Rear racks and panniers may indeed be useful, but they're also one of those things that many self-proclaimed "bike snobs" would never mount on their glorious two-wheeled work of art. So, what's a snob to do if they've got gear to haul? Well, they could always try the Tailfin. It's an aerodynamic carbon fiber rack/pannier combo, that wouldn't look out of place in the Tour de France.
Given that many "fancy" bikes (at least of the road racing variety) don't even come with rack-mounting eyelets attached, the Tailfin doesn't need them. Instead, it clamps onto the seatpost at the top, and onto the wheel's quick-release skewer on either side at the bottom – the system ships with an extra-long skewer, which replaces the one already on the bike. This setup means that when the bike isn't being used for commuting, the rack can quickly be taken off.
The two 24-liter sailcloth laminate panniers each incorporate a carbon fiber backbone, which allows them to hold their shape and resist swaying while attached. They snap on and off of the rack via a quick-release mechanism, while an adapter allows third-party bags to be used, too.
If you're the type of cyclist who would buy the Tailfin, though, then you're probably wondering how much it weighs. According to UK-based designer Nick Broadbent, the rack and both panniers tip the scales at a combined 875 g (1.9 lb). By contrast, he claims that a traditional setup weighs more in the neighborhood of 1,600 g (3.5 lb).
Want one? The Tailfin is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, which has already exceeded its funding goal. A pledge of US$350 will get you a complete setup in black, white or clear-coated carbon, assuming everything works out as it should. Smaller pledges will get you a single-pannier or rack-only package.