I always have my eyes peeled for new ways to mount, strap, and stuff things on my bike. Conjuring up ideas in my head of what the perfect setup would be, to meet my needs on a particular trip. First, I want enough space for everything I need without having to mash it all into a few tiny bags. Second, I don’t want anything constantly rattling around or shifting and sliding. The more options the better! So, when a package showed up from the UK-based brand, Tailfin, with a few new mysterious pieces of kit inside, I was intrigued to check them out.
Suspension Fork Mounts
Now, I don’t actually own a bike with a suspension fork, so when I first glanced at these mounts aimed directly at squishy forks, I wasn’t sure how I’d make use of them. One of the reasons I’ve not really dabbled in suspension territory on multi-day trips is the lack of mounting options. While there are some products like the Universal Support Bolt from King Cage or Ortlieb’s neat fork bags, they’re typically limited to either one bag or a bottle. Other options that get into the plastic and velcro territory provide questionable stability and risk slipping on the rough stuff. These are the key problems that Tailfin looked to solve in making the suspension fork mount (SFM).
With a diameter range of 38mm-45mm, the SFM fits a broad range of suspension forks. They use different-sized rubber grommets and different length screws to conform to various fork sizes.
With two standard M5 bolts on each side of the mount, it allows for the use of two cargo or water bottle cages per side, thus opening up a range of options for those with squishy forks. The thin profile and offset design keeps cargo tucked in as close as possible, which is important for navigating tight single track.
Since the diameter of the rigid steel fork on my Surly Bridge Club is too small for the range that these fit, I decided to test them out by mounting dual bottles on either side of my down-tube and heading out for a few rides on some chunky roads in the Andes. While this isn’t necessarily what the mount was originally designed for, it is another potential use case if you’ve got the right setup for it. Tire and steering clearance is key here.
The setup is relatively straightforward. Simply measure the diameter of the tube you’re mounting to, grab the proper hardware for the size, and tighten it up. The recommended torque spec is 3Nm and I would highly recommend using a torque wrench here. Too tight and you risk something breaking. A bit too loose and your gear will be slipping.
Tailfin claims that when properly adjust to the torque spec, these provide the most secure mount of this type available. Claims that they’ve backed up with testing data against a few competitors. While I certainly can’t verify these lofty claims after only a few test rides, I can say that mine did not budge at any point.
For maximum weight capacity, Tailfin recommends 3kg for single track and 5kg for gravel.
The suspension fork mount comes in Carbon (as tested) for $70 with a weight of 82g and Stainless Steel for $40 and 128g. Each comes with 2 mounts and mounting hardware (enough for one fork leg). Cages are not included, FYI. While it certainly is not cheap, if you try to piece together a dual-mounting option with what’s currently available on the market, you’re definitely looking in that range.
The carbon version will be available November 2nd and the steel is slated for December 1st. Check out more info at Tailfin.cc
Tailfin Cargo Cages
Along with the mount, I had a chance to test out Tailfin’s own cargo cages. While there is no shortage of options on the market here, there are some nice touches that make these cages unique.
The most intriguing feature here is the removable foot design, which adds a bit of versatility. Keep the foot on to support heavier items like water bottles or your favorite jar of peanut butter, or remove the foot and strap in longer items that can be awkward to find a place for like tent poles or a Tenkara rod.
When compared to my other favorites in this category like the King Cage Manything (pictured left) and Widefoot CargoMount (pictured center), they all have their niche. The King Cage’s large base makes it ideal for strapping non-bike-specific dry bags. The Widefoot’s shape is perfect for hugging the curves of larger water bottles plus the mount design plays well with standard O-rings you can pick up at virtually any hardware store in the world. While the Tailfin plays the “convertible”, adding extra versatility for hauling oddly shaped items when needed.
I also dig the super low profile design of the Tailfin cage, which is great if you want to leave it on the bike even when you’re not utilizing it. Not to mention, the foot doubles as a bottle opener!
The machined aluminum Tailfin Cargo Cage in size small (as shown) comes in at $55, while the taller Large version is $60. They are both available now at Tailfin.