Plenty of space without wobbling: Test ride with the Tailfin Top Tube Pack – Flip

Viel Platz ohne zu Wackeln: Testfahrt mit der Tailfin Top Tube Pack - Flip // Test ride with the Tailfin Top Tube Pack - Flip


At my request, Tailfin sent me the new Top Tube Pack Flip for testing. For that I say thank you and that's advertising.

I’ve had a lot of experience with top tube bags for Bikepacking: my first one was the old Ortlieb top tube bag, which was shaped like an 8 and had a zip that wasn’t very practical. What’s more, it just didn’t hold and was always sliding back and forth. Fortunately, Ortlieb then introduced a new variant last year with the Fuel Pack, which offers more space and above all holds much better. However, the tall and rather rectangular shape is not to everyone’s taste.

Then I bought the Salsa Exp Series Bolt-on. To be able to mount them with bolts, I strapped an adapter plate onto the top tube especially for this purpose. I was tired of the Velcro solutions where the bags always moved and in the worst case bent away. With a screw connection, the bag usually stays in position and sits securely on the top tube. However, the Salsa bag is not dimensionally stable, which sometimes made it difficult to use the zip when riding.

As part of my Bikepacking bag tests, I was able to test other top tube bags: the Apidura Racing Bolt-On Top Tube Pack, the Decathlon Riverside BP Top Tube, the Brooks Scape Top Tube and, as already written, the new Ortlieb Fuel Pack.

I have to say: the quality of the bags and the type of fastenings have improved considerably. However, it is always important for me to have a Top Tube bag:

  1. It must be mounted firmly and immovably on the top tube. Either bolt on, i.e. with screws, or with straps. Ideally, a bag can do both and there is not an extra model for each type. Many of the bags I rode held well, but there is always some movement and depending on the load and terrain, you then have to push the bag back into position with a strap attachment. I find that annoying, which is why I usually go for bolt-on versions.
  2. The fastener has to be easy to use and secure. There are now very good versions with magnetic closures. These have the advantage over the zip that they are easier to open while riding and the bag opens wider. This gives you better access to the contents. The disadvantage is that with a waterproof zip the bag is actually waterproof, which is not the case with a flap closure. I am now a fan of the magnetic closure.
  3. It has to have a cable guide. I have three cables that I need/want to run to the Klite USB charger, which always travels inside the Top Tube bag. This cable guide is usually on the front of the bag and then guides the cables inside via a flap that keeps out splashing water. But there are also bags, such as the Ortlieb Fuel Pack, where the cables come inside via the lid.
  4. It must offer space and be dimensionally stable. Not a lot of space, but it should be big enough to have some room for tissues, maybe a bar, multi-tool or wallet in addition to the USB charger. In essence, if I’m going to take up space in the front, it has to be worth it. And it should keep its shape and not buckle or be “flabby”.
  5. It shouldn’t be too high and its design should be more “streamlined”, i.e. it should also visually match the frame. Most top tube bags are therefore higher at the front and then slope down towards the saddle. This is also because they can offer space for the crotch when you are standing. Then you don’t want to have the top tube bag in your crotch. The shape is usually a compromise between space and “still looking good”. That is certainly not easy.


The Tailfin Top Tube Pack

At the end of March, Tailfin presented its new, or rather its first top tube bags, called Top Tube Packs. With this, Tailfin finally entered the market of the established Bikepacking bag suppliers and brought a total of 5 models of different sizes and closure types. Three of the bags have a zip and two have a magnetic flap closure.

Interesting here: the size of the bags ranges from 0.8L volume to 1L and 1.5L. The flap closure versions are only available in 1L and 1.5L. So the minimalist road cyclist as well as the bikepacker with a little more need can be happy.

Source: Tailfin.ccI ordered the Tailfin Top Tube Pack Flip for testing, which has a magnetic closure on the side. This bag comes in a 1.5L and 1.1L version. According to Tailfin, the 1.1L version is intended for gravel and road bikes and the 1.5L version for MTB. I took the smaller version.

Source: Tailfin.ccThe Top Tube Pack has a cable opening and offers enough space inside even for smartphones of the current sizes. I had my Klite USB charger, tissues, multitool, disinfectant gel, lip balm, gel and a bar in the bag. So there’s a decent amount of space. The opening for the cables is large enough to easily accommodate three cables, like mine.

But Tailfin has promised one thing in particular: her bag doesn’t wobble or slip. And that with the strap fastening. And they are so sure of this that they do not fix it to the head tube/stem at all. And the bag also keeps its promise in practice: they have found a solution that prevents the Top Tube bag from wobbling or shifting even on rough rides. They call it V-Mount, which is a rubberised underside in the strap or screw mount. This provides the appropriate stability. So much so that there is no strap to attach it to the head tube/stem.


In addition, this rubber coating provides splash water protection from below and thus further secures the bag. The Top Tube Pack is made in such a way that it can be attached with straps or screws. I first attached it with screws, but this was not so ideal for my adapter construction. Nevertheless, the bag held stable and was very convincing at the MainFranken Graveller.

I then removed the adapter and attached the bag with the rubberised straps. These are perforated straps, called cargo straps, which work like voile straps and are fastened. Ortlieb and Decathlon Riverside also use a similar system. And with it, the bag holds even better. I’m surprised by the stability, especially off-road.

And the closure and thus the accessibility during the ride were also convincing: to open, the flap is pulled slightly forward and the lid opens. Then you can easily access the contents of the bag, also because you can fold the lid down so that it doesn’t always snap shut as soon as you take your hand out. To close the bag, you just have to fold the lid down. Most of the time, the lid snaps shut automatically or you have to adjust it briefly.

On the subject of dimensional stability: the Tailfin is dimensionally stable. The upper edge of the bag is obviously defined by a wire frame onto which the fabric is pulled. The wire makes the shape a little more mobile and it sometimes looks “bent”. However, this is not really relevant. I just noticed that the bag is a bit more flexible here.

The top tube bag is made of waterproof material and its shape slopes towards the saddle. The material is somewhat reminiscent of Apidura’s Hexalon. Specifically, it is Hypalon in combination with Ripstop Nylon.

Hypalon is made by DuPont and is “a high-quality, extremely resistant elastomer. It is UV, temperature and ageing resistant as well as tear-resistant, but not gas-tight.”

“Ripstop is a fabric with a chequered structure. This is created by a special weaving technique that combines 2 different yarn thicknesses. The material is lightweight and tear-resistant.” (source)

The silhouette of the bag is beautifully slim and dynamic. In width, the bag measures 75mm at the front including the clasp and 41mm at the back. That’s narrow enough to not have your legs touching the bag.

The length is 250mm and the height is 10cm at the front and 9cm at the back. The width is 65mm at the front and 55mm at the back. The shape makes it possible to fit even larger smartphones or wallets. In comparison, the new Ortlieb Fuel-Pack is a little shorter at 21cm (it only has a volume of 1L), but it is 12cm taller and 85mm wider than the Tailfin and its shape is also a little more angular. The Decathlon Riverside Top Tube (1L) is also 25cm long and 11cm higher at the front. Both also work without the strap towards the stem and have an inherently stable shape.

Source: Tailfin.ccThe Tailfin Top Tube Pack also remains dimensionally stable without restricting access and also takes into account different frame shapes. For carbon frames that tend to be wider at the front, a longer cargo strap (36cm) is included.

The weight of the 1.1L Top Tube Pack is 154g (158g when reweighed). An additional 12g is added when the straps are fitted.

For comparison: the Riverside Decathlon Top Tube weighs 200g, the Ortlieb 160g.

And also in terms of price, at least Tailfin and Ortlieb are quite close: the British charge 70 euros for the 1.1L Top Tube Pack Flip (75 euros for the 1.5L version) and the Germans want 60 euros. The French, however, only charge 30 euros.

Comparison Bikepacking Top Tube bags

Conclusion: Sits, fits, doesn’t wobble and offers plenty of space

The Tailfin Top Tube Pack Flip keeps its promise and doesn’t move. But also not at all – no matter if fastened with screws or (even better in this case) with straps.

This tight fit works even better with the Tailfin than with many bags I have tested before. The closure is also very intuitive and works reliably even without looking.

In terms of space, the Tailfin is very generous and provides enough room for all my stuff. It is also easily accessible because the lid can be opened far enough. And it doesn’t automatically close again, but remains open.

The cable routing is well solved, but does not differ from that of other bags.

The bag looks very well thought-out and is of good quality. It is also attractively priced, although at 70 euros it is positioned in the upper segment.

To compare it with my claims formulated above:

  1. Immobility: 5 out of 5 stars
  2. Closure: 4 out of 5 stars
  3. Cable routing: 5 out of 5 stars
  4. Space and form stability: 4 out of 5 stars
  5. Design & appearance: 5 out of 5 stars

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