Inertia Designs Metro Basket

A bike used for everyday transportation needs to have more carrying capacity than a bike used for recreation (other than touring). A simple seat bag or rack trunk doesn’t have the capacity for a typical errand run that might involve a bag of groceries, a couple of library books, and the day’s mail delivery. Standard panniers are one solution, though they tend to be a little bulky when not in use, and some models are overly complex with a number of unnecessary pockets and compartments. More appropriate for around town use are what are classified as “commuter” or “grocery bag” panniers. These are simple panniers with one main compartment and no lid, specifically sized to hold a grocery bag with a little room left over for other small items. Popular models include the Utility Basket from Arkel, the Grocery Bag Pannier from Jandd, and the Metro Basket from Inertia Designs. They are usually sold as individual panniers, though certainly a person can buy two if they need the extra carrying capacity.

I recently purchased a Metro Basket from Inertia Designs. It looks to be an excellent product. Like the other “grocery bag” panniers on the market, the Metro Basket is sized to roughly fit a standard grocery bag. It’s made from heavy-duty Cordura fabric and the stitching looks very good. The mounting system is all metal and is easily adjustable fore-and-aft for heel clearance. It has a metal internal frame that holds the pannier open while in use. When not in use, the pannier folds flat against the bike and is held closed with a clip; it’s a slick design. It comes with a padded shoulder strap in case you want to carry it in the store and use it as your shopping bag; with the Metro Basket no more “paper or plastic” is needed. All Inertia Designs’ products are made in the U.S.A. (Santa Barbara) and come with a full lifetime warranty.

My intention is to leave the folded Metro Basket on the bike at all times and just pop it open when needed. On the other side of the rack I’ll have an Arkel “Bug” convertible backpack/commuting pannier (review coming next week). In it I’ll carry all of my work related stuff: transit pass, papers, glasses, keys, wallet, DVDs, memory sticks, etc. Because it will function as a briefcase and house my valuables, the Bug will stay with me at all times and won’t be left on the bike like the Metro. Between these two very different bags, I should have all the bases covered for my weekday commuting and errand running. We’ll continue to use our larger Basil panniers (mounted on our Pashleys) for our big weekend restocking excursions to the grocery store, hardware store, and farmer’s market.

12 Responses to “Inertia Designs Metro Basket”

  • Darryl says:

    Grocery bag panniers are all the difference between a recreational toy and a practical vehicle. They are the main item on a bike that will save gas, in my experience. I’ve got a couple of inexpensive Trek grocery bag panniers, a couple of other brand of $40 bags, which I forgot and my Trek 720 is getting tuned up at the shop right now. I’ve used those to go grocery shopping, the farmers market, packing my work clothes to work, and so forth. When I go grocery shopping, weight and balance becomes an issue in steering and hauling my bike up the front stoop to my apartment.
    Half gallon jugs of milk and OJ goes into the front bags on low rider front racks, and the high volume, low weight stuff goes into my back bags. and everything else gets balanced out out by side and left-over space.

    I just purchased a used Rans Vivo as my first recumbent and I’m enjoying getting familiar to “recumbancy”. I found that the Arkel grocery bag pannier with adjustable hooks brought together will fit on the curved back brace of the Rans mesh seat. The bike is fully suspended which makes getting a rear rack problematic for the dual 20″-wheel bike.

    Why I got that bike I’ll save for another discussion. I’m keeping my Trek 720 to maintain my English-style/urban street creds and to show my sympathy to the “new urban rider.”

    BTW – I haven’t gotten a trailer, yet, because I’m still debating between a Burley-like cargo hauler, a homebuilt save-the-world trailer, or a BOB-like single wheel dealie-bopper. Actually, I’m debating how money to spend; but that’s another topic.I would also like to get a Xtracycle, but that means getting a another frame to go with it. My apartment is small and my lust for bikes is big. sigh. I do have a old crusty- folder buried in the basement storage, um somewhere. so, I’ve got all biking trends covered.

    Cheers and happy shopping!
    DJ

  • Bill says:

    Don’t forget the hemp product:

    http://store.somafab.com/fpatobag.html

  • Croupier says:

    I guess it’s a little different when you’re single and childless. You’d be surprised how many Cup Noodles, Jones Sodas and High Life’s I can fit in my ruck sack.

  • Alan says:

    @Croupier

    “I guess it’s a little different when you’re single and childless. You’d be surprised how many Cup Noodles, Jones Sodas and High Life’s I can fit in my ruck sack.”

    LOL. Yeah, try feeding three ravenous teenagers sometime. Can you say “Bulk Pack”? ;-)

  • Alan says:

    @Bill

    Thanks Bill. Nice bag…

  • andy parmentier says:

    i ended up getting radical designs panniers for my tour easy. i was a little disappointed at the lack of a solid back and no hooks (for lots of money) but got help from terracycle in portland. they gave me a piece of coroplast, and showed me i did’nt need hooks (there’s straps instead, and loops you can weave zipties thru) so they ended up working really well (on my underseat rack).
    i looked at inertia designs panniers (the ones they make for RANS) and those will end up being my rear panniers. they’re streamlined, and big enough.
    the water resistant cordura (vs. ortlieb-style waterproof material) was a lot more practical according to research i did beforehand. and i’ve got waterproof liners.
    as far as hauling groceries, i’m an old pro (a former dumpster diver/banana box stacker)
    and i am really liking the parentheses today.
    i’ve got some small duffles that buckle onto the sides of my rear rack, and that makes a very broad platform for stuff atop the rack-like a banana box.

  • torrilin says:

    I may get a set of grocery panniers when my current pair wear out. I may not. Hopefully I’ve got another year or two to decide.

    One of the problems is I prefer to keep the bag-clutter to a minimum. A set of grocery panniers is useless in rain… and it does rain in WI. Food may not mind getting wet, but library books sure do! So a pannier that closes and has some idea of water resistance is more useful to me than a grocery pannier. To solve the problem of quick hauling capacity, I went with a bike basket. I can stick all manner of things in it, and there’s enough space for several meals worth of food.

    Another problem with grocery panniers is many of them are poorly made. The Wald folding baskets seem reasonably durable (tho on the small side). Many of the cloth ones have shoddy construction, and don’t seem like they’d wear well for years of hard use. And the last thing I want is to spend good money on a pannier that will show wear in a year… did that once, not doing it again. In some cases, the cloth grocery panniers have laughable weight ratings, which only reinforces my suspicion. It’s fairly clear they’re either designed by someone who lives alone or by someone who has never weighed their groceries.

    (and yes, I’ve been part of the starving horde of teenagers, so I remember what food consumption was like. a standard grocery pannier is entirely too small for that situation, even if you’re using the kids to haul.)

  • Alan says:

    @Torrilin

    Wald baskets are great. My only complaint is that they can be pretty noisy. They’re most definitely tougher than just about any cloth grocery pannier.

    We’ll have to see how the Metro Basket holds up. The quality appears to be excellent, though only time will tell..

  • Dan says:

    Thanks for the review. Just wondering why you chose the Metro Basket over the Arkel utility basket.

  • Alan says:

    We actually had a pair of Arkel Utility Baskets that we returned. They’re beautifully built bags, but really they’re just large, single compartment panniers – they don’t have the compact folding capability of the smaller Metro Basket. But if you’re looking for big, roomy, grocery hauling bags, the Arkels are about as nice as they come.

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Arkel Bug says:

    […] up a Bug to use in conjunction with a Metro Basket grocery pannier (see my Metro Basket review here). I’ll use the Bug for carrying all of my work related stuff: change of clothes, lunch, transit […]

  • Mike says:

    Alan,

    Another wonderful idea. I took your lead and added a permanent grocery pannier to my commuter. I love it! The grocery pannier are great for Groceries, trips to the library, family trips to the pool, etc. and it’s great that it folds out of the way when not in use. Plus, when I have to pick something up on the way home from work, I just unfold the pannier and load it up!

    Thanks for the great idea! and keep up the great work!

    Mike

 
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