This New Kit Adds Seriously Sturdy Gear Mounts to Almost Any Fork [Review]

The Old Man Mountain Axle Pack provides a sturdy place to mount water bottles and gear carriers to a mountain bike fork.

Last year at about this time I was 300 miles into a 360-mile bikepacking trip through central Florida, stocking up on water and Powerade at Lake Lindsey Mall. I filled all my bottles, including a 32oz Nalgene mounted to my fork, giving me just enough hydration for the final push to the finish.

All seemed to be going well until about 20 miles later when I realized the Nalgene was gone, and along with it my bottle cage too. The plastic fork mounts, which had served me well for at least 500 miles of riding over a year, had seemingly snapped off during a particularly fun but fast and bumpy descent. Bottle gone, the air was hot and dusty, and I was thirsty. And also sorta pissed.

Cutting to the chase, I stopped at another store down the line and bought a couple big bottles of Arizona Green Tea after someone buzzed me into the locked convenience store with bars on the windows. I also learned something that day: a heavy, fork-mounted water bottle puts a lot of strain on mounts, especially when riding fast and rough.

So naturally I was stoked when I heard about the new Old Man Mountain Axle Pack. Instead of relying on friction (and plastic parts) to support the weight of a water bottle or gear like a pipe clamp, the Axle Pack rests weight on the brand’s custom axle.

Old Man Mountain Axle Pack specs

  • Weight: 149.7g for the two rails, not including bolts
  • Price: $60 for the Axle Pack, plus $80 for a Front Fit Kit thru axle
  • Buy from Old Man Mountain

The Old Man Mountain Axle Pack

The Old Man Mountain Axle Pack is designed to work with the brand’s Front Fit Kit which is basically a replacement front axle. The Front Fit Kit allows you to attach any of the Old Man Mountain front racks and panniers, and now the Axle Pack too. There are multiple versions to choose from depending on which fork you’re running up front. I eventually settled on one to fit a RockShox fork after determining there isn’t an option to fit the Cane Creek fork on my hardtail or the 9mm QR axle on my gravel bike. The Front Fit Kit is not cheap; the 15mm thru axle I tested sells for $80 by itself.

So assuming you already have the Front Fit Kit, or have purchased one, you can mount the Axle Pack to your fork. The Axle Pack features 6061 aluminum alloy rails with four threads per side to attach a bottle cage or two, or something more robust like a tool roll or small dry bag.

The bottom of each rail sits on and is bolted to extensions on the Front Fit Kit axle. This supports the weight and ensures the rails don’t twist or rotate around the stanchions. The top is bolted to a plastic block that’s zip tied to the fork using sturdy ties that are included with the Front Fit Kit. Protective tape is included to protect your fork finish and/or any decals clear.

It took me a while to piece together how everything fits, mainly because I couldn’t find the installation instructions online ahead of the launch. With instructions I estimate installation took about 15-20 minutes.

Old Man Mountain says the Axle Pack is designed to support up to 11lb of weight per side for a whopping (and IMO, soul-crushing) 22lb carrying capacity overall. That’s likely enough to carry an entire sleep system on one side of the fork, and all your food and then some for the trip. But you probably won’t be doing any wheelies.

I managed to get in one rough ride with the Old Man Mountain Axle Pack attached to a RockShox Lyrik fork on a Marin Rift Zone FS bike. The mounts stayed rock solid through janky trails with a large water bottle on one side and a heavy flat repair kit on the other side. On tight trails the bottle grazed a few trees with no ill effects to the mounts. It seems like it would take a lot to bend the rails, and they’re clearly more than robust enough to handle the weight of a water bottle and a good amount of gear.

More than anything, the Axle Pack is a nice and neat solution for hauling gear on any bike, and more to the point a ripping mountain bike. So what if you don’t have room for a bottle cage or frame bag on your full suspension bike? This will let you carry a lot of gear, especially in combination with a handlebar roll plus seat bag and/or rear rack. The Axle Pack is solid, looks good and certainly doesn’t appear to be hacked together like a DIY solution.

Pros and cons of the Old Man Mountain Axle Pack


  • Solid support for all the gear (and then some) that you want on a fork
  • Looks good
  • Quality hardware


  • Expensive

Bottom line

Old Man Mountain isn’t the first to offer a fork mount solution for bikepackers, though the Axle Pack is certainly one of the more refined and robust options, especially for those who want to shred.