Mountain bikes are incredibly popular, even though their primary purpose is off-road riding. A surprisingly large number of cyclists use them for their daily commuting. Hence, it’s pretty common to ask, can you add a basket to a mountain bike?
A basket can quickly increase the overall utility of any bike you ride by providing you with a safe way of carrying whatever you need.
However, can you add a basket to a mountain bike?
Yes, you can add a basket to your mountain bike. On some bikes, there’s enough space to fit a basket both in the front and the back. However, if the bicycle features a suspension system, you might be limited in the type of basket you can install.
Keep reading to find out everything that you need to know about whether you can put a basket on a mountain bike or not!
What’s the benefit of adding a basket to a mountain bike?
Before we move on to how you can go about attaching a basket to your mountain bike, it’s important to first discuss the benefits. There’s no point in attaching a basket to your mountain bike without knowing what advantages they provide.
It’s pretty easy for anyone to see that a basket makes carrying cargo while riding significantly easier. Anything you need to take along with you for the ride will fit inside the basket. You can get different sizes depending on your requirements and the size of your bike.
On top of that, it becomes relatively simple to access anything within the basket. You can just simply reach out and grab whatever you need while you’re still riding. It’s much more convenient than carrying a backpack while cycling.
Many cyclists use a basket to help carry their backpack and equipment when going out on a long ride.
However, instead of hardcore off-road riders, those that use a mountain bike for their daily commute will benefit the most. A mountain bike basket will make your MTB all the more viable for commuting.
Another benefit of a bike basket is they’re reasonably easy to install. You won’t have to do a lot of tinkering. All you’ll need to do is attach a few straps or hook into an existing bike frame.
Before we get into how to attach a bike basket to your bike
What types of baskets can you put on a mountain bike?
It’s fair to say that you now have a fair understanding of whether you can add a basket to a mountain bike or not. A major factor that impacts compatibility is the type of basket.
If you have a rigid mountain bike, then almost every type of basket on the market will be compatible with your bike. However, rigid mountain bikes are becoming exceedingly rare today, with most people choosing to go for a full-suspension option.
The full suspension makes things a little more complex when it comes to the types of baskets you can put on a mountain bike.
Here are a few types of baskets that you should be able to install on your full-suspension bike without any issue.
Front baskets are the most popular type of basket in the market, and you’ll see them on all kinds of different bike types. However, fitting a front basket on a mountain bike can be slightly challenging due to the presence of the front suspension.
There’s no need to worry, though. There are a few front basket types that’ll fit your mountain bike without any issues. These mountain bike baskets are;
Front Rack Attached Baskets
As the name suggests, these baskets will attach to the front rack of your mountain bike. They’re pretty sturdy and can hold up to around 20-25 lbs with ease. If you need to carry a lot of equipment, these mountain bikes will work well.
However, you might have to buy a bike rack attachment if your mountain bike doesn’t feature one from the start. After installing the bike rack, you have several different attachment options available.
Strut Attachment Baskets
A common alternative to front rack attached baskets is the strut attachment baskets. These are slightly smaller and not as sturdy but tend to be the most compatible with modern mountain bikes.
The basket will mount directly onto the handlebars and the forks, so it’ll fit almost every modern mountain bike. Many mountain bikes also feature fender eyelets that make installing the basket even simpler. If you don’t have access to fender eyelets, you can just use clamps to attach your basket to the front!
Quick Release Attachment Basket
Quick-release attachment baskets are relatively new, but they’re rapidly becoming popular among mountain bike riders. Daily commuters, in particular, love these bikes as you can attach and detach them quickly without any worry.
However, there are a few issues with quick-release baskets. They’ll only work with bikes that feature a threadless stem and don’t have a very high weight capacity. However, these baskets are very convenient if you only want to carry a few essentials.
Aside from front baskets, you can also attach rear baskets to a mountain bike.
Once again, the type of basket you can attach depends on the type of mountain bike you’re riding. For rigid and front-suspension mountain bikes, almost every rear basket on the market will fit without issue.
Here are all the types of rear baskets that you can choose between;
Seat Stay Rack
These rear baskets feature clamps and are compatible with all types of mountain bikes. They feature a decent carry capacity and are very popular.
Rear Wheel Axle Rack
If you have a mountain bike that doesn’t feature fender eyelets, you can use the rear wheel axle rack. The only issue with this basket type is that you’ll have to remove the rack every time you remove the wheel.
Seat Post Basket
Those with a full-suspension bike can go with a seat post basket. However, the main issue with seat post baskets is that the rack usually takes a high position and can’t support a lot of weight.
Full Suspension Rear Basket
There are specialist products on the market for full suspension mountain bike owners that cater to their needs. You’ll be able to attach this basket to your full suspension mountain bike without any challenges.
These are the main types of baskets that you can add to a mountain bike.
How to Install a Front Basket on a Mountain Bike?
Learning how to install a front basket on a mountain bike depends entirely on the type of basket you’re looking to attach. Let’s take a look at all the different options and how you can go about installing them.
Support Strut Basket
A support strut basket will attach to both the fork and the handlebar. It’s much easier installing a support strut basket on a retro mountain bike because it features fender eyelets. These fender eyelets serve as an easy-to-use attachment point for the support struts.
If there aren’t any fender eyelets to use, you can attach the basket with the P- clamps. The installation procedure itself is relatively simple. Once you manage to get the clamps in place, you need to tie up the straps or tighten the bolts.
After you’re done installing, try checking if the basket shakes so you have an understanding of the fit.
Quick-release baskets are incredibly popular because they are easy to install and detach when necessary. You can mount them on both the handlebar and the stem. It all depends on the type of quick-release basket you choose to buy.
The slight issue with quick-release baskets is that mountain bike bars tend to be thick. Most quick-release baskets are compatible with thinner bars than your traditional mountain bike features.
Front Rack Attachment Basket
The only type of basket with a slightly complex installment procedure are front rack baskets. If your bicycle doesn’t feature a front rack, you’ll have to focus on installing that first.
After you manage to install the front rack, all you’ll have to do is fit the basket in the appropriate hooks. Then you can either use nuts or cords to tighten the basket and ensure that it doesn’t go anywhere.
It all depends on the type of attachment systems that the basket features. Some baskets on the market feature a built-in attachment system.
How to Install a Rear Basket on a Mountain Bike?
With front mountain bike baskets out of the way, let’s move on to how you can install a rear basket on a mountain bike. Once again, it’s much easier to install a rear basket on a retro mountain bike than it is on modern ones.
Retro mountain bikes feature fender eyelets that make installing any type of frame-mounted basket much easier. However, modern mountain bikes often feature a full suspension, and there aren’t any eyelets.
For modern mountain bikes, here’s how you can install a rear basket;
Seat Stay Rack
One of the most convenient rear baskets that’ll fit with every type of mountain bike on the market is the seat stay racks. These will clamp onto the seat stay and let you carry everything you need.
The installation is super simple, but you might need to remove the seat to install it properly!
Rear Axle Basket
An alternative is getting a basket that will connect directly to the bike’s rear axle. You can install a rear axle basket without eyelets or frames.
However, the one issue that you’re going to encounter with a rear axle basket is that you will need to remove it every time you want to remove or adjust the rear wheel.
As these baskets sit on the rear of the bike, they also impact the overall ride quality. That’s why many mountain bike riders tend to avoid getting a rear basket.
On the other hand, if you’re just using the mountain bike for a daily commute, then a rear basket should be good to go!
Seat Post Basket
The final option for full suspension bikes is installing a seat post basket. You’ll need to remove your bike’s seat and clamp the basket onto the post. Once it’s in the correct position, you’ll need to tighten the clamps, and you’ll be good to start cycling.
An issue that you’re going to encounter with seat post baskets is that they have a low weight capacity and sit high over the rear wheel. While not a major issue, the basket sitting high can get annoying for some riders.
What if my basket doesn’t have an attachment mechanism?
A common question that most cyclists ask before adding a basket to a mountain bike is, what if the basket doesn’t feature an attachment mechanism.
Most modern bike baskets feature an accessible and basic attachment mechanism that makes it very easy for cyclists. However, even if there’s no attachment mechanism, then you can still attach a basket to your bike.
As long as it doesn’t get in the way of any bike components, you can use bolts, cords, or even a zip-tie to attach a basket. There are plenty of solutions available to those looking to get creative.
Should you go for a bag or basket?
Aside from going from a standard bike basket, another option available for mountain bike riders is attaching a bag instead.
However, the issue with attaching a bag is that they’re incompatible with a lot of full-suspension mountain bikes. A bag carrier is a much more viable option if you have a retro mountain bike.
It all depends on the nature of the equipment you’re looking to carry. A standard basket carrier will provide more room and make it easy to carry all your equipment. You can even carry a backpack or rucksack inside a carrier basket.
Here’s a table that helps provide a quick summary of what type of basket is compatible with the right type of mountain bike.
|Basket Type||Rigid Mountain Bike||Hardtail Mountain Bike||Full Suspension Mountain Bike|
|Front Rack Basket||Compatible with all rigid mountain bikes||Compatible with hardtail mountain bikes with front rack attachment||Compatible with full suspension mountain bike with front rack attachment|
|Strut Attachment Basket||Compatible with all rigid mountain bikes||Compatible with all hardtail mountain bikes||Compatible with some full suspension mountain bikes|
|Quick Release Basket||Compatible with all rigid mountain bikes||Compatible with all hardtail mountain bikes with thin handlebars||Compataible with full suspension mountain bikes with thin handlebars|
|Seat Stay Rack||Compatible with all rigid mountain bikes||Compatible with all hardtail mountain bikes||Incompatible with full suspension mountain bike|
|Seat Post Rack||Compatible with all rigid mountain bikes||Compatible with all hardtail mountain bikes||Compatible with all full suspension mountain bikes|
|Rear Axle Rack||Compatible with all rigid mountain bikes||Compatible with all hardtail mountain bikes||Incompatible with most full suspension mountain bikes|
|Full Suspension Rear Basket||Compatible with all rigid mountain bikes||Compatible with all hardtail mountain bikes||Compatible with all full suspension mountain bikes|
Can you add a basket to the mountain bike all depends on what type of bike that you’re riding. If you’re going for a retro mountain bike, then almost every type of basket will work effectively for commuters. When it comes to hardtail and full suspension mountain bikes there are fewer options available.
You can pretty much mount a basket to every type of basket on the market. Not only will it help increase the overall utility of the bike, but in some cases it can improve the aesthetic as well.