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Front basket or rear baskets

Old 08-18-15, 09:02 PM
  #1  
Stiffy
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Front basket or rear baskets

Hello Bike Forums,

I've recently started bike commuting to work and I've noticed that wearing a backpack makes my back sweat really bad. I want to use a basket to keep my backpack in so I don't sweat so much while I ride. Which is better and why, a front handlebar basket or a rear basket on the side, like a pannier?

A few things to consider:
  • I want to use front and rear blinking lights so cars can see me
  • I don't want my backpack to block my lights
  • I want to keep cost at a minimum, rear baskets would require a rack where the front basket does not
  • I'm worried that having a backpack on a rear side basket would make the bike feel weird and unbalanced, causing me to lose balance easily
I'm currently looking at these baskets
Wald 582 Rear Basket
Wald 3133 Front Basket

What would you guys recommend?
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Old 08-18-15, 09:06 PM
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I don't like to slow down my steering by adding extra mass to the front wheel. Rear baskets please. I usually use a single rear pannier on my rear rack. Unless you're carrying bowling balls or barbells, the weight difference side to side won't affect you much.
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Old 08-18-15, 09:37 PM
  #3  
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the good use of front basket, handlebar bags, or fork panniers is weight distribution. if you dont weigh a lot loading the rear of the bicycle is not an issue. if so you could always get a stronger rear wheel.
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Old 08-18-15, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Stiffy View Post
Hello Bike Forums,

I've recently started bike commuting to work and I've noticed that wearing a backpack makes my back sweat really bad. I want to use a basket to keep my backpack in so I don't sweat so much while I ride. Which is better and why, a front handlebar basket or a rear basket on the side, like a pannier?

A few things to consider:
  • I want to use front and rear blinking lights so cars can see me
  • I don't want my backpack to block my lights
  • I want to keep cost at a minimum, rear baskets would require a rack where the front basket does not
  • I'm worried that having a backpack on a rear side basket would make the bike feel weird and unbalanced, causing me to lose balance easily
I'm currently looking at these baskets
Wald 582 Rear Basket
Wald 3133 Front Basket

What would you guys recommend?
Rear light can be put on the back of a rear mounted basket.

Depending on how much you are carrying and how light your bike is, the weight of a backpack on one side or the other hasn't bothered me and probably won't bother you, certainly doesn't make me lose balance.

But, when I use a top of rear rack mounted basket and fill it with groceries, that actually does throw off the balance.

Another option, though not cheap, is a seatpost mounted carrier, like the Tout Terrain Sherpa



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Old 08-18-15, 11:21 PM
  #5  
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I'm partial to Wald 582 baskets on the back, but I also have a bike with a front porteur rack. What works best handling wise depends on the bike, what works best convenience wise depends on you.
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Old 08-18-15, 11:57 PM
  #6  
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Retrofits are hard to say. A porter rack with headlight mounted below the rack is awesome, if the bike was designed for it by having low trail fork geometry. Handlebar mounted lights generally don't work. You can carry very heavy and bulky loads with excellent control. Without low trail forks, the steering tends to flop side to side aggressively. It is nice keeping an eye on your load and it is a handy place to use on the go. Front baskets can be used at moderate speeds with unsecured contents.

Rear racks affect the handling less with standard forks, but heavy loads are like the tail wagging the dog. Tail lights can clip to the rack or basket. You have to secure things better, and accessing the bag usually means stopping. A rear basket with unsecured load is not good at any speed.

It seems like most people are happy as pigs in slop without ever thinking of such things. Others have to expiriment to find an acceptable compromise. Find used stuff until you figure it out.
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Old 08-19-15, 05:56 AM
  #7  
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How much stuff do you have to carry? What make/model or style of bike do you have?

I have a removable frame mounted front rack with a wood wine crate on it that works really well. Personally I prefer frame mounted to fork/handlebar mounted but that's personal preference. My bike at our place in Europe has a front handlebar basket like you referenced above and it works well and I use it every day.

I have panniers from both Clarijs and Basil and small and huge from both. Happy with all of them but agree that unbalanced weight isn't a great deal. A pound or two diff isn't a problem though. I use to have a crate bolted to the rear rack that worked great because I could drop my backpack in it easily. When I become less lazy I'll put it back on as I miss it.

Our front lights are all mounted on the left fork which is below any rack/basket, provides good forward light, and perhaps most importantly lights up reflective sidewalls for better visibility. Rear lights are mounted on the rear fender.
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Old 08-19-15, 06:11 AM
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Thanks for all the replies. My bag weighs around 5-10 pounds. I won't be needing to stop and get anything out of my bag while I'm commuting. I'm typically riding at 10mph on my commute so I'm not going that fast. Nashbar Flat Bar Road Bike This is the bike I'm using to commute with.
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Old 08-19-15, 10:24 AM
  #9  
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For a light load like that, a rear basket (like the Wald 582) attached to the side of a rear rack will have the least adverse affect on the handling of your bike. But, you'll need to get a rear rack as well. When you attach the basket to the rack, ensure that it's far enough back that you won't strike your heel on it when you pedal.

I like front baskets, but you would definitely notice that much weight being carried up high on the handlebars.

I tried a Wald 3133 QR for a while, but it made the front end flop around.

I've also used a Wald 137 attached to a mini front rack (Nitto M12) and that was much more secure, with less front end flop. But that combo is more expensive than a cheapo rear rack plus Wald 582.
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Old 08-19-15, 10:30 AM
  #10  
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This is my go-to basket from Nantucket Bike Basket Company. It has hooks for attaching to the handlebars on my dutch Azor Oma. And it works absolutely great for going grocery shopping, the functional handle and all! And Nantucket BBC is an American company and so what more could you ask for.

Last edited by tjkoko; 08-19-15 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 08-19-15, 10:36 AM
  #11  
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Well, when I started bike commuting, it didn't take long before I had a rack on the back of the bike. The rack is just an item I wouldn't want to be without for the commuter/grocery-getter Sport Utility Bike.

For the commute, I hang a set of panniers on the rack. They tote my office clothes, lunch, and snacks (fruit.)

For groceries, I remove the panniers and hang baskets by "Basil" on the rack. They have folding handles so I can carry them into the grocery store. The model is "Cardiff."
I haven't checked the "Wald" baskets, but "Basil" has a large number of baskets to choose from.

Oh, and for lights: The rear blinky attaches to the rear of the rack and is not blocked by the panniers nor baskets.

Ray
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Old 08-19-15, 10:40 AM
  #12  
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My commuter bag ends up around 5-10 lbs and I carry it up front on bikes not specifically made to carry loads on the front. Main commuter has a VO Constructeur front rack and the bag straps to the handlebars. On the other end of my bike/bus/bike commute, the lockup bike has a Wald 1392 front basket.

The weight doesn't really affect steering much in motion, but does make the front end a bit floppy when I'm not on the bike. If I was carrying more, I'd do a rear rack and panniers, but for what I need and actually carry on a daily basis, the front rack and basket works fine. And the Wald front basket is cheaper and lighter than a basket/rack combo out back...
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Old 08-19-15, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Stiffy View Post
Thanks for all the replies. My bag weighs around 5-10 pounds. I won't be needing to stop and get anything out of my bag while I'm commuting. I'm typically riding at 10mph on my commute so I'm not going that fast. Nashbar Flat Bar Road Bike This is the bike I'm using to commute with.
What are you currently wearing on your commute? I used to ride in cotton t-shirts and a back pack and my back would be drenched. Now I wear moisture wicking shirts or jerseys and it has been greatly reduced.
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Old 08-19-15, 11:14 AM
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Porteur bikes were made to carry a pretty heavy load of bundled newspapers in major French Cities to supply sales agents in street kiosks
they had a front rack to do that..

Wald big Newsboy baskets are a US Staple for carrying lots of stuff, mounted on your Schwinn cruiser, for example...

https://www.waldsports.com/index.cfm/...livery-basket/

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-19-15 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 08-19-15, 11:22 AM
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Rear basket. I just added a rear basket, so I can take off my front basket. Steering with a front basket is not a big deal, unless you've got a ton of weight in it, but my issues came from when I was off the bike. The weight up front will cause your wheel and handlebars to flop around when your trying to stand your bike up, walk it from the seat, or do anything without having your hands on the handlebars. Not a big issue, but annoying. It's also harder to lock up your bike, when there are other bikes on a rack. Also, depending on your bike (typically drop-bars) loading the front basket can interfere with shifting and braking. I just affixed a mesh basket to my rear rack, and find it much easier to deal with. I can also carry much more.
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Old 08-19-15, 12:18 PM
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Old 08-19-15, 12:24 PM
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Old 08-19-15, 04:55 PM
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I've always commuted with a backpack on a rack. (except on my road bike, when I wear it) Here's the system I devised. I loop two bungee cords around the top of the seat post and through the seat frame rails. I then anchor them at the rear of the rack. I leave this in place all the time. I simply "spread 'em" and slide the backpack in, Usually upright, but sometimes on its back or side. The bungees hold the bag against the rack and the seat post. Never lost a bag in 23 years. THe bag I bought last fall is a little bigger and a little taller than past back packs, so I was a little concerned, but luckily it has grommets on either side where I attatched D-Clips. WIth a little practice they now clip and unclip in a second and the bag is even more secure.
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Old 08-19-15, 05:34 PM
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A couple things that I've experienced with front baskets: First, it's hard to mount them on some bikes without interfering with the brake and gear cabling, especially if you have straight bars. Second, a basket needs at least three attachment points. The Wald baskets do this with stays that go down to the front axle. The baskets that attach only to the handlebars probably won't be satisfactory for heavy loads. My spouse used one with her work bag, including notebook computer, and it bounced around until it eventually fell apart.

Today, she and I both have Wald 585 baskets attached to the drive side of a conventional rear rack, using hose clamps. Mine has held up for 15+ years. If you don't like it open all the time, I suppose the folding basket would work just as well. On my winter bike, the same kind of basket is on top of the rack, to keep it up further from the muck. But having a basket on just one side doesn't seem to affect balance, even when I've got it loaded with groceries.
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Old 08-19-15, 07:58 PM
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https://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2012...-fair.html?m=1

Get a milk crate and strap it to a rack. If you are already willing to go ugly with a basket, you might as well go all the way and not spend very much.

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Old 09-09-15, 03:15 AM
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runabout bike by Berang Berang, on Flickr

I had one of Wald's larger baskets on my bikes for several years. Greatly prefer it to a rear rack or basket. Unless you're carrying something heavy it does not effect steering at all, although as others have said it will cause the handlebars to flop around when you're not holding them.

Two big advantages to the front basket are:
1: you don't have to lift your leg over whatever you're carrying when getting on/off the bike.
2: whatever you are carrying is always in sight. Nothing falls off or shifts over unexpectedly making the bike awkward to handle.
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Old 09-09-15, 10:34 AM
  #22  
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One of the disadvantages of using a road frame for commuting is no eyelets for a rack, but I do love my Curtlo.

Good thing I'm happy using a backpack...
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Old 09-09-15, 02:41 PM
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If you get a rear rack, your bike will become a lot more useful. (Actually, any sort of basket/rack will make it a lot more useful).

FWIW here's how I attach my backpack to a rear rack - https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/...rear-rack.html

Alan s is right about strapping a milk crate to a rack. You too can have a piece of Amsterdam cycle chic!
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