You’ve probably experienced this before: it’s a beautiful day for a ride at the beach or maybe on the greenway and you can feel the wind flowing through your hair and the warm sun on your skin. You glide by another cyclist and notice their large lab happily running next to their bike – and you feel a stab of guilt that you had to leave your small dog at home. You wish your dog could accompany you on your journey, but you know from past attempts that his tiny legs just can’t move fast enough to keep up.
This is actually starting to become a common problem, as small dog ownership is on the rise in the United States. A recent US pet market Outlook survey shows that small dogs under 25 pounds are at the head of the pack for the most preferred pet in American households. Over 50% of pet owners surveyed own a small dog, as opposed to a larger dog or a cat.
The solution to this problem is getting a bike basket – don’t let the big dogs have all the fun! You may have thought about getting a basket for your pet in the past but felt overwhelmed at the huge amount of choice available. In this article, we’ll help you go over a few of the best options for you and your dog, from luxury choices to more budget-friendly baskets.
Keep reading below for an in-depth guide of the pros and cons of a few different dog bike baskets that we feel are the best on offer for 2018. If you’re in a hurry to start your next cycling adventure, check out this table as a quick reference:
How do I know which basket is best for me?
There are a few questions you should ask yourself when determining which basket is best for you and your dog.
Do you want your dog to be strapped into the basket with a harness, or in a basket with a breathable lid? Both options will increase your dog’s safety and your peace of mind, but the harness will restrict his ability to move around. Alternatively, the mesh dome will allow freedom of movement but may restrict some of his enjoyment of the ride. Or perhaps you want to utilize both these options to maximize your dog’s safety while riding?
Do you want a basket that sits near the handlebars of your bike, or behind the seat? Although it is certainly easier to keep an eye on your dog if she is in a front basket, it is important to keep in mind that these baskets often accommodate only very small dogs. If your dog is over 15lbs she may be more comfortable in a basket that sits on the back of the bike. Plus, having a dog over 15lbs riding in a basket between the handlebars might make steering more difficult and unstable for less experienced riders.
Are you okay with a basket that is purely for transportation, or are you looking for a basket that doubles as a car seat or a dog bed? Bike baskets that are only meant to be used for one purpose are often more secure – and certainly more convenient – as they will always be on your bike and ready to go. However, it often saves money and space in small homes to have one item that has multiple functions. If you want a multi-use basket, it’s important to keep in mind that you should look for one that is easy and quick to take off and put on, so it doesn’t become a hassle.
Travelin’ K9 Pet Pilot Dog Bike Basket
Our first choice for the best overall dog bike basket is the “Travelin’ K9 Pet Pilot Dog Bike Basket”. This basket isn’t the cheapest option, but it comes with five different color inserts that can be changed on a whim (blue, green, red, yellow and grey), so that you don’t have to choose only one color. The Pet Pilot’s ability to hold pets up to 20lbs (our only basket on this list that can) combined with its many positive reviews are a testament to the solid support and versatility of this premium item.
The company have made the below video showing you what’s in the box and also how to install the basket correctly;
~ Pros ~
Reflective with a supportive steel frame
Unlike other dog bike baskets, this basket has a steel frame. This means that the basket will not sag onto your front tire as soon as you put your dog in it. Additionally, this basket features comfortable floor padding, reflective sides for riding at night (or early in the morning), as well as two separate pockets for your water bottle, wallet, and keys. Additionally, this basket’s mesh ventilation will increase airflow on hot summer days
Some reviewers mentioned that this bike basket has a double-pronged leash attachment as opposed to the standard single-prong attachment. This means that you can attach both prongs to one dog, for added security. Alternatively, if you have two dogs that both weigh less than 20lbs, they can each ride together in the same basket with one safety leash attached to each dog.
Easy to install and doesn’t wobble
Most reviewers commented on how easy this basket was to install. Since the hardware that the basket clips onto is metal (with rubber bushings), it stays in place and doesn’t wobble around like other baskets can. This makes this basket a great option for newer riders or those that are getting back into biking after an absence or an injury, as the added weight of your dog is more stable with this basket.
Fits a larger variety of bikes
This basket is great for riders that own bikes with handlebars outside the standard range, whether thicker or thinner. This basket adjusts to fit your bike, as it comes with a steel handlebar mount with rubber brushings (so your bike won’t get damaged).
~ Cons ~
Anxious dog? Steer clear
Beware – dogs that don’t like bike rides can jump out of this basket, as the leash attachment strap that connects to your dog’s harness is longer than other baskets. This gives your dog added comfort and ease of movement – but also makes escaping much easier if your dog is nervous or excited.
Chubby pooch or just a stocky breed? This one’s not for you
Most reviews mentioned that although this basket is quite deep compared to others, it is also narrow. If you have an average to thin dog that is 15 to 20 pounds, this would most likely work well for you. However, if you have a stockier breed such as a French bulldog or a pug, or maybe just a dog that’s a little chubby, there is a chance that this would be a tight fit.
Petsafe Solvit Tagalong Bicycle Basket
Coming in as our pick for the second best dog bike carrier is the “Petsafe Solvit Tagalong Bicycle Basket”. This basket has over 500 reviews on Amazon and has been on the market for a while. This water-resistant bike basket is a bit more affordable than the Pet Pilot as well. This basket’s ability to hold only very small pets, combined with its lack of reflective strips (for increased nighttime visibility) makes the Tagalong our second choice for the best bike basket of 2018.
This is hands down the most stylish basket, with its brown wicker outside and soft faux-sheepskin interior. The outside of this basket is firm woven wood, offering pets 13lbs and under proper support while preventing the basket from sagging onto the front tire when they are placed in it. The weaving of the basket promotes good air flow into the basket to keep your pet cool, while the removable top helps protect your pet from getting overheated on hot summer days.
~ Pros ~
Made by a longstanding US company and comes with a 1-year warranty
PetSafe has been a maker of fine pet products (made in the US) since 1991 and has become known in the industry for producing high-quality products. As would be expected from such a company, they offer online chat, email or phone support (1-866-738-4379) regarding any of their products. They can be reached six days a week if you have trouble installing this basket. For even more peace of mind, this bike basket also comes with a limited 1-year company warranty.
Easy to clean and customize
The faux-sheepskin liner of this basket can be completely removed and washed on cold (hang to dry) if needed. Additionally, you can use the basket with or without the liner, as well as with or without the sunshade/rain guard. This means this basket is easy for you and your dog to use year-round in most types of weather.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more money, you can also get the Solvit 69996 Wire Safety Cage Top. With this added feature, you can place your pet in the basket without the need to use the safety harness. Even better, reviewers state that the sun cover that comes with the original basket fits overtop of the safety cage, meaning that your pet will still be able to use it to be protected from the elements. Even if you don’t want to purchase the safety cage top, the leash the basket comes with is still a good option as it is adjustable. This means that, unlike many other baskets, with this one, you can choose how much freedom to give your pet when he’s riding in it.
~ Cons ~
Difficult to install
One drawback of this bike basket is that many Amazon reviewers stated that they had difficulty installing it. This can easily be solved by calling the company for help with the number listed above, or even by taking the basket and your bike into a bike shop for some assistance from the pros there. The good news: most people report that once the basket has been initially installed, taking it on and off – to switch between pet-passenger and pet-free rides – is simple and quick.
Basket is quite heavy
Given that this basket is woven wood, it is not the lightest option available. Empty, this basket weighs 4lbs. For riders recovering from an injury, or for newer riders that are less adept at balancing and steering their bike on varying terrain types, this basket may not be the right fit. If you have a smaller pet under 10lbs, or if you feel that the combined weight of the basket and your pet won’t be a problem for you, go ahead and try this one out!
Petsfit Dog Basket and Pet Carrier
Finally, last but not least, we have the most wallet-friendly choice: the Petsfit Dog Basket and Pet Carrier. This is our most affordable dog bike basket that still comes with enough features to keep you and your canine comfortable and content. This basket only comes in one color: a nice grey/green combo. According to the manufacturers, it will fit dogs up to 15lbs.
~ Pros ~
Fits bikes with tribars
This basket needs 12 inches of handlebar clearance (the Amazon graphic says 8 inches, but many reviewers suggest otherwise), but it is adaptable to several types of handlebars. Owners of hybrid bikes with tribars will be pleasantly surprised to know that this basket – unlike most others – will fit this handlebar style.
Easy to install and lots of storage space
Unlike many other pet bike baskets, this one is very quick and easy to install, with reviewers noting that its installation manual is clearly written and easy to follow. Plus, if you and your dog like to bike prepared for anything, this basket has you covered with five spacious storage pockets to store all your gear.
Versatile and multi-use
This basket comes with a padded shoulder strap to turn the basket into a dog carrier – if you and your dog decide to take a break from riding to run a few errands on foot. If those errands include a brief walk or bathroom break, the Petsfit has you covered, as you can pull out your leash and some treats for your buddy from one of its many pockets.
~ Cons ~
Tight fit for dogs over 10lbs
Many reviewers have commented that although the basket says it fits dogs over 10lbs, in reality, larger dogs will often feel quite cramped in this carrier. If you want to ensure your dog doesn’t feel squished, it’s best to skip this carrier if your furry friend is over 10lbs.
Lackluster leash attachment makes it best for calm dogs
This carrier has a drawstring top that closes around your dog’s neck (loosely of course), allowing their head to poke through the top to enjoy the scenery while their body stays safely contained in the basket. Although this basket also comes with a leash attachment clip, reviewers claim that the clip is small, and the leash is too long, meaning that a shy or overly excited dog is only really being restrained by the drawstring top.
We hope that you’ve found this article useful in how to choose the best bike basket in 2018 for you and your dog. All three of these baskets are good quality, and we’re sure that you and your small dog will find at least one that suits you from this list. Have fun riding with Fido!