The 10 Best Rear Bike Baskets
This wiki has been updated 29 times since it was first published in May of 2016. If having to lug heavy books, a laptop or other gear stops you from cycling to work or school, one of these rear bike baskets can eliminate that hurdle. Designed to hold a variety of cargo — or passengers with paws, in some cases — they can even turn your ride into an eco-friendly groceries carrier. Just be careful not to overfill them, so the contents won’t get launched when you hit a bump. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 22, 2020:
Bike baskets, whether on the front or back, are one of the best ways to add some cargo space to your ride. Panniers are another great option too, though there is some overlap between these items and a few of the models we have added to our list are classified as such, like the Nantucket Cisco Pannier and Bushwhacker Omaha Panniers, so you'll get the best of both worlds here.
On this update, we decided to replace the previous version of the Beach & Dog Co. Cape May we had included with a model that comes with a removable steel cage for the top. This makes it safer for your four-legged friend, especially those that are excitable and prone to jumping out to chase squirrels and other animals they see.
Another model that we replaced was the Basil Cento. While there is nothing inherently wrong with it, we simply felt it didn't offer anything the Sunlite Wire-Mesh didn't, and the latter is more affordably priced. In its place, we added the Basil Weave WP, which is a type that wasn't previously represented on this list. It offers the charming aesthetic of wicker options with the durability and longevity of plastic baskets, making it a good compromise for many.
Since we already had a few good models that work well for transporting furry family members, like the Nantucket Expandable Pet Carrier and the aforementioned Beach & Dog Co. Cape May, we thought it a good idea to replace the Snoozer Pet Rider with the BV Insulated BA2, which is probably the best option for anyone who often rides to the park for picnics because it allows them to keep cold foods cold, and hot foods hot. It can also come in handy when bringing frozen groceries home from the store, though its capacity is somewhat limited.
December 21, 2019:
Joining the list is the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal which, unlike many others, conveniently can be mounted to either the front or the back of your bike. It’s compatible with just about any rack and features a durable-yet-lightweight polypropylene and aluminum build. At less than four pounds, it’s easy to install and won’t weigh down your ride significantly. You can purchase it with confidence, thanks to its five-year warranty. It’s from a manufacturer of outdoor gear that’s been around for more than three quarters of a century. It replaces the Wald 582 Folding on our list, a model that does not have a waterproof build and comes with hardware that isn’t the most durable.
Moving into the top spot on our list is the Sunlite Top Wire, which is both durable and spacious. It’s made from coated steel that’s resistant to corrosion and measures 16 x 13 x 8 inches. It’s compatible with most rear rack tops and attaches securely via the two included mounting brackets.
Several options featured here are well suited for transporting your four-legged friend, like the hand-woven Beach & Dog Co., the conveniently expandable Nantucket Expandable Pet Carrier, and the cozy Snoozer Pet Rider Lookout. Each comes with securing straps or leashes to provide your pet with a safe ride.
If it’s a front-mounting basket you’re in the market for, check out our list of best bike baskets, which features a variety of high-quality designs in steel, rattan, and more that are suitable for both adults and children.
October 11, 2018:
Incorporated additional warning against overloading and removed items with inadequate mounting hardware or straps prone to unintentional release for safety reasons. Added more options for carrying pets, including an open, high-walled basket in the classic style and a cushioned seat with machine-washable cover.
Bontrager Interchange Rear Basket The perfect companion for your trips to the market, this model features comfortable, padded carry handles and durable wire mesh construction. Installation and removal are quick and convenient, thanks to the manufacturer’s Interchange mounting system. It’s lightweight at under four pounds, and is specially designed to fit smaller bicycles well. trekbikes.com
Electra Rattan Pannier Basket This set of two rattan saddle baskets has you and your stuff covered, whether you’re carrying beach towels, books, or groceries. They mount to a rear rack via leather buckle straps and will add style to your ride, especially if paired with a matching front handlebar basket. They hold a good amount of cargo, making them great for picnics and trips to the market. trekbikes.com
The Benefits Of A Rear Bike Basket
There are a handful of ways to maximize the carrying capacity of your bicycle.
If you like to run errands on your bicycle, you’re probably well familiar with the difficulty of finding an item at the grocery store or a garage sale that’s too big to carry home. Even if you have a nice sized backpack on you, there’s a good chance that it’s already got some fun stuff in it, and that you may have to leave your precious find behind.
There are a handful of ways to maximize the carrying capacity of your bicycle. Many people opt for a bike pouch attached to the front of their handlebars, which is great for accessories you may need to grab quickly like keys, a wallet, or your cell phone. Some people go the extra mile and invest in things like bike cargo trailers, which certainly take some getting used to on the road, though they do provide you with an exceptional amount of storage.
Then, there’s the rear bike basket. This handy addition to your bicycle doesn’t create any difficulty in riding the way the trailer might, and it can generally hold a lot more than a basket or a bag placed at the front of the handlebars. If you tend to haul some serious groceries, you can always invest in all three, outfitting your bike with a bag or basket in front, a basket at the rear, and a cargo trailer.
If you have to choose just one of these implements, the rear basket offers the best of all worlds. It’s easy to install, doesn’t complicate your riding technique, and it’s close enough at hand that you can easily pull over to grab something out of it as needed. It also tends to be large enough to carry a couple bags of groceries, freeing up space in any other carrying device you may use, and making sure you don’t have to leave anything behind.
Which Rear Bike Basket Is Right For You?
Rear bike baskets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, intended to suit the wide variety of riders on the road. Knowing what it is you may want to carry will go along way toward narrowing down our selection to a few great models that you would be more than delighted to have installed on your bike.
Capacity is probably the most important thing to consider when comparing one rear bike basket to the next. If your rear basket is going to be the only means you use for mobile storage, you will likely want the largest model you can find. If, on the other hand, you’ll be using your bike basket in conjunction with a backpack, a cargo trailer, or a bike bag, you can get away with a slightly smaller model.
The actual shape of the basket will have some bearing on its capacity, and will also affect things like balance and installation.
The actual shape of the basket will have some bearing on its capacity, and will also affect things like balance and installation. Some rear baskets are little more than wire mesh surfaces with four walls. They’re easy to install, but you may find that you need something like bungee cords or small ratchet straps to secure whatever it is you carry in them. Other baskets are built to resemble the kind of saddlebags you might see on a motorcycle. These may be slightly more complicated to install, but they do a much better job carrying taller implements and keeping whatever it is you decide to pack safe and sound no matter how sharply you may take your turns, or how many potholes you accidentally hit.
Specialty baskets also exist that are either designed to carry very specific loads or that are made of materials that may be more aesthetically pleasing than practical. You’ll find models that are designed for carrying pets, usually cats or small dogs, from one place to the next. These tend to have covers on them as opposed to the more open design of the common basket, which will help shield your furry friend from wind, debris, or rain. There are also models made of materials like wicker, which won’t do as good a job standing up to the elements, but that will look great on something like a beach cruiser that you rarely take or leave out in inclement weather anyway.
Staying Safe On The Road
Whichever rear bike basket you end up with, you want to make sure that it doesn’t interfere in anyway with your ability to ride. Overloading the weight above your back tire, especially if that weight is distributed too far to one side of the basket, may inhibit your ability to comfortably balance your bike, especially at slower speeds. Always make sure you pack your basket as evenly as possible, and also invest in the means to stay as visible as possible and to protect your body if the worst were to happen.
Whichever rear bike basket you end up with, you want to make sure that it doesn’t interfere in anyway with your ability to ride.
Along those lines, first and foremost, you should own a high-quality, well-fitting bike helmet. There are too many top-tier options on the market nowadays to excuse not wearing one, no matter what you say it does to your hair. If you prefer to be on the cutting edge of things, there are even smart helmets that have integrated lights, turn signals, and Bluetooth connections to handlebar-mounted controllers.
To increase your visibility, make sure you wear something like a reflective vest or a high visibility jacket that make it easy for motorists and other riders to see you at night. It’s also smart to have both head and tail lights installed on your bike, which are less expensive and easier to maintain than ever before.
Of course, it’s hard for riders in front of you on the road or on a park trail to see you coming from behind. That’s why it’s also smart to invest in some kind of bike horn. With a simple and polite toot, you can reliably stave off a potential disaster.