Due to the complete lack of carrying capacity on my wife’s refurbished Raleigh Caprice, I was asked to get a front basket for it. The Rixen Kaul seemed well made and reasonably priced, with a clever quick release stem fitting – but Oh ! – what an ugly chunk of black plastic that “Klickfix” stem bracket is !
Otherwise very practical, the bracket as it comes is an unsuitable style for a classic bike such as this.
Wicker baskets can be a bit of a cliche these days, I know, but they are also functional and useful things too.
Anyway, thinking there are ways and means, I decided to give it the twined treatment to visually break up the enormous black lump. First step was to wrap the arms in sticky double sided tape. This doesn’t have to be perfect as it only serves to hold the twine in place for shellacking.
There are two methods I use to fix the ends of the twine, one is to start the wrap so that the first length of twine goes onto the tape to lie perpendicular under the later windings of twine – you can’t do this at the end of your string, of course !
So in that case I will either wedge the twine tightly within the last turns of itself ( though the sticky can often ‘let go’ when wet shellacking ) or more usually, I use a tiny drop of cyanoacrylate (superglue) to fix it in place.
Once that’s done, I check that the twine windings ( twinedings ?! ) are all tight and fairly close together and, if not, I squeeze them together or may even rewind them. Then I “first coat” them with shellac, allow to dry and repeat till satisfied with the colour.
Amber shellac is a good match for the honey coloured saddle on this bike, which now has its bars changed from riser to swept back, requiring a ‘new-old’ stem to take them, and new cork grips were added, these changes made to improve hand comfort.
I would note that with a decent classic bike like this, I carefully keep the old parts together so that it may be returned to original later on.
You’re never going to get a perfect appearance with a big bracket such as this, but I think it’s a definite visual improvement. The twine could be made to cover more but there would always be some plastic showing.
The job would then be much more messy and less enjoyable, also giving a ‘forced’ look to things .
That red quick release button is clashing-ly bright. It would look much better on a red bike.
The wicker basket appears well made and strong, though the metal support ring woven into it is visually somewhat heavy-handed. It also sits quite high, potentially obscuring the ground view directly in front. There are handlebar and head tube bracket options if these would be more appropriate to your bike.