Happily Car Free Blog

Product Review: Wald Rear Twin Bicycle Carrier Basket

By Chris Balish

This article is a long-term review of a product I’ve personally been using almost daily for more than two years. I bought it with my own money, so this review is not biased in any way. Also check out my 30-second video review of this product. 

But I need to begin this review with a mini-rant.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen urban cyclists and bicycle commuters risking life and limb by attempting to carry cargo in an unsafe manner. Whether it’s riding home from the supermarket with grocery bags dangling from the handlebars, riding one-handed while holding onto a briefcase in the other hand, pedaling with a surf board under one arm, or balancing a beach chair on the rear rack without a tie down. One time I even saw a guy literally rolling a wheeled suitcase behind his bike while riding on the sidewalk.

People…. no. Just no. There is a better way…

Use the Right Tool for the Job

The safest and easiest way to haul cargo on a bicycle is with purpose-built baskets or panniers. In my 20+ years of daily urban bicycle commuting to and from work, I’ve tried all the options out there, from fancy custom-made leather sidesaddle bags, to extra-large front baskets, to improvised solutions like bolting a milk crate onto the rear rack. All of these are better than riding a bike one-handed while holding a Taco Bell 12-Pack in the other. But in my opinion one method is clearly the best.

Of all the cargo solutions I’ve tried over the years, one stands above the rest as the safest, easiest, most convenient, and highest quality way to safely transport your stuff on a bike. The Wald #535 Rear Twin Bicycle Carrier Basket is truly a marvel and is hands down my favorite. But it’s not the best solution for everyone, as I’ll explain below. I’ve owned mine for more than two years of almost daily use, so I think I’m qualified to give a long-term review. If you’re in a hurry, here is what you need to know…

The Wald #535 Rear Twin Bicycle Carrier Basket is an all-steel, highly-rated, and popular two-basket system for safely and securely carrying a large volume of cargo on a bicycle. The basket assembly bolts to the bicycle frame and fits two standard grocery bags up to 50 pounds of combined weight. 


The Wald #535 Rear Twin Bicycle Carrier Basket bolts to the frame at the rear of the bicycle and provides two deep wire baskets on each side of the rear wheel, plus a standard flat rack that extends over the rear wheel for securing anything that won’t fit in the baskets. So it’s really a three-in-one unit. It comes in two colors, chrome or black. The baskets are 7 ¼ inches side to side by 18 inches front to back and are 11 inches deep. Note that the baskets do taper to 5 inches x 16 inches at the bottom, so typical grocery bags fit very snug at the bottom.

How much can it hold?

Ok this is where it gets fun. The most common cargo is probably two standard sized bags of groceries – one in each side basket. But the genius design of this basket-and-rack combo allows you to strap on twice that much cargo by adding a cheap, stretchy bungie cord cargo net over the top ($7.99 at Amazon). I’ve hauled as much as four bags of groceries, plus two bottles of wine, a gallon of iced tea, and a bouquet of flowers (aren’t I sweet?). Put it this way… you can carry a week’s groceries for a family of four with this setup. Not too shabby. Like I always say… who needs a car!?

Construction and Durability

This product is made in America by Maysville, Kentucky-based Wald Sports. It’s constructed with large-gage stainless steel wire, and not at all flimsy. The black version uses the same stainless wire but is coated in a plastic sheath that prevents rust. On the downside, the plastic can chip and scratch if scraped against a hard surface. But overall, this product is one stiff welded piece; there are no rattles or noises while riding. Solid.

Despite two years of rugged near-daily use, the Wald #535 Rear Twin Bicycle Carrier Basket has held up great. The only damage I can report is that one of the wires broke free of its spot weld (see photo). I tried every type of superglue and epoxy to reattach it, but nothing worked. No biggie, the function is not affected at all, and I barely notice it.

As far as strength, I have tested it with some very hefty loads, and nothing seems to phase it. I even loaded in my 20-pound dumbells, one in each basket, and rode around town. No problem. I’ve done everything except stand in the baskets, but I bet it would hold me. And I weigh 200 pounds, yo. If you really want me to try that, leave a comment and maybe I’ll post a video.


The Wald #535 Rear Twin Bicycle Carrier Basket has a couple key advantages. First, it’s huge and holds a lot of cargo. Second, the product has been around for years and has a solid track record with 83% 4-star and 5-star reviews on Amazon. Third, it’s built like a tank and will literally outlast your bike. And maybe outlast you.


Like any product, there are some caveats to be aware of; it’s not all gumdrops and unicorns. First, as stated above, it’s huge! Clearly this can be a disadvantage as well as an advantage. The width of your bike is essentially tripled when you install this unit. I park my bike in the bike room of an apartment building, and usually the parking spot is tight – with bikes close on either side. The Wald #535 can make it more difficult to maneuver your bike in and out of tight spaces.

Another downside is the weight. Amazon lists the shipping weight at 10.55 pounds. On a bicycle, that is a significant weight increase. But in my opinion the only time you’ll notice the added weight is if you have to lift the bike off the ground, perhaps to carry it up the stairs. Then you will absolutely feel the added weight. Add your chiropractor’s phone number to your favorites. But if you’re just riding around town, the additional weight is negligible and a small price to pay for such utility.

Price and Value

Okay, now don’t freak out. While many bicycle baskets cost less than $20, this one is close to four times that much. Ouch, I know. Nevertheless, I believe the Wald #535 Rear Twin Bicycle Carrier Basket is worth every penny for most serious urban cyclists. On the other hand, if you bought your around-town urban bike from Walmart for $99, then spending $75 on a basket does seem ludicrous. But if your bike is quality (I spent about $400 on mine), then this premium Wald bike basket is an investment that will pay off for years to come. If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan and I highly recommend this product.


Of course, there are plenty of other options for safely hauling cargo on a bicycle. They all have their pros and cons. Let me address just a couple of them.

Rear folding wire baskets have a big advantage in that they collapse, so the bike is narrower and easier to maneuver in tight spaces like a bike room. I owned a pair of these and there is a big downside that you have to consider. They rattle, creek, and make more noise than a garbage can rolling down the stairs. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But the rattle will begin to drive you nuts after a while. I do not recommend collapsible folding baskets for that reason.

Another option is canvas panniers like the ones by Bushwhacker Omaha. These, too, have some downsides. First, they are much smaller than the Wald #535s; they barely fit a grocery bag, and when loaded they tend to sag out to the side. They’ll still get your groceries home, but they just look kinda droopy – especially if you’re hauling beer or canned goods. Better stick to sprouts in these panniers. Vegans, you’ll be fine.

The other drawback is they are pretty spendy. But wait, Chris, the Wald #535s cost more! Yes, but hear me out. The Wald #535s bolt securely to your bike frame. So unless a bike thief has a blowtorch, they’re not getting the Wald rack off your bike. Sadly, the canvas panniers attach by Velcro straps. If you forget to take them off the bike after every use and you park the bike outside, buh-bye panniers. The combination of high value and easy removal is not ideal for an urban environment. Thieves will take them at the first opportunity. But hey, if you live next door to a police station you’ll probably be fine. Otherwise, you’ll want to bring them inside after every use, which is a major pain in the arse.

Installation (Ugh!)

You’ve heard the phrase… save the best for last. Well, I saved the worst for last. Installing the Wald #535 Rear Twin Bicycle Carrier Basket is about as much fun as a root canal. Bicycles come in all frame shapes and sizes, and the #535s are designed to be one size fits all. In the real world that means you might have to improvise a bit. Read: make several trips to Home Depot to experiment with weird brackets and metal fasteners — and having a deluxe bicycle repair tool kit

My advice is to forget all that. Take your bike and the #535s to your local bike shop. Put a crowbar in your wallet and pay the $30 to have a professional bike mechanic do the install. Trust me, it will be the best Andrew Jackson you ever parted with. Hot tip: ask the installer to make the rack theft proof. This means stripping the hex nuts so thieves can’t quickly remove the rack from your bike. You know that bike thieves travel with a whole array of tools, right?

Bottom Line

Quality is quality, and you get what you pay for with this product. If you don’t mind the large size, added weight, and the cost of the Wald #535 Rear Twin Bicycle Carrier Basket, you will not be disappointed. In fact, you’ll wish you bought one sooner. I highly recommend this excellent, high-value product for urban cyclists, bicycle commuters, even backcountry bike campers. I would also recommend it for a SoCal beach cruiser – there’s no better way to get your Kombucha and kale to the surf and sand.


Solid construction, durability, large cargo capacity, 3-in-1 (two baskets plus cargo rack), looks good, safe way to haul stuff, 83% four-star and five-star reviews, made in America. Since the baskets are balanced your bike will not fall over. 


Expensive, heavy, difficult to install, might be too big for small framed bikes, large capacity might be overkill for many urban cyclists who rarely haul large amounts of cargo. But see below, Wald makes a smaller version that will be idea for many cyclists.

Wait… There’s More

Surprise! There’s one more little factoid I left out. Wald makes a smaller, svelter version of the #535s for riders who don’t want the jumbo baskets. The Wald 520 Rear Medium Twin Basket has a similar design but is about half the size. Kids and smaller stature riders with small to medium frame bikes will appreciate the petite 520s. Same quality and durability, same strong recommendation from me.

So what are you waiting for? Prevent that trip to the ER and carry your cargo safely and securely with these two great products by Wald. If you’re going to purchase, please use the Amazon links in this article, I spend a lot of time on these reviews and your purchase really helps support my work. Much appreciated!

Ride safely out there,


CHRIS BALISH has inspired thousands of people to live car free so they can save money, get out of debt, improve their health, and help save the planet. In 2006, Chris wrote the bestselling book How to Live Well without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Mileage Out of Life about his car free lifestyle in Los Angeles, the Midwest, and the East Coast. He is an Emmy Award-winning transportation journalist and on-air contributor for NBC’s Today Show, MSNBC, CNN, MSN, and KNBC-TV in Los Angeles.

Chris’s car-free lifestyle has been featured on more than 800 radio and TV stations, and in more than 150 magazines, newspapers, and websites including: Newsweek, Sierra, ABC News, National Public Radio, Sirius Satellite Radio, Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, AARP, and many more.

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