Monday, August 16, 2010

Wald 482 Rear Bike Baskets Review: Cool Gear

The $33 Wald 582 Folding Rear Bicycle Grocery Baskets are some of those unique items which fill a need that nobody knew existed until they arrived on the market. These unusual rear baskets fold down when not in use to get rid of the most of the superfluous bulk, a feature which is particularly valuable as you put the bike away: "folding option comes in real handy when parking the bike in the garage." The only competition is represented by the Sunlite Rear Folding Baskets, which have also gathered some good reviews, albeit in very few numbers so far, and which may have reliability problems with the hinge components.

The Wald 582 rear baskets, like other rear baskets, need an existing bike rack. The capacity for the pair is 1,570 in3, and the dimensions are 12.75" x 7.25" x 8.5" for each basket. They are made of powder-coated (if colored) steel wire, in squares of approximately 1.5" x 1.5". The weight, for the pair, is 5.5 lbs: "they're quite heavy", "heavy", "they're quite heavy", "nice but heavy", "I wish it was lighter. It weighs more then a the plastic milk crate I was using before." They can be used with heavy amounts of content without unbalancing the bike: "I keep expecting to have problems with balance and the strain of lugging 40lbs of food, but, so far my trips have been pure JOY", "even with bags of flour and canned goods I have not felt like I was overloading them on weight", "you can carry quite a heavy load in the basket and it is still stable."

Users feel that they are versatile, in particular for the bike commuter: "I can choose to fold one out if it gets too hot to wear my jacket or stop by the store on the way home." Each basket is sized to receive a full grocery paper bag: "will hold two full size grocery bags or one bag & 1/2 dozen bottles of wine", "easily take a large paper grocery bag each", "grocery bags fit nicely","each basket holds a full shopping bag of groceries", "each basket will hold 1 paper sack or 1 "green" bag."

Reviewers are pleased with the sturdiness: "used them for years and have given them as gifts", "very sturdy/strong", "strong and functional", "baskets are sturdy and provide ample space for your belongings", "baskets are certainly durable and should last the life of the bike", "quite sturdy", "feel sturdy." The looks do not get unanimity: "serviceable but not elegant. I would recommend the black ones. The silver ones are pretty garish and ugly looking","black baskets definitely look nicer."

As usual for bike gear, installation is easier for some than others: "took about 10 minutes to install on the bike, but about 1 hour of tinkering to get it perfect so I wouldn't hit my feet on the baskets","a little bit difficult to secure to the back rack","in order to attach the baskets [...] I had to purchase longer bolts to properly secure the braces", "mounted easily", "easy to assemble", "took some ingenuity to install, and quite a bit of time. The clips provided for attaching it to the bike rack were not quite the right size and I ended up bending and twisting them to make them work", "had to add longer screws though, as the ones they supply were not long enough to secure it to my rear rack", " installation in general is a fiddly affair calling for thin, nimble fingers. tools with long handles and magnetic tips would also help, not impossible for a regular person to do, but you may be in for about half an hour of cussing at it", "I am a VERY Mechanical person and could not install these baskets", "took less than ten minutes to install both baskets", "easy to install", "installing was not too hard, but for my rack the screws were a little short so I simply bought longer ones from the hardware store ($0.15 each)."

Many users mention needing to mount the baskets further back on the rack to clear your heels: "must mount towards the back of rack for pedaling clearance ", "you have to mount these off center or you kick them with your feet when you pedal", "don't install them centered but back about 2 inches on your rack." No locking hardware is provided, which is a mistake for a bike: " included mounting hardware uses regular nuts instead of nylocs or lock washers. Check them often or get some nylocs at the hardware store, because this is not a vibration friendly setup", "really should include lock nuts or washers", "hardware isn't locking hardware so I will have to get a new set."

Some users complain about rattling: "I use zip ties to attach the Wald baskets to my bike, because with the included hardware they tend to rattle", "they do rattle a bit, but that's the result of them being a collapsible metal basket", "when in use they make sounds not unlike the clatter of a shopping cart." Users recommend the use of bungee cord of netting to make sure not to lose any of the content: "I would make sure you have bungee cords or nets available to hold things in that risk bouncing out during rides over uneven pavement or brick/cobblestone surfaces"

The open and close easily for most, but a few have problems: "once they're on, they're super easy to open and collapse", "I have a difficult time unlocking the hook to open the basket", "the little clip that holds the basket shut just didn't want to move at all. I had to wiggle it back and forth with pliers, then worked a bit of lubricant into it to get it to move freely enough that I could snap the thing open and shut comfortably." Reviewers feel that the baskets create less theft potential than panniers:" they don't scream 'steal me' the way a set of panniers would", "you don't have to worry about them being stolen like with regular panniers."

The Wald 582 gathers excellent reviews, with 94% positive ratings and a likely error of up to 4% (125/133 on Amazon). Users are very pleased about the unusual capabilities, and gush about the functionality. The baskets are sturdy, long lasting and well sized, but heavy. They can be used with heavy content without trouble. There are some installation issues for some owners, which could be easily solved by the local bike store - if you have any doubt, ask them to install the baskets for you. W have no problem strongly recommending these Wald 582 baskets for anyone for whom weight is not a critical issue.

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