Bates Crates Classic

Porteur-style cargo racks like the Pass & Stow, Velo Orange, and CETMA are excellent for large, bulky items that can be forcefully strapped down to a rack, but they’re not particularly useful for carrying smaller, more delicate items. The Bates Crates Classic wooden crate solves the problem by providing a container in which to carry items that would otherwise be lost or damaged on a platform rack.

The Classic is designed to be attached to your existing cargo rack using bungee cords; this allows quick and easy removal for times when you need the rack platform for larger items. After some experimentation, I found that a pair of Irish straps (shown above) hold the crate more securely than bungees, though installation and removal takes a bit longer.

The Classic is an attractive and durable crate. The maple wood is stained and sealed with a marine grade polyurethane. All hardware is either stainless or galvanized.

The base of the crate is covered with cork both inside and out. The cork keeps the crate from sliding around on the rack platform while also keeping your cargo from rattling around.

The dual cup holders are a cool feature for us coffee addicts (they also work fine for other drinks as long as the cup is tapered). With the Classic you no longer have an excuse to not get up early and go pick up coffee and pastries for you and your honey… :-)

The Bates Crates Classic makes a Porteur rack even more practical while adding a really cool retro look. Plus, I really like the fact that they’re hand-made to order in Chicago, IL. Good stuff.

Dimensions: 16″ x 12″ x 7″ high
Materials: Stained and sealed maple, stainless/galvanized hardware, cork padding
Price: $125 + $25 shipping

Note: In case you have a smallish porteur rack, Bates Crates also makes a more petite crate called the Model T. When ordering, be sure to choose the crate that best matches your rack.

Bates Crates

21 Responses to “Bates Crates Classic”

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    Wow, I absolutely need this crate!

  • bongobike says:

    Looks very nice, but I would imagine the cup holders would get in the way of bulky cargo, and they don’t look like they are removable. I would rather order the crate without them and then add some other kind of cup holder–something you can slip on and off the edge of the crate as needed.

  • Mike says:

    Alan, have you installed some kind of after-marker self-centering spring on your LHT? I tried installing a front rack on my LHT, and while I liked the rack, I decided I couldn’t stand the instability and general floppiness while parked. Do you just accept that, or do you have some trick?

  • brad says:

    I love the cup holders!

    I currently use a Gamoh front basket/rack, which is brilliant (even includes a built-in bottle opener) but heavy. This crate looks like a lighter alternative, and the cup holders are more conducive to the right kind of drinking and driving ;-)

  • Thom says:

    It’s a nice-looking crate, but with shipping, it costs more than the Velo-Orange porteur rack itself. Seems like a wooden crate, some cork mat, and even the cup holders could be DIY’d with a $30 or $40 trip to the craft store.

  • Alan says:


    Perhaps, though someone with my level of woodworking skills (nil) could easily botch the job or spend the difference in price in labor… :-)

    Regarding the V/O racks – aren’t those imported? Not saying that’s an issue, but there is a premium to be paid for goods handmade in small quantities in the U.S.


  • John says:


    I use a front basket on a front mini-rack. When I’m loading something heavy in it, I fasten the front wheel to the frame with an old toe strap to stabilize the whole getup. I call it my “parking brake.”

  • Kevin says:


  • bongobike says:


    You may think your Gamoh rack/basket is heavy, but Bates doesn’t say on their website how much their crate weighs. Plus you have to have your own rack to put it on, so add that weight to the equation. I suspect this basket made of hardwood is heavier than an equivalent made of good, thin steel or aluminum tubing.

  • Alan says:


    “Alan, have you installed some kind of after-marker self-centering spring on your LHT? “

    What makes it work is the double-legged center stand. The stand raises the back of the bike off the ground an inch or two which has a self-centering effect on the front fork. It wouldn’t work nearly as well with a single-legged kickstand.

  • John says:

    @Alan – I find that front floppiness can still happen even with a double legged kickstand if you’re not careful to load the rack/basket evenly.

  • Mike says:

    I was just in the process of preparing a post on my DIY wooden crate rear rack install! It’s extremely low tech, but it cost me $3.25 in parts (including the $3 wine box). Safe to say, though, yours looks a good deal more refined!

  • Beth says:

    Wicked awesome!!! Walnut is my favorite wood…I’m serious considering getting one. Thanks Alan. Hope you and your wife are feeling better.

  • Joe says:

    I agree on the point if someone with decent woodworking skills could build one in a weekend for much less. But as a woodworker myself, I can appreciate good craftsmanship. I have seen one of these in person, and they are made very well, and the cup holders are made better then they look. Surprisingly, the woman I know with one uses the same method to attach it as you did Alan. I do think the price is kinda high, but for good craftsmanship, and the obvious passion that went into these crates, he is asking a fair price.

    I have actually recently ordered one myself. I will need to modify it to be a little stronger in the base, as I will be attaching it to a mini front rack, not a pouter rack. The cork on the one I have seen started to come up after a few rides in the rain. Did you have this issue Alan? Was nothing we she couldn’t fix with a few brass brads, and it actually adds a nice look. I’m interested in a long term review in the future. I’ll give an update on my site after I receive mine and modify it, as I’m sure some will be interested as plenty have mini racks, and not pouter racks.

  • cole says:


    My name is Cole I and own and build Bates Crates. I want to thank Alan for the great review and the beautiful photos of the crate. I would also like to respond to a few of the questions people have about the crates.

    The price is fair I believe, there is ALOT time put into each crate, none of this is done by machine its all done by hand by me. I made a few videos as I was building so people could see how the crates are built. Here is link if you’re interested:

    The weight of these crates is really pretty light. I have never weighed one but when I ship them they weigh under 4 pounds packed, so im guessing the crate weighs in at around 2.5 or 3 pounds at the most.

    And last the cork. I have had a few problems with the cork coming up in spots so I have totally redone the idea. I now use a much stronger adhesive and cork that doesn’t come so tightly wound in the package that it won’t lay flat.

    I’m working on a few new things for the crates, I have accessory bags beging made, they are to keep you cell phone, keys and smaller things in so they won’t fall out as you ride. I am also going to start making Bates Crate reusable eco cups:

    I have few more ideas but at this point they are just ideas. Please let me know if you have any more questions.


  • Shelly says:

    How funny!! Just recently I posted a bike photo with my own DIY crate. It’s oak wood, a wine box and very classy looking. It’s on my newly acquired vintage Raleigh Twenty.
    I really do like the the cup holders on the Bates Crates.

  • Joe says:


    I saw your post, and your crate looks great. Did you coat or seal it with anything?


    Have you ever tossed around the idea of a shorter and wider one? Like two boards high? That would be intersting.

  • cole says:


    i have two different sizes right now, i feel this is only the beging. that being said its kind of a pain going between the two sizes,i have all the jigs set up for one and then have to change them over but we will see…i have so many ideas in my head.

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Front Carriers says:

    […] Bates Crate offers most of the benefits of a wooden basket while providing increased storage and weight […]

  • Carolyn I says:

    I just won one from LGRB Summer Games, and I must say, you do get QUALITY. It is very well built and so beautiful!

  • Eric says:

    great post. i am considering using the straps to attach a wine crate to the rear rack on my bicycle. i’m curious, can you tell a little bit more about the fittings on the crate that the straps run through?

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