Can You Put A Basket On A Mountain Bike?

Last Updated on May 11, 2021 by Tasha Daniels

Yes, you can install both a front and rear basket on a mountain bike. However, if the bicycle has a suspension, the number of options available is substantially reduced because the support struts hinder shock work. You need to ensure that the basket does not compress the cables to keep brakes, gears and brake heels from working correctly.

Can You Put A Basket In Front Of Mountain Bike? 

Mountain bikes can be an important addition, whether you are a regular travelling commuter or enthusiast for adventures. Some people prefer to have the refined look of mountain bikes and their aesthetics. Not so much for other people. 

The most eccentric perk of owning a mountain bike is to travel with it on all types of terrain regardless of any significant repercussions. And you can use it best of all for regular mundane tasks as well.

There’s no holding you back if you want to deploy your hardtail mountain bike regularly on asphalt roads simply for everyday transportation around the city. 

Attaching Front Basket As A Bike Accessory

Whatever the case, you’ll find that there are various nifty accessories that you can add to your mountain bike to make it more accessible and resourceful. While some people opt for small bags or pouches wrapped around the central axle to carry small goods, the most common way to go is a basket on the front.

It is widely popular among commuters, couriers, and messengers who regularly carry parcels on their bike journeys.

Why Put A Front Basket On A Mountain Bike?

Besides the regular perk of having a nifty accessory installed on your bike, putting a basket on the front gives you two significant advantages:

1. You can visualize and keep track of the parcel you are carrying

2. You can easily access the cargo in the basket

The Types Of Baskets You Can Install In Front Of A Mountain Bike

When you want to install a basket to the front of your mountain bike rather than on the rear end, it will be best if you have one of those rigid bikes without any suspension.

They might be hard to come across nowadays, especially since modern mountain bikes all come with built-in front-wheel suspensions. But finding such a pioneer mountain bike model will let you install almost all types of front baskets without any issues.

There are three primary variants of baskets to install in front of your mountain bike. Here, we’ll break them down one by one.

Support Strut Attachment Baskets

This type of baskets usually connects directly to the handlebars and forks. Most bikes have divisions with fender outlets that you can use as attachment ports for the support struts on the basket. Otherwise, you can use P-clamps to attach the basket to the front-wheel axle or fork legs.

Quick Release Attachment Baskets

The unique mechanism of such baskets makes it the most accessible and favoured by commuters. These baskets use the stem of the bike as a connection point. But the major drawback is that you can’t use it if your bike features a threadless stem.

Front Rack Attachment Baskets

The first step in installing this basket to the front of your mountain bike is to set up a front rack that attaches to the V-brake mount. These baskets are built quite sturdily so that they can hold cargoes weighing up to 9 kgs. For this reason, this is most popular among couriers and messengers.

After setting up the front rack, you can easily attach the basket to it using regular planks, nuts, or bolts. The frame and basket can be sandwiched between that planks, and the whole setup can be tightened using bolts.

Alternatively, you can use zip-ties to accomplish a makeshift setup when you don’t have all the tools needed at hand. The thick UV-resistant zip-ties can be quite sturdy even after extreme exposure to sunlight.

Nonetheless, it’s still a temporary solution. Lastly, some racks offer built-in attachment ports for the baskets.

Installing A Basket On The Front Of A Mountain Bike With Front Suspension

Although having a front suspension can limit installing a basket on the front, it does not mean that it’s quite impossible. The only variant of the basket that can’t be used with front-suspension mountain bikes is the support strut attachment basket.

These baskets generally have a thin strut and tend to bend under pressure when the fork sinks.

You can either install a handlebar basket with attachment clamps having connection ports that are wide enough to fit the bars. Alternatively, you can utilize a front rack to attach a basket. But this option can leave you with a relatively narrow array of choices since these are generally designed for panniers.

Two main advantages of front baskets: 

1. The cargo can be seen on the way. 

2. You can easily access anything that you carry. 

Many people rely on their front bags or their rucksack for the reasons mentioned above. 

Installing A Front Basket On A Rigid Mountain Bike

Nowadays, rigid mountain bikes are rare, but this was not the case a few decades ago. The retro pioneers were tough or had a suspension fork with questionable utility. They are now considered old-fashioned. 

If you have a rigid retro MTB, think that you are happy to install a front basket as all major front basket models are suitable for these bicycles. 

Installing the front basket on a rigid mountain bike is possible in the following ways: 

Baskets With Support Struts 

The fork and the handlebars are fitted with many front baskets. In this case, a bonus from the retro MTBs is that their frame often has fender eyelets that can be used as fixations to the basket’s struts. 

While the fork has no additional fixtures, it is still possible to connect the struts to the front wheel axle or the fork’s legs directly through P-clamps. 

Quick-Release Baskets Attaching To The Handlebars

Fast release baskets are mounted via a unique mechanism on the handlebars or stem. On both rigid and suspension MTBs, the models which connect directly with the handlebar can be installed. 

However, as the only connection point, the stencils which use the trunk probably will not fit on a mountain bike with a stem. 

Baskets Attached To A Front Rack

A basket on a separate front rack is the final option. Installing a front rack is the first part of the setup. 

The mini rack attaches to the V-brake mounts and has a significantly lower weight capacity than a regular front rack. Most frames of similar nature are built to hold up to 9kg/19.8lbs of cargo.

On the other hand, complete front racks are attached to the rack/fender eyelet of a fork and then the fork’s crown or handlebars. 

We also have a complete rack that lets you weigh more than any other solution. However, the bonus capacity is at a cost – the additional frame weight. 

You can attach a basket to it when you have a front rack on. 

Installing A Front Basket On A Mountain Bike With Suspension

The number of front baskets that could be mounted on the mountain bike is very limited by suspension forks. Not all front baskets using holder struts are compatible with a suspension fork. 

The fork will not work as intended if you install such a basket in an MTB suspension. Furthermore, it is bent as the division sinks when the struts are thin. 

It is advisable to use a handlebar basket because the work of the suspension fork cannot be interfered with and can be installed on new model MTBs. 

However, there is a barrier; the fasteners in some baskets are too small for the MTB bar. 

Installing A Rear Basket On A Mountain Bike

The basket can also be configured on the back of a bike. The major benefit of the back shoes is that they have no direct influence on the steering when mounted on the guides. 

However, the handling of the bike is unquestionably affected by a loaded rear basket. 

Installing A Rear Basket On A Rigid MTB And Hardtails

Only in a rack can a rear basket be mounted. Most retro mounting, mounting mounters have the necessary eyelets. 

Modern hardtails frequently come without eyelets, on the other hand. 

You have the following options in this case: 

a. A Sleeve Directly Attached To The Seat Stays. 

Few of the models in the rear rack come with seat clamps. Even on hardtails without dedicated rack mounts, you can install one of those racks. 

b. A Rack Linked To The Rear Wheel Axle. 

The rear rack models are also available, which use the rear wheel axle as an attachment. Even bicycles with no eyelets for frames can be equipped with similar racks. 

The downside is that each time you remove the back wheel, you have to deal with the support legs of the rack. 

c. A Seat Post Rack.

On suspension bicycles, seat post racks may be installed. Sadly, they are small and hold the weight over the rear wheel very high. It is therefore advisable to stick on a rack mounted on the frame. 

Summary

In the following table, you can find the options for installing a cart on a mountain bike: 

Basket ModelRigid MTBHardtailFull suspension
Handlebar basket (without support arms)It can be installedIt can be installedIt can be installed
Handlebar basket
(with support struts)
It can be installedIt cannot be installedIt cannot be installed
Basket attaching
to the stem
Yes, if the bike is wearing a thin stem quill. It cannot be installedIt cannot be installed
Basket attached to a front rackYes, most front racks will work.A special rack designed for suspension forks is needed.A special rack designed for suspension bikes is needed.
Basket attached to a rear rackYes, most rear racks will work.Yes, but if the frame does not have rack mounts, a special rack can be required. A special rack designed for suspension bikes is needed.

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