The best storage solution for your bike depends on the space that is available for you inside your house/apartment, your garage, shortage shed, and your balcony(if you have access to one). Although they are different in terms of application, the general idea is to use hooks, mounts, hangers, and other organizational systems so that you can store bikes vertically. Even though the popular designs will align the wall perpendicular to the wheels – you can also place the wheels flat against the wall as it is stored vertically. They can also be placed at corners where they are likely to use minimum space.
In this article, we have discussed extensively if it is viable to store a bike vertically. Several means of successfully storing your bike in this manner have been discussed, while we have also shed some light on the debate between vertical vs horizontal bike storages as well as whether the flat or perpendicular alignment is more favorable. We have also taken the liberty of addressing several questions that have allowed cyclists like you to remove their concerns about storing their bikes vertically.
Table of Contents
Permanent storage solution for bikes
1. Vertical wall-mount bike racks
Hoist your bike by either of the wheels when your storage space has limited width. Ideal for storing several bikes at once, and you can see them at bike stores. You can find standard hooks that will thread into the wall using a wall plug or screws on the beam of the ceiling. You can also find the latter on wall posts that have been made using wood.
This storage option is relatively more affordable, and you can even store larger wheel sizes on the same rack – found commonly on fat bikes and other large mountain bike tires. Multiple attachment points that are bolted on the walls come with built-in backing plates. Models like SteadyRack will go easy on the rim and only hold the wheel’s outside. You can swing your bike perpendicular so that it is lying closer to the wall.
If you are using your 2 car garage to park both your cars – avoid bike racks that are wall-mounted like this. Even if you use this inside your home – you are very likely to bump into them. While your kids will not be able to access their bikes from all of these wall racks used for vertical storage – there are many kid-friendly options available in the market.
Other innovative designs include kickstands that will hold on to the outside of your rear wheel and allow you to swing the bike upwards for storage, as can see below.
2. Vertical vs. Horizontal bike storage
You should be clear whether you want to store your bike vertically or horizontally. The reasoning offered against storing your bike vertically is related to hydraulic brakes, which are becoming popular day by day. These brakes will become spongy when the air inside the hydraulic system transfers as you are placing your bike upside down. However – it comes down to whether you have maintained your hydraulic brakes well as bikes that are well maintained do not have this issue. Spongy hydraulic brakes will only mean that your bike needs servicing. A temporary solution to this problem would be to pump the brake levers to minimize/get rid of air bubbles existing in the braking system. Fluid leaks may cause more significant damage to your bike. So essentially there are no adverse effects of storing your bike both horizontally and vertically. Both the designs are widely used in bike stores too – so try them out to get an idea of what you need to look out for after purchase.
You can see how vertical and horizontal storage for bikes differ using a typical wall hook/mount.
3. Flat vs. Perpendicular to wall
Make up your mind whether you want to place your bike perpendicular or flat on the wall. If you lack storage space – perpendicular mounts can save you both space and money. Position your bike flat if you have a lot of wall space and want to show off your bike to guests or friends.
Bike storage solution for saving space
1. Vertical bike storage against the wall
You will need to use ceiling hooks to hold up your bike flat and vertical on the wall. Check out hooks from IKEA – SKRÄLL so that your bike can be positioned vertically by hoisting it up by your bike’s frame.
You can also have wall hooks so that your bike’s wheel can be used to hang it. They are designed to support heavyweight. However, before installing them – get a measurement of your bike’s width so that either the handlebar or pedals can be accommodated close to the wall. The most important factor would be to just fit your bike wheels in such racks.
2. Vertical bike storage perpendicular to the wall
You can store several bikes beside each other if you prefer using the wheels to hang them.
A popular belief amongst cyclists is that you should avoid the wheel at the front to hang your bike.
So we decided to do some research on whether your front bike wheel should be used to hang your bike. As per our findings, carbon rims are more susceptible to damage – so you should consider other storage means too. The pressure exerted while riding is far larger than using a hook for your wheels.
a) Hooks & mounts
They can be attached to your ceiling or your apartment walls. Check for fit before purchase. Issues will come up regularly if you are using such components for mounting:
- The coating of your bike will wear off much faster.
- They are narrow and cannot fit your bike wheel width
- Their overall structure has several weak points.
You may use bike hangers to vertically store 1-2 bikes as the hooks/hangers are mounted on the wall. This storage solution will facilitate storing bikes that have different rim widths. The best hooks are designed to minimize damage to your bike. Try to opt for frames made from solid steel for maximum strength. This will mean that your bike weight is supported well and without fail. The kits for these hangers will have all the necessary hardware for installation- which should not take more than 30 minutes. After you are done, lift your bike by the wheels for secured storage.
These hangers/hooks can also be used to hang your bike vertically from the ceiling – by either of the two wheels. Both steel hooks and bike hangers that have been custom made can be attached to the rafters of the ceiling. Just start by drilling a hole and attached the hardware of the hanger to the beams. Steel or plastic that is both strong and durable are the ideal materials for the hooks, as they can support 50 lbs easily. Weight limits are sometimes mentioned on the casing for the hook. Both adult and children sized bikes can be stored using such roof hangers.
b) Organization systems
These can act as an alternative to hooks and mounts if you are using your tiny garage to store your bike. The designs of such storage options use rails that can be used to attach the variable designs of hooks and baskets for storing items of different types. Other attachment styles will include bike racks that are running vertical and can be moved along the length of the rail. In some cases, you may have to purchase these attachments separately from the rail.
Picture: You can move the hooks along the rail before putting your bike up on it vertically
3. Inside vs. Outside
Even if you have little space available for storing your bike – avoid outdoor options for bike storage. Storing your bike indoors will protect it from snow, rain, and other elements of nature. It is also convenient to reduce the risk of theft. In severe cases where indoor storage is impossible – you should be using bike covers for protection.
If you are looking for outdoor storage, security is very important. You may consider security platforms for securing your bike while storage units/sheds can be used too. Try to prioritize aesthetics during their purchase.
F. A. Q.s
Q1. Is it OK to store my mountain bike vertically?
Ans.: Yes it is OK to store your mountain bike vertically, but experts from many reputed manufacturers urge cyclists to avoid doing so if the braking mechanism used in their bikes is hydraulic. If you have rim brakes – go for it.
If you hang a bike that is using hydraulic disc brakes, you are driving air bubbles from inside the system or reservoir tank in the direction of the brake calipers. This will stop the hydraulic brake from functioning properly. So every time you have stored a hydraulic disc brake bike vertically, you should check if the brakes are functioning at 100 percent capacity after you have taken them down and then go riding.
Picture: Storing a bike vertically will save space
Q2. Is it OK to hang my bike by one wheel?
Ans.: Yes, you can use one of your bike wheels to hang your bike. It really makes very little difference whether you are using the rear wheel or front wheel. Just ensure that you are using hooks made from vinyl that can support the bike’s weight without being damaged, breaking, or bending. Ensure that you do not scratch the frame of your bikes you hang the bike.
Some hooks have been designed specifically for heavy-duty use. Their structure is such that wider openings are compatible with both narrow and wide tires. Some hooks can only be installed if there is an additional wood wall/stud, and use galvanized steel to ensure longevity. If you need some tips for installing hooks to store your bikes, see the video below.
Q3. Is it bad to store my bike upside down?
Ans.: While the effects of storing your bike upside down may not be too noticeable – you will often find yourself wondering if you could have prevented them. Turning your bike upside down will make it harder for you to fix a pre-existing mechanical problem of your bike as diagnosing or looking for a solution will require far greater effort. With the bike being balanced on the handlebars, dirt and grease from the tires and the chain respectively may get on the frame, saddle, or handlebars. Remember that these are essentially the major contact points as you get on a bike.
A “mushy” brake lever on a disc brake bike using a hydraulic mechanism is a consequence of turning your bike upside down. Tiny air bubbles will find their way to the calipers – resulting in mushy brakes. This is why manufacturers like Shimano advise against turning a bike to its side or upside down, as you are more likely to get in a serious accident. Just before setting out for your rides, check if the brakes are still operating normally. In case you are unlucky, refrain from riding until you have addressed the issue by going to the shop.
Picture: Avoid hanging your hydraulic disc brake bike on its rear wheel
Q4. Should I deflate my bike tires for storage?
Ans.: No, experts recommend inflating your bike tires to the optimal pressure before you put them away for longer periods of storage in places that have fewer means of heating. You should probably get a “tune-up”, where you will also need to lubricate the chains and cables. While you may have the urge to store your bike upside down, the repercussions (like dealing with a hydraulic brake) can leave you with many headaches.
If you are unsure of this “optimal pressure” – check your tire’s sidewall where it is usually denoted in white. In other cases, you may find them mentioned in a user manual of the tire or the website of the manufacturer.
Q5. Can my brakes be affected by how I store my bike?
Ans.: Storing bikes vertically should be done using the front wheel. Keep in mind that brake failure will not need quicker or delayed servicing based on how the bike is stored. If you have used the front wheel to hang the bike or the rear wheel to make it stand up – check for excessive air in your braking system. In case your hunch is correct and you will need to bleed the brakes, the braking function may be impaired if you are using the front wheel to hang it. This is due to the fact the air bubbles will travel until they have reached the master cylinder. As your brakes are being pulled to the bars after you have lifted the same bike on its rear wheel, you will have made the situation worse. If your hydraulic braking system is maintained very well – you may use both the wheels for vertical storage.
Q6. How close can you hang bikes?
Ans: Ideally, you should be installing the hooks apart by a distance between 18 – 20 inches. This will ensure that you have enough room between two corresponding bicycles and save room too. Putting them up any closer would make it difficult to access any one of the bikes until all the others have been removed.
The key manufacturers of bike components and accessories know the dilemma many cyclists go through regarding storage, and they do not want to end their service just by selling you the bike. Over the years, many designs have been adopted for convenient storage that would not compromise the functionality of your bike. You can use hooks, mounts, lifts, etc to store one or multiple bikes – to meet the demands of the unique situations you may have to face regarding storage. Storing your bike vertically will allow you to save floor space and you can take advantage of the distinctive pivoting designs for easy and convenient storage that is not possible if you were storing it horizontally or hoisting it from the roof/ceiling. Vertically storing your bike offers the perfect solution to your storage needs in your apartment while keeping the garage tidy.