First Look: Wizard Works’ Alakazam Bag for Manivelle Bike Basket


First Look: Wizard Works’ Alakazam Bag for Manivelle Bike Basket

We’re big fans of basket bag biking ’round these parts and are stoked to see our friends at Wizard Works expand their size range of Alakazam Bags to fit perfectly in the Manivelle Basket from French framebuilders Cycles Manivelle. Josh has been pedaling around with the combo recently and, below, provides a breakdown of this magical rack and bag duo…

I’ll admit that I’m not nearly the basket bike/bag connoisseur as many of our readers and contributors. I’m no basket packer nor basket bike wall-rider. Not yet, at least. While I’ve dabbled in basket biking, nearly all of my bikes have suspension forks (yep, even my “gravel” bike) and just aren’t conducive to basket-bike-bagging, or whatever. The one bike I did have a basket on, a first-gen townie-converted Karate Monkey, recently sold to fund other projects. I had a Sunlite Gold Tec Rack mounted to the canti bosses with a Wald 137 basket zip-tied and Voile-strapped to it. It was janky, but did the trick for transporting my U-lock and/or a few bags of beans from the coffee shop. But it was nothing like the Manivelle Basket/Alakazam Bag combo.

While my bike collection is still low on basket-compatible options, I’ve been riding a State Bicycle Co. All-Road for a while now preparing for a long-term review and its Monster Fork, with a generous 55lb capacity rating and plenty of attachment points, seemed like a great platform to install this new collab from Wizard Works and Manivelle.

Manivelle Basket

First, let’s take a look at the basket. Manivelle are a small team of framebuilders based in Strasbourg, France. Their primary focus is designing touring bikes meant to take riders long distances, whether that’s on pavement or dirt. They also collaborate with local makers to create various cycling accessories, including racks and bags. Realizing there were no European-produced bike baskets, they partnered with Caddie, neighboring manufacturer of trolleys (shopping carts), to design the first one.

These baskets, which also feature optional clever fork mount hardware, are built with the same zinc-plated steel wire construction used in Caddie’s trolleys. Since trolleys live a pretty hard life and, in response hold up to years of weather and abuse rather well, Manivelle are quite confident in the durability of the bike baskets. Utilizing Caddie’s custom tooling capabilities these racks (which were originally each welded by hand) are now built with resistance welding to further ensure a long lifespan.

Baskets are sold on their own or with mounting hardware. The hardware is quite intuitive and a breeze to install. The main support legs are comprised of two adjustable threaded sections, that mount either in the extended position to dropout bosses – as seen above – or in the shorter position if your fork has mid-blade accessory mounting points. There’s a third attachment point at the fork crown via a diving board plate that can be custom formed depending on how the basket sits on a particular fork. Manivelle includes a bag of nuts, bolts, and washers to accommodate different fork types – forks with crown holes rather than threaded inserts, for example, will require different hardware. The adjustable legs themselves simply attach to two small wire attachment points at the bottom of the basket with a selection of the included hardware. On the Monster Fork, with 396.7mm A-to-C, the legs are close to maxing out in length.

I first attempted to attach the basket to the fork blades thinking that a shorter leg would equal a more stable foundation. While it installed just fine, the basket sloped upwards in the front too much for my liking. Instead, I extended the legs fairly long so they’d reach the fork dropout mounting points, which achieved a pleasantly flat, yet still very stable, basket. I did need to install a spacer on the interior of the support leg at the dropout, as the connection point at the bottom of the leg had a slight bulge and did not sit flush against the fork without the spacer.

While domestic production and clever mounting hardware are important aspects of this basket, I think its size and weight might actually top the list of selling points. Situated between the two currently available sizes of Wald baskets (137 and 139) and the popular Rasket from Pelgo, the Manivelle Basket occupies a sweet spot in weight and volume that I think even Goldilocks would appreciate.

For comparison’s sake, this is how the baskets measure up in order of smallest to largest:

  • Wald 137 20 x 33 x 12cm / 2.2 lbs
  • Manivelle Basket 26 x 36 x 11cm / 2.6 lbs
  • Pelgo Rasket 32 x 38 x 15 / 3.5 lbs
  • Wald 139 26 x 40 x 15 / 2.6 lbs

The Manivelle Basket is available in black or silver and individually or with hardware. Pricing varies accordingly: Black no hardware $43, silver no hardware $38, black with hardware $100, and silver with hardware $93.

Wizard Works Alakazam Bag for Manivelle Basket

Our friends over at Wizard Works have a collection of staple cycling bags and accessories that make up their primary product line. And while they’ve spent years refining their favorites and most popular through innovative production methods and material selection, they are also always creating and innovating. To read more about the brand’s ethos and their wonderful operation in Greenwich, UK check out the reportage from my visit with the team last fall.

The Alakazam Basket Bag has remained a popular option for years now and, until today with the addition of a new middle size for Manivelle Baskets, it was made in two sizes. John reviewed the limited run for Pelgo Raskets a couple of years ago (it looks like there’s still a couple left here!) but outside of that offering, they’ve been available to fit each of the Wald 137 and 139 baskets. Functions and features are largely unchanged since John’s review, so I’ll keep my Manivelle Basket-focused bag overview brief.

The outer portion of the Alakazam is constructed with 1000D Cordura, while the inner liner is polyester. Both materials are sourced from a German textilist. The bright yellow interior liner of this black bag is incredibly helpful for seeing and finding everything stored inside.

In addition to helping see inside, the liner is a single floating piece of material with minimal needle holes (which can allow water to penetrate over time) and offset seams from the outer layers that work together to make it Wizard Works’ most weatherproof bag.

A simple G-buckle closure attached to a material flap equates to easy installation/removal while also ensuring a secure fit.

Once attached, the bag opens via a top flap that exposes a large roll-top primary compartment. Almost serendipitously, this size Alakazam fits perfectly between the drops of State’s 500mm wide (at the drops) All-Road handlebars. For even narrower drop bars, the Wald 137 option might be a better fit. A small pocket with waterproof zipper is integrated into the top flap and is a helpful additional storage option for small items and/or accessory straps. Two snaps on each side of the main compartment help provide structure while rolling and keep things neat and tidy.

For transporting extra large or awkward loads (like a pizza box!), “pizza straps” are also supplied which connect to the buckles under the closure flap and then onto the basket’s front wires.

Alakazams are massively convertible with the Manivelle Basket version ranging in volumes from 11 liters when closed to 49 liters (!) when fully expanded. Put another way, it fits about 1/3 of a 9-year-old human. There’s also a detachable shoulder strap so you can haul your loaded Alakazam off the bike, too.

Stock colors are solid black as seen here, splatter, or rust/olive combo. Of course, you can order custom colors straight from the Wizard Works website for an upcharge. Pricing is
$245 or $288 for a custom colorway.

Starting today, bags and racks are available from each maker individually, or you can buy both from Wizard Works. You’ll also find the combos at many of Wizard Works’ retail stockists around the world.