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Five cool things coming soon from Tailfin, Huez, Mason, Giro and Compass

Another selection of bikes, gear and accessories we're testing at the moment, with reviews coming soon

As January comes to a close here's some of the highlights from the haul of products we're out testing at the moment, despite the howling wind and rain that never seems to end...

Tailfin T1 and SL Superlight pannier


Tailfin Rack and Pannier 08.jpg

If you're after the ultimate in pannier performance, this may just be the gold standard - British brand Tailfin have created these ultra light panniers for bike packing and touring, and the full carbon frame weighs just 350g (less than a can of coke, for reference). It's universally compatible with almost any bike, and for the £319.99 price tag you can get it with either one highly durable UD package with welded seams and rubber laminate, or the super light and waterproof SL Pannier, so your stuff is safe in even the toughest of conditions (you can have two panniers if you're willing to spend £399.99). The frame easily fits to your bike's seatpost with a rubber grip clamp so there's no chance of it damaging your bike, and the bag has numerous mounting points for lights. Is this worth the rather large outlay for the convenience and impressively low weight? Jez Ash is trialling the Tailfin at the moment...


Mason Definition2


Mason Definition Ultegra.jpg

We were highly impressed with Mason's Definition when we first tested it back in 2015, and the new version has seen some subtle changes to take it bang up to date with the most modern flat-mount, thru-axle disc brake standards. To do this, the rear has been carefully redesigned so the dropouts will work seamlessly with thru-axles and flat mount discs with no effect on the ride quality. At the front, Mason's signature Aperture2 fork comes as standard (this was already fitted to the later versions of the first Definition) with the hose routing almost invisible for a crisp, clean look. This version is specced with Hunt x Mason wheels, 30mm Schwalbe tyres and Shimano's latest R8000 Ultegra mechanical groupset. Is it the most premium aluminium ride money can buy? Check back for the verdict soon.

Compass Barlow Pass gravel tyre


Compass Barlow Pass.jpg

The Barlow Pass is a gravel tyre at heart, but is also described as "a great way to transform the on-road performance of your 29er", so is pitched as a versatile everyday tyre as well as providing performance on gravel. A 3mm tread means they should last longer than most performance gravel tyres, and a supple casing makes them highly comfortable, according to Compass. You can choose them with an 'extralight' casing if you're most likely to be racing them, or standard if you intend to use them as a multi-purpose tyre. Mike Stead is trying out these tyres with a review coming soon.



Giro Empire E70 Knit road shoes


Giro Empire E70 Knit Road Cycling Shoes.jpg

Knitted they may be, but these shoes from Giro still retain the cool factor in more ways than one and also have a DWR coating for water resistance. The Xnetic knit technology makes the shoes very light at 285g each, and a carbon composite sole is included for extra stiffness. Can a knitted shoe really stand up to the British weather? Dave Arthur is finding out now.



Huez Starman Reflex


Huez Starman Reflex Jacket - riding.jpg

​This jazzy jacket from Huez weighs just 170g, and can easily stow away in a jersey pocket when not being used with the reversible rear zip pocket also acting as a pouch for the entire garment. Designed for road cycling, the Italian fabric has a water-column proofing of 5.000mm (ideal for light showers) and has mesh under the arms and rear for breathability. The reflectivity is courtesy of tiny beads sewn into the fabric, making you more visible to a car's headlights. Is it the perfect packable? Stu Kerton's verdict will be in soon...



For all the latest test reports, head over to our reviews section. If you want some more advice before splashing your cash, check out our buyer's guides. 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

Add new comment


fenix | 6 years ago
1 like

I'd imagine the tailfin might find a place for city boys commuting on their F10's. 

But that is  a bit niche. 

Hirsute | 6 years ago

Where do I put my rear reflector on the tailfin?
Let's face it, if I don't have a reflector even if I have 360 deg reflective jacket and 200 rear lights the driver will be let off for lack of reflector.

Ush replied to Hirsute | 6 years ago
1 like

hirsute wrote:

Where do I put my rear reflector on the tailfin? Let's face it, if I don't have a reflector even if I have 360 deg reflective jacket and 200 rear lights the driver will be let off for lack of reflector.

The blurb says there are numerous mounting points for lights on the bag.  I will bet that with a little ingenuity you could get a reflector on one of them.

I think these look great.  I cannot afford them, but there are plenty that can and it will mean that their bike now has extended functionality.

Designed in the UK.  Fair play to them.  I hope they're a success.

BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago

Discussed before re the tailfin, it's jumped noticeably in price and even at the original price there's so little weight saving as to make it not worth the money. There are other as effective solutions that are more aero which in fact is going to offset any weight saving by a massive amount.

armb | 6 years ago

"Carrying enough stuff to want panniers, but little enough that it's worth paying hundreds of pounds to save a few grams on the rack" still seems a pretty niche market to me. It's neater to take on and off than faffing with P-clips, but you could buy a spare bike with rack mounts for that money. Or use a bikepacking style sausage seatbag.

I'll admit to being tempted anyway though.

kil0ran | 6 years ago

On a price/perfomance basis that Tailfin rack is almost good value. Its easy to spend £200 on an ultralightweight rack and pannier system in traditional materials so its not far off considering the exotic materials and adaptability to any frame. Seriously bloody ugly though, give me a Tubus Airy any day (lighter, but you need rack eyes)

Jeffst4rs replied to kil0ran | 6 years ago
1 like

Seriously bloody ugly though, give me a Tubus Airy any day (lighter, but you need rack eyes)



What the reviewer didn't quite put over is the fact you don't need traditional mounting points to use this rack, try fitting a Tubus to a frame with no mounting points?
​I'm doing a 2000 mile charity cycle on a frame with no mouting points and the Tailfin fits the bill perfectly, as regards "ugly?" Think you need to see one in the flesh and look at the quality of the build and attention to detail of the design.
​The Tailfin can carry any brand of panniers on any bike, from what info I've seen Tubus needs mounting points and seems biased to newer Ortlieb panniers only, quite a narrow window?
​Great design, simple and elegant aesthetics, but maybe only be for the more modern of us cyclists, flat earthers may not get it yet?

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