or UD panniers have an alloy twin clamp system operated by a cam lever, which locks them firmly in place on the two short 16mm diameter alloy tubes on each side of the spar. An adjustable lower hook also fits snugly over a rubber-topped section of the spar for security.
Both 22-litre pannier options are made from nylon coated with Hypalon synthetic rubber, are 100 percent waterproof and can carry 9kg maximum.
The UD has an external pocket, weighing 150g more than the SL’s 825g, including hardware. The T1 rack is 388g and QR skewer 72g.
Tailfin panniers come with shoulder straps and can also fit on standard racks (a rack and pannier package costs £319).
Compared to conventional rack and pannier setups, Tailfin’s overriding feature is the lack of rattles and wobbles. Even when loaded, it’s totally solid.
On a relatively short wheelbase road bike, heel clearance is impressive and as nothing touches the frame, it’s safe for carbon steeds (check your rear wheel is suitable).
Although a laden bike still affects riding dynamics, there’s no pendulum effect and it is possible to ride out of the saddle with the bike feeling almost as nimble as before. It’s so easy to forget you have panniers that I had to regularly check to remind myself that I did.
T1 Carbon Pannier Rack: £249
SL Super Light Pannier Bag or UD Ultra Durable Pannier Bag: £89 / $115 / AU$165