Monday, May 24, 2010

Wald Rear Folding Baskets Up Close

I am being asked lots of questions about the Wald Rear Folding Baskets, so here are some details and close-up pictures:

The Wald folding baskets are perceived as practical and inexpensive, but unglamorous. People tend to put them on their old 3-speeds and beater bikes, but rarely will you find them a "nice" bike. I too would have been reluctant to install them on the Pashley. But having used these in Austria on Jacqueline, I saw that they can look elegant on the right bicycle.

Anyhow, here they are on the Pashley now, and you can judge for yourself. To answer some questions: Yes the baskets are "heavy": according to the specs, they are 2.75lb each. And no, they do not jiggle or make noise. Whether empty or full, I don't even really feel them. What's especially nice, is how integrated they are with the Pletscher "Athlete" rear rack; all together it almost looks like one unit.

The Co-Habitant carries one of those multi-use tools at all times, so he installed the baskets for me as soon as we bought them.

Each basket mounts to the rack via 3 bolt-on metal brackets (which are included): two on top and one on the bottom.

Here is the bottom one. Some people use zip ties in addition to or instead of the brackets.

The baskets lie flush with the bicycle's rear rack when folded. To unfold, you lift a metal tab on top and pull out the sides.

Then lower the bottom, click it into place, and voila!

Here is the basket transporting my workbag - which houses my laptop, documents, and about a dozen other things. The bag is very secure in there, much more so than in the front wicker basket of yore. For me, this system really works. When cycling for transportation I prefer to keep my things in my normal, favourite workbag, and then to be able to place the bag into some form of container on the bicycle. Click-on panniers that double as laptop bags or handbags don't really do it for me, because I want to be free to carry any bag I want when off the bike - including my photo bag. Of course, an additional benefit of a metal basket, is that I can leave the bike anywhere and not worry about its bags being pillaged or removed.

Here you can see the position of the baskets in relation to the rider. It's a very tidy system.

On my Pashley there is no foot strike or leg rub when pedaling, but this really depends on a bike's geometry.

The practicality of the Walds is so seductive, that I have lost my ability to tell whether they suit the Pashley or detract from its loveliness. Your honest opinion?

45 comments:

  1. I am confident that the be-Walded Pashley would pass the Vitruvian test re: firmitas, utilitas, et venustas. I agree about how well they fit together with your rack, and I also like how when they're empty, they form their own layer of filigree against the spokes and your dress guards.

    I'm also impressed the CH was able to do such an easy sidewalk install! I found the process a bit awkward, myself, and was constantly dropping the little screws and nuts into the rear spokes and all over the floor. I need to learn his secret!

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  2. i think they suit your Pashley perfectly, especially, as you noted, in conjunction with the black Pletscher rack. the fact that you "can leave the bike anywhere and not worry about its bags being pillaged or removed" is the main reason i'm interested in these. i have a set of canvas Basil panniers, but taking them off/putting them on depending on where i'm going is kind of a drag, i find...

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  3. I love them! so much so I am considering investing in them for my Pashley :D Here in the UK we get the ones by Basil, we don't have Walds unfortunately, as I think they seem cheaper than Basil... I'm going to have a look at them when I am next in Sheffield, in a shop where they have them in stock. I am not too keen on panniers, I have not seen one style that I think suits Pashley, without costing me the earth, plus I think the folding rear baskets are utilitarian enough to not tickle the fancy of someone thinking of nicking them (sad but true)...

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  4. Wald folding baskets are the best! My girlfriend and i both have them on our bikes. I cant imagine life without them. She lined hers with canvas in a way so it still folds and it kinda looks like a canvas pannier without the downside of being "pillaged" or stolen.

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  5. Anon - Thanks for the canvas lining idea!

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  6. I think they look very nice.

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  7. You've done it again! The new look is great! I now want the Wald folding baskets.

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  8. They look very nice, esp in black rather than silver. Practical and sturdy, and not over "designed" looking as so many things do.

    I had them on a bike when I lived in a flat city. A cargo net, bungee cords, or other tie down strap is prudent for that 1 time when you hit a hole or bump and your bag astonishingly comes flying out of the basket, even though it never has on all sorts of rough terrain (that was my personal experience, several times before I went to the extra step of adding the tie down).

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  9. When I think of Pashleys I think of the Brooks panniers, but the big downside with those is that they are beautiful, expensive and desirable, and a temptation for thieves.

    These baskets on the other hand are functional and strongly-mounted. Less of a temptation for thieves. But the bonus is that they look surprisingly good on such an elegant bicycle. The fact that the rack they mount with is black helps them look integrated. Because they are wire they don't have the heavy profile of a hardmounted pannier setup; they look light and airy. I'd like to see a pic of Eustacia Vye without the laptop, with the baskets folded, just to see how unnoticeable they are on a day to day basis.

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  10. Did that rear light come with the rack?

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  11. The Walds are nice, just make sure to lube the pivot points on them, especially the clasps. These tend to seize with rust when they get wet too many times. I have seen this happen many times on bikes that I have repaired.

    My only criticism of Wald products is the fastening hardware - it is all AES - not metric like everything bike made these days. Wald has been around about 100 years, so it seems they never changed their fastener specs.

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  12. I have the wald front basket. I have been thinking of getting the rear folding baskets for my bike, however, I am trying to avoid shipping. When I'm next in San Antonio I will look.

    I am preparing a post about Mexican bicycle stores. The racks there are made to carry heavy duty stuff. Made there at the store, including the frames and other things.

    Have you ever visited one? I fou nd them most interesting.

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  13. I like the baskets and LOVE your blog!! Keep it up!
    ben-

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  14. The black color is why they blend in so well. Silver on your bike wold be garish. Nice choice, now there will be a run on black Wald baskets.

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  15. The Wald rack & Delta Cruisers look great.
    I have a Wald 570 double rear carrier on my 1972 Schwinn Collegiate.
    It is 70s vintage and I am just amazed at how tough it is and how much I can carry on it. I've carried bike wheels, frames and other parts, as well as groceries.

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  16. Just wanted to second the suggestion that you keep the clasps and pivot points oiled -- the interior of the buckle isn't painted, and will rust. The painted parts, though, should be good for many, many years of wet weather with no maintenance.

    As for loveliness: a bicycle without baskets is a lovely object in itself, but a bicycle with baskets suggests a life of loveliness that is larger than the object. Form vs. aesthetics, you know?

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  17. Like any pannier, they cover the rear of the bike and hide some of the curves. But there is beauty in simple functional designs. They add that sort of beauty to the bike as a whole. And they blend in well with the black rack and dark green.

    I wish they had anodized the fasteners black to make the whole thing look more integrated, but that is a very small thing, barely noticeable.

    I also wonder if it is possible to make these things lighter, using aluminum alloy. Would they be as sturdy and reliable, traits I consider more important?

    I am also considering the Walds so that I can leave them on my bike in higher risk areas. Perhaps with those reusable grocery bags that stand up. Thanks for the detailed review.

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  18. Another vote for the Walds. I actually think they look better than 98% of the panniers out there. I put mine on as a temporary solution and two years later they're still there. I love them!

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  19. Thanks for your opinions re the baskets, as well as for the suggestions to oil the pivot points - will do.

    Peter - We are planning to cover the fasteners with black "liquid electrical tape" - which will not only make them blend in, but will function as an extra reinforcer.

    rural - The image of my photo bag or laptop bag flying out of the baskets is disturbing, and despite them feeling snugly implanted I do believe you that it can happen. I am trying to find some *flat* bungee cords, as I find the round ones difficult to use.

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  20. I use a flat bungee over my laptop bag - you can see it in the pic just a little. I normally use a green one to match my bike LOL!, but that day had a blue one one. Just makes me feel better. I got a big box of them at Home Depot for our camping supplies a few years ago. I also found fasteners which were covered in latex, probably in the same way the "liquid tape" will work. They've held up very well. I just noticed the other day that the latex as come off of one of them. Not bad for two years.

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  21. I have Walds and like them. I have also canvas lined mine. The other mod I made was tossing the hardware and attaching them with tiny hose clamps from the local hardware store. They don't rust, they don't loosen and they don't rattle.

    I second the bungee cord requirement.

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  22. Looks like I'm going bungee cord shopping to Home Depot. I hope they have black or dark green.

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  23. Thanks. Nice idea to oil the baskets. Ours close a bit different, one is stiff and the other is just right. I need to sand the clasp down a touch, or re-shape it, and oiling the joints might help even out the whole feel of the setup.

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  24. While I was waiting for my tube to be replaced at Ace Wheelworks Sunday, I'm 99% sure I saw black, flat bungees for sale there. Though if you just want to play on one of those giant flatbed carts at Home Depot, I get that.

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  25. I think they look great! I've been searching for somewhere in Australia to buy them (or even somewhere that will ship here) since I saw your first post. No luck. I'll just have to keep admiring yours!

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  26. I think that the fact that Wald products are so well-constructed and functional makes them beautiful, too. And I like the idea of canvas (or oilcloth) liners.

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  27. I like them. In fact, I want to get a set for my bike.

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  28. I was worried about how these would look on the Pashley but in fact, they look great. I currently have the woven basket it came with and I use a Basil pannier that clips on to the rear rack but I would like to get a rear basket set up. I just wish I could use my pannier and baskets interchangeably. Maybe I'll find a DIY way to make it so.

    On my other bike, the Electra Townie, the front basket actually broke while I was riding it and the purse I was carrying fell to the ground. The bracket was made of plastic and cracked so it is useless now and most places don't sell them separately. I would prefer a metal bracket. But I agree, having a front basket affects steering a lot so I haven't committed to replacing it as yet. I just have to get comfortable with the idea of not seeing my purse in front of me if I go with a rear basket. I always worry it will fall out in transit.

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  29. I use a cargo net that will stretch over the top of mine to keep stuff in. I actually have a couple of them, usually one for the front and one for the rear. I also use it to lash stuff to the rack when the baskets are closed.

    Aaron

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  30. oh Lovely!!!! We're hitting up some LBS's this weekend so I know whats now on my look for list:) Even if I have to save them for when I get my Pashley I will do so or install them on my hybrid for the interim

    Thanks for this post Velouria:)

    Fiona
    girlcanbike.com

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  31. A neighbor has the silver folding Wald baskets on her 1942 Hiawatha skip-tooth swan-framed middleweight*, which made my wife go "hmmmmm"; and now you show how good and practical they are.
    Herself is now fully convinced, and "Herculeesa", our Hercules Sports, will be getting a black set, and the large-pie-sized Wald front basket will only be installed on special occasions.

    Corey K

    * Come to think of it, Santa Cruz has some interesting bikes bobbing around, too.

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  32. I've been using two folding baskets for the past three or four years now. Absolutely love them. Great for shopping!
    I'm surprised at how much they can hold. I think I've had around 30-40lbs in each of them on a number of occasions.

    I was fortunate to get mine on sale for $2each.

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  33. The Pashley -- and the bikes that inspired it -- aimed to be practical. The baskets cannot possibly detract from that.

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  34. I think the baskets look great on the Pashley. My wife has a 3-spd Electra and has the chrome version of those on hers. We seem to have worked out an annoying rattle issue, and they work great otherwise. Very convenient and they look good on right kind of bike.

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  35. where can I buy this basket? it's lovely!

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  36. are there any stockists in england? or that ship here? been looking for good panniers for an age; these seem like they'd be perfect...

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  37. You just gotta love this idea. Not only is it practical but quite stylish!

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  38. Just received mine from Amazon! The stock clamps where too small for my axiom rack, so I had to use zip ties for the time being. Thinking of using hose clamps as a more permanent solution.

    Thanks for the lube tip above, the rust in the joints already formed even though they are new. Great racks for commuting as they are always there.

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  39. u.simpson@btinternet.comDecember 5, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    How can I buy these baskets in the UK? The one I bought in Canada 15 years ago is breaking - and I want to replace it...

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  40. I love this solution and my fiancee and I are considering these baskets in our next steps towards ditching our car as much as we can.

    However, still I ask the question: how do you deal with having Non waterproofs containers (like a waterproof pannier) when it rains?

    Would appreciate any insight from any number of the bike community.

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  41. Hi, does anyone know if the fasteners will fit the standard Gazelle Impala rack? I could use zipties or hose clamps (good idea Lawrence) of course, but ideally....

    Gosh I love this blog.

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  42. I just finished installing 2 baskets on my rear rack. My experience was frustrating and it took a long time to get both installed correctly and securely. Aside from not being able to get a good angle on the screws and having to use a pair of needle-nose pliers on the back end of the clamp to get it tight, I continually dropped the screw or nut until I figured out that you need to squeeze the clamp over the screw a tiny bit with a pair of pliers right after you mount it and then apply the bolt or it will never sit flush. Even then, there was never enough clearance to tighten the clamp quickly. The bottom clamp was ridiculous to install considering that you have to go through or around the rear wheel to do it.
    I would second the use of hose clamps - they'll go on a lot faster, will be tighter, and will be easier to install. I will test this soon as I want to put a lot of clamps on so that it would be silly and overly time consuming to try and steal the baskets.

    The bottom hardware could be replaced with a very thick zip tie or a metal zip tie (or, duh, hose clamp) to save some time installing and endure less stress. Also, I installed the first basket backwards and had to start over, so that was fun.

    From the heart - I call BS on the sidewalk install - even if an experienced mechanic is involved.

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  43. First, I want to say that this is a great blog.

    I bought the folding basket for my wife's bike. The baskets have to be folded everyday. It is very difficult to open the clip to reopen the baskets. Are we doing something wrong? Is there a trick to opening it? Thanks.

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  44. @Steve--I have these on my bike and also had difficulty opening and closing them. I squirted a little WD-40 on all the hinges, and now they are super-easy to open and close. Give it a shot!

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  45. Thank you all of you. I have found exactly what I need.
    In Canada you can get a similar model (Swagman fat basket) at the Mountain equipment coop (MEC).
    I will go tomorrow and be ready to bike to work on April 1st !!

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