As biking becomes more popular, cyclists are using their bikes for more and more daily activities and exercise. And it’s only natural that pets are becoming part of the biking lifestyle. We all want our pets to enjoy a lovely day out — how can we bring Fido along in a safe, comfortable way? The Delux Tagalong basket from Solvit tries to fit that need, with mixed results.
The basket itself is good looking and sporty, padded for canine comfort, and provides anchor points to secure the safety leash and prevent jumping. The detachable canopy is a nice touch; it might make some dogs feel nervous and trapped at first (especially larger dogs), but most will be grateful for the shade during a sunny ride.
The removable lining and pockets add to the convenience and functionality; it’s easy to carry everything you might need on a ride, and to wash the lining afterward. There is also a shoulder strap that converts the basket to a sort of (admittedly clunky) messenger bag for off-the-bike use. The whole thing weighs in at 5 pounds when empty, which is a noticeable but not overwhelming weight. It might take a little getting used to when riding, but it is easy to remove when not in use.
Handling is decent. The basket is a little over a foot wide, and stretches across the handlebars to provide a fairly stable ride. Skittish small dogs may make handling difficult, though, as there will be enough room for them to run from one side to the other, shifting the weight significantly.
Though the manufacturer claims a weight limit of 13 pounds, owners of dogs on the higher end of that scale will probably need additional straps or bungee cords to make sure the basket doesn’t sag. Keep this in mind when purchasing; there are a couple of modifications that might be necessary, so factor them in when deciding whether to buy.
There is one huge, glaring problem: the bottom bracket tends to break. Solvits will send you a replacement bottom bracket if the one provided isn’t sturdy enough — they seem to have made some changes to the design, but for some reason the bracket included with the product still has some problems. Be very careful when installing and using the product for the first time! It might be a good idea to put something of around the same size as your dog in the basket for your first ride, so that if it breaks your dog doesn’t get hurt. This is a serious drawback, and one that throws all of the other good features into shadow. The manufacturers are proud of how easy the Tagalong is to install and remove, but the basket has to do its job first, or easy installation doesn’t matter.
Overall, the Deluxe Tagalong is fairly expensive, especially considering all the modifications that might be necessary. Once those modifications are made, though, it’s a comfortable, attractive basket for small-to-medium-sized dogs. It’s easy to use, even modified, and obviously designed by a company that cares about dog-specific biking needs. If they solve the bracket issue, it will be a fantastic product.