No matter what you need to haul across town—beer, groceries, a rashly adopted puppy—there’s a bike basket for the job. Forget the stereotype that they’re for just 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 aforementioned Public Metal Basket, 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 seven, 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.
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.
Tote & Kari Basket
If style points are what you’re after, this basket is quite the classic. The sides, lid, and bottom are fully woven from rattan, a natural reed-like material. And 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.
—BEST FOR SMALL ITEMS—
This Biria is a great everyday option for commutes, boardwalk cruises, and quick errands. The wire mesh bends just enough that it won’t dent with impact, and the bucket-style construction is roomy (14 by 10 by 10 inches), with enough space for a bag of groceries or a beach towel, sunscreen, and a book. Once you attach the mount to your handlebar, the quick-release function and carrying handle allow you to use the City for shopping or as a beach tote, and the handle swings out of the way when you’re riding. Testers appreciated that the mesh lets them see items buried at the bottom for easier access.
Public Metal Basket
If you have a rear rack on your bike, clamp-on baskets like the Public Metal can come in handy for hauling items that don’t secure easily on their own, like textbooks or a lunchbox. And at 11.5 inches front to back, 15.5 inches side to side, and seven inches deep, it’s big enough to carry both at once. To attach it, pull apart the two handles on either side of the base, center it over the top of your rack, and let the spring-loaded clamping mechanism secure it. That mechanism latches to racks from 4.3- to 5.5-inches wide. Testers likes that the basket held tight over bumps in the sidewalk, but since it doesn’t have a lid, we recommend using a bungee net or cords over items that could bounce out, such as water bottles or a load of apples. The carrying handle has foam padding all the way across and folds down when not in use. The tradeoff for quick installation is security—the Metal Basket wiggles a bit and can slide along the length of your rack if it’s on the narrower side—so we recommend this for lightweight cargo only.
—GREAT CAPACITY AND VALUE—
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 by 16 by 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.
—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.
Electra Basil Crate
If you’re going to be hauling lots of different cargo regularly, you’ll want something sturdy and spacious like the Electra Basil Crate. Out of all the baskets we tested, this one has the best size-to-weight ratio, and the simplicity of it gives you options. The inside of the crate measures 14 by 12 by 9.5 inches, enough room for a big stack of textbooks, a load of sandwiches, or even a small, trustworthy dog. The durable plastic has small holes that keep even little objects like keys secure. Three included brackets and a series of mounting holes in the floor of the basket allow you to attach it to Bontrager MIK racks, but if you want to attach it to a rack you already have (front or rear), you can purchase an MIK Carrier Plate to make the Basil Crate compatible. While it’s one of the cheapest on this list, it’s worth considering how you plan to mount it because both of these options significantly increase the price.
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. Voila, 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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