Commuter bikes (besides being fantastic modes of transportation and perhaps ways of changing the world) are blank templates waiting to be swagged out with functional, stylish accessories. That’s where Portland Design Works comes in. With a horde of gear ranging from lights to fenders, to bird cages and coffee cup holders, we were pumped on the Takeout basket, and the Dios Thronous saddle.
Saddles are generally hit or miss from person to person, but for an around-towner saddle, with average ride distance not exceeding 15 miles, comfort and durability are essential, with a tad bit of performance added to the mix also.
As for baskets? We’ll it’s hard to find a classier looking aftermarket basket than the PDW Takeout Basket, especially with a water resistant rolltop bag included.
Full reviews after the break…
Paging through the BTI catalogs, and scrolling through PDW’s site, the Portland Design Works basket was always worth a second look. With the basket equipped, no more bags on short trips. And the lines seem to compliment any build.
The Basket isn’t light, but it’s not imposing either. The PDW Takeout basket will hold pretty much anything you’ll need on a short trip. A U-lock fits in the front, and all takeout trays i’ve come across will fit right in. A six pack of brewskies fits with plenty of room to spare. The included bag expands to be quite tall.
A strap’s built into the bag so you can grab and go with your cargo when the bike’s at the rack, a prime feature I’ve found if you’re lugging valuables. The rack doesn’t look too shabby bare.
With a full load, there’s a noticeable weight on the front end, but it’s manageable once you’re used to the handling.
I’ve had it equipped on two bars, alloy drop bars and carbon risers. It worked best for me on risers (and I’d imagine flats) because the basket sits fairly close to the stem when mounted. With drops equipped, that left little grabby room in the center of the bar. Granted, if you’re fine on the hoods all the time then it’ll work great for drops.
A wooden PDW headbadge is bolted to the front. An eyelet’s mounted to the front left of the rack so you can bolt on a light. There’s a built in section on the front to hold a u-lock and a velcro strap comes with the package so you can hold it in place.
The interior of the bag is similar to messenger material, a waterproof tarpy blue. Velcro strips on the top of the bag keep it closed when the bag’s fully expanded.
On mounting the basket, consider picking a bar and sticking with it. The bolts are a bit finicky to screw on and off and if you’re not keen with the tools, stripped bolts may bring on a hardware store run. I came close on the second mount to stripping the bolts, but managed through. Besides the bolts, quality is top notch, with clean welds and paint, and spacers included to fit different sized bars.
PDW Takeout Basket Specs from site:
- Conveniently carry a six pack of bottles, five burritos, three chinchillas or an extra layer of clothing
- Fits 25.4-31.8mm handlebars (even fits between drop bars)
- Waterproof roll top bag clips securely into basket
- Eyelet for attaching light mount
- Integrated u-lock carrying slot
- Rugged light weight 10 mm alloy tubes
- Rack weight w/o bag 500 grams
- Inside of basket: 155mm x 255mm x 105mm
Dios Thronous Saddle
The Dios Thronous saddle is the first saddle made out of EVA foam and has an entirely different feel than any other saddle I’ve tested. EVA foam’s designed to be cushy and durable, commonly used in running shoes and other sports equipment. Straddling it, the first thing you’ll notice is the soft, squishy surface. It’s built to be comfy from the first ride and doesn’t have a comfort break-in period. Granted, the foam may have a bit too much give for long distance rides and serious performance use, but for the commuter bike I can’t complain. For a broad audience I’d recommend it.
Available in quite a few colors, like red, white, black, and lime green, red was a very, very bright choice. It borders on the spectrum of pink.
EVA foam isn’t a bad material to use. The Dios Thronous as pictured has probably seen about 50 miles or so and more bike racks than that. When it’s dirty, a soapy rag takes all the gunk off.
Coming back to the bike rack one day, the saddle had a crack on it where the foam folds over at the bottom. That’s the only weak point from what I can tell. The rest of the saddle is spot on and hasn’t developed any wear.
The only complaint in ride quality is that the saddle can feel sticky at times depending on what pants you’re wearing. Because of the material, sweaty jeans stick to it, so a constant transition between standing and sitting can be an annoyance. Perhaps after breaking it in further, that feel will go away.
Length and width were fine for me, and though that can be a subjective measurement I’d imagine it would transfer over to other riders. Overall, the saddle seems a great choice if you’re looking for a comfy ride that sheds the water and elements.
PDW Dios Thronous Specs from site:
- 295 grams (10.4 oz)
- 283mm (11.125″) long
- 133mm (5.25″) wide
- Steel rails