It’s not always easy to store bicycles when you’re not riding them. Limited space, full garages, and small apartments can make it very difficult to figure out where to store your bike. One of the common ways of storing a bicycle is by hanging it by the wheels from a wall or the ceiling. This bike storage method is convenient and easy to do, but as soon as you’ve hung your bike you’ll be wondering if this method will damage the bicycle. Well, I can answer that question for you!
Is it OK to hang a bike by its wheels? Hanging a bicycle by its wheel will not damage the bicycle or the tire. Make sure to use vinyl hooks to not scratch the bicycle, and if you want to be extra safe hang the bike by two points of contact. Don’t hang
There are those who will argue that hooks can damage the tires or the bike, but most cyclists would say they are wrong. Professional riders, recreational cyclists, and even bike shops have been hanging their bikes by the wheels for a long time without any damage.
As a reminder, bicycle wheels are designed to carry the weight of a rider AND be able to withstand the force of rolling over the bumps of the road. Some may argue that it’s bad to hang a bike by its wheels, because its putting all the weight on a singular point. But based on my experience and thousands of others, it’s just not true that it will do damage. A hook can definitely hold a bicycle up without bending, breaking or damaging it.
The Right Hook for Bike Hanging
The best hook for hanging bicycles are these heavy duty storage hooks by Impresa (see on Amazon). I like them, because they have a wider mouth than others. This makes it easy to use on any bike regardless if they have a wider or narrow tire.
You can easily install them into a wall or ceiling as long as there is a stud or wood wall to screw them into. They’re made of heavy duty galvanized steel so they’re going to last, and they have a soft coating on the outside to protect your bike. You won’t need to worry about your precious bicycle getting scratched! According to the manufacturer Impresa, each individual hook can hold 100 lbs so you won’t need to fret about the bike ripping them out of the wall.
If you want some guidance on installing bike hooks for storage watch the video below. It will show how easy it really is.
Tips to Hanging your Bicycle
2 Contact Points as a Bonus – If you’re worried about all the weight of your bike being on a singular spot on your bicycle than you can use two hooks to hang your bike. This will spread out the weight.
Hang Horizontally – You don’t have to hang your bike from the ceiling. If you have the wall space you can put two hooks in the wall, and hang it horizontally. One of the benefits of this is that you can hang the bicycle on its frame rather than the wheels. The frame can definitely handle the weight of the entire bike.
Wipe down the Wheels – Make sure to clean off your wheels after riding. If you hang your bike you’ll want to make sure they’re clean before hanging. If you hang the bike with a dirty wheel you can get dirt or sand on the hooks soft cover which could scratch the rims of your bike. Not only will it keep it scratch free, but it will help you bike last.
Be Careful Taking it Down – I’ve heard stories of people damaging their bikes, because they were rushing to get their bike off the hook and had it crash down. I know you want to ride your bike as soon as possible, but be gentle getting your bike down.
Cover your Bike if it’s Outside – The elements will slowly corrode and deteriorate your bicycle. Perhaps you’re thinking of hanging your bike outside on the side of the house to save space indoors. I would recommend against it, unless you have nowhere else to store your bike. If you do end up storing it outside, definitely get a bike cover as it will help defend your bike from rain and sun. Also make sure to lock it up if its outside unless you live in an ultra safe area. I’ve had two bikes stolen from my backyard. Not a fun experience!
Inspect the Area of Installation Beforehand – Determine where you’re going to install the hooks beforehand. You shouldn’t place them directly into drywall as it won’t be strong enough to support your bicycle. The best place to put the hooks is into a stud.
Are Bicycles with Hydraulic Brakes OK to hang upside down?
This is the one exception to hanging bikes upside down. If you have a bike with hydraulic brakes you shouldn’t hang the bike upside down. According to Shimano’s disc brake manual, “when turning the bicycle upside down or on its side the brake system may have some air bubbles inside the reservoir tank which are still there when the reservoir tank cover is replaced, or which accumulate in various parts of the brake system when it is used for long periods.“
Apparently, if the bike is turned on its side or stored upside down, the air bubbles inside the tank could possibly move towards the calipers. If this happens, there is a possibility that the brakes won’t work as intended. You can read what to do in the manual if you’ve had your hydraulic brake bike upside down HERE.
Basically, if you decide to hang your bike with hydraulic brakes you need to test the brakes before going for a ride.
Types of Bicycle Mounts for Storage
Gravity Stands – These are stands that usually can hold up to 2 bicycles, and don’t need to be drilled into any walls. They’re designed to lean against a wall to keep them upright.
Kickstands – Plenty of bicycles don’t have kickstands these days. Serious cyclists often ditch the kickstand to reduce the weight, and mountain bikers don’t want the pointed stand to hurt them if they crash. You can read our article, “Why do Bikes not have Kickstands?” for more information. One of the benefits of a kickstand is that it makes it easy to store bikes upright if you have the floor space. If you’d like a kickstand, and your bike doesn’t have one, you can purchase one at your local bike shop.
Hoist System – A hoist will use a pulley system that will let you raise and lower your bikes. This is a great system if you’ve got high ceilings or perhaps a loft. It’s important to measure your ceiling height before purchasing a pulley system, because some of the ones sold have a height limit.
Floor Stands – A floor stand is the rack that you put your bicycle in when you show up to the grocery store or school. It’s the traditional bike rack outside of the store. They’re usually made of metal, and perfect for standing your bike up somewhere. If you have space in your garage this could work well. I’d recommend this Simple Houseware Floor Stand on Amazon.
You could also use this outside if you don’t have the space, but should consider an outdoor cover for your bike if you’re going to do so.
What if my bike is very heavy? Could that cause damage to the wheel if I hang it from the rafters? The hooks recommended above can carry up to 100 lbs. There’s no way your bicycle is close to that weight. Even incredibly heavy bikes will have no problem with being hung. I would recommend using two hooks to be safe, but you don’t need to worry about damage to the bike or your walls.
Is it OK to hang bikes upside down? There’s no harm in hanging your bicycle upside down UNLESS it’s got a hydraulic brake system. If that’s the case, than you should follow the procedure that’s detailed above in the hydraulic brake section of this article. Just be careful lifting and removing the bike as you don’t want to drop it.
How close can you hang bikes? You’ll want to install the hooks about 18 to 20 inches apart. This will give enough room between bicycles, but also be the best way to save space. Any closer together and it will be hard to get a bike off with another so close.