The best thing about front baskets and racks is the way they allow you keep an eye on the load (or your valuables) while riding…
I know this isn’t a new product, but it’s a very useful one that I have found to be just the ticket for quick trips to the shops and small grocery items. The Portland Design Works (PDW) Takeout basket is cleverly shaped to use vertical space above it for storage, and that helps keep to it compact.
The basket is in lightweight alloy and comes with its own bag and mountings. The water resistant roll-top bag is plain and functional, plastic lined and it won’t absorb the condensation on cold items. The bag folds down and clips onto the basket when not in use, and when opened up is deceptively roomy – I fitted a 2 litre milk and a 2 litre juice side by side easily, with room on top for several lighter items.
The bag top is held closed with velcro when in use and has a non-adjustable shoulder carry strap for shopping. The bag clips are designed to clip around the sides of the basket to secure it when empty, and when in use the top 2 clips can lock together along with the velcro to help secure the bag top.
The basket clamps onto your bars either side of the stem, and has an optional brace to stabilise it on the stem only if it’s a suitable shape – it worked well on the short offset stem of my Speedwell to prevent the load from slipping the basket down. There are clever slot-in sliding shims for 1″ (25.4mm-26mm) bars that push into the clamps (they fit up to 31.8mm bars without the shims).
If you are thinking of getting one of these, bear in mind that it seems mainly designed for either flat bars or road bars ( between the drops ) – if you have gull wing, moustache, or similar swept back bars, it’s worth checking that their curves (and especially your gear and brake cables) don’t interfere with the basket. The basket fitted the gull wing bars on my old Speedwell OK, but I now have only one front brake cable on my bars to worry about. I don’t think that it would fit easily on a number of my other old bikes though, because of these cable issues, the same as with many standard front baskets.
The styling is able to blend in well with both old and new bikes although it does only seem to be made in the black colour – that’s it, unless you are keen to paint over it. It’s more “functional modern street” in appearance than either wire or wicker baskets, yet to me still has a bit of “nostalgic flair” about it. The attachment points may be a bit industrial looking, but they would need to be so in order to support the weight of the laden basket.
There are other ways you can modify or personalise this basket – firstly, by using a different bag – a small camera bag comes to mind here, or any small e.g. leather bag that fits into the basket.
Second, while the (faux?) wood front PDW logo panel is quite attractive, it would be easy to cut a piece of e.g. ply wood or sheet metal to a similar shape and put your own design or badge etc. on it. Just make sure it doesn’t intrude on the u-lock holder section if you want to use that feature. I used a name plate from an old Newcastle business that my grandfather used to work for :
Thirdly there is a useful threaded attachment point on the lower left side for adding a light or other accessory.
All in all, this basket should fulfil 90 percent of my current carrying needs – it won’t help carry a pizza box home if that’s your bag, but any other take-away ( Australian for take-out ! ) should be fine, or a six-pack of bottles. Capacity is rated at 12lb / 5.4kg. Not cheap, but worth the money I reckon…