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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 12-12-12, 10:27 PM   #1
Nickfrogger
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Panniers or folding baskets?

I'm finally tired of buying small sacks of potatoes and making multiple weekly shopping trips, so I'm looking to add a little storage and consolidate my shopping.

With that said, I'm thinking about adding either panniers or folding baskets (In the end it looks like they both cost about the same). It seems the baskets would be better for shopping and such, but my "utility" bike is also my year round commuter so I'm attracted to the panniers as well

So, what's everyone's favorite? What are positives and negatives of each?

Thanks for the responses!

Edit: I suppose I should add this is college budget--<$50--so reliability of the lowest end of each is something I'm interested in too (ie is it more likely for cheap panniers to rip or cheap baskets to bend, etc.)

Last edited by Nickfrogger; 12-12-12 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 12-13-12, 07:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Nickfrogger View Post
I'm finally tired of buying small sacks of potatoes and making multiple weekly shopping trips, so I'm looking to add a little storage and consolidate my shopping.

With that said, I'm thinking about adding either panniers or folding baskets (In the end it looks like they both cost about the same). It seems the baskets would be better for shopping and such, but my "utility" bike is also my year round commuter so I'm attracted to the panniers as well

So, what's everyone's favorite? What are positives and negatives of each?

Thanks for the responses!

Edit: I suppose I should add this is college budget--<$50--so reliability of the lowest end of each is something I'm interested in too (ie is it more likely for cheap panniers to rip or cheap baskets to bend, etc.)
A that price point I would go with the Wald folding rear baskets then add a front basket when you get the chance. My main grocery getter has 41 litre panniers on it, but they are water proof cotton canvas and weren't cheap. I have a second bike that I use for beer runs, it has the wald folding baskets on the rear and a medium wald basket on the front. It is good for 2 cases of bottled beer plus some stuff on top. The wald folding baskets will hold a brown paper grocery sack (that is what they are sized for) I have some bags made to that foot print that are made from recycled plastics. Work for me.

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Old 12-13-12, 08:29 AM   #3
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For durability, another TU for the Wald folding baskets. That said, my commuter is a touring bike and is the nearest thing to a road bike I have, so I use panniers due to ease of removal. You can find decent quality ones for less than $50. If $50 is rack + panniers budget, then it is baskets. Unless, of course, you want to make your own cat litter buck panniers (bolt replacement pannier hardware to the rectangular buckets). Before going this route, make sure you have enough heel clearance, as they aren't very forgiving to hit when fully loaded.
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Old 12-13-12, 12:10 PM   #4
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Just know the Wald baskets are rectangular, so an installation, to not kick them with your heels,
as you pedal, is needed.


Since they come right off, easily, I take my Panniers off, take them into the store,

the checker fills them, drops them into the cart, & i take the cart back to my locked up bike.

and I get a $.05 discount for not using a store carry out bag for each one I don't need.

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-19-13 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 12-14-12, 12:37 PM   #5
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Perhaps a compromise would be a "grocery bag" pannier. I have a set that came from REI, although several others make them. I find that I don't want my touring panniers for shopping or commuting. For commuting I use a trunk bag, or I use a grocery bag pannier or rear basket and just throw my backpack or other bag in. Likewise for grocery shopping, as the name would suggest, you can just drop your bag in. Like Wald baskets, they offer no protection from the weather, but unlike Wald baskets they can be quickly and easily removed when you don't need them.

I've even used them on overnight trips before I had some "real" panniers. And even afterwards I've used one in the place of one of my panniers because I wanted to bring a cooler, and that was the easiest way to carry it.

They were one of the first bike-cargo items I bought when I started biking as my primary way of getting around several years ago. Now I have a lot of options for carrying a stupid amount of stuff on my bike, but grocery bag panniers continue to be useful.
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Old 12-14-12, 12:58 PM   #6
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I use panniers, but that's partly because I already had them for touring and commuting so they were already available for shopping. Mine are Nashbar's 'Waterproof' rear model along with a rear rack that they had on sale ($30 for the pair of panniers, $10 for the rack). Baskets would be quicker to load but don't provide protection - OTOH, I rarely choose to go out shopping if the weather is bad. I sometimes have multiple stops on my shopping trips and feel more comfortable leaving items (not $$$) inside the panniers with the bike locked up outside another store since they're at least out of sight.
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Old 12-17-12, 02:22 PM   #7
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My vote has to be for panniers. I have had 2 sets of Wald folding baskets and both gave out while hauling groceries. The bottoms of both sets just gave, spilling my stuff all over. I have used a set of axiom panniers for 2 years now and have never had issue. If you go the folding basket route, bring some strong zip ties.
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Old 12-17-12, 03:37 PM   #8
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This is a little above your budget, but I really like these panniers:
http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-1...FUxxQgodcHYAPQ (the price is for one)

They can be loaded very full, come on and off easily, have both handles and a shoulder strap, have D-loops that you can use with a cargo net or bungees to strap additional stuff onto the top of the rack at the same time. They just have basic hooks on them (I'd prefer something like the Ortlieb clips), but the bottom hook is adjustable height, which is nice.
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Old 12-17-12, 03:44 PM   #9
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Given that panniers can do everything a basket does, plus add weather protection, offer additional stow points, add off-the-bike portability, include built-in safety features (e.g. light mounts, reflective material), offer cargo organization via compartments and pockets, offer security (stuff out of view, but also safe from spills behind zippers), are quieter, and look cooler, I think the choice is easy.
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Old 12-17-12, 06:00 PM   #10
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Hey all, thanks for the responses! I hope to do a little touring this summer, and along with commuting usage and all the points Chaadster listed, I think I've decided to go with the panniers. They end up being cheaper also; it looks like you can get them for <$30. I hope to upgrade someday, but cheap ones will do for now... I'm actually quite familiar with a sewing machine

Once again, thanks for the responses!
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Old 12-17-12, 08:56 PM   #11
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Dang, didn't see this one in time to bring up a different option- Donkey Boxx. I have some old Nashbar grocery panniers, but have been thinking about upgrading to the Donkey for a while.
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Old 12-17-12, 09:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harshbarj View Post
My vote has to be for panniers. I have had 2 sets of Wald folding baskets and both gave out while hauling groceries. The bottoms of both sets just gave, spilling my stuff all over. I have used a set of axiom panniers for 2 years now and have never had issue. If you go the folding basket route, bring some strong zip ties.
+1
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Old 12-20-12, 04:28 PM   #13
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Wald baskets are heavy but they get my vote. Never had any problems with mine and reusable shopping bags fit perfectly in them.
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Old 12-20-12, 04:36 PM   #14
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baskets for me..... I use the wald. lot's of flexibility/utility
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Old 12-20-12, 06:10 PM   #15
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I have a bike that I use only for grocery shopping. It's equipped with Wald baskets.
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Old 12-20-12, 07:16 PM   #16
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I've used Wald folding baskets for years and never had a problem with them giving way. Only trouble is that they are heavy, about five pounds per basket and not easily removable. Panniers have the convenience of easy on/easy off, but you might find the inexpensive ones do not last long, are not water resistant, etc.

I like the idea of kitty litter buckets. The cost is low, and the savings can be invested in a good touring style rack that will make it safe and easy to mount any kind of equipment.
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Old 12-21-12, 08:25 AM   #17
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Because you're in Spokane, I would honestly go with the panniers, which will protect your groceries from the elements a bit. If I lived in so cal or something folding baskets would be the ticket.
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Old 01-17-13, 05:22 AM   #18
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I use Wald folding rear baskets and a cloth grocery bag. The bag that fits in the Wald and I fold it right up and close the basket when not in use.
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Old 01-18-13, 08:04 AM   #19
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I experimented with both last year. First with Wald baskets. Nice because you can just toss things in, but in the end I found them unforgiving if an item doesn't fit...the round peg in the square hole. In addition the rigid frame is tough on the contents when ridding on rough rodes. The best thing about the Walds was they provided a nice flat stable surface when I would lean the bike against a wall.


Then I tried saddlebags, rollup panniers actually. The soft sides of the bags provide a bit of suspension for the contents and ride a bit lower which adds stability when loaded up. The softsides also let me jam odd shaped items in and being closed they protect the contents from road dirt and spray.


My conclusion is the baskets are ok for short fast trips, toss an item in a go. If you're hauling a lot of stuff, over any distance; panniers work much better. I've been thinking about adding a handle-bar basket to the pannier equiped bike for those fast short trips, but the panniers are there to stay!
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Old 01-18-13, 12:11 PM   #20
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I'm sure that the type of rack used plays a part, but I have a question about those roll-up ^^ panniers ^^. Since they aren't stiff next to the rack, is there any concern that the load could shift and make contact with the wheel?
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Old 01-18-13, 01:50 PM   #21
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Not really, when you drop them, they snap to the bottom of the rack to prevent swaying and the back is the load bearing section so it's always taunt when there is something in them. But I do run with the back panniers down most of the time, empty and without an issue. They need a substancial rack so you will always have the wheel protected by a strut either to the eyelet or mid-fork.
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Old 01-18-13, 02:56 PM   #22
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Not really, when you drop them, they snap to the bottom of the rack to prevent swaying and the back is the load bearing section so it's always taunt when there is something in them. But I do run with the back panniers down most of the time, empty and without an issue. They need a substancial rack so you will always have the wheel protected by a strut either to the eyelet or mid-fork.
Thanks for responding so quickly. I will be adding these to my (ever growing) list of items to consider buying.
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Old 01-19-13, 01:20 PM   #23
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Since you're planning on getting bigger grocery loads, wouldn't a trailer (like Travoy) be a better option?
If you're not into that option, I would definitely go with panniers as they're more versatile.
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Old 01-19-13, 02:12 PM   #24
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Old kid's trailer, put a foam ice chest in it, and then even the ice cream will stay cooler on the trip home.
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Old 01-21-13, 12:08 PM   #25
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I ordered a cheap set of panniers, but I've still got a craigslist ad out looking for a child carrier trailer thingy, so well see how that goes
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