Rack & AeroPack Mounting Options Explained

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Having trouble working out the differences between our mounting options? This handy guide will explain all…

One of the standout features of any Tailfin Rack or AeroPack system is the variety of ways you can mount it to your bike. Unlike traditional racks or seatpacks that rely on a single fixing option, Tailfin systems can be mounted in three distinct ways. This makes it incredibly easy to find a way that works perfectly with your bike.

Introducing choice should be a positive but we are aware that it can make things a little more confusing when it comes to deciding exactly which approach is right for you. To help work out what works best for you we have produced this guide to look at the pros and cons of each approach.

Three Ways to Mount a Rack or AeroPack

1. Axle mounting

(Axle + Fast Release Dropouts)

Tailfin Racks and AeroPacks are designed to work in symbiosis with your bike and in order to do so each part of the system was designed to work perfectly together. To create the most reliable connection with your bike we designed the system to work with a specific rear wheel axle. This axle is swapped for your existing axle (quick-release or bolt-thru versions are available) and provides extended mounting points for your chosen Tailfin system. This offers the strongest mounting option and works for the majority of bikes – even those without rack mounts. By attaching your Tailfin system to the axle the stresses on your frame are almost eliminated, making this the safest option for use with light and high-end carbon bikes. It is the mounting approach we recommend above all others.

There are a few considerations when it comes to axle mounting. Firstly if you are looking to replace a bolt thru axle you will need to know some details about the axle your bike came with, a task that can be difficult (although our new Axle Finder has made this a much easier task). You might also need an adapter to enable a Tailfin axle to fit your frame. Opting for axle mounting is also the most costly of the three mounting approaches – this reflects the costs involved in producing the intricately machined axle.

axle mounting explained

2. Frame mounting with adapters

(Frame Mounts + Fast Release Dropouts)

The Frame Mount Adapter kit is designed to give the ability to quickly remove a Tailfin Rack or AeroPack when using axle mounting isn’t practical or you prefer to mount your rack in a higher position. Frame mount adapters are simple to fit and are relatively unobtrusive which means you can leave them attached to your bike year round. The shaping is designed to work specifically with our Fast Release Dropouts and provides a completely secure attachment as well as giving the ability to fit and remove the rack within seconds. The adapters are also a more budget-friendly way of benefitting from our unique quick-release system when compared to using a Tailfin axle. 

As with direct frame mounting the one key drawback of using the adapter approach is your frame needs to have the relevant eyelets in order to fit the adapters and be rated to carry a load. It is also very important to use a thread lock compound when fitting the adapters in order to ensure loads are spread evenly and safely through the frame, without risk of damage.

frame mounting explained

3. Direct Mounting

(also known as Frame Mounting)

Bolting the Tailfin arch directly to your frame using standard bolts is by far and away the simplest and most straightforward approach. It requires the least amount of additional parts and as such is also the most economical way of buying into the Tailfin family. Using hex/torx key bolts to mount also provides a higher level of security for your Rack or AeroPack as a would-be thief cannot quickly remove the system.

Use our Axle Guide to find out which axle is required for your bike and simply install the new version when it arrives. 

The semi-permanent mounting that gives this added security could also be seen as being the main downside to direct frame mounting as you cannot quickly remove the rack when it is no longer required on your bike. It also requires your frame to have eyelets that enable it to fit racks or mudguards (fenders). No eyelets, no direct frame mounting sorry.

The other vitally important aspect to check with your frame manufacturer is whether the eyelets on the frame are rated to carry a load or if they are just intended to be used with mudguards (fenders). We don’t want to damage your valuable frame.

direct mounting explained