Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: Wald #582 Folding Rear Mounted Bike Basket (aka Mesh Wire Panniers)

The Wald #582 wire bike baskets seemed like an ideal way to add some cargo space to my bike. I figured unlike bag-based panniers, I would have these suckers on my bike at all time, which means having storage space even when I didn't think I would need it. The utilitarian designed seemed to be more focused on making an efficient tool, rather than creating something flashy.

From the Amazon reviews I thought installation might be a bit tricky. But I figured I could solve that issue by having my local bike shop install them when they were doing other maintenance to my bike.

And things went pretty much to plan: my mother-in-law was generous enough to buy me them for my birthday and the bike shop installed them (they didn't even giggle in front of me for me lack of manlieness know-how). Here's how they look installed:

They really are as handy and functional as the Amazon reviewers suggest.

Unfortunately, I quickly ran into two issues. First off, these guys are heavy! I did a quick measurement and in theory they both come to a weight of something like 6lbs, but they feel quite a bit heavier than that. My bike is by no means especially lightweight, but I was amazed at how heavy it had become with the additional of these baskets. The thought of schlepping extra weight up the numerous hills of Arlington just doesn't appeal.

Second of all, I was surprised at how differently my bike handled when I filled them up. Naturally they messed with the balance of the bike that I'm used to, and I found myself surprisingly unsteady. Apparently, riding with panniers is something that takes getting used to, and I just don't have the skills or confidence yet to make me comfortable tooling around with them.

In the end, I returned baskets and kept the bike rack. I also picked up a cargo net, which I'm thinking will give me some extra space to store stuff without the extra weight or balance issue.

Bottom line: panniers, and these specifically, are wonderfully functional, but be aware there's no free lunch. Opt for these guys and you'll be carrying quite a bit of noticeable weight (even when empty) and you'll need some time to get used to riding under these new conditions. Another plus for ditching the panniers in exchange for just a rack: it's a proven strategy for lightweight bike touring .


  1. Anonymous1:22 PM

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  2. Anonymous3:02 PM

    Thanks for your help in deciding what to get. 6 lbs. is a lot of weight to add since I wont be using the baskets but a couple times a month. Hmm... What to get now?

  3. I've just use the rack that the panier's attach to. At one point I had a fancy bungy cord net thingy to keep everything in place, but I've actually just switched to carrying around a hunk of rope to tie stuff down.

    It's not a fancy solution, but for me, it works.

  4. Anonymous9:03 AM

    Thank you for the quick review and especially the photos. 6 lbs to me is nothing. A grocery run can max out my rack, rated at 55 lbs, and i routinely ride with 2 pannier. I even ride with them empty, as i found out riding without them i'm often in want of a simple stowage option when i'm out and about. Expandable panniers might work best for you, and there are lots of options.

  5. I am a bicycle commuter in Texas, yes, an anomaly in oil/gas-drunk Texas, and I wanted to add a dimension of experience. I ride a fleet of bicycles, some stripped to their bare track racing weight, some with sturdy baskets I carry weekly groceries, and sometimes smaller grand children, and others with a rack and fabric panniers. I like the panniers because I can easily move them from bike to bike, but I hate the annoying flimsiness of them, they tend to move about, catching my heels occasionally. I love the baskets, it's like a purse with wheels! I can put 2 one gallon bottles of water on one side! These are the pack mules of the bike world. They are great for hauling beer around at 3-day fly-in camping parties and film festivals. My advice? pull on your big girl panties and get used to the weight and balance and start commuting more aggressively, have more fun, and thanks! I'm replacing the fabric panniers with these bad-ass wire ones!

    1. Kaitlyn -

      I never did thank you for the insightful comment!

      I've actually gotten into the habit of clipping my shoulder bag into the back bike rack (see this action shot), and I don't have any weight or balance issues at all.

      Heck, sometimes I wonder if the bag is even attached.

      So yeah, either I've gotten more comfortable with hauling a bit of weight, or the slimmer / lighter pannier works for me.

      Either way, I'm getting there.

      Thanks again!