Bike storage isn’t exactly a riveting topic that riders are dying to know about, but it is definitely an underappreciated one. After all, you’ve got to put your bike (or bikes) somewhere when you’re not riding them.
Many riders don’t give bike storage much though, and others simply deal with the inconvenience of always having their bike in the way in most instances.
Fortunately, there's a better way. Whether you’re transporting your bike, putting it away for the winter, or just need a place to keep it for the night where you won’t trip on it all the time, we’ve got the solutions, tips, and suggestions for you that can help.
Leaving your bike outside or up against the wall inside your garage isn’t very ideal, for numerous reasons. However, before you can develop a storage strategy, there are some key aspects you need to think over first.
The actual amount of space you have is going to play the biggest role in determining your storage method. This is true for any locations, whether you are storing the bike in an apartment, house, garage, or storage shed.
If you have a giant garage that has plenty of free space, you aren’t going to be worrying too much about the bike getting in the way. Few have this luxury, so making the best use of your available space will be critical.
If you live in small apartment, you need all the free space you can get. In this instance, you’re going to want to use a method that keeps the bike out of the way, and preferable high off the ground.
The same can be said for smaller garages, storage sheds, and rooms in a house. There isn’t really a way to get your bike to take up less space, but there are lots of methods to keep the bike out of the way, and that usually includes head clearance.
Depending on the weight of your bike, you may be able to get away with using less invasive methods.
Lighter road and mountain bikes can sometimes be hung upside down using large hooks that screw into the ceiling. This is much more common for garages and wooden sheds, but some do prefer this in a room or apartment -- if the landlord if okay with it.
Heavier bikes will need more reinforcement, and more elaborate storage devices and components that won’t risk damaging the wall or ceiling.
If your bike is going to be in or near an area that is accessible to strangers, you will want a way to secure it with a lock. Some may also prefer to do this if their bike is in a detached garage or storage area. Many wall mounted storage racks will have locks, or compatibility with external bike locks.
Bikes can get a little messy at times. Ideally, you could just leave the bike outside until it’s dry and/or clean, but that’s not really feasible. Bikes can also drip grease from time to time, especially when hung certain ways on a wall or ceiling.
Wall-mounted and ceiling bike racks can sometimes come with protectors that catch dirt, debris, moisture, and grease before it hits your floor or wall. Others have plates that serve as a barrier between your wall/floor and the bike’s tires. These are best for apartments and those who want to store their bike inside a room.
If you’re planning on using anything other than hooks, you’ll need to take note of your wheel; sizes, and make sure they are compatible with whatever rack or storage device you are considering. Some are very specific, and may also only be for certain types of bikes.
There are several different styles of bike storage racks, all with different intentions, designs, conveniences, etc. Here are the most common examples.
Not exactly a “storage rack,” but certainly an option for some. Kickstands are more common on recreational and cruiser bikes, as most serious road and mountain bikes avoid them altogether. Some touring cycles might have them however, as they provide a great way to keep a fully-packed bike upright when parked.
Kickstands are really only useful if you’ve got plenty of space to just park the bike and leave it be. In this instance, all you’d need is a cover for long term storage.
These are easily among the most popular, and the most versatile. Wall mounts can work in many different ways, and come available in many different styles and setups. Regardless of what type, they always use a wall, and attach your bike to it in some way.
Wall mounts can be affixed at virtually any height, giving you plenty of leeway in terms of where you want to locate the bike. This added flexibility is why they are so popular. You can mount your bike high and up out of the way, or simply a few feet off the ground for quick access.
Many even use their wall mounts to turn their bike into a sort of art piece. You can mount the bike at an angle, parallel with the ground, or vertical -- whichever you think looks best.
Other wall mount systems may include a hinge that allows you to swing the bike out of the way, giving you more options in tighter spaces.
A more primitive version of a wall mount is simply using two hooks in the wall, one for each tire. This usually involves finding a stud in the wall, but other than that, you have a lot of flexibility where you hang the bike, and don’t have some large mount you you have to deal with.
Many who live in apartments or rent their home prefer simple wall hooks, as you can often fill the holes and paint over them when it’s time to move out.
A floor stand is a great option if you have a bit of extra room, and want an easy way to get your bike in and out from the stand. These stands are a smaller version of the basic bike racks you’ll find outside of a school or dorm, only they’re made for holding one bike.
The floor stand usually has a large bottom plate on the ground that gives it the stability needed to hold the bike upright, by either the front or back wheel. Floor stands require no installation, and don’t leave any damage on the floor once removed, making them great for renters as well.
Freestanding racks look very similar to a coat rack or hat rack. There is a base, and then a large pole extending upwards that has a mount for the bike. This keeps the bike high and off the ground, and easy to access.
Freestanding racks are popular with bike mechanics, as they provide an easy way to raise the bike off the ground to an eye level when working on it. Some freestanding racks also have space for two bikes.
These racks aren’t the best for saving space, but they do offer a mobile way to store your bike off the ground, and don’t require any intensive installation.
A gravity stand leans against the wall, and uses the bike as stability to remain upright. They are a great for using in garages, and can often hold more than one bike. They also have the benefit of requiring zero installation or damage to a wall or ceiling.
As the name implies, ceiling mounts affix your bike to the ceiling, keeping them largely out of the way. These are usually installed by mounting two bars to the ceiling, and then attaching the rack portion to the bars.
Ceiling mounts can usually hold multiple bikes, but they do require a ceiling height where it’s easy for you to grip the bike and lift it off the rack. This makes them popular for garages and sheds. In terms of saving space, a ceiling mount is one of the best methods for sure.
Just as with wall mounts, large screw-in hooks can be used as ceiling mounts as well. Simply screw them into the ceiling where you’d like to hang the bike, and you’re good to go. This method is common for garages too.
A hoist mount is a variation on a ceiling mount, allowing you to raise and lower the bike as needed. With a hoist mount, you can store a bike on a tall ceiling, and use the hoist system to lower it whenever you need to ride it.
The hoist is often done using a pulley system, and lets you store the bike upright, giving it a better aesthetic. These mounting systems are great for areas with tall ceilings, whether it’s a custom shed, or even a loft apartment, or home with two-story ceilings.
Some riders may have times where they need to transports their bike like they do with luggage. This can include when traveling on airplanes, or on a cross-country move.
These types of circumstances require storage cases that fully contain the bike, making them easier to move around and fit in with other items, if applicable. These cases can also be used to store the bikes at home as well.
These cases are very tough and rugged, and fully protect the bike when inside. A hard shell cases holds a deconstructed bike, and usually other gear as well. They are often rectangular in shape, and can resist against bending, denting, and falling.
Hard shell cases have protective foam inside that keeps the bike parts in place, and also cushions them from the wear and tear of the case being moved around during transport. They tend to have wheels or casters that make them easier to move.
A cheaper transport solution is a soft shell case. These cases can also store an unassembled bike inside, and hold other components too. They fully encapsulate the bike, zipping shut once packed.
As with hard shell cases, soft shell versions have foam inside to protect the bike as well. While these cases don’t offer the rigged protection of a hard case, they are still very serviceable, and have the ability to collapse down to a much smaller size when not in use.
If for any reason you need to put your bike away for an extended period of time, there are some steps you need to take to ensure it remains in optimal condition for the duration.
Covering the bike is a must for long term storage, especially if you are keeping it in a garage or shed. A full cover will keep dust and dirt at bay, along with any spiders or insects who may want to take up residence on your bike in the meantime.
Rust can be a real problem when storing your bike away for an extended period. The best thing you can do to prevent it is to make sure you’ve lubricated the chain and cables before storage. This will keep the metal components from drying out, which is how rust develops.
If you are storing the bike on the ground, you are going to need to check the tires from time to time, making sure they are fully inflated. Storing a bike on flat tires will eventually damage the tires, and can even cause the rims and spokes to bend over time.
Keeping a bike off its tires is ideal for long term storage, but if you don’t have this option, check the tires every month, and inflate as needed.
Bike storage isn’t hard or complicated, it just requires a little strategy, and a few basic points to keep in mind. At the end of the day, it all comes down to whatever suits you and your property the best.
Do you have any bike storage pointers or tips to share? Feel free to let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear your ideas.
This post was last updated on September 21st, 2018 at 02:32 pm
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