Packing Guide – Our Gear Laid Out For You


In 2019 we redesigned the Tailfin range to accommodate more riders, more styles and more bike adventures, but with all the choice now available it does pose the question – “which bikepacking setup is right for me?”

Here we show how our products work can with your weekend jaunt, round-the-world adventure, and your daily commute. Kit lists are given at the bottom of the page.


Which Rack?


Our racks are split very simply between those with side pannier mounts (X), and those without (S). The type of pannier rack that is made for you depends almost solely on its intended use, whether you’re riding for the weekend, or off for months completely self-supported. This blog gives some examples of the ways our racks can be used in different bikepacking scenarios.


Weekend Trip

1-3 days with hotel accommodation


Our S Series Racks and AeroPacks are not only designed for multiday, self-supported race events like the TCR. They’re also here for the club rider wanting to carry a few extra things extra on a Sunday ride, or the weekend warrior aiming to get from A to B with a little extra comfort and ease.

The AeroPack S is the lightest and most robust of our options due to the design of its integrated rack and top bag. The S Series Trunk Rack allows you to remove the Top Bag from the rack, trading a slight weight and price increase for added versatility. 

Below we see the AeroPack Carbon S filled with typical weekend essentials, for trips when the accommodation is waiting for your arrival at each stop, and camping is not on the agenda.


The added versatility of having a top opening bag also gives you the opportunity to pack down further when you’re only taking a few items for a day out, like a rain jacket or bike lock for example.


Lightweight Bikepacking

1-3 days completely self-supported


When you’re heading out with plans to sleep under the stars, the gear that you need to take can really mount up. Being able to carry it all behind you will increase your comfort levels on the ride, and the streamlined nature of the pack will even save you watts of power – really, it makes a sizeable difference (see our article ‘Do aerodynamics matter in bikepacking’ for more on that).

Racks that don’t have side pannier mounts can limit your carriage abilities, but with 20 litres of capacity in the Trunk Top Bag, you may find that this is plenty enough to suit your needs. Below the AeroPack Alloy S shows how it can easily pack away a change of clothes, a bivvy bag, and few extra essentials, without bulking out your riding position.



Longer Bikepacking/Touring Trip

More than 3 days, completely self-supported


Bikepacking/touring can mean different things to different people, from around-the-world tours, to long weekends in the countryside. Put simply, it’s when you need to carry more things than your normal topbag/frame bag will allow. Whether that’s because you’re heading out for a long trip and are aiming to be completely self-sufficient on your bike, or are simply looking to travel with a bit more luxury.

The X Series Pannier Racks have side pannier mounts and a removable top bag giving you ultimate space and versatility. The AeroPack X Rigid Seat Packs have the same side mounts but includes an integrated Top Bag, reducing weight and cost. 

The Trunk Top Bag has a 20 litres capacity, and each side pannier has 22 litres each side, giving you a massive 66 litres of available space in total, and 27kg of weight capacity to play with. Below, the X ONE Pannier Rack with SL22 Side Panniers, and the Trunk Top Bag. Enough gear to keep you going long-distance, without adding crazy-amounts of weight and bulk to your ride.



The Daily Commute


For those lucky enough to travel to work by bicycle, a decent pannier rack can make the journey a lot more fun. I should only need to mention the decreased weight burden on your spine and back muscles, and alleviation of ‘sweaty-back’ caused by rucksacks. Plus, our pannier racks fit all bikes, so you can travel to work on the bike you love.

The X Series Pannier Rack has the capability to carry one or two side panniers, with or without the Trunk Top Bag, giving you ultimate versatility for whether you carry a little or a lot when traveling between home and work. Below is the X THREE Pannier Rack with UD22 Ultra Durable Side Pannier.


Which side bags are best?


Our racks are compatible with pannier bags you may already own, you’ll need to add the third-party pannier adaptors to your order. Our bags though, as designed to work in harmony with the Tailfin racks, the stop-action cam lock system on the spine of the bags is the reason we guarantee a rattle-free ride when you use our kit.


SL22 Super Light or UD22 Ultra Durable?


The difference between the two bags is subtle, to begin with; both have been ultrasonically welded and so are 100% waterproof, and the capacity of the two is the same at 22-litres.

The distinction we make really is that the SL22 Super Light pannier bag is one of the lightest panniers on the market weighing in at 650 grams, and is designed for those who travel fast. The UD22 Ultra Durable pannier bag is the more robust of the two. Constructed with thicker, tougher walls, its Hypalon construction means it will stand up to more of a rough ride. It’s suited to those who want to take their ride off-road, it also features a waterproof external pocket, and weighs in at 800g. 



A Rack For Every Adventure…


There is a reason the X Series Pannier Racks are our best sellers. Versatile enough to be used in all situations, they allow you to do almost everything you want on the bike you love the most.

Up to 66 litres of bag space ensure you have all the capacity when you need it, removable side panniers and top bags allow you to travel light when you don’t.




For more on the different products we’re producing, check these articles out:

Tailfin Product Guide

Tailfin in 2019 – Designing the New Range



Tailfin Talks To… Chris Hall


Chris Hall is a London-based cyclist. His love for huge (and, some might say, slightly unhinged) challenges for charity – such as 107 for 107 – brought him to the attention of the cycling community both in London and via social media. From there, Chris moved to long-distance cycling rides and races, including National 24, the Silk Road Mountain Race, and an epic trip across Australia. We caught up with him to talk to him about his cycling adventures and post-lockdown plans.


How did you get into cycling?

I always used to cycle as a kid, mainly MTB and just general mucking around off road with a bit of BMX. But I stopped when I was a teenager to play rugby. I then managed to absolutely destroy myself playing rugby (I wasn’t exactly the tallest prop out there) and that became the end of that career. I ended up putting on a lot of weight, I was about 120kg at my biggest. Cycling then became a way for me to get to and from university when I was studying, simply because I was skint. I bought a second hand bike that was a few sizes too big for me and that rekindled that child-like love again. 


Let’s talk about 107 for 107 (107km for 107 days). Was that your first ‘major’ challenge or had you done any crazy stuff before that?

107 for 107 wasn’t the first ‘challenge’ I had done, but it’s probably the most well known. I cycled 107km every day, through the winter whilst balancing a full-time job. I was getting up around 4am to go and ride before work, filling myself up with coffee and doing a shift (back then I worked as an architect). That early start became later and later as the week went on and I ended up having to ride more and more distance in the evening. It was tough; it’s probably still the hardest thing I have done.

I did it in aid of the PACE Centre, a charity for 107 children with motor-based disorders such as cerebral palsy. It’s a charity that’s incredibly close to my heart. I guess the first big challenge I did was actually cycling around London’s Richmond Park for 24 hours, which was also for PACE. 



Did that kickstart the next phase of your riding?


After 107 and the 24 hours in Richmond Park, I learnt that I was pretty good at going long, dealing with the pain, and had the stamina to do these things. So next I had a crack at the National 24 in 2017. I pulled out: I got pneumonia as the weather was absolutely horrific, around minus 3 at night in July (Wales can be horrible in the summer I learnt). Later on, I ended up getting shingles, which is effectively severe nerve damage and chronic fatigue which took me months to get over.

By that point, I had quit architecture and was working for Jam Cycling. I guess in the years that followed, I wanted to try and see if I could find my limit. I’ve maybe hit the physical one once or twice but not through my own doing. I’ve had some incredibly unlucky crashes but I definitely haven’t found that mental limit yet.

In 2018 I did the National 24 again, coming eighth and breaking the Under 30 British record. I then headed out to Kyrgyzstan to do the Silk Road Mountain Race, which ended up with me crashing off a mountain and breaking that bike!



In 2019, I was back to the National 24 with another top 10 finish, breaking the Under 30 European record. Then Australia came. That trip was more for fun, with my mate Francis and I exploring a country I absolutely love. I’m keen to go back and see more. Although it was 20 days of riding from Perth to Melbourne (look it up on a map… it’s HUGE) there’s still so much more to explore there. I guess it was a natural progression to keep pushing myself and keep some focus and momentum going forward. Selfishly I like the pain and I love inspiring others to try new things. The messages of support and kind words regularly blow me away and I feel unbelievably lucky. 


What appeals to you about these kind of long distance rides and races?


They are slow enough for me to be competitive! Ha ha I joke! I always just think seeing a new country is a part of it. Plus they are epic. The whole challenge scares me a lot of the time. What’s the point of doing things if it doesn’t scare you. That’s why I challenge myself. To scare myself and give these things my absolute best.



What’s your bike and kit set-up?


I’m now sponsored by Cervélo, who have kindly kitted me out with pretty much everything a cyclist could ever want! I have an S5 and an R3 for shorter, more ‘normal’ races, a C3 for more bikepacking style races, an Aspero which will be for gravel races going forward (it’s being built up at the moment and I can’t wait to see it!), and a P-Series TT bike. They have always been my favourite bike brand and it’s flipping cool to work with them. All of my bikes are kitted out with Shimano groupsets and PRO components.

For bike packing I use a real mix of different things. When I rode across Australia, and for the Atlas Mountain Race, I was riding a custom-made WyndyMilla bike kitted out with Shimano and PRO Components and a Lauf fork. What I like about the Tailfin is the size of it: it is a lot larger than many of the other packs out there and also feels so much more stable compared to many others I have tested in the past. 


Do you pack a little or a lot? What are your essentials? How do you decide what to take with you?


I try to pack as little as possible but I always end up bringing more than I need. Some of my essentials are a solar-powered charger, toothbrush, and toothpaste, sun cream, a Wahoo ROAM bike computer (and a spare ELEMNT, just in case). I usually take a jar of peanut butter for the tough days, as I love the stuff and it’s a great treat in case you can’t get it. 


How are you managing riding during the Covid-19 lockdown? 


I’m doing most of my riding indoors, to be honest. I use a Wahoo KICKR and spend a lot of time on Zwift. I’m planning on completing it, ha! I personally don’t feel too comfortable going out for long rides outside with the current crisis we are in. I know we are technically allowed to but I think several hours is probably taking the mickey a little. Doing a three-hour turbo session is way more efficient and mentally more taxing, so I feel like I’m actually doing better committing to it, in some weird kind of a way.


When we’re all out of lockdown, what’s next? Any big races planned in?


I have a few things in mind at the moment but as so much is up in the air, I’m not too sure what will be next. I had signed up for the Trans Pyrenees, which has now been moved to 2021, and Badlands which is in September but I was also planning a pretty epic bikepacking trip to fundraise for PACE again. So a lot will hang on whether I can make that work or if that moves to next year. One thing for sure, I’ll enjoy it when we can head out on these adventures again – and I’ll be as fit as I can be.



Chris rides with Tailfin the AeroPack Carbon X when he takes on these challenges. He enjoys the weight-saving qualities of the rigid seat pack, combined with the versatility of being able to mount side panniers when he needs extra space.

Thanks again Chris for talking to us, and sharing your experiences.

@chrishallrides | www.chrishallrides.com


For more information on the AeroPack Carbon X rigid seat pack, including features and reviews, click the link below.


Related articles:

Do aerodynamics matter in bikepacking?

Race-proven – How the Tailfin AeroPack measures up when it matters



Tailfin Product Guide

Getting to know the Tailfin range of products can take a little time as there are lots of options with subtle differences between models. This guide will help give an overview of how Tailfin products work with your bike and help break down the range to make it easier to select the right product.

Designed to fit almost ANY bike

Our racks and AeroPacks are designed to fit 99% of bikes on the market – whether that’s road, touring, gravel, hardtails or even full-suspension mountain bikes. We do this by offering a variety of ways to mount to your bike, so our racks even fit bikes without rack mounting points:

The perfect system

Traditionally, rack manufacturers make racks and bag manufacturers make bags, which means that all bags have to work with all racks and vice versa.

We do it differently. Our racks and bags are engineered to work together seamlessly for the perfect fit, function and performance, avoiding any rattle, sway or complications that come with other manufacturers’ products.

Rack and AeroPack mounting options

Option 1: Axle mounting – The primary method for mounting our racks to the lower half of your bike is via your axle. Simply remove your existing axle and drop in a Tailfin Axle. This offers the strongest mounting option and works for the majority of bikes – even those without rack mounts. To select the right axle for your bike, please check out our Axle Guide.

Option 2: Frame mounts – Alternatively, you can screw in the Frame Mounts which allow you to retain the use of the Fast Release Dropouts. They ship with two different lengths to accommodate bikes of different rear widths.

Option 3: Rack mounts – Lastly, you can permanently connect the rack to your bicycle rack mounts with the supplied screws and spacers. Each rack ships with these parts as standard. You can adjust the number of spacers and length of screws to accommodate bikes of different rear widths.

Rack and AeroPack seatpost connector

You can’t always guarantee that a bike will have rack mounts, let alone where they might be positioned. However you can always guarantee it will have a seatpost. That’s why we engineered the Seatpost Connector; a strong and secure solution that will fit ANY seatpost in seconds.

X Series vs S Series Racks

Very simply: The X Series products can take three bags (2x Side Panniers + 1x Trunk top bag), whereas the S Series can only take a Trunk top bag.

AeroPack vs AeroPack Trunk

The AeroPack is product family that works with our unique 20 litre, wide-mouthed, top opening, roll top rear pack.

The AeroPack permanently integrates our racks to the pack making it a single, combined unit; we call it ‘The Rigid Seatpack’. It is designed to replace traditional seatpacks or saddle bags that strap to your saddle.

The AeroPack Trunk is a separate bag that can be easily attached and removed from our S and X Series racks.

Comparing products

The easiest way to compare all our products is to click the ‘Shop‘ button on our navigation bar. It takes you to a page that puts each product on a card where you can see the technical information. This is how it looks:

How to Make Your Bike a Multi-Purpose Machine


Bicycles are many things to many people: they’re a way of getting from A to B; a way of transporting or delivering goods; a way to exercise, a form of recreation or a way to escape on amazing adventures.

It’s not always possible or practical, though, to have one bike that does everything. The bike that takes you on long-distance cycling trips isn’t necessarily the first one you’d turn to for the more everyday tasks like getting to and from work, or doing the weekly shop. But that’s just one of the reasons we created Tailfin. We wanted you to be able to do more with the bike you love to make it more useful for any situation. 

Whilst adventures might be off the cards for the time being, here’s how to make the Tailfin work for regular, stay-at-home chores as well as ensuring you can make the most of time on the bike.



How do I fit a Tailfin product?


If you’re not familiar with our products, we created a unique ‘plug and play’ system of racks and bags. The racks are designed to fit any bike and attach in a matter of seconds, depending on which of our three mounting options you choose. Choose from attaching permanently (like all other pannier racks), via the axle or using frame mount adaptors. Our racks also fit all seatposts (25.4mm-34mm), round and non-round (Up to 3-inch aero seatposts). This provides you with the flexibility and freedom to swap our rack and bags between your bikes, should you need to. 

If you’re just setting out for a weekend ride into the countryside, your goal will be different to this of course, but you may have certain landmarks you wish to see or that famous hill climb you’ve always dreamt of. With speed not a definitive factor to your ride, goal setting by location is a great way to structure your route.



With our complete hardware and soft goods solution of racks and bags, you’ll never need another for your bike. Because they fit any bike, not only is it good for now, but for the future too.  We like to think of it as the silver bullet for turning your bike – from daily workhorse or high-end carbon whip to rugged off-roader – into a future-proofed multi-purpose machine.


What bag options are there?


The Tailfin system includes side bags and a top bag, the AeroPack. The AeroPack Trunk has a 20L capacity, while the SL22 Superlight and UD22 Ultra Durable side bags both have 22L capacity. If you used all three together, that’s a whopping 64L of carrying capacity. You might not need that on the everyday commute but if you’re off to the shops or planning a long-distance, full-on adventure, this much capacity could be really useful. 

Our side bags might look similar to other pannier bags on the market, but they offer a number of unique features: the SL22 is extremely lightweight while the UD22 is extremely tough, and both are rigid, so they hold your belongings secure in all conditions. They are also 100% fully waterproof and clamp securely to our racks so there’s no rattle or sway.



What about bike racks?


Your choice of Tailfin racks depends on whether you want both side and top bags, or just the AeroPack Trunk (no side bags). The X Series Pannier Rack will take AeroPack Trunk and side bags, while the S Series Trunk Rack takes the AeroPack Trunk only, with no mounts for side bags. 



When you ride every day, heading to and from work or doing the weekly shop, it needn’t be routine. With Tailfin, you can find freedom and opportunity in every ride and turn the impractical into the practical. There’s no need for an extra bike: just one bike that does it all. 



For more detail on the Tailfin range and the design that went into it, have a look at the article below:

Tailfin in 2019 – Designing the New Range


Adventures on the Horizon: A Guide to Better Route Planning with Ben Davies


During this period of worldwide uncertainty, staying motivated can be a huge challenge. While getting out on the bike pales into insignificance compared to the much bigger issues we’re all facing, it is still okay to recognise these smaller personal frustrations and to have something to look forward to. Currently, I am riding locally and working from home in Bristol, UK: a far cry from what I should have been doing. Right now, I should be battling my way through the Sudanese Sahara desert, a few days into an attempt to set a new fastest record cycling from Cairo to Cape Town. Beyond that, I had a full calendar of ultra-endurance events planned. The Africa record attempt is postponed and all my planned races have been canceled.


I’m sure many of us are in a similar situation, training and being excited for a particular event or ride. It is all too easy for the current lack of certainty to get us down. Personally I am trying to look at this situation as positively as possible: researching potential replacement races later in the year, building on my training and adding in small measurable goals to make it fun and measure progress, or delving into the bucket list and route planning local and further afield bike rides. I’m a big fan of route planning to while away the hours: here’s my step-by-step guide for planning the perfect route. 



Step One: Set a goal for the ride


Before starting out on a route it’s really important to set a goal for the ride. For my Cairo to Cape Town route, one of the goals was speed, which had a huge influence on the type of route I chose. A direct route, the quality of the road surface and border crossings became important determining factors, whereas for a more classic bikepacking or touring ride, these factors may be less significant. 

If you’re just setting out for a weekend ride into the countryside, your goal will be different to this of course, but you may have certain landmarks you wish to see or that famous hill climb you’ve always dreamt of. With speed not a definitive factor to your ride, goal setting by location is a great way to structure your route.


Step Two: Start with the bigger picture and break it down


Whether it’s a 40km or 24,000km route, once the goal is determined, I always plan the route by setting out a high-level overview and gradually honing in the accuracy as I go. For longer routes I’ll break it into manageable chunks to work with – for example, I approached Cairo to Cape Town by breaking it down into border crossing to border crossing. Approaching the full 11,000km in one hit would have been way too daunting a task!


The bird’s eye view of Ben’s total route

Step Three: Choose a route-planning tool


Working out to use a route planning tool can take time, so it’s best to choose one carefully, with a view to sticking with it. RideWithGPS has been my go-to for years and I use it to plan everything from racing, long-distance adventures through to training and even commuting. 

To start planning your route, input a start and finish location and then move onto understanding the terrain between those two points or via a loop. Most routing platforms will allow you to switch between different map types to get a feeling for the type of terrain and environment you’ll encounter and it’s also useful to drag and drop the generated route to see how the amount of climbing and distances changes and give the topography some more context. Knowing this in combination with your route goal is a really good way of generating some structure for your route. 


Step Four: Drill-Down For Greater Accuracy


One of the key factors to determine when looking at the route with a greater level of accuracy, one is safety. When picking out the specific types of roads and trails that your route traverses, try and think about how you will feel cycling there (Google Maps’ street view functionality is great for getting a feel for what the road is like). 



If you are planning a Transcontinental Race type route, often the most direct, faster roads are the best choice from a race perspective – however keep in mind that if you feel uncomfortable when it comes to being on that road, your speed will be slower to compensate. If there are ever roads that are questionable, it’s always a good idea to plan backups. At the opposite end of the scale, it’s always fun to pick out the roads less travelled and see where they take you!

Step Five: Account For Stops


If you want to take your route planning to the next level of detail you can start adding Points of Interest, food and sleep stops (or even the bar, winery or café stop you need to rehydrate at?!) to your routes, and structure your multi-day rides around particular sleep spots and places to refuel (this is another reason why I love RideWithGPS). Generally, I’m a big fan of being reactive on the road and eating and sleeping when my body needs it but conversely, and particularly in very remote areas, it’s incredibly useful to be aware of what is up the road. 

For example, for my route through the Sahara, the distances are vast between opportunities to pick up food and water, so having the visibility of what is coming up the road limits the dangers and influences the supplies I had planned to carry on the bike. 


Ben’s stops in place for a snippet of his route

My Cairo to Cape Town route is all set up and ready to go for when the time is right and I’m also bound to have built up a healthy library over the next few weeks of rides, and I am going to be super motivated to get out there and explore post-lockdown!



Check out Ben’s successful route from last year’s Transcontinental – arguably the toughest self-supported ultra-distance event in the calendar. He was the 2nd place rider overall, traveling from Burgas, Bulgaria to Brest, Brittany. A casual sum of over 4000km in just 10 days, 13 hours, and 10 minutes – amazing effort Ben. 

See Ben’s TCR route here.


What routes are you planning to put together? We’d love to hear about the rides, races, and adventures you have got planned. Tag us on Instagram, Facebook and, Twitter. 



Ben uses the AeroPack Carbon S when he rides cross-continent, to find out more about it check these articles out:

Do aerodynamics matter in bikepacking?

Race-proven – How the Tailfin AeroPack measures up when it matters



Do aerodynamics matter in bikepacking?

We were fascinated by the recent video from UK bike Vlogger, Francis Cade – video at bottom of the page, showing the indoor wind tunnel testing of the AeroPack vs other kinds of bikepacking equipment. Francis took the most likely setups for bikepacking, and pitted them against each other to find out where the differences come from.

Francis heads to the Boardman Performance Centre wind tunnel with Xavier Disley, PhD, from AeroCoach (The Aero Experts) to test some of the most popular bikepacking setups and see what difference they make to a bike’s aerodynamics – like us, you’ll be astounded by the results.



Now, you might be asking, why on earth does that matter? I’m only riding an average 25kmph an hour over the day; I don’t need to go fast. Well, think about it like this: with a better kit set-up, over long distances you can save yourself time – that might mean more sleep or less riding after dark – and also energy, meaning you can be more calorie-efficient. You might argue that these might be marginal differences, but feeling fast (whether you’re racing on your own or trying to keep up with your bike packing buddies) can not only give you the physical edge but can also be a big mental boost. And it’s not just time on the bike: with user-friendly bike packing set-ups you’ll save time off the bike, as well as on it.


What did Francis Uncover?


Firstly, a little bit about aerodynamic drag. Aerodynamic drag is the force that opposes a cyclist as they travel through the air. It can be calculated by multiplying the Coefficient of drag (Cd) by the frontal Area (A) of the cylist+bike+gear. More accurately, though it can be measured directly in a wind tunnel using calibrated force gauges. These are the key findings from the test. All drag force measurements have been converted to ‘pedalling power’ whilst travelling at 25kmh:

Bikepacking EquipmentPower Penalty (travelling at 25kmh)Time Penalty (over 8 hour, 200km ride)
2 x water bottles (750ml per side) on front forks3 Watts3.5 minutes
Front bar bag (2.5 litres)8.5 Watts9.9 minutes
Tailfin AeroPack Carbon X Rigid Seat Pack (~20 litres)-2 Watts (it makes you FASTER)2.3 minutes LESS
2 x Tailfin SL22 side panniers (22 litres each side)7 Watts8.2 minutes
Full Setup (wedge frame bag, handlebar bag, 2 bottles on fork,
AeropPack and 2 side panniers)
15.8 Watts 17.5 minutes

There are three standout points from these measurements:

  • These measurements were all captured with a wind speed of 25kmh. If you were travelling faster then the watt savings wouldn’t just be a little larger, but significantly larger as the force scales non-linearly. For example, if you were riding at TT speed of 50kmh with 2 bottles on the fork, instead of it causing a 3 watt penalty it would now cause a 20 watt penalty.
  • Adding a front bar bag with a carrying capacity of 2.5 litres adds more drag than having two side panniers with a combined carrying capacity of 44 litres! This is likely due to the fact that the Tailfin panniers are relatively slimline and sit behind the riders legs which doesn’t add much to the frontal area.
  • Adding the Tailfin AeroPack Carbon X (~20Litres) made Francis 2.5 watts FASTER @ 25kmh, because it effectively acts like a fairing behind the rider by reducing turbulence to make a more streamlined profile. Streamlining a shape reduced the Coefficient of drag. Yes, the AeroPack makes you just little bit faster.
Francis Cade as he crosses the Nullarbor Plain, Australia, in September 2019

So, what real-world difference do aerodynamics make?


The full bike packing set-up that Francis tested, consisting of wedge frame bag, front bar bag, 2 bottles on the front forks, an AeroPack and two side panniers, in total, came to a 15.8 watts penalty, equating to 17.5 mins over 200km ride (8 hours) or an additional 130 calories per hour. Not only that but if you’re needing to put in 10% of your overall power output to keep up with buddies riding more efficient set-up, you’re really going to start to feel the difference pretty quickly.

We contacted Xavier to get his feedback on the testing. This is what he had to say: “Hopefully this helps people understand that aerodynamics are important, even at lower speeds – and in the case of bikepacking or ultra distance racing/riding it’s interesting to look at the results differently. Converting aero drag savings into calorie savings for example is not something that is often thought of for normal racing, but becomes much more important when you’re out on the bike for so long that managing your energy expenditure is a huge part of your overall performance/enjoyment.”

The takeaways from this? Firstly, your set-up has to work for you and your bike packing set-up. If you don’t need a front bar bag, then great, you can get rid of it. But if you want to carry a lot of gear, then side panniers are better than a front bar bag. Secondly, marginal gains can really add up over a long-distance ride. They might not sound much on a per hour basis, but extrapolate this over a 500k or 1,000k distance, and you’ll really start to see why aerodynamics does have an important role to play in bikepacking.


COVID-19: Tailfin Shipping Updates

We are all experiencing what can only be described as ‘crazy times’; self-isolation and quarantining now seem to be enforced everywhere throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. With outdoor exercise seemingly escaping the tight laws of quarantine in various countries, cycling is coming through as one of the most important aspects of our lives.

Here at Tailfin, we are working around the clock to ensure that our package deliveries remain unaffected and to ensure that our products are still readily available for our customers, in order to make your trip to the shops to collect food and supplies a little easier and more enjoyable.

Here you will find daily updates on shipping routes and potential areas of delays, so you can be assured that the package you paid for will arrive at your door.

Our Shipping Explained

We sell all of our products direct-to-customer (no retailers or shops), so ensuring our shipping lines work well and stay clear of delay is of paramount importance to us. We ship all our parcels via commercial cargo freight – rather than the slightly more cost-effective passenger freight (putting our packages onto passenger airlines for transport)- to ensure more accurate transit estimations. This is even more important right now, as cargo shipments are the only international shipments still being accepted everywhere.

All of our parcels are tracked and traced, so you can keep an eye on it as it moves along these lines. If something stops, we have a dedicated team on hand to assist – all you need to do is email [email protected] with details of your query.

Economy Deliveries – Once the parcel is in your country of origin it is passed onto local couriers for the final leg, so you can be sure that as long as there is a local postage service offered in your country, your parcel will make it to you.

Express Deliveries – These are sent with DHL, and don’t leave their care from pick-up to drop-off.

Shipping Updates

As the pandemic runs its course, we will receive daily updates from our shipping forwarder, with notice of delays, rerouted routes and areas under complete quarantine. We will then pass these updates onto our customers via this page, so if you’re worried about shipping, it would be worth checking this page before pressing the button.

CURRENT (as of 15:30 22nd May):

Fulfillment – Our warehouse team is working hard throughout but has been stretched and slowed by this pandemic so far. A build-up of freight leaving the UK is adding to these delays. In some cases, it’s taking 3-5 days just to pass through UK ports before leaving for Europe.

North America – Backlog clear, no delays expected.

Europe – Limited services into France, Italy, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia – we still ship, but expect delays.

Asia – Delays into Singapore.

Australasia – Delays into Australia due to the high demand for freight into the region.

That’s it, so far no major delays anywhere, but we will continue to update this post throughout the coming weeks. It goes without saying that our thoughts are with all of you out there currently having difficult times. We look forward to the days when everyone can get back out on the bike and put this all behind us, but until then make the most of the little joys you can.

Race-proven – How the Tailfin AeroPack measures up when it matters

During the past year, the AeroPack has been thoroughly put through its paces by some incredible cyclists in ultra cycling events all over the globe, including the Transcontinental Race, Race Through Poland, Bike Nonstop US, Across Andes and Race Around Rwanda.

When it comes to choosing your kit for a long-distance bike race, you need bike packing equipment that is functional, easy-to-use, aerodynamic, reliable and robust. The AeroPack ‘S’ range has been designed and engineered to be all of these. Here’s how and why:

AERODYNAMIC ADVANTAGE

The AeroPack offers matched aerodynamic performance to a seatpack, but with improved usability and ride quality. The pack has a nominal capacity of 20 litres, however if your frame allows it, it can be filled to as much as 27 litres. The benefit of a large capacity bag is it allows you to do away with a non-aerodynamic bar bag. During our wind tunnel tests, we discovered a bar bag can create as much as 20 Watts of drag at around 20mph.

EATING GRAVEL FOR BREAKFAST

Creating the most robust and reliable product is our highest priority when designing any of our gear. However, the AeroPack arguably has to take this to the next level and offer an unparalleled level of durability to ensure that our equipment won’t let you down in your darkest hour. Given that the AeroPack is designed to fit almost any type of bike and those bikes are raced across every kind of terrain from slick tarmac to rowdy singletrack, we make sure our gear has been rigorously tested in the lab, in the field and also by independent reviewers…

Read the bikepacking.com review to find out how Cass thrashed the AeroPack

Stability, whatever the surface, is guaranteed: the rigid wishbone-shaped carbon or alloy frame offers exceptional agility, with no sway or rattle. It can take on gravel, cobbles, and rutted tracks and it won’t move a jot. During its time out on the road in the world’s most rigorous bike races, it has encountered various crashes and scrapes and lived to tell the tale. This is partly thanks to its rigidity and partly thanks to its modular design. If any part breaks or tears, there are the parts to fix it: you don’t have to buy an entirely new set-up.

Our custom-built vibration testing equipment vibrates the pack at 7Hz and 20mm amplitude
Field testing in the Peak District National Park in the UK

THE TIME OFF THE BIKE IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE TIME ON THE BIKE

When you’ve not slept for 36 hours and you’re starting to feel a little ragged around the edges, you do not want to waste time looking for something in your bag. The AeroPack makes it easy to access your gear on the bike thanks to a roll-top opening and direct access pocket. And when it’s off the bike, the wide-mouthed, top-opening design means you spend less time packing your gear. 

Ben Davies with a custom Dyneema Pack, taken during TCRNo7
Ben Davies on his way to his second place finish, TCRNo7

THE PROOF IS ON THE PODIUMS

In the last year, AeroPack riders amassed some impressive results. Ben Davies came second overall in TCR No 7; Peter Anderson came second in Bike Nonstop US and Niel Copeland has just come third in the Race Around Rwanda.

Their feedback about the AeroPack has been both positive and insightful…

“The minimal impact on the bike’s natural handling is probably the biggest selling point to me. For me it’s really important, even when racing and touring, to have a fun-handling bike that I can throw around. There was no swaying and the bag felt planted on the bike. There was also no requirement for “learning” time, first getting on the loaded bike as you do with panniers or saddle bag. 

Climbing out of the saddle there was no rocking. I was comfortable both in and out of the saddle.

Descending feels slightly better than a saddle bag which can be put down to the stability of the bag and the slightly lower centre of gravity. This is a very good thing on my race set-up, as due to my pushed forward position I tend to get a light rear end which leads to some pretty sketchy descending. 

I can’t notice any additional weight over a saddle bag. Rigidity is definitely more important than minimal weight impact. 

The bag doesn’t catch in sidewinds and there is no thigh rub unlike a frame bag.
I packed with the heavier, less used items at the bottom of the bag. However I didn’t necessarily have to do this as everything is incredibly accessible. An example of where this is incredibly useful is when I pull into a petrol station etc and get the opportunity to do a quick charge of electronics. Previously I would be reluctant to open my bag to grab the charger as it was a pain to find then close.


The size of the bag was ideal. I managed to get ~3 wraps to close the bag which proved plenty waterproof. 
On a recent trip, prior to getting on a ferry, I massively overpacked the bag with food meaning the opening had 1 fold over at max – the straps were just long enough to close and I didn’t get the feeling anything would fall out etc. While this isn’t something I’d do in TCR, I would in fast touring so was a good test.”

Ben Davies

” The AeroPack is a game changer for bikepackers.  Having a large opening on top of the pack means we no longer have to do the ‘yard sale’ to retrieve items at the bottom of conventional seat packs.  Not to mention the AeroPack is super easy to install/uninstall, lightweight and has almost zero sway.  I love everything about the AeroPack! It checks all of the boxes for my bikepacking needs. “

Peter Andersen

Want to find out more? Check out the AeroPack S rigid seatpack here and the AeroPack S Series trunk rack and trunk bag here.

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Tailfin in 2019 – Designing the New Range

 

A lot happened at Tailfin HQ last year, but most of it was behind the scenes. We wanted to take this opportunity to tell you what happened in 2019 and why we’re excited about 2020…

TAKING A STEP BACK

The start of 2019 followed the completion of our successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to bring the AeroPack to production. The AeroPack is a competitor to the seat pack, offering a matched aerodynamic advantage but with improved usability and ride quality. The campaign was a massive success and was 100% funded within 36 hours of launch and went on to raise £170k / $220k in pre-orders.

Launching a product via a crowdfunding campaign offers various advantages; it allows us to ascertain demand and, more usefully, it enables us take on feedback and modify the design before pressing go on production tooling and moulds.

So that’s exactly what we did. After the end of the campaign, we took some time to take into account the feedback we’d received to make sure the product was as good as it could be, but also to make sure we weren’t just parachuting a random product into our product line-up. We wanted to be sure we had the right product for the every adventure, i.e. a complete product range for carrying gear on the back of your bike, no matter what type of riding you do.

A COMPLETE RANGE

X Series Pannier Rack

The X Series was the natural evolution of the original T1 series and it became the most versatile of the product options, created for those needing more gear, for longer tours, or more comfort on their journeys, whether that was into the mountains or even, on a daily basis, with their laptop on the way to work. Designed to take one, two or three bags.

S Series Trunk Rack 

The S Series is almost identical to the X Series rack, but without the ability to mount side panniers, resulting in a rack that’s purely for mounting gear on the top either directly with straps or using the AeroPack Trunk. We believe this combo is great for those looking for aerodynamic advantage or those who like to bikepack lightly.

AeroPack S Rigid Seat Pack

The AeroPack S combines the S Series arch and semi-permanently attaches it to a 20L roll top trunk bag. The focus of this product is weight reduction and design simplicity, aimed at and, as we saw in 2019, favoured by ultra endurance racers all over the globe.

AeroPack X Rigid Seat Pack

The AeroPack X keeps the design simplicity of the AeroPack S, but adds the ability to carry side panniers if needed. 

INNOVATIONS ALONG THE WAY

There were universal changes which were made to the original design aimed at improving usability, aesthetics and durability:

  • The rack arches were totally redeveloped for strength, stiffness, aesthetics and modularity. All X racks have side mounts, S racks do not.
  • Previously we only offered carbon fibre – we now offer aluminium racks too.
  • The fast release dropouts were redesigned to be removable so that a) racks could be screwed directly to frame mountings and b) if they were damaged they could be replaced.
  • Tyre clearances were widened to suit all riding disciplines: our racks are now compatible with the largest of tyre sizes, up to 4” width on 26” tyres, and 3” on 29ers.
  • We increased capacity for longer tours: X racks can carry up to 27kg of weight, with a combined 64 litres of bag space capacity.
  • The top stay was previously a singular aluminium extrusion. Although this looked great, nothing could be strapped to it. All our top stays are now parallel twin top stays which allow gear to be strapped to them. They are available in both carbon and aluminium depending on what model is selected.
  • We reduced weight and improved aerodynamic advantage: grams needed to be shaved to enable us to stay competitive with seat packs and other luggage options while retaining build quality and rigidity.
  • We engineered modular parts throughout, so that if you break anything on the bike, you can replace that single part. We wrote a blog on this a while back.
  • Design aesthetics: as always, we know our gear won’t look out of place on your beautifully-crafted bicycle. 
  • The Super Light and Ultra Durable pannier bags have an updated internal chassis which is now lighter and stiffer.

The bottom line was that our products must always be innovative, incredibly usable and aesthetically pleasing. The new line-up was no different. 

 

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Since the official launch of the new range of products, we’ve shipped thousands of orders all over the globe, helping those riders succeed in race events, amateur tours, personal journeys and their daily commute. 

A big thank you goes out to all of you that have backed us over the past three years, with a special mention to those who have taken the time to drop a review on our products. Your comments and feedback are as important as they are appreciated, and your responses after we sent out the request for reviews in January has been overwhelming. Here’s a snapshot of some of the reviews…

X Series (read 100+ reviews)

“I own a carbon-framed Cannondale Topstone gravel bike. Every bike store in Melbourne that I went to said it was impossible to fit a pannier rack system to my frame… not so! Enter, the Tailfin, an elegant, easy-to-use rack that fits neatly onto my frame. I can now use my bike as a speedy commuter, or take it out on weekends for bike-packing. Remember, quality remains long after the price is forgotten. Do yourself a favour and buy a Tailfin.”

Christian Slattery
S Series (read 15+ reviews)

“Such a well designed piece of bike equipment. The designers and engineers have done a sterling job. Easy to fit in just seconds! With additional wheel skewers/axles it’s so easy to transfer across all my bikes. Such a great designed and manufactured bag, loads of room with the 20lts. Support from Tailfin has been exceptional with Nick the engineer going out of his way to provide spares to ensure correct fitting on one of my bikes. When in use, it’s so secure with no sway at all and tucked away behind you, you forget it’s there. Easy access to all your gear with 2 openings & straps to secure even more gear. Used it on a 400 miler from Copenhagen to Berlin and knocked spots off anything I’ve used for long distance rides before. Highly rated!”

Alan Hodson
AeroPack S (read 50+ reviews)

“Some would consider that bikepacking is not a sport, but a mindset… Some others, like me, approach it from the sporty side of things. No exclusion here, no segregation, since every motivation is a good one. I have found with the AeroPack probably the most efficient transportation piece of gear that exist on this emerging market. Light, stiff, roomy, practical, and aero! I rode a couple of ultras last year with it and I don’t regret this choice. This is the only pack that enabled me to ride my bike as if it was ‘naked’. And the proof is the maximum speed I achieved with the AeroPack loaded. 92km/h on the downhill of the Col du Grand Saint Bernard!

Thanks Tailfin, and keep the great work and the great ‘thinking out of the box’ going!”

Jean-yves Couput
AeroPack X (read 10+ reviews)

“I purchased the Tailfin AeroPack after an extended bike trip using an Ortleib seatpack. There were many days on the road where a traditional seatpack will either sag or cause excess movement. The Tailfin is rock solid, and saves time when breaking down camp. For commuting, I’m able to leave the backpack at home and get the weight off my back. Great company, quality product. Would purchase again.”

Matt

MEDIA REVIEWS

We’ve haven’t only received positive feedback from our customers, but also from Road.cc and Bikepacking.com, who have put the AeroPack through some pretty rigorous independent testing over the past few months. Check out both reviews here:

“Of course, the concept of a minimal rack and gear on top is nothing new – there have been plenty of racktop bags that have come and gone throughout the annals of bike touring history. It’s just that the AeroPack’s execution is so much better than anything I’ve ever seen.”

“The Tailfin AeroPack is about the neatest solution for adding some storage space to pretty much any bike. It’ll appeal to a wide range of riders: bikepackers, ultraracers, credit-card tourers, audaxers, and anyone with a posh bike that they want to carry stuff on.”

GEAR OF THE YEAR 2019

Continuing with bikepacking.com we were also delighted to hit the ‘TOP PICKS’ in Bikepacking.com’s 2019 Gear Of The Year Awards

RACE PROVEN

Our race packs have also been put through their paces by some of the most elite riders around the world in some of the the most gruelling ultra-endurance events, including the Transcontinental Race (Europe), Bike Nonstop (US) and Race Around Rwanda. With incredible riders such as Ben Davies, Peter Andersen and Niel Copeland taking podiums, we couldn’t be more proud to support them. To read more about these achievements check out this blog.

 

The Ultimate Gravel Bike Build

Mission: Build the most capable, multi-discipline, adventure bike possible. 

Gravel riding has taken the world by storm, and for good reason – what could be better than a muddy ride through bridleways and gravel trails. No cars. A clear path ahead. Uncharted territory.

At Tailfin, we wanted to take our engineering passion and challenge ourselves to put together the world’s best adventure bike (although we appreciate the word ‘best’ is in the eye of the beholder) – a dream gravel rig that can go anywhere, do anything and leave you smiling ear to ear.

Frame

The dream build is centred around the stunning OPEN U.P.P.E.R frame and OPEN U-Turn Fork. Its combination of low weight, fast but comfortable road riding position, and clearance for mountain bike tyres, has helped this build achieve the status of greatness. The ability to be able to change from road riding tyres for your weekly club ride, to mud-crawling MTB tyres gives this bike unlimited scope for the types of adventures we can take it on. Big thanks to Gran Fondo for making our lives easier with their incredibly comprehensive gravel test… https://granfondo-cycling.com/best-gravel-bike/

Frame: OPEN U.P.P.E.R. 880 grams
Fork: OPEN U-Turn Carbon. 370 grams

Cockpit

After contemplating a carbon cockpit, we opted for the reliability and durability of aluminium. At the same time we were looking for a subtly flared bar to offer improved comfort for riding in more rugged terrain. We opted for Easton’s EA70 AX 16 degree alloy drop bar and stem.

 

Stem: Easton EA90 130mm. 145 grams
Handle Bar: Easton EA70 AX 44cm. 290 grams

 

Drivetrain

We wanted a 1x system for reliability and simplicity so opted for the SRAM Force 1 groupset. However, knowing that we were planning on using this bike for bikepacking we wanted more range than the off the shelf 10-42 tooth SRAM cassette. We therefore swapped it out for the e*thirteen TRS Race cassette which offers a massive 9-46 tooth,  511% range. Combined with a 38T chainring, we knew this would give us enough gears at the top and bottom of the range for almost every scenario.

OneUp Aluminium Flats for the feet. There’s a debate to be had, but for some, flat pedals offer a lot of advantages on bike-packing trips. Firstly, for real adventures, you may have to rely on your legs in more ways than just the spinning – carrying your steed over fences or streams for example. Secondly, flat pedal shoes tend to be much more comfortable: when we’re opting for distance and comfort over speed, this was our choice at the time, although I’m sure we’ll swap in clipless pedals when we take it on less gravel-focused rides.

Brakes and Shifters: Sram Force HRD Shift-Brake Control Double Tap. 471g left + 431g right
Cranks: Sram Force 1 Carbon 175mm. 679 grams
Cassette: Ethirteen TRS Race 11-Speed Cassette 9 x 46. 303 grams
Rear Derailleur: Sram Force 1 11-Speed. 261 grams
Pedals: One Up Components Aluminium Pedals. 355 grams

Seat & Seatpost

Knowing full well that we wanted a very aggressive gravel bike, we absolutely wanted to install a dropper post. This was actually one of the main reasons we opted for a 1x system. By installing a Force 22 front Yaw shifter, it’s possible to remove the ratchet and convert the front shifter to a dropper remote (pretty sure this voids the SRAM warranty) This modification has arguably been the most successful aspect of the build.

Big thanks to the guys who made this video for showing us how… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngvd0F8JxnE  

Given the lack of droppers for 27.2mm seatposts and without knowing how well this was going to work, we went for a fairly basic dropper post – the KS ETEN-I  – we will likely upgrade this down the line. After testing this out – it works like magic – being able to drop the seat when the terrain gets rowdy offers huge amounts of confidence.

On top of our post, we are running a Fabric scoop pro radius saddle 142mm. It’s a personal favourite due it’s low weight and comfort – it has carbon rails but a flexible Nylon base which makes a huge difference when spending hours in the saddle.

Seatpost: KS Eten i27.2mm 100mm. 590 grams 
Seat: Fabric Scoop Pro Radius. 162 grams  

Wheels

Wide, light and strong; we have opted for the widely praised HUNT 30 carbon gravel disc wheelset. With exceptional build quality, weight, durability and price, it’s hard to look past them. These are mounted with WTB Senduro 650bx47 road plus tyres that we have set up tubeless with Stans race sealant. These chunky tyres will be ideal for big off-road days, especially in winter, plus they look insanely good. For more road-focused trips we will be putting on a pair of WTB Byways.

Wheels: Hunt 30 carbon gravel discs wheelset.  650b. 1479 grams
Tyres: WTB Sendero 650bx47 road plus TCS.  530 grams each


Pack

Finally – the AeroPack. Zero sway, top-loading, attaches in seconds and offers class-leading ride quality – this bike bag will save you time and irksome faff when packing and unpacking during stops. Launching very soon. (Get it here.)

Full List of Parts:

Frame: OPEN U.P.P.E.R. – 880 grams – https://opencycle.com/UP

Fork: OPEN U-Turn Carbon – 370 grams

Wheels: Hunt 30 carbon gravel discs wheelset. 650b – 1479 grams – https://www.huntbikewheels.com/products/hunt-30carbon-gravel-disc-road-wheelset-1469g-30deep-27wide-999

Discs: Ashima Airotor 160mm. – 85 grams each

Tyres: WTB Sendero 650bx47 Road Plus TCS –  530 grams each – https://www.wtb.com/products/sendero

Brakes and shifters: Sram Force HRD Shift-Brake control double tap – 471g left 431g right

Handle Bar: Easton EA70 AX 44cm – 290 grams – https://www.eastoncycling.com/products/details/ea70-ax  

Stem: Easton EA90 130mm – 145 grams

Cranks: Sram Force 1 Carbon 175mm – 679 grams

Cassette: Ethirteen TRS Race 11 Speed Cassette 9 x 46 – 303 grams – https://eu.bythehive.com/collections/drivetrain/products/trs-race-cassette

Rear Derailleur: Sram Force 1 11 speed – 261 grams

Chain: Sram PC 1170 11 speed. 114 links – 256g grams

Pedals: One Up Components Aluminium Pedals – 355 grams – https://int.oneupcomponents.com/products/aluminum-pedal  

Seatpost: KS Eten i 27.2” 100mm – 590 grams – https://www.kssuspension.com/product/eten-i/

Seat: Fabric Scoop Pro Radius – 162 grams – https://fabric.cc/products/saddles/scoop-pro-radius-142mm-saddle/

Bottle Cages: Vel Carbon i-Cage – 2x 28 grams

Bikepacking Gear: Tailfin AeroPack – 640 grams – https://www.tailfin.cc/products/the-aeropack

With Many Thanks To…

Film & stills both shot & edited by Sam Taylor: http://www.samtaylorphoto.co.uk/

Big thanks to Bike Fit James https://www.instagram.com/bikefitjames/ for the use of his magnificent shop https://www.bicyclerichmond.co.uk/, and his talented wrench John.