The 4 Best Bike Storage Ideas of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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The bike-storage company Cycloq has announced that it is going out of business. For that reason, we are no longer testing the company’s Endo hook. Pallet Jack 1 Ton

The 4 Best Bike Storage Ideas of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Cyclists who live in small spaces know the conundrum: You want your bike easily accessible but hate tripping over it all the time.

After spending some 30 hours researching dozens of indoor bike-storage stands, we assembled and tested the 10 most viable options, leaving our bikes at their mercy for days—and sometimes weeks—on end.

Ultimately, we decided that for most people, the Delta Cycle Michelangelo Gravity Stand is the best way to store your bike indoors.

The stand takes minimal effort and expertise to install, it’s lightweight and strong, and it can accommodate one or two bikes of any variety—mountain, road, hybrid, and even step-through cruisers.

Simple to set up and take down, this graceful yet sturdy two-bike stand can be easily adjusted to fit any type of bike.

A wide range of tires can fit in this fold-down rack, which is also the easiest vertical rack to get a bike into and out of.

Not only do the arms adjust to fit almost any bike’s frame, you can change how far the rack sticks out from the wall, too.

Although it’s expensive, this tension-mounted column lets you store two bikes anywhere in a room, without drilling a single hole into a wall or ceiling.

We asked some 3,000 of them, to be exact—members of a commute group based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where living space is at a premium.

We considered which features were most desirable for people who’d bought these racks—and, more important, which ones they didn’t like—and why.

We built every rack we tested and installed them in our own homes to see how hard they were to put together.

The Delta Cycle Michelangelo, for instance, occupied our writer’s living room, loaded with bikes, for nearly three months.

Simple to set up and take down, this graceful yet sturdy two-bike stand can be easily adjusted to fit any type of bike.

The Michelangelo was easier to assemble than all the other options we tested, requiring only a Phillips screwdriver and a drill. It’s also low-impact, requiring a grand total of one screw to attach it to the wall. Plus, its ladderlike frame is made of slender but tough steel tubing that keeps the stand from dominating your interior-decorating scheme.

The arms that hold up the bikes on the Michelangelo are movable, allowing the stand to handle bikes with sloping top tubes or complex full-suspension frames. Repositioning the arms (don’t do this while a bike is on the rack!) is simply a matter of twisting them until they move freely—you’ll need no tools at all, which means that this rack is also easier than all the others to adjust once assembled. The Michelangelo has a couple of extra hooks for accessories, so you have somewhere other than your handlebars to hang your helmet.

A wide range of tires can fit in this fold-down rack, which is also the easiest vertical rack to get a bike into and out of.

Hanging your bike vertically (that is, from its front wheel) lets you fit it in the wall space behind a door, or in a corner. Unlike some of the other vertical-storage options we tried, which require you to lift your bike well off the ground while simultaneously twisting its wheel to get it into a hook, the Steadyrack Classic Rack unfolds from the wall like an old-fashioned ironing board. To get your bike on this rack, you tip it back on its rear wheel and roll it forward until the front wheel sits in the rack, which is wide enough to accommodate even mountain-bike tires. If the Michelangelo, our main pick, is out of stock, this is a nearly-as-good alternative.

Not only do the arms adjust to fit almost any bike’s frame, you can change how far the rack sticks out from the wall, too.

If a gravity stand won’t work but you still want to hang your bike parallel to a wall, the Ibera Adjustable Bicycle Wall Hanger is your best bet. It’s highly customizable: You can change the height and width of the support arms via simple ratcheting mechanisms, and the arms are easy to lock into the right configuration. The rack itself is attached to the wall with telescoping tubes so you can also adjust how far it sticks out into the room—another handy feature for small spaces.

Although it’s expensive, this tension-mounted column lets you store two bikes anywhere in a room, without drilling a single hole into a wall or ceiling.

If your wall space is entirely occupied by windows, doors, bookcases, or artwork, the Feedback Sports Velo Column, which holds up to two bikes, is likely the best option for you. It can be wedged into place between the floor and ceiling. You don’t need to nail it or screw it into place, so it’s easily moveable if you decide to rearrange the furniture. This column is also solidly constructed, and the support arms adjust to fit different kinds of bike frames.

For this review, I polled cyclists on my commute group’s email list (which numbers more than 3,000) in San Francisco—a place where bike infrastructure is expanding but individual living spaces are shrinking—about how they store their bikes. I interviewed Chris Hodney, who works with Hacker Architects in Portland, Oregon, another cycling-mad city, and has made a specialty of evaluating bicycle storage for apartments and office buildings. I read Eben Weiss’s The Ultimate Bicycle Owner’s Manual to see what the opinionated Bike Snob NYC (Weiss’s nom de guerre) had to say on the topic. I checked in with Lennard Zinn (a frame builder who literally wrote the book on bike repair), David Kendall at Calfee Design (this shop is the last resort for anyone with a busted-up carbon bike), and Ric Hjertberg at Wheel Fanatyk (where you can find anything you’d need to build wheels, from finely wrought spokes to well-tuned advice) to get their opinions on storage options—and to make sure that it is, in fact, okay to hang a bike by its front wheel, even if the rim is made of expensive and easily damaged carbon.

Although there are half a dozen variations on the indoor bike-storage theme, good storage systems share a few key attributes: An indoor bike rack should be easy to assemble, with well-manufactured parts that fit together securely. It should be sturdy enough that you feel comfortable trusting your bike to it (and anything that your bike might fall on, too). It should be versatile enough to hold many different kinds of bikes. And the rack should also be as unobtrusive as possible, at least when the bike’s not hanging on it—you don’t want your roommate or partner bashing their head on the rack while you’re out for a ride.

Why are there so many different types of indoor bike racks? Ideally, your bike will occupy what might otherwise be wasted space, but that extra space will probably vary according to your living situation. “If you’ve got 12-foot ceilings, go high,” said one of my friends, a cyclist who’d also just renovated his house. “If your front door has two feet of space on the wall next to the hinges, buy a doorstop and hang your bike vertically behind the door.”

For this guide, we looked at all of the variations: wall hooks from which a bike hangs by its front wheel; racks that hold a bike or two horizontally by the top tube, or crossbar, parallel to a wall; and ceiling-mounted hook-and-pulley systems that let you haul the bike up out of the way. We did test one freestanding rack, but in the end, we couldn’t think of any small-space situations where a bike standing in the middle of the room would be helpful, so we didn’t include that variation.

The prices for our racks ranged from about $20 to $170 at that time. You can, of course, spend a lot more, if you consider the rack to be decoration or sculpture too. Design blogs like Apartment Therapy and TrendHunter are full of expensive bike racks and stands. Bear in mind, though, that though many of those options are beautiful, they are not always practical. (The elegant Knife & Saw Bike Shelf, which retails for $325, was designed for a bike with a traditionally slim, straight top tube. Many other bike frames won’t fit, or look good in it.)

We pored through REI, Amazon and Overstock, as well as specialty online stores like Competitive Cyclist and home-organization sites like The Container Store and Wayfair. I combed through the customer reviews on Amazon and other online retailers. I asked my cycling community for their opinions on the best options we’d found, as well as for any storage ideas we might have overlooked.

As we assessed which racks to test, we eliminated those that had functional or conceptual problems. The Clug, for instance, holds a bike by gripping the front tire—but this means the Clug meant for mountain bikes won’t work with road bikes, and so on.

One pleasant surprise is that our bike experts agreed that hanging a bike by its front wheel won’t hurt the wheel. “I’ve never seen any issue with it, and I’ve hung a lot of bikes up by their super-expensive carbon rims,” Zinn told me. The only bike-storage warning we did get came from Zinn, who pointed out that if you hang a bike with hydraulic brakes upside down, an air bubble could find its way into the rear caliper, and the first time you try to brake, you won’t stop. “But if the brakes have been properly bled and have no leaks,” he added, “then pumping the brake lever a bunch of times should bring the brake function back.”

After narrowing our list to the top two candidates in each type of rack—so-called gravity stands (which lean against a wall and hold a bike or two by the top tube), compression columns (which work like a tension rod wedged between the floor and ceiling and can hold two bikes), wall hooks or vertical mounts (on which a bike hangs from its front wheel), and ceiling-mounted hooks—I called in samples. Then I got to work installing them, serially, in my own apartment and testing them with a range of bikes: road, hybrid, cyclocross/gravel, and full-suspension mountain bikes.

Occasionally, a rack would come with a basic Allen key or flat open wrench (stamped out of metal, nothing fancy), but you should have a set of Allen wrenches, a socket wrench, a drill with a range of wood bits, and a hammer and nail (to start drill holes) on hand for assembly. Many Amazon users complained that the hardware included with most of these racks wasn’t up to par: The screws supplied weren’t long enough, the anchors pulled out of drywall too easily, and the threads were easy to strip accidentally. I didn’t have problems with any of the racks when I installed them, but if you’re dealing with drywall, you might want to stop at a hardware store and buy the sturdiest anchors you can find, plus a stud finder. A lot of these racks come with drywall or plaster anchors, but it’s always safer to screw the rack into a stud. And if your building has newfangled metal studs instead of wooden ones, that’s one very good reason to go with our top pick, the gravity stand.

Simple to set up and take down, this graceful yet sturdy two-bike stand can be easily adjusted to fit any type of bike.

We believe that the Delta Cycle Michelangelo Two-Bike Gravity Stand is the best choice for most people who need to store one or two bikes in a small apartment. If you have one relatively unobstructed patch of wall that’s wide enough to fit a bike lengthwise (about six feet), this is the rack that you should go with. The stand is simple to set up, it is lightweight yet sturdy, and its arms can be repositioned to suit any frame shape. It’s also very low-impact: You have to drill only one hole in the wall.

At first glance, the main components of the stand look barely capable of supporting one bike, let alone two: The steel tubing is a little over an inch in diameter, and you connect the segments with simple Phillips head bolts. The arms aren’t attached with bolts or screws or any hardware at all, though—you slide the twisty end of each arm onto the stand’s frame, and once you’ve moved the arm to where you want it, the friction provided by a plastic sleeve ensures that the arm stays in place. The other end of the arm is flattened and covered in rubber so your bike’s frame won’t slip or get scratched.

Despite the delicate-seeming tubing and the low-tech method of assembly, this stand is far sturdier than the other gravity stand we tested, the Racor PLB-2R. The bulkier steel bars that make up the PLB-2R don’t fit together securely at all, which makes the whole thing wobble alarmingly. The Michelangelo is also more forgiving than the PLB-2R: It doesn’t need to rest flush against the wall, but the PLB-2R does—a chair rail or wainscoting would make the PLB-2R unusable.

You can adjust the height of the arms on the Michelangelo when you’re assembling the rack, or after the fact. It’s not hard to figure out how to twist the arms off and on. One arm can be higher than the other, which means that you can rest a bike on the rack even if it has a sloping top tube or no top tube at all. The rack also comes with a pair of small accessory hooks that twist onto the rack’s tubing in the same way as the arms. I wouldn’t trust them with anything truly heavy (they tended to fall off whenever I lifted the rack to move it), but they’d be fine for a helmet.

Setting up the stand took me about 20 minutes, and I wasn’t even giving it my full attention. (The TV was on.) Doubtful that this design would work, I put the stand in my living room, loaded it with two 30-pound bikes, and left them there for nearly three months—neither moved an inch.

One note: A notice on the outside of the box we received read “Leans against the wall—no attachment required!” This was contradicted by the instructions inside, which insisted that you attach the supplied “wall stabilizing chain” to the rack and to the wall to prevent the “accidental toppling of the rack.” (This is that one hole you’ll have to drill.) It’s a good idea to follow those instructions, especially if you have kids or live in earthquake country. To be honest, though, I didn’t bother and never heard so much as a rattle. The rack’s splayed feet kept the combined bikes-and-rack’s center of gravity comfortably close to the wall, even when I tried pulling the top of the rack toward me. It wouldn’t be impossible to pull over, but you’d have to be doing so intentionally, not accidentally knocking into the rack.

Who else liked this stand? The question really is, who didn’t? Its overall Amazon score was 4.4 stars (out of five) across over 8,000-plus reviews as of our most recent update, and it was the most recommended rack by far among the cyclists I surveyed.

Staff members doing long-term testing of the Michelangelo have reported no problems; in fact, one of them had, a few years ago, moved in with a new boyfriend, who brought with him three Michelangelos that he’d been using happily for five years. We had heard from one reader who said that one of the arms on his stand slipped out of place after 15 minutes of use; after examining photos that he supplied of his setup, we realized he’d omitted installing the O-rings that were meant to go under each arm. Delta has since tweaked the design of the rack, and it no longer requires the O-rings. We bought one of these new racks to check it out; it’s been working just fine for four years now, but we’ll continue to monitor it just to be sure.

According to one very tall Amazon customer, if you ride a large bike (we’re talking 60 centimeters, as bikes are typically measured), you might not be able to fit two bikes of that size on this rack. His workaround was to pair one of his bikes with one of his wife’s much smaller bike on the rack. Also, those accessory hooks are easy to dislodge if you’re moving the rack around the room.

A wide range of tires can fit in this fold-down rack, which is also the easiest vertical rack to get a bike into and out of.

If you only have enough wall space to store a bike vertically—that is, not much more space than the width of your bike’s handlebars—your best bet is a wall-mounted rack that allows you to hang your bike from its front wheel, which, as our experts reminded us over and over, will do your bike no harm whatsoever. Those delicate-looking spokes withstand a lot more tension and compression during even the briefest ride to the store than they do hanging on your wall.

Our pick for the best vertical rack for most people is the Steadyrack Classic Rack. In fact, if our main pick is out of stock, this is a nearly-as-good alternative. Although it’s not as stylishly minimalist as the hook-type vertical racks we tested, the design is far superior. The rack essentially cups the bottom of the front tire, a design that has three major advantages: A wide range of tire sizes can fit into it; the rack swivels, so you can swing the bike all the way to the wall to get it out of your way; and it takes very little strength or maneuvering to get the bike onto the rack.

If you can tip your bike back onto its rear wheel (picture a horse rearing), you can roll the front wheel into place. (Alternatively, with the hook-type racks, I had to lift my road bike uncomfortably high to snag the hook with the wheel’s rim. When I tried to hang a gravel bike or a mountain bike on the hook, I had to twist the wheel and the whole bike sideways—while lifting them—to squeeze the knobbier tires in. This got tiresome quickly.) You can also fold the Steadyrack almost flat to the wall when you’re not using it, which is a major advantage for small apartments. If you are going to make use of the rack’s swivel-ability, definitely install the (included) rear-wheel stabilizer—it’ll keep the bike vertical and the rear wheel from sliding sideways.

This rack is, without a doubt, more complicated to install than a hook—you have to lay the rack on the floor and line it up with your bike (which means you may need an assistant to hold the bike up) to figure out how far up on the wall you need to place the rack. It’s very easy to install the rack upside down by mistake—despite the “TOP” clearly marked on the end of the metal base. Also, the base has four fastener holes at each end, but it comes with only four screws. Finally, a bike with fenders won’t fit in the Classic Steadyrack; the company sells a slightly more expensive fender-friendly version, as well as a fat-tire version and a mountain bike version (though we had no trouble getting a mountain bike into ours), to address those situations.

Not only do the arms adjust to fit almost any bike’s frame, you can change how far the rack sticks out from the wall, too.

If a gravity stand won’t work but you want to hang your bike parallel to a wall, your best option is the Ibera Adjustable Bicycle Wall Hanger. The biggest advantage to using the Ibera is that its arms are very adjustable—you can set both to be high and wide and level (for a large bike’s horizontal top tube), or both low and closer together but still level (for a smaller bike’s horizontal top tube), or one high and one low (for bikes with slanted top tubes).

A ratcheting mechanism allows you to move the arms when you need to and then lock them into place, which makes this rack particularly good if you’re sharing it with other people or using it for multiple bikes. And the telescoping “hanger beam” (the metal tube that attaches the rack to the wall) lets you vary how far the rack sticks out from the wall. The minimum is 8.5 inches and the maximum is 12 inches, which when you add in the width of the rack itself allows enough room for all but the very widest of mountain-bike handlebars.

The rack looks complicated, but it’s not difficult to assemble or install—although the directions that came with ours mistakenly called for a 4-millimeter Allen wrench and you’ll really need a 3-millimeter one. I had no problems with the rack, which I installed in a wooden wall, but some reviewers on Amazon reported that the drywall anchor screws that came with the rack were too short. Also, a few people who used the Ibera for their road bikes mentioned that it didn’t sit as close to the wall as they wanted—there was still a two-inch gap between the handlebars and the wall.

Although it’s expensive, this tension-mounted column lets you store two bikes anywhere in a room, without drilling a single hole into a wall or ceiling.

If you don’t have a clear wall but you do have space elsewhere in a room, a compression column is likely your best option for bike storage. This type of rack can hold one or two bikes horizontally, just like a gravity stand. The best one we found is the Feedback Sports Velo Column.

Like the other compression column we tested, the Velo Column’s bike-holding arms attach to little plates that slide into channels on either side of the aluminum column. When assembling, you screw the arm’s base and the plate together, and tighten the screws until the arm won’t move. Unlike Gear Up’s column, though, the Velo Column’s sliding plate has little hooks that clasp the base of each arm, so the plate won’t slip down the inside of the channel if you happen to let go of it while you’re juggling the arm, screws and screwdriver during assembly.

This pole also feels more solid than the competition because it’s manufactured as one main piece, with an insert at the top that you can use to adjust the column’s length from 84¾ inches to 121 inches. One other advantage of the Velo is that the top of the column is spring-loaded, so it compresses as you push the column into position and then expands to wedge itself in.

The instructions included in the box make assembling the column look a lot harder than it is. The physical task took me maybe half an hour—this time, though, I wasn’t multitasking.

If you need the cheapest possible option: Consider the Dirza Bike Hanger, which was by far the cheapest and simplest rack we tested. It’s a wall-mounted hook from which you hang your bike by the front wheel. The powder-coated iron hook comes with a matching plate that you can install at the spot where your bike’s rear tire might mar your wall. Unlike other, similar hooks, the Dirza hook accommodated my 2.25-inch knobby mountain bike tire fairly easily. You do have to lift your bike up onto the hook, however, which is why we prefer the Steadyrack model.

If you don’t mind your bike hanging askew: Consider the Feedback Sports Velo Post, which is sturdy and dead simple to use. It holds your bike horizontally, parallel to the wall, as the Ibera rack does, but instead of having two arms, this rack consists of a post that folds down, on which you hang your bike by the nose of its saddle. This causes your bike to balance at an angle, however, and we’ve noticed that a lot of people hanging a bike horizontally prefer it to appear level. For that reason, we’re sticking with the Ibera rack as our pick.

The other gravity stand we tested, the Racor Gravity Stand PLB-2R, wobbled from side to side badly, with or without a bike. When I put a bike on the lower support arms, the whole thing tilted forward, away from the wall. I didn’t dare try to hang a second bike on the upper pair of arms. Also, the rubber pads on the hooks at the end of each arm (meant to protect your bike’s frame) fell out almost immediately.

The Delta Cycle Single-Bike Storage Rack/Hook is similar in price and concept to the Racor B-1R Solo Vertical Bike Rack, but, although the documentation says the hook works with tires of up to 2½ inches, many Amazon reviewers reported being unable to use it with anything larger than a 2-inch tire or with deep rims. I could wedge my mountain bike’s 2.25-inch tire into the hook with some effort, but I wouldn’t want to do it after every ride.

The other horizontal single-bike rack we tested, the Feedback Sports Velo Wall Rack, is adjustable. But with this rack—unlike the Ibera—you’ll need tools to do that adjusting. Smaller bikes may not fit, as the arms don’t adjust side to side—they can only be moved up and down. Also, this rack is also extremely annoying to assemble.

We tested and dismissed the Gear Up BUA Floor To Ceiling column-style rack, which has since been discontinued, as well as two hoist systems: the Racor Bike Lift and the Rad Sportz Easy Bike Lift, which rely on pulleys you mount on the ceiling. Both of the models we tested used only a single rope, and don’t keep your bike level while you’re raising it. Also, one consistent complaint by Amazon reviewers about both models was that bikes sometimes slipped off the hooks’ prongs. Not good.

This article was edited by Christine Ryan.

Lennard Zinn, frame builder, shop owner, and author at Zinn Cycles Custom Bicycles in Boulder, Colorado, interview

David Kendall, carbon-repair business development group at Calfee Design in La Selva Beach, California, interview

Ric Hjertberg, owner of Wheel Fanatyk in Port Hadlock, Washington, interview

Chris Hodney, LEED AP at Hacker Architects in Portland, Oregon, interview

Christine Ryan is a senior editor at Wirecutter overseeing the teams that cover travel, outdoors gear, beds and linens, home decor, and more. (She also edits and writes about cycling equipment, which gives her an excuse to sneak away from her desk and go for a ride.) Previously, she was an editor at European Travel & Life, Gourmet, and Sunset.

The 4 Best Bike Storage Ideas of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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