If you’ve ever seen The Wizard of Oz, you probably have a clear image of Miss Gulch on her bike with Toto the dog shoved into a basket on the back. While we don’t condone stealing dogs, we do like the idea of having a basket, especially on a mountain bike.
You can put a basket on the front or back of your mountain bike for some extra storage, although, depending on your bike, it may not always be the best idea. Here’s what you need to know before strapping a basket (and dog?) onto your mountain bike.
Types of Baskets
There are a few types of baskets you can attach to your bike. A front basket is your traditional option. It can be made of several different materials, although for mountain biking, you should only go with a sturdy wire basket.
There’s also the back basket. This is a little wider than a front basket and you can add velcro and elastic straps to secure your luggage while riding. This is great for backpacks or other larger items.
Finally, panniers are a fashionable and modern basket option commuters prefer. They look like fabric backpacks that you strap to the back wheel. You can opt for a single-sided pannier or have one on each side.
It all depends on what weight distribution feels most comfortable while riding. Panniers are also more secure since you can fully zip them shut. No need to worry about anything flying out when you coast down those steep hills!
Benefits of Having a Basket on Your Bike
The most obvious benefit of having a basket on your bike is the added storage it offers. Lots of people like to take their mountain bikes far out into nature, so being able to bring enough water, snacks, and maybe a few first-aid items is helpful.
A basket means that you don’t need to wear a backpack while riding. Although there’s nothing wrong with strapping a bag on for a ride, it can get sweaty and hot which may take away from your riding experience. If the bag is too heavy, it may also lead to some back problems.
Finally, baskets can look cool! There are many fashionable ones on the market that can add to the overall look of your bike.
Disadvantages of Having a Basket on Your Bike
Suspension on mountain bikes is essential. Good suspension will mean that you aren’t constantly pushing up and down when riding over rocky surfaces. This stability is essential for a good mountain bike.
If you have front suspension on your bike, it will limit the kind and size of the basket you can attach. Ensuring your basket does not get in the way of or compromise your suspension is essential. The weight of a basket can interfere with how well the shocks on the suspension work.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have a basket; it just means you need to be mindful of the suspension when installing it.
Baskets also add weight to the bike, and that weight may not always be even. Some riders might be bothered by the unbalanced distribution of weight on the bike.
The best way to solve this problem is to equally distribute the items you’re storing. But even then, you will have to get used to a little extra weight on one side of the bike. You should still be able to have a great riding experience; it’s just something you have to get used to initially.
How To Put a Basket on a Mountain Bike?
To start, you need to decide what kind of basket you want. Think about how secure you need your items to be while riding and which basket looks the best to you.
Front baskets can usually be attached with zip ties if they don’t already come with their own straps. The basket should be tightly secured to the handlebars. Because of the previously-mentioned suspension issue, please ensure that the basket is not touching or interfering with the front wheel suspension.
Alternatively, lots of mountain bike baskets come with their own support system so you can hook them onto your handlebars.
To attach a basket to the back of a mountain bike, there must be a rack with the necessary eyelets present. Without the eyelets, you cannot attach the basket. Ensure that the basket is very secure on the rack. It should not rattle when you ride.
Finally, a pannier comes with a click system, so you can easily remove and attach the bags without completely disassembling the system. This may vary depending on the brand and model you go with, but there should be clear instructions on how to safely and securely attach it to the rear wheel of your bike.
We recommend going for a pannier that can be thrown into the washing machine. Mountain biking can be muddy and dusty, so being able to click out the pannier bags and throw them in the machine for a wash is a must.
You also need to think of what kind of closures you want on the panniers. Zippers are secure but can be challenging when you’re riding. Snap closures are effective and easy to maneuver. Buttons are adorable but are in no way functional.
Now that you know all about the different types of baskets and how to attach them to your mountain bike, here are a few of our favorite baskets on the market.
1/ Retrospec Bicycles Detachable Bike Basket
- Detachable steel bicycle basket with mesh bottom for smaller, loose objects
- Weather-proof steel construction with removable handles for convenient carrying
- Stay safe without fretting over balancing your belongings
This basket hooks onto your handlebars. It’s easily detachable, so you can remove it or change it when needed. It also has a mesh bottom so you can store smaller items. We love how many colors this basket comes in–you don’t need to compromise on fashion when mountain biking!
2/ ANZOME Rear Bike Basket
- UNIVERSAL REAR BASKET FOR BIKE: Rear bicycle basket compatible with all bike types. Use as bicycle basket for cruisers, mountain bikes, cycling bikes, children's bikes, adult women's bikes or men's...
- MADE FROM STRONG, STURDY IRON: Forged out of super strength iron metal, our bike basket rack delivers durability & dependability. The metal bicycle basket you can trust, it supports up to 20KG of...
- WATERPROOF BIKE BASKET COVER: Rear bike basket for bicycles comes with a bonus triple layered bag that protects its from corrosion, rust & wear. Made out of nylon & PU, it's rainproof, reflective &...
The ANZOME rear bike basket is deep enough to keep all your belongings secure. You could also put a few elastic straps on top to ensure absolutely nothing gets out while riding. The basket screws into the rear rack and comes with a waterproof and rainproof cover. You can also secure it with zip ties if that’s easier.
3/ Roswheel 3 in 1 Multifuction Bicycle Cam Pannier
- Materials: 1000D reinforce polyester with PU coating, water resistant, solid and durable
- Large capacity: The total volume up to 37L (about 10 gallons), ideal storage for daily essentials, biking gear, cycling accessories and multiple day supplies
- Angled corner design: angle design for two side bag ensures enough pedaling space
If you’re looking for a lot of storage, this pannier is the one for you. Made with durable and waterproof materials, you won’t have to worry about riding through muddy puddles and getting caught in the rain. It comes in two colors and features several pockets and zippers so you never have to worry about something falling out. This would be a great pannier for longer adventures on your mountain bike.
You can absolutely put a basket on your mountain bike; you just need to be wary about where the suspensions are. We recommend going with a pannier for longer trips, but a wire front basket might do the trick if you’re riding casually on the weekends.
Zip ties are cheap and easy ways to secure baskets, so if screwing a basket into your bike sounds like too much, opt for the easier option!
Do you have a basket on your mountain bike? How has it been working for you? Let us know in the comments below!