Review: Swift Industries Sugarloaf Basket Bag

Words and photos by Katherine Fuller

The Sugarloaf Basket Bag is Swift’s newest bike-specific offering, designed to fit the Wald 137. I think it’s a smart move: This bag will actually work with any basket of the right size—just drop it in—but tailoring it to the Wald, which retails for about 20 bucks and fits almost any bicycle in existence, seems like a no-brainer. No Wald basket? The bag’s narrow profile means you could also just strap it down tight to your platform rack.

How much do I love the Sugarloaf? Let’s just say that I own a very tall stack of bike-specific bags, but this is the one I’m going to finally sew my patch collection onto thanks to its quality and versatility.

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The Sugarloaf is impeccably stitched together in Swift’s Seattle shop using 1000D Cordura pack cloth. Though not completely waterproof, the fabric is notably tough and will survive a drizzle. Swift makes such colorful products that this all-black bag doesn’t do them justice, and the only other color at this price point is steel grey (for $15 more, you can get “multicam” fabric). Thankfully, the inside is bright turquoise, making it easy to locate the dark-colored items in there that rule my life.

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The Sugarloaf bag is 14 x 7 x 7 inches with a 11.5 liter capacity. That size turned out to be just right for everything I need to pedal to the gym—running shoes, bike lock, small towel, rain jacket, water bottle—so it’s been on duty as my workout duffel when it’s not picking up groceries. The bag’s versatility is also aided by carrying handles made from seatbelt fabric that snap together, and an included shoulder strap. It’s classy enough to carry into your formal office job, and easy to sling over a shoulder and tote through the farmer’s market or to your picturesque campsite when you’re #basketpacking.

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The bag’s side attachment buckles are so obvious and easy to use that it’s no big deal to clip the bag in and out of the basket several times a day as you go about your business. Though the buckle lengths aren’t adjustable, the bottom ones are sewn to elastic straps for ease of use. Even though there are only two attachment buckles, the bag is very secure. It stays put in the basket as I careen over the stretch of rocky singletrack between home and downtown.

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Though the Sugarloaf looks unassuming, it’s brimming with features. The main compartment zipper is waterproof and has two pulls that are reasonably stiff. Inside the bright turquoise interior you’ll find one large zippered pocket and five open-top pockets for keeping your bits and baubles organized. Those smaller pockets turn out to be perfect for storing a spare tube and some bike tools when commuting.

The base is lined with foam to help prevent rattling noises and protect breakable items, like that carton of eggs you otherwise never know how to carry on your bike. Two, full-width exterior pockets— one zippered and one with a snap-down flap—allow for quick access to items like a bus pass, tasty snack or your cellphone when you need to capture an Instagram-worthy scene. Finally, the anchor flaps feature reflective striping for extra side visibility.

The Sugarloaf is just as ready for an overnight campout as it is your daily commute. My only wish is that it will someday be offered in waterproof fabric. That would be a welcome option for a bag that is deserving of a permanent place on the front of your bicycle.

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This review was originally published in Bicycle Times 44. Subscribe to our email newsletter to get fresh content delivered to your inbox every Tuesday! 

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