Review: Arkel Tailrider
Lets face it, trunk bags are the fanny packs of the bicycle bag family. They are almost always universally ugly, resembling nothing more than a padded six pack cooler you’d find as a freebie at a football game. They can, however, be pretty useful. If you’re going out on a day ride and don’t have a handlebar bag and need to bring a little more than what can fit in your jersey pocket, trunk bags are great for that. Or if you need to do errands around town errands that don’t necessarily require a full size pannier, trunk bags are great for that too.
The Tailrider is Arkel’s take on the trunk bag. Unlike it’s awkward fanny pack looking cousins, the Tailrider is svelte and streamlined but is still packed with lots of functionality. It attaches to your rear rack (or their handy Randonneur Rack) via some super tacky and slightly angled velcro straps. It has one large main compartment and two outer pockets. The inside main compartment has mesh dividers on the inside walls for further organization. The width is approximately the same size as an i-Pad mini so it’s small tablet friendly. The bottom is rigid and holds its form over your rear rack. The top of the bag has small compression straps that contract the overall width of the bag (the top has an accordian onstruction that is designed to expand), allowing you to increase the capacity as your needs dictate. They are also handy for stowing a jacket or glove underneath.
The bag has an integrated top handle for easy portage off the bike. The rear of the bag has a reflective loop that is also intended for you to clip on a rear blinky. It’s a little flexible and you really have to fiddle with how you close the bag to make it an effective blinky holder. The tendency is for the weight of the blinky to eventually point downwards rather than rearwards. Another big added bonus is a built in high visibility yellow rain cover. No need to purchase an extra piece of gear to make it rain worthy.
Overall, the bag is really pleasing to the eye and it doesn’t look out of place on a touring bike, mountain bike or even a road bike. Our primary uses for it have been for long day rides to carry extra layers, food and some camera gear. It would be great for brevets or long event rides. It’s not as cavernous as a Carradice Camper Longflap but is still fairly roomy. I ride a small frame with 700c wheels and can’t use any of my saddle bags because of tire rub. The Tailrider is a good alternative. You could potentially use it for a credit card tour and pack a change of clothes in there, but it would be a tight squeeze for anything more than a few days.
Trunk bags are super useful but super ugly. The Arkel Tailrider changes that equation with a highly functional and svelte looking trunk bag. It is well constructed and weather proof and is a good alternative to those that can’t run traditional saddle bags because of tire rub. Retailing for $114 dollars it is by no means an inexpensive bag, but it is highly versatile and will work well with any bike in your stable (I know you have more than one).