Baskets vs. Bike Trailers for Cycling: Which is Better?

When it comes to carrying stuff on your bike, you have two options: baskets and bike trailers. Not sure which is the right one for you? Consider the pros and cons of baskets and bike trailers for cycling.

Baskets vs. Bike Trailers: Stylishness

Bike baskets are classic. When I think of the platonic ideal of a cyclist, I imagine long, flowing locks, a wide-brimmed sun hat, and a wicker basket full of flowers. I’ve even spotted local cyclists adorning their baskets with fake flowers just for fun. Baskets are just plain cool.

Trailers, not so much. There are some good-looking trailers out there, but they’re still quite utilitarian. Baskets definitely come out on top in terms of style points.

Winner: Baskets

Baskets vs. Bike Trailers: Flexibility

Unfortunately, baskets only really come in one basic shape and size. You can’t go much bigger than a milk crate, which limits the things you can carry in one. If you’re just shopping for groceries, a basket is great, but you can’t move mountains. Oddly-shaped items are going to be a problem as well.

Bike trailers, on the other hand, are incredibly flexible. With a few modifications and some bungee cords, you can tow everything from canoes and kayaks to billboards.

Winner: Bike Trailers

Baskets vs. Bike Trailers: Weight

If you don’t want to haul around too much extra weight, a basket is the way to go. Lightweight trailers are still heavier than a simple basket.

Winner: Baskets

Baskets vs. Bike Trailers: Ease of Use

In terms of how easy they are to use and install, baskets and bike trailers come out about even. Both require the use of brackets to secure them to your bike. Both shift your balance a bit when they’re weighed down. Ease of use comes down to preference more than anything.


Baskets vs. Bike Trailers: Capacity

Need to move a crate full of oranges? A basket will do. Need to move six crates? No number of straps and bungee cords will make them fit. But with a bike trailer, you can carry about as many crates of oranges as your body can haul.

Winner: Bike Trailers