No matter what it is you have to haul across town—beer, groceries, a rashly adopted puppy—there’s a bike basket for the job. Forget the stereotype that they’re limited to pink beach cruisers and picnic lunches (though we included a few options that are); today’s baskets offer more functionality than ever before.
Take a look here at quick info on the top five performers from our testing, then scroll down for buying advice and more in-depth reviews on these and other options.
Things to Consider
Before you buy, you should know what kind of basket best serves your needs. If your primary mission consists only of the occasional run to the corner store, you don’t need a gaping, rear-mounted option like the Wald 582 Folding Rear Basket. A sleeker one, like the Biria City, will get that job done. The weight of the cargo is also something to keep in mind—if you’re hauling more than 15 pounds, look at a rack-mounted rear basket, because the back of your bike can support more without impeding steering or bogging down the bike’s handling as significantly. That’s where something like the Public Metal Basket or Sunlite’s Rack Top Wire would serve you well.
Once you’ve got those important details dialed, you’ll want to factor in price, aesthetics, whether or not the basket necessitates an additional rack, ease of mounting, and even canine carrying capacity. Some models, like the Public Wooden Crate, can easily be removed when not in use, if you prefer.
How We Selected
Every basket on this list was hand-picked by our team of test editors. We personally tested eight, spending many hours using them for grabbing lunch, getting groceries, and hitting the library on a variety of different cruiser, hybrid, and fitness bikes. We pushed the limits of their weight capacity and compared how easy they were to mount. And for the other two we couldn’t get our hands on yet, we researched the market, surveyed user reviews, spoke with product managers and designers, and relied on our own experience pedaling stuff around to determine the best. (We’ll update those impressions once we’re able to test them in person.) When all was said and done—and we’d factored in performance, fit, price, and practicality—we were left with these baskets that we recommend.
Attaching a basket to your bike is a pain in the neck more often than not. But a quick-release mount, like on the Plaza, saves you the headache of wrangling all those little pieces into place every time while still affording you the option to take a ride basket-free. And if you’re shopping, the attached handle frees you to gather your goods and skip the disposable bag at the end. This lightweight, plastic basket comes in an array of bright colors in addition to the classy cream version we tested.
Ortlieb Up-Town City Basket
Commuting year-round, through four seasons of unpredictable weather, is achievable if you have all the right gear. A rain jacket and fenders are a good start—but what about for your cargo? This Ortlieb basket is ready for the unexpected by putting a fully waterproof shell over your stuff, so all your groceries and cast-off clothing layers arrive at your destination secure and dry. The basket comes with a KLICKfix system mounting bracket—universal to all Ortlieb handlebar-mounted gear—that attaches easily and tightens snugly (if you don’t overload it). The waterproof bag hooks over an aluminum frame, where it completely seals out moisture once you close the lid. An inner pocket stores your wallet and other small necessities, while the entire body of the basket holds 17.5 liters with an 11-pound maximum load. The shell is collapsible and has a handle, so it’s easy to carry and stow when not in use.
Tote & Kari Basket
If style points are what you’re after, this basket is a solid pick. The sides, lid, and bottom are fully woven from rattan, a natural reed-like material that looks casual and classic on the front of your bike. The Tote & Kari is ideal for bikes without a lot of cabling in front of the headset to wrestle with, as the brown leather mounting straps—while handsome—secure with buckles and aren’t super snug or precise. Load it up with wine, cheese, and crackers, then pedal yourself down to the park—the reinforced wooden bottom can handle it. Or carry your morning coffee in the cup holder ring.
Bell Tote 900 Bicycle Basket
This sturdy metal basket with a wood base is the ideal shape and size for picking up a 12-pack of beer or seltzer on your way to a backyard cookout. For the price, Bell’s Tote 900 is hard to beat—it looks great, it feels secure and stable while riding, and it holds up to 20 pounds of whatever you see fit to haul. Installation is fairly quick with the included hardware, which hooks over your handlebar at the top and connects to your front axle at the base. A couple things to consider: The mounting legs may fall short on some bikes, so measure before you buy; and at 4 pounds, the basket can feel a bit on the heavy side, though with that weight comes the durability and brawniness to haul all your party gear.
Wald 139 Basket
Beloved by aging bike messengers with bad backs everywhere, this classic workhorse basket is hard to beat. No, it won’t win your bike any style awards on Instagram, but when you need to haul a rain jacket, a U-lock, and about 15 pounds of what-have-yous, just add a bungee cord to the top and it will get the job done. The rack is very easy to install, though the metal handlebar bracket or legs (which extend from 14 to 22 inches) might require some bending to achieve the right angle, depending on the size of your bike. Once you’ve mounted the basket to your front axle and handlebar, it stays put fairly securely and doesn’t rattle around. It’s sturdy, it’s durable, and it’ll last forever, according to my pristine, 20-year-old Wald. If the 139 is too bulky for your needs, check out the Wald 137; if it’s too small for you, try the Wald 157.
Sunlite Rack Top Wire
The Rack Top clamps to a standard rear rack to hold a couple of gallons of milk, a six-pack, and most anything else you might need to fit in there. Its basic black steel frame is deep enough (13 x 16 x 8 inches) that you don’t need a bungee to keep everything from bouncing out—though you’re probably safer using one anyway. It’s also wide enough to haul a grocery bag but doesn’t block the whole bike lane. The advantage of the rear basket is that it can carry more weight without making the front end wobbly—and this model is sturdy enough that you can really load it down. We had no trouble mounting the basket to a rear rack using the included hardware and basic bike tools.
Public Wooden Crate
The perfect crossover between function and aesthetics, this wooden crate sits on the rear rack of your cruiser or vintage road bike and hauls all your farmer’s market produce while looking flawless. It’s designed so you can attach it to most racks, and then use the quick-release device to remove it immediately at your destination. Side handles make it more convenient to tote around. Just measure your rack first if you’re concerned about compatibility—it should fit if the rack width is between 4.5 and 6 inches. It’s designed to carry up to 15 pounds, which ought to be sufficient for most errand runs.
—BEST GROCERY HAULER—
Topeak Trolley Tote Folding MTX
A basket that can easily transition from on the bike to off can be handy—especially with heavier loads like groceries. Attach the Trolley to any Topeak MTX rear rack in the collapsed position on your way to the store, then open it up to its full 25-liter capacity. The handle extends so you can roll it behind you like a suitcase, and it’s designed to trundle along quietly on two rubber wheels (you have to tip it to pull it). The Trolley Tote can hold up to a claimed 19.8 pounds, so it’s designed to get your cargo from A to B as easily as possible.
Wald 582 Folding Rear Rack Basket
For when you want the carrying capacity of a basket or panniers but can’t be bothered with all that bulk on your bike, there’s the lightweight Wald 582. It attaches to the side of most rear racks with three screw-on clamps and folds open into a cargo space that’s about 13 inches wide and seven inches deep. When it’s not in use, the sides collapse to lay flat against the rack. If you really want to conduct all your bulk transport affairs by bike, more power to you, but get a set of two.
Detroit Bikes Bike Rack Basket
Handmade in New Hampshire by Peterboro Basket Co., this gorgeous basket is branded and sold by Detroit Bikes. It’s $15 cheaper than the one on the Peterboro site but no less handsome. The quick and easy tool-free attachment process is what really blew our hair back—to mount, line up the holes in the bottom with the holes in the wooden slats that slide under your rack, and use the four included thumb screws to tighten them together. Voilà, you have a super sturdy rear cargo hold. The woven walls are a foot high (tall enough that we didn’t miss having a lid or feel the need for a bungee net), and the base is 14 by 12 inches, with room for two six-packs to sit comfortably.
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