Storing your bike outside all the time exposes it to the elements which eventually damages various parts and shortens the bike’s life. Not to mention, it becomes easy pickings for thieves. Indoor storage is therefore a necessity for anyone who owns a bike. One of the most common methods is to hang the bike with one wheel on a hook attached to the wall or ceiling.
This begs the question – should you hang the bike from the front of the rear wheel? Either wheel should be just fine, as long as the other wheel is in contact with the ground and bearing the weight of the bike. However, it is advisable to hang from the front wheel. This is because, if the load of the bike is on the front wheel, it could turn and the entire weight will be on the rear wheel rim. This is potentially damaging. Plus, the handlebars won’t get in the way of anything on the floor.
In this article, we will show you how to safely store your bike(s) using hooks. You will also find some useful tips and the answers to some frequently asked questions near the end of the article.
Table of Contents
The first thing you have to consider is how much storage space you have available. How you can store your bike might vary a lot depending on whether you store it in an apartment, a house, a garage, a garden shed, etc. The number of bikes plays a role as well. You should also think about how much floor space or clearance you will need for other objects or to move around. Wall/ceiling hooks and bike racks are the most common ways of storing a bike. If the ceiling is high enough, you could hang the bike using hooks leaving the floor free. You could also store the bike vertically at a corner. This will take very little space. Also, try positioning the bike front wheel up to prevent the handlebars from taking up floor space.
The place where you store your bike(s) may be accessible to other people, such as a garden shed. In this case, you need protection from theft. Fortunately, some mounts and racks come with a locking mechanism for additional safety.
3. Bike Weight
Before installing a mount take a careful look at the quality of the wall or ceiling. Also, make sure the hooks or rack, whatever you use, are sturdy enough. Old school mountain bikes and beach cruisers are quite heavy and might come crashing down if the attachment is not secure enough. Moreover, if you are a tenant, you will probably need permission before you start drilling holes into the walls.
4. Size of Wheel
Be sure to take the diameter and thickness of your wheels into account. This is especially important for bike racks. The wheel wells or clamps have to be able to accommodate your bike’s wheels. Usually, you won’t face a similar issue while using hooks as they can fit any wheel width.
5. Floor & Wall protection
The handlebars and wheels could potentially scratch or dirty the walls and floor. Especially if you have been cycling in dirt or mud, you probably don’t want the wheels to touch anything since cleaning them every time is not feasible. Hanging the bike from the ceiling lets you achieve that. You could also just cover up the floor or wall with something. If you prefer to use racks, some have housings for both wheels while others stick out from the wall. The choice is up to you.
Methods of hanging the bike by a hook
Hooks installed on the wall, the ceiling, or an overhanging beam are the simplest and cheapest method of storing your bike(s). There are three main setups that you can use for hooks. Pick the one that is the most convenient for you.
1. Vertical Hang
In this configuration, there is one hook attached to the wall or the ceiling. The bike hangs vertically with one wheel inside the hook. You could leave it completely suspended. But a safer way is to have the hook low enough so that the bottom wheel is touching the ground and taking the weight of the bike. The hook, in this case, is just for support. We suggest hanging by the front wheel for better balance and more floor space.
Vertical hanging bikes | Credit: roadbikerider.com
2. Horizontal Hang
If you are worried about putting too much stress on the rims, hanging the bike horizontally is an option. Here, there are two or more hooks that support the bike on its frame, horizontally and slightly above the floor. However, there should be enough padding on the hooks, otherwise, they might damage the frame or scratch the paint.
Horizontal hanging bike | Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/KSLYtf68cpw
3. Double Hook Hang
With this method, you can have the bike high above, leaving a lot of space below. Basically, you hang the bike upside down with each on a hook. The hooks could be installed on the ceiling or an overhanging beam. Since the weight is evenly distributed on both wheels, there is less chance of damage to the rims. The downside is that mounting and dismounting the bike can be a bit more difficult.
Double hook hanging bike
Some useful tips to keep in mind
Hopefully, now you have decided how you will store your bike. For safety and convenience, here are a couple of extra bits of advice that might come in handy.
Try using a pulley lift for hanging bikes
For a very cheap price, you can get bike lifts/hoists that use a pulley system. The lift attaches to the seat, handlebars, or the top tube instead of the wheels. Meanwhile, the pulley is fixed to the ceiling. This system is more convenient than hooks. It’s easier to lift the bike by pulling on a rope and it can be suspended much higher. Keep in mind that the initial installation may be more difficult and expensive.
Bike pulley lift
Beware of hot engines near the hanging bikes
In a garage, the stored bikes could be in very close proximity to a car. A car’s engine gets very hot and takes a long time to cool down. The heat that it radiates could very well be harmful to some components of the bikes like the tires and the brake fluid. Hence, you should be careful not to hang the bikes right above or beside the car’s engine.
F. A. Q.s
Q1. Is it OK to hang my bike by its front wheel?
Ans.: As we have already discussed, you can hang your bike from either wheel. If you are storing multiple bikes side-by-side, then you should alternate between hanging from the front and rear wheel. This is to allow space for the handlebars of the bikes.
Q2. Is it OK to hang my bike with carbon wheels?
Ans.: In most cases, it should be completely fine to hang your bike by its carbon wheels. However, some carbon wheels actually have an aluminum rim covered with a carbon skin fairing. These fairings are quite fragile and might get damaged under the bike’s load. To find out if you have this type of wheel, simply try to gently squeeze the rims. They will flex with relatively low pressure if they are a fairing type.
Q3. Is hanging bikes by wheels bad?
Ans.: Hanging a bike by wheels does not cause any damage to the wheels or the bike. The wheels of a bike are designed to withstand the total load of the bike and the rider, even over bumpy terrain. The forces experienced by a wheel from a bike simply hanging are much less. Just to be extra safe, you can hang the bike with the bottom wheel in contact with the ground, or you could hang it by both wheels to distribute the pressure. Also, using vinyl hooks will prevent any scratching on the frame.
Q4. Are the front and back of my bike’s wheels the same?
Ans.: The front and rear wheels are mostly the same with just a few differences. Typically, a rear-wheel will have more spokes to make it stronger since more of the rider’s weight falls on the rear side. The hub of a rear-wheel also has splines to which a cassette can be attached. The tread pattern of the front and rear tire might vary too. Other than that, they are pretty much identical.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter whether you hang your bikes from the front wheel or the back wheel. You can choose whichever is more convenient for you. Regardless of this, always take the necessary precautions and create a solid point of attachment for your bikes. Just follow the advice provided in this article and your bikes will be just fine.