Figuring out how to store multiple bicycles can be a challenging task, especially if you have a small apartment or little room in a garage or a shed. The task becomes all the more tricky if you want to make it look good. This was a challenge in our apartment. The solution we found (for two bikes) cost us around 12$, and I am very pleased with the way it turned out. Of course, there are many other ways to store your bikes. What worked for us doesn’t have to work for your space. Because of that in this post, you can not only find out how we have mounted our bikes but also learn about many other alternatives. Among others you can find here information on:
- Possible ways to hang a bike.
- Can you damage your bike storing it vertically or upside down?
- What to look for and what to avoid when choosing bike hooks.
All this information should help you choose a functional storage system that will last for a long time. Even though throughout this post you will find Amazon links to various mounts, take them as a suggestion and inspiration. There are many similar products that you can choose. However, as you will learn further in this article, there are some things that are good to examine before buying a storage system. If not, you could end up with an impractical and low-quality product.
Vertical vs. horizontal bike storage
There are various ways to mount your bikes. To narrow your options, first, it’s good to decide if you want to install your bikes horizontally or vertically.
Some people are concerned whether it is OK to store your bikes vertically. The discussed issue is spongy hydraulic brakes. I have read multiple bike forums, and many suggested that hanging a bike vertically does not damage it. Hydraulic brakes become spongy due to air bubbles that are present in the system. Putting the bicycle vertically (or upside down) transfers the air which makes brakes spongy. However, in well-maintained brakes, there should be no air bubbles whatsoever. The vertical storage is not the cause of spongy brakes. It shows that the brakes need servicing. A temporary solution that seems to work for some people is pumping the brake lever a couple of times. But ideally, you should perform bleeding of brakes to get rid of any air bubbles in the system. If this won’t help, there is probably a more significant fault (e.g., fluid leak).
Based on this information, both vertical and horizontal storage is suitable for storing your bikes. Notice that even bike shops store bikes both ways. Choose based on what suits your space, budget, and personal preferences.
Flat vs. perpendicular to the wall
You should also decide whether you want to position your bikes flat or perpendicular to the wall. If you have many bikes and don’t have much space, perpendicular mounting is the most space-saving option. If you have a lot of room on the wall and want to display your bikes, the flat positioning is the right option for you.
Bicycle storage options to save space
If you already know that you can position your bikes only a certain way, choose the desired storage option in the menu below. You will jump right to the relevant section.
If you are deciding, keep reading to see examples of different storage options, so that you can choose the perfect solution for your space and budget.
Whichever mount or hook you choose, it should always be covered with a protective vinyl coating or other material to keep the wheels or frame from scratching.
Some hooks on Amazon have bad reviews because the protective layer is not durable and wears off quickly.
1. Horizontal bike storage flat against the wall
For horizontal bike storage flat against the wall, you can choose mounts that are fixed to the wall or the ceiling.
a) Wall mount
Wall mounts will allow you to store two bikes above each other. This type of storage is especially great for small apartments since it is not only practical but also creates a statement piece in the room. In my opinion, it is the most appealing alternative.
The hard part is to find a decent looking mount. I wanted to store our bikes this way, and it took me a long time to find good looking hooks for a reasonable price. Eventually I have found them in IKEA – functional, affordable, and minimalistic SKRÄLL hooks that were just 2.99$/pcs (5.98$/bike). Design-wise, compared to the majority of hooks on the market that are black or metallic, they blend perfectly with light-colored walls. Another benefit is the possibility to adjust the gap between two hooks based on the size of your bike to hold it properly. The only thing you have to be mindful of is the fact that hanging the top bicycle is not that easy and needs some upper body strength.
Update: Unfortunately, the IKEA SKRÄLL hooks were discontinued, but you might still find them on eBay. As an alternative, you could use this horizontal bike rack from Amazon.
How to install
The installation process is straightforward. You will need a pencil to mark drilling holes, a drill, a level and three screws and plugs for each hook. Remember that the bicycle is quite heavy, so choose screws and plugs that are suitable for such weight and the type of wall you are working with. Make sure that you install the hooks high enough so that there is enough space under the wheels to vacuum or wipe the floor. Also, measure the width of your bike to ensure that pedals and the handlebar will fit near the wall. If you have a wooden floor, a carpet, etc., consider putting some protection against dirt and water on it.
- Save space
- Easy to mount
- No mechanical parts to break
- Each bike is accessible; you don’t have to move other bikes to get to the one you need
- It is easy to clean the floor under bikes
- Create a statement piece in the room
- Low price
- Your wall can get dirty from pedals or tires (you can solve it with washable paint or some other wall protection)
-> Foldable rack
If you want to fold the rack when you are not using it, check out the Feedback Sports Velo Wall Post that I found on Amazon. It has good reviews and allows you to have even more space when needed. On top of that, it has a special design that enables you to lock your bike to the rack.
b) Ceiling lift
If you don’t want to strain by putting the bicycle high up you can mount it on the ceiling using bike lift (Amazon link), also called bike hoist. In my opinion, this option is more suitable for garages or sheds since it is less appealing compared to the hooks described earlier. Although I have come across one exception on Amazon. A bike lift with a minimalistic design which will look good even in a small apartment.
- Not physically demanding
- Saves space
- You can hang your bicycle right under the ceiling making more room under it and also protecting children from knocking the bike down
- You have to make enough room under the bike to lower it
- Higher price
2. Horizontal bike storage upside down
Another possibility is to keep your bikes horizontally upside down.
I came across the question, whether it is OK to store bikes upside down. Having read multiple bike forums, I have learned that storing bikes upside down is fine. The concerned issues were:
- Hydraulic suspension leakage – Based on my research, it is not caused by the upside-down storage but by a fault in the suspension. I have found out that even in the users manual of suspension fork (FOX FORX) on page 21, the manufacturer recommends storing your bike upside down! It says that this positioning allows oil to move to the foam rings, which keeps them lubricated. Of course, I don’t know every suspension type. However, it seems that in normal conditions, leakage should not take place.
- Spongy hydraulic brakes – This issue was already explained in the text above to see this section click here.
A contradictory statement: that bikes with hydraulic brakes should not hang upside down (due to air bubbles moving in the system causing squishy brakes) can be found in the post from bicycling.com website. The final decision is yours. However, in my opinion, storing a bike upside down is not an issue if it is working properly. A well-maintained hydraulic brakes system should not have any air bubbles in it.
3. Vertical bike storage flat against the wall
Another possibility is to store your bikes vertically flat against the wall. For this purpose, you can use hooks fixed to the ceiling or, e.g., IKEA SKRÄLL hooks attached to the wall (positioning them to hold the bike vertically by the frame).
Another possibility is using hooks installed to the wall, on which you will hang the bike by the wheel, e.g., these heavy duty hooks from Amazon. Be sure to measure the width of your bike to ensure that pedals or the handlebar will fit near the wall.
You can also choose to use a ceiling hook, e.g., this one from Amazon. It has great reviews. But remember to check before the purchase if your bike’s wheels will fit.
4. Vertical bike storage perpendicular to the wall
If you have little space on your wall, hanging your bikes vertically by the wheel next to each other is a great space saver. However, some people suggest that you can damage your bicycle if you hang it by the front wheel.
So is it OK to hang bike by the front wheel? Going through multiple bike forums, I have found out that hanging a bike this way in most cases won’t damage it. The only type of bikes that supposedly could be damaged are bikes with carbon rims. In the article from roadbikerider.com, it says that certain kinds of carbon wheels should be stored differently. But generally speaking, your bicycle has to withstand much more pressure during your ride than when it is holding just it’s own weight on a hook.
There are numerous hooks that you can use, both attachable to the wall or the ceiling. Before you buy one, remember to check if the wheels of your bike will fit in the hook. Here is one option from Amazon that has great reviews.
WHEN CHOOSING A BIKE HOOK
While I was researching bike hooks, I found that the top picks on Amazon (based on the average rating) had many complains regarding following issues:
- the coating wears off quickly,
- they are very narrow,
- they are quite weak.
If you are searching for bike hooks, watch out for such issues. I recomend these hooks (Amazon link).
If you are looking for something more sophisticated, take a look at this mount – Amazon link. It is a great option for vertical bike storage that saves a lot of space. It has a pivot design that allows you to pivot your bike up to 160 degrees. Additionally, you don’t have to lift your bike. You can simply push it into the rack with little effort.
Here are Amazon links to the four versions of this rack:
c) Organization system
If you want to store many bikes in a small garage, another option is an organization system. The one I found is called the Rubbermaid FastTrack Garage Organization System. It comprises of a rail on which you can attach various hooks, baskets, etc. to store different items. Among others, you can find a vertical bike rack attachment (Amazon link). The advantage of such a system is its versatility since you are not limited to one spot on the wall. You can move attachments wherever on the rail. But be aware that in some cases attachments are sold separately. Make sure to check if you don’t have to buy the rail on its own.
5. Bike storage flat against the ceiling
Another solution is to store your bikes flat against the ceiling. I have found such bike lift on Amazon. It operates on a hydro-pneumatic lifting system, which automatically lifts your bike and positions it under the ceiling.
- Not physically demanding
- Saves space
- Bikes are out of sight
- It is necessary to have enough space under the bike to lower it down. If the bicycle is stored above a car, you will need to move it to get to the bike.
- Very high price
Another solution, is a Zero Gravity Rack that you can buy on Amazon. It is mounted on the wall and uses a gas strut system to raise and lower the bike automatically.
Inside vs. outside
And a final tip. If you have little space and wonder if it is OK to leave bicycles outside, the short answer is NO. It is always better to keep them inside to protect them from rain, snow, and other natural elements.
If it is impossible to store bikes inside, at least use a bike cover to limit the exposure to natural elements. For example, you could buy the cover from Pro Bike Tool from Amazon recommended by bicycleuniverse.com. To learn more about bike covers, check out their post, where you can find many useful tips.