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Tailfin Top Tube Packs Offer Extra Bikepacking Storage for All Sizes & Preferences: Review

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bag storage review, 1.1L Flip Lid
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With three sizes from small to huge and two closure styles from classic zip to an almost automatic flap, Tailfin’s new Top Tube Packs offer a way to carry more at your fingertips, even for those riders reluctant to attach bags to their bikes. As more cyclists keep strapping bags on their bikes, even beyond bikepacking adventures, Tailfin’s new secure Top Tube Pack range offers easy access and easy-to-add rackless storage options for riders looking to carry everything from a simple snack or smartphone, all the way up to an extra jacket and trailside repair tools.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs: Small Rackless Bikepacking Bag Storage

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bags, strap or bolt-on
Photo c. Tailfin

For a company that has built a brand around a lightweight bikepacking setup with a unique rack, it’s interesting to see Tailfin going deeper with bags in the on-bike bag game too. From a technical perspective, a few things make the Tailfin Top Tube Packs unique.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bags, 3 sizes
Photo c. Tailfin

First, three sizes. A 0.8L bag is pretty small, mostly fitting a phone, mini-tool, and some snacks. The 1.1 L still feels compact while offering more usable storage, including a compact shell vest or jacket. And the 1.5 L seems pretty huge when it sits just behind your relatively tiny stem, easily fitting pretty much any packable jacket along with plenty of other small items. You can probably equate it to what you would comfortably carry in one, two, or three jersey pockets without feeling bogged down.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bag storage review, 1.1L Flip Lid stuffed full

Next, are two closure types, which really make for two different experiences that will appeal to different users. The zip-opening is pretty classic, simple, and hard to argue with. The new Flip Lid version offers a much wider opening that will help get more bulky items inside like a camera or even my DJI Mini drone — something you can really do through the slit you get with a zipper. The Flip Lid models feature a magnet that automatically grabs the top once it falls closed, plus a secondary loop you can then hook in place for super secure closure.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bags, V-mount
Photo c. Tailfin

The last big new thing is Tailfin’s V-Mount attachment that uses a molded rubberized bracket to hook on your frame — actually adapted tech from Tailfin’s other rackless on-bike bags, its Downtube Packs. This one bracket allows you to push a bolt through for bolt-on bikes, or loop its own Voile-style TPU rubber strap for a secure install on frames without top tube bag bolts. Tailfin designed it to work with classic small diameter round metal frame tubes or modern flat carbon bikes, to completely eliminate the small movement that rubs away your paint finish, and without the need for any stabilizing strap around the stem thanks to lightweight internal HDPE support structure.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bags, tech details

A few more details include fully waterproof welded 210D Hypalon/Diamond ripstop nylon construction, a full-length internal mesh pocket that helps keep things organized (and keeps your expensive phone separated from whatever else you stuff inside), a cable port flap in the front so you could push through a wire to power a light or navigation device from a battery inside protected from the elements, and the zip versions come with its standard blue zipper pull AND a black one if you can’t stand so much color on your bike.

And Now on to the Tailfin Top Tube Pack Reviews

Zach’s Take

After testing a bunch of different top tube packs in the past, I had come to the conclusion that they really just weren’t for me. I found that almost all of them suffered from one of many flaws — they either rubbed on my legs when pedaling, wouldn’t stay put, fit the bike poorly, or they simply didn’t offer enough storage to be practical.

James from Tailfin told us that its new packs would be different. Sure, we’ve heard that before, but this was coming from Tailfin, the masters of the uniquely technical bike bag.

I wanted something that would absolutely not rub on my legs, so James suggested I try out the 0.8L zip-opening top tube pack. This is the smallest of the range, but it is still big enough to offer useful storage. The bag is tall enough that it will fit some phones, waffles, and other taller items, but it’s short enough that even on smaller frames you can still straddle the top tube without it getting in the way.

My favorite use for top tube bags is to provide easy access to snacks without having to stop. The Tailfin Top Tube pack performed that duty perfectly with an effortless zipper that is easily opened and closed with one hand. The opening of the bag is also crafted in a way that is easy to reach inside, but it resists the contents just bouncing out if you’re trying to grab the contents over rough terrain.

Tailfin Zipper garage
Make sure the zipper is tucked all the way under the flap to make it quiet.

The only comment I have about the zipper is that if you don’t close it all the way, the zipper pull can be a bit noisy. The solution is easy though — just push it all the way into the zipper garage, and it’s silent.

More importantly, the tapered design of the pack means it’s extremely difficult to get it to rub on your legs while pedaling. I’ve used other bags that have managed this feat, but not with this much storage. When looking down from the top of the bag, the Restrap frame bag I was running underneath was wider than the top tube bag. The narrow profile matched with the semi-rigid design of the Tailfin pack means that it’s the perfect shape for unobtrusive storage.

Tailfin Top Tube Pack 0.8 L on bike
Even without a front strap, it’s the most stable top tube pack I’ve tried.

It’s also the most stable top tube pack that I’ve used. It seems like all bolt-on frame packs should be equally as stable, but the Tailfin pack doesn’t budge thanks to the V-Mount hardware, which is attached to the rigid internal structure of the bag. The rigid connection also means a front strap around the steerer isn’t needed.

On top of the internal structure is a sort of foam insole that cushions anything inside the bag (like your phone) and keeps the hardware from damaging it.

As usual, Tailfin has absolutely obsessed over every detail and created a class-leading product. Given that this bag is able to fit almost any frame out of the box without having to buy any accessories or adapters makes it an easy recommendation.

Cory’s Take

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bag storage review, 1.1L Flip Lid

My perspective covers more of the bigger bags, and more specifically the flap-top closure. While many riders deal with their knees hitting top tube bags, I am usually not bothered. My concern is more the ability to easily get in and out of the bag one-handed while riding for snack storage or a place to keep my phone or camera protected from rain on bad weather days and my own sweaty back (or hip pocket) on sunny days.

So, honestly already being a fan of another flap-top bag, I was looking forward to more storage options.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bag storage review, 1.1L Flip Lid 189 g actual weight

Lightweight is great, and it’s nice that my 1.1L Flip Lid pack was exactly as advertised at 189 g with the two included straps I would need to fit the bag to my old-school lugged steel adventure bike.

But really, the stability offered by those V-Mount brackets might be what sold me on the packs.

This old metal cyclocross-style travel bike has had tons of iterations from mechanical canti rim brakes and mechanical shifting to modern hydraulic disc brakes and wireless shifting. It still has external routing on the top of the top tube, so good luck getting a bag there without compromise. And yet …

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bag storage review, 1.1L Flip Lid stuffed

The Tailfin V-Mount clamps securely on top of my cable guide and allows the rear brake line to pass next to the mount (see two photos above for the side profile). And I can still unstrap and transfer it to a more modern bike in literal seconds.

I love the flip-top style for easy access, and this 1.1L Flip Lid bag offers plenty of space for a ShakeDry shell, a full-sized multitool, and a few snacks — all things that meant less in my pockets.

Really I can overstuff this little bag and it still closes easily with a little magnetic grab. Then, the stretchy loop offers plenty of extra length for me to clasp it over the plastic hook for a visible secure closure. And there’s even extra room for me to overstuff it a bit more.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bag storage review, 1.1L Flip Lid closure

As for knee rub, this mid-size bag still gets a tapered shape like the very thin 0.8L bag Zach tested, but this one isn’t quite so thin. I didn’t have a problem with my knees touching the bag most of the time, but it is certainly wider than the steel tubes on this bike, and off-road out-of-the-saddle efforts could involve me brushing the bag’s sides, especially when it was overstuffed.

The flap-style closure also does make the bag both wider and more prone to catch on your knee. So riders who are afraid of rub should stick to the smaller zippered bags. But I am sticking with this one.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bag storage review, 1.5L Zip Lid snow biking

We also tried out the bigger zippered bag for some snowy fat biking, and we came away happy but unsurprised how a bigger bag than the mid-size is pretty much only for mountain bikes with long reach and wider top tubes.

Tailfin’s own suggestion is that the really big 1.5L versions are only for MTB and only for people who have no concerns about knee rub. That seems fair, and those bags do offer a ton of storage for those riders really looking to carry more.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs: Pricing, Options, and Availability

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bags, Zip Lid sizes

While there are three sizes and two styles, only the zip bag comes in the smallest as the flip-top requires a bigger overall footprint. The Tailfin Top Tube Pack Zip comes in the $65/60€ 0.8L (138 g), $70/65€ 1.1L (154 g), and $75/70€ 1.5L (178 g) sizes.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bags, Flip Lid sizes

The Tailfin Top Tube Pack Flip Lid comes in the $75/70€ 1.1L (167 g) and $80/75€ 1.5L (187 g) sizes. All weights here are claimed for bolt-on setups; strap setups add an extra 12 g.

Tailfin Top Tube Packs small rackless bikepacking bag storage review, 1.1L Flip Lid riding

All are available now, direct from Tailfin with a five-year warranty, the ability to replace the straps and V-Mount brackets if ever needed, and a discounted crash-replacement program for as long as you use the bags.


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