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Tailfin, the creators of the unique T1 pannier rack designed to fit regular road bikes (without provisions for racks) have launched a wholly new product range, one that’s designed to fit an even wider variety of bikes, offer more customisation options, and add plenty of stability over more conventional large seat packs.
Initially launched on Kickstarter last year, Tailfin’s AeroPack supersedes the company’s T1 Carbon Rack, previously reviewed by CyclingTips. Where the T1 was designed to equip road bikes with a lightweight pannier solution, the new AeroPack offers far more versatility and is designed for use on road, gravel and even full-suspension mountain bikes.
There are four models of the new AeroPack, with two variants (I’ll come back to this) and a choice of either a carbon fibre (over 100g lighter, but more expensive, naturally) or an aluminium support arch. Each model is built around the same waterproof roll-top bag (20L capacity, 9kg load limit) – one that fills the place of large seat packs that have become the go-to solution in bike packing circles.
The “S” Series, the simpler variant, is designed to simply carry that roll-top bag on top, while the “X” Series offers the same functionality but with the addition of side mounting capabilities – including compatibility with Tailfin’s own (and recently updated) Superlight panniers. Tailfin is working on additional mount accessories to be used with the X rack – including cage mounts and/or rods for regular panniers to be fitted.
There are a few claimed benefits to the AeroPack over simpler seat pack options, including the stability of the system and the generous access to the contacts of the bag.
The AeroPack connects to the base of the seatpost, with the majority of the system’s weight held by the arch-shaped rack that connects directly to a custom quick-release skewer or thru-axle with mounting points (common sizes covered). Connection to pannier mount eyelets, if your frame has such a thing, is an option, too.
The connection to the base of the seatpost means the AeroPack can be used with dropper seatposts (where seat packs typically don’t play so nice). And as the rack features a unique “tri-pivot” design with plastic bushings, it can cope with the rear wheel movement of full suspension mountain bike frames. (Of course, the extra weight and friction of the system will somewhat impede the performance of the frame’s suspension, but that’s a given with any loaded riding.)
In its regular format, the AeroPack’s bag is an integral and structural part to either the S or X Series rack, and joins the seatpost mount to the rear arch. In this lightest, lowest and arguably most performance-focused format, you must unclip the whole rack from the bike if you wish to remove the bag – a process that Tailfin claims takes less than 30 seconds. However, Tailfin also offers the bag in a “Trunk” version where the structural beam is separate of the bag, allowing your belongings to be easily unclipped from the rack.
The AeroPack was designed with fast-paced and self-supported events in mind, and so features tool-free and fast removal. It also offers a modular design that the company claims will allow you to “replace the minimum amount of parts possible” in the event of an accident.
In the lightest format – the Carbon S and roll-top bag – the system weighs 750g.
But there’s always a catch: the AeroPack S (including Trunk Top Bag) Series starts from US$300 / AU$435, while the X version starts from US$340 / AU$495 – and prices keep rising depending on mounting and material (carbon or alloy) options.
See more at Tailfin.cc.