25 January, 2008

Basket Case


Finding really good bike baskets is hard. Many of the cheap Asian baskets are just plain junk, though there are a few good ones. In addition to the Amish baskets we stock, we now have a couple of Basil models.

Who says bike baskets have to be wicker or wire? The BLOSSOM-BASKET (top photo) is made of a tough woven fiber material. It has a steel frame and carrying handles. The stable double hooks can fit over your handlebars or rack, allowing the Blossom to simply lift off for carrying. This a fine example of stylish, yet practical, Dutch design. Everyone who has seen this basket so far really loves it.

The BERN front bike basket is made of steel, mesh and has a removable carrying handle. It has double handlebar hooks, and a cut-out for a headlight. This is another very practical utility basket that can be removed in seconds. And at $24 it's very affordable.

Baskets like this make any bike practical for a quick trip to the market or even for the occasional commute. We'll probably order some rear rack baskets too. Take a look at the Basil site and see if there are other products you'd like us to stock.

14 comments:

TRT said...

Before my grandfather got too old to ride a bike, he used to make just about every trip under two miles on a no-name gaspipe frame with a bendix 2 speed and folding Wald baskets that my father had ridden to high school. Much as I love my panniers, I've always wanted the simplicity of the foldout baskets, but with some kind of detachable mount so that they could just be snapped on for shopping trips and then taken off (the Walds mount with hose clamps, duct tape, zip ties, and bailing wire). Less rattling when folded would be a big improvement on the old Wald design as well. Not sure if the Basil Catania model (#11055) fits the bill, but if so I'd love to see them at VO.

C said...

Wow, they've got a lot of baskets! I say get whatever model is the largest and will offer the best fit for the racks you offer. I have a generic basket on the back of my errand bike and love it. Wouldn't mind adding another basket and a front rack.

Anonymous said...

I commuted for a while with an old set of Wald paperboy baskets shorn of their mountings, just shoved down on a Blackburn rack. You save a couple of pounds or so by losing the big steel "stays" and the forward rods with clamp and etc. Takes about fifteen minutes with a hacksaw, and they fit pretty snug on the rack. I used a couple of small bungie cords to secure them. They go on and off easily. No noise, except my heels hitting them, but that's an issue I have with any sort of pannier or like arrangement. My feets too big.

Anonymous said...

I have an old Raleigh 3-speed with a Pletscher spring rack - the prototype city bike.

A basket to fit the Pletscher would be nice - could you add that to your lineup? I'm sure there are more folks like me still using the thing.

James said...

I'm not a fan of their baskets. I have one that uses their spring loaded easy off mount and it doesn't mount to anything except a dutch rack. 3/8 tubing is too small. The basket, is made out of a fine mesh making the use of a bungee tarp difficult. Keep in mind that the dutch ride rear loadning bikes and put more effort into the design of their panniers - that or they use bakfietse. Their front baskets are often more decorative than functional. Dainty little things so loosely mounted to racks that they might detach on american roads. And many of their baskets are designed to mount to a rear rack sideways. What we do need is a water proof bag designed to sit upright in a basket and I believe they mack such a thing.

this one guy said...

I gotta say all this fine tooth combing is getting silly.
A BACKpack doesn't need any "bike specific" features to work on your rides-it's not a bikepack after all. As far as pockets to hold water bottles or straps exclusively for u locks- c'mon. Narrowing the focus of a pack so much makes it much less useful/versatile, and does a disservice to the ingenuity we all have. There are literally hundreds of BACKpacks already made (including stylish ones from Bean's and Duluth and Fox River to name a few)that have the features mentioned if you try to make then work at all.
I bring back the BACKpack hoohaw because we need a water proof bag specifically to stand up in a basket?!? Again. C'mon. There are plenty of bags you can use (including ugly-imho- but soooper functional drybags).
If we Need anything from VO, I suggest it be bike-specific.
Also the idea of cutting the hardware off the double Walds is brilliant and goes to the heart of this matter for me.
Finally, thank you Chris for your tasteful and useful bike store.

Adam Hammond said...

C -- this is completely off topic, but some long while ago on a post about the Simplex SLJ, you mentioned that you were a fan of the Mavic SSC (presumably the 801/851) derailleur. I'm curious about your experience with it, and I'd love to hear from you. I think you can click on my name to send me an email... I have absolutely rien à dire au sujet des baskets, I'm afraid!

James said...

I didn't suggest that it should stand up in a basket, put it that way you make me sound like an idiot, I said a bag designed to sit in a basket. Upright as in a bag designed for this purpose with the appropriate flap design. As opposed to a bag not designed for this purpose that allows water to run inside when placed on its side in a basket.

Most bags are designed to hang off of something, a rear rack or a shoulder or back, by placing them on their side in a basket you may reduce their water-resistance. Baskets tend to be wider than taller forcing you to lay a shoulder bag on it's side, unless it's a small or very soft bag. The same goes for front rack. Velo Orange sells front loading bikes not rear loading dutch bikes right?
Given the current interest in front loading bicycles it would be great if someone were to sell a bag designed specifically for front loading bicycles.
I don't think there would be anything impractical or distasteful about it. Unless of course you are prone to believe that anything you don't use is superfluous. I don't use rear pannier bags but I wouldn't tell someone that they should just hang a regular backpack off their rack.

The other option would be a rain cover that could cover a bag laid on its side on a front rack or in a wald basket. I think that would be the ideal solution as it wouldn't necessitate a bicycle specific bag - those tend to be bulky and unattractive. I'm in the process of making one, but I imagine many people might prefer to deal without the extra thing to carry.

One the subject of the wald basket, I discovered that a tile nipper or mosiac tile snipper makes the removal of the handlebar hangers quite simple. Just grab the short end and pry it off.

See even an idiot who is only interested in impractical fluff and shiny ephemera like myself uses the simple practical wald basket and when I get done building the front rack for my Kogswell I'm going to clamp a wald basket to it and take it off once a year.

Anonymous said...

I am sure I am not the only fella to notice and appreciate that the Bern company employs attractive, non-bike nerd, women in the advertisements. I have often thought bicycle culture was only one SMALL step away from role-playing-games store culture; there is no need to accentuate this fact with ugly ads.
M Burdge

this one guy said...

James- If you want to argue the semantics of "sit upright in a basket" (and I hear a stress on upright) versus "stand up in a basket", then it's not me making you sound like an idiot. A word I never used, nor intended.
The BACKpack references an older post,of which your suggestion reminded me.
My point is not to call you names, it is that (again my opinion, which not all share) it seems that people get spun out here on minutiae. Velo Orange has limited resources, and I'd like to see them applied to things that have no readily available alternate.
Like a bag that sits up in a basket and stays dry.Or a BACKpack.

patrick said...

james-- check out the WXTex "Juneau" bag-- it is entirely waterproof and fits in a standard 8"deep Wald basket. and it's designed like a tiny messenger bag. has worked well for me so far-- the only problem is wearing it (in a store, say) when it's been through a soaking rain... because it is, you know, wet.

I found it on SummitHut.com

patrick

Anonymous said...

Basil bags makes the "Milano" bag, it's an "insert bag for mesh front baskets."

http://www.basil.nl/gb/assortment/

Anonymous said...

lemolo bags out of Portland makes both a basket specific bag and well as a backpack and a hip pouch with a u-lock holder.

melanie said...

I ordered this basket as soon as you started stocking it. You can read my review here:

http://churchofthegrannybike.
blogspot.com/
2008/02/
basil-bern-basket-review.html

I think it's a fine basket and does a swell job for everyday bike commuting.