Nick from Tailfin recently posted an update about the development of Tailfin (the best bike rack and pannier for road bikes). We thought we would publish the full update here in Nick's own words, for those not on kickstarter.
Thanks for your patience - we've been burning the midnight oil and now have a truly massive update for you including a boat load of pictures. In this update we have:
- Surface finish results
- Tailfin improvements
- Taiwan second trip
- ISO standard testing
- Beta testing
- Production timeline
Surface finish results
We had a massive response on the surface finish survey! Over 400 of you responded! Thank you!
These were the overall preferences (but knowing a persons second and third choice was very important also):
- Visible Carbon – Matte – 31%
- Visible Carbon – Glossy – 25%
- Black – Matte – 30%
- Black – Glossy – 9%
- White – Matte – 2%
- White – Glossy – 3%
- Neon Green – Matte – 40%
- Neon – Glossy – 60%
The choice for white and green was easy to go with the majority. However, deciding what to do with Visible Carbon and Black was a bit harder. We decided to compromise and keep one of those colours glossy. Therefore, the final colours and surface finishes we are creating are:
- Visible carbon – matte
- Black – glossy
- White – glossy
- Green – glossy
Images of these below!
1. RACK TO AXLE CONNECTION
- Mud was able to get in and make it difficult to open/close
- It was possible to accidentally unlatch it
- Tried and tested design inspired by yacht 'snap shackles'
- Definite latched/unlatched operation
- Almost impossible to accidentally unlatch
- Latch wraps all the way around the axle improving strength and robustness
- Now accepts M5 locking screw
2. SEATPOST CONNECTION
- Didn't accommodate aero seatposts
- Protruding tightening wheel could occasionally catch on loose clothing
- Tightening wheel didn't provide a positive Lock/Unlocked feeling - it was dependent on how hard you tightened it
- Inspired by tried and tested ski boot buckles
- Definite latched/unlatched operation
- Contact with seatpost 100% rubber and carbon friendly
- Aerodynamic, svelte, appearance
- Simple change of strap makes makes it compatible with deep aero seatposts
3. BAG MOUNTING
- Alignment of the pin in to the mounting hole proved to be difficult when pannier bag fully loaded
- Dirt ingress inside the mounting hole could cause jamming
- Easy to mount and unmount bag vertically
- Hook and latch design on a single aluminium forging provides even more rigid mounting
- The design allows the Tailfin panniers to be used on traditional metal racks
4. TOP TUBE
- Used to be manufactured from 3 aluminium components bonded together
- Some people found the simple round profile to look rather 'aftermarket' and not complimentary to rest of the rack
- Single piece custom aluminium extrusion
- Profiled to complement the overall form and industrial design
5. ANTI-RUB PROTECTION
- Both Tailfin panniers and other manufacturers produced wearing on the carbon form - this would eventually result in reduced strength then eventually breakage
- Compliant anti-rub strips reduce the likelihood of rubbing damage
- Replaceable if necessary
- Cover enough height to accommodate the majority of other manufacturer panniers
- Less chance of scratching the rack when leaning your bike up against a wall
6. ADAPTER PINS (To allow alternative brand panniers to mount to the Tailfin rack)
- Dirt ingress inside the mounting hole would make inserting the pins difficult
- Difficult to mount some types of panniers
- Secure single screw mounting per side
- Compatible with the majority of panniers
- Visible carbon - matte
- Black - glossy
- White - glossy
- Neon green - glossy
The mudguard has been slightly redesigned to be longer in each direction and it is designed to be attached and removed without tools.
9. RACK MOUNT ADAPTERS
These are now designed as a single piece.
10. FINAL PRODUCT
Overall the weight of the rack has crept up a little to 350grams. The bag should remain unchanged at 600grams.
The following images highlight the Tailfin rack and panniers that are currently being used by our beta testers.
Huge thanks to Mud Dock Cycleworks and cafe for letting me use their range of bikes for the photo shoot. Brilliant, knowledgeable team and great range of bikes. Worth a visit!
Taiwan second trip
The second trip to Taiwan was AWESOME! The team were great and we accomplished so much in such a short period of time. I've worked on many many new products over the years and the speed at which this is moving is mind blowing!
ISO standard testing
There is a now a new voluntary worldwide test standard, released a few months ago, for bicycle carrier racks. It has the catchy name of: ISO 11243:2016. Achieving the ISO standard would be a HUGE milestone and help to prove that the Tailfin rack is a robust, quality and safe product.
The most challenging aspect within the standard is the 'Dynamic Testing' where they vibrate and shake the rack for 200,000 cycles in different directions, fully loaded with 9KGs per side (18KGs total).
It is required that this ISO test be carried by an independent certified body. We chose the international giant SGS to perform these tests.
The news? WE PASSED!!!!!! We are expecting to receive the certificate next week! This really is incredible news!
The beta testers started picking up their racks last week. By tomorrow there will be 7 in use. So far the results are good and only minor issues spotted.
A few quotes from Paul Barrington in a recent email:
"the feel and response of your rack was sublime"
"The ride was very good. With the rack not moving at all compared with a wire rack."
i can't express how hard we're working to get you this as soon as possible. We decided to delay a few weeks and wait for feedback from the beta testers rather than starting the remaining tooling 'at risk'. Therefore delivery is now expected for DECEMBER.
The feedback on the questions not related to surface finish was brilliant and contained some incredible insights and suggestions. There were lots of questions so rather than answer individually we thought we'd answer them here and now...
- Q: Are scratches easy to fix?
- A: You can generally buff out scratches with a glossy surface finish but not matte
- Q: Will there be more colour variations in the future?
- A: Hopefully, but not this year or for the Kickstarter versions.
- Q: Which is easier to clean – Glossy or Matte?
- A: Glossy.
- Q: What happens when the surface is worn down by the rubbing of the pannier?
- A: This was thrown up during testing therefore we’ve addressed by creating anti-rub strips. See section above.
- Q: Does the surface finish affect the structural integrity of the rack?
- A: No, it does not
- Q: Can you lock the rack to the bike?
- A: Yes, with the locking screws that will be supplied with the rack. See section above.
- Q: Will it work with Arkel bags?
- A: Yes! There is hole on the dropout for the lower hook. You can see this in the section above.
- Q: Is the rack strong? i.e. Is it going to be able to carry 15kg hurtling down a bumpy road at 35 mph?
- A: Yes, absolutely! We have just passed the rigorous ISO vibration stress tests loaded up to 18KG!
- Q: Will it work with 'Flying gate bike geometry'?
- A: Yes!
- Q: Can you make a larger mudguard?
- A: The mud guard has been incresed a little. We want to make other versions too - hopefully next year.
- Q: Have you considered rear lights?
- A: Yes, because the rack is much closer to the wheel than a regular rack you can and should still use your seatpost mounted lights. Otherwise clipping a light to the rear end of the bag is a viable option.
- Q: Will you support Through Axles?
- A: Yes, absolutely. We are prototyping them at the moment. There are three different thread standards which complicates things but we plan to support all of them - 12x1.0, 12x1.5 & 12x1.75.
- Q: Is the aero seatpost connector included?
- A: Yes, see previous section.