Close to Custom: Tailfin Frame Bag Review


Close to Custom: Tailfin Frame Bag Review

Today, Tailfin announced the newest addition to its growing product lineup: a collection of half and wedge-frame bags available in a whopping nine sizes for close to custom fit on a wide variety of bikes. Josh has been riding with one of the half-frame bags for the past few weeks on his Scarab Paramo Ulrtra gravel bike and, below, offers an overview of the product lineup and initial thoughts on these new weatherproof bags…

Tailfin Frame Bags

If you follow ultra racing even casually, you’ve probably already seen Tailfin’s newest products. The brand has been prototyping and testing a couple versions of framebags for a while now and many of their supported riders have been using them on race bikes. Aimed primarily at dropbar road and gravel bikes, these narrow Q-factor half and wedge-style frame bags come in a total of nine different sizes. This amounts to a lot of riders being able to find a pretty dang near custom fit for their bike.

Check out Tailfin’s handy frame bag sizing tool for fit inquiries.

Quick Hits

  • Nine sizes of half and wedge-style frame bags.
  • Volumes from 1.9L to 6.5 Litre. Suiting bike sizes from 47 to 61 cm.
  • Panels adapt to bike frame geometry
  • Internal carbon space frame
  • Carbon side struts support zip performance and reduce bulging, minimizing knee rub
  • 3D-tapered shaping designed to prevent knee rub
  • Size-specific zips and tuned carbon struts
  • V-Mounts attachment points
  • Left side access ‘map’ pocket features a stretch mesh divider
  • Internal organization pockets
  • Welded Hypalon and Ripstop
  • Nylon construction and waterproof zips for weatherproofing.
  • User replaceable hardware
  • Hydration hose/cable port at the front of bag
  • Price: £95/$120/110€ – £125/$160/150€ (size dependent)

Even before sending their riders out with bags for testing, Tailfin designers compiled research – surveying their customer base (over 500 participants) and evaluating other brands – to inform the product line. They quickly realized that to achieve the same “Tailfin Universal Fit” as most of their other products, they would need to make lots of bag sizes in two different shapes.

Minimizing knee rub and limiting floppiness were also important considerations, so Tailfin designed a carbon fiber “space frame” running along the tops of bags. This, combined with removable carbon “space struts” along the sides of the bags, helps prevent bulging and limits zipper tension. There is a hydration port at the nose of the bag that can also be used to slide the struts out if the user wants a more flexible bag.

Speaking of zippers, Tailfin sourced a custom waterproof zip system for the frame bags that is said to “hold teeth under tension while shut.” Waterproof zippers have been the weak point of many weatherproof bags in the past, and Tailfin hopes to avoid unnecessary failures with the removable supports as well as aligning zipper sizes with bag sizing – from a Number 6 on smaller bags to a Number 10 on the larger ones. The zip puller has also been crafted to reduce rattling.

As with Tailfin’s other products, the bags are made of welded Hypalon and Ripstop Nylon material. They are only available in black.

On the interior, two carbon rods run the length of the bag top and connect to the series of V-mounts that attach the bag to a bike frame. Each side has a zippered opening, with the drive side offering a larger cavity and the opposite allowing just enough space for flat objects like maps, Stroop waffles, etc. Both sections have lighter color nylon divider panels and sewn pockets for organizing small items.

The V-Mount system is carried over from Tailfin’s downtube packs and top tube bags. Utilizing Tailfin’s own TPU straps, rubber frame contact pads, and welded V-mount “tunnel,” the system aids in keeping bags secure and protects the bike’s finish. Plus, when using Tailfin’s top tube bag (not pictured) in tandem with a frame bag, the V-Mount systems on each align so a single strap can be looped through the tunnel ports on each.


Initial Impressions

My Scarab Paramo Ultra has a 200 mm head tube. It’s a fairly tall bike and fits the XXL Tailfin half-frame bag nearly perfectly (!) with room for two 26 oz water bottles beneath.

To be blunt, I didn’t think I was going to like the bag at first. I’m used to Codura or X-Pac fabric for my frame bags and I appreciate how malleable, durable, and form-fitting that material can be for everything I’m packing. But thus far, after a few weeks of use, I’m getting along with the welded fabric just fine. It’s a nice compliment to my bike that’s seen a lot of big days this spring and likely has some “fastpacking” coming soon. I have narrow-ish hips and my knees tend to kilter inwards when I get tired riding, which can be accentuated on narrow Q-factor setups like I have with GRX. Swiping my knees on frame bags has been a fairly common occurrence, but I can happily report is a rarity with the Tailfin bag.

Additionally, small waterproof zippers are typically a turnoff for me, as I live in the desert and spend most of my time riding and touring in dry and dusty places. I’ve seen plenty of friends bummed out when their waterproof zips get gunked up with dust and become difficult to operate or, worse yet, break.

When I reviewed Ortlieb’s waterproof frame bag a few years ago (pictured above, right), the beefy and large Tizip closure was one of my favorite aspects. Its large teeth were a breeze to operate and whenever it snagged on something inside, like a jacket or plastic bag, I dislodged it quickly. Time will tell with the Tailfin zipper system, but the thoughtful design aspects around it help instill a high level of confidence that it will hold up just fine.

I’ve been impressed with the half-frame bag’s stability while riding. It only utilizes four attachment points – with nothing on the seat or head tubes – and it’s held up great on even some long rides I’ve gone on recently where I’ve packed it full of food and extra clothing. I do, however, notice that sometimes I bump the rear portion of the bag when laying the bike down or quickly hopping on it and, because the outer material is slightly tacky, it doesn’t always go right back into position. Rather, I have to finagle it back into place so it doesn’t rub my leg. A minor nitpick for sure, but I don’t see a downside to adding a V-mount at the seat tube connection and I’m not sure why Tailfin didn’t place one there for added stability.

My other nitpick is that Tailfin products are only sold in a single color – black. I realize adding colors to welded Hypalon and Ripstop might not be easy, but we’ve seen the white prototypes on R&D bikes. At least give us white, Tailfin!


  • Nine sizes and two shapes available for nearly custom fitment
  • Durable welded Hypalon and Ripstop materials
  • Secure V-mount attachment system
  • Structural internal spaceframe
  • Narrow profile for drop bar bikes
  • Good pricepoint


  • Four fixed attachment points are limiting
  • Only available in black

See more at Tailfin