Is it OK to store a bike vertically on the wall. Can I hang a bike by the front wheel?
The short answer is that it’s fine to store a bike on a bike wall hook, upright or hanging from the ceiling. People often ask:
- why would I want to store a bike on the wall or hanging from the ceiling?
- how can I hang a heavy electric bike on the wall? It’s too heavy to lift.
- will hanging a bike by it’s front wheel damage the wheel?
- will hydraulic brakes still work if I store a bike vertically?
- will suspension forks be OK if the bike is stored in an upright position?
Let’s deal with each of these in turn:
Why would I want to store a bike on the wall or hanging from the ceiling?
Having bikes all stacked horizontally on the floor, leaning on each other is not a good way to store them.
- they will take up loads of floor space
- you won’t be able to get to the bikes at the back
- the bikes will touch each other and get scratched or damaged
- suspension forks dry out
Even if you have a floor mounted bike rack, where you push the front wheel into a slot or pair of hoops, you are likely to have problems with narrow tyres (the bike will lean to one side) or wide tyres (too wide for the slot). Sometimes the brake disc or rear mech (depending on which way you are storing them) gets in the way too. And they use a huge amount of floor space.
Hanging your bikes on the wall will save loads of space in your shed or garage. If the bikes are light enough to lift off the ground (like road bikes) then you can hang them high enough up on the wall (or ceiling) to keep the floor clear.
Even if they are touching the floor, 4 or 5 bikes will only take up the same amount of floor space as 1 bike leaning against the wall.
Storing bikes vertically on the wall means;
- They take up much less floor space
- they utilise un-used wall space
- you can get to each bike without moving the others
- each bike is held apart from the next so they don’t get scratched or damaged
- it’s better to store a bike with front suspension this way (see below)
My bike is too heavy to lift so how can I hang it on a wall mounting bike hook.
With the right kind of wall mounting bike hanger or bike hook that’s not a problem. It is possible to store a bike vertically on the wall without needing to lift it at all.
What you need is a wall mounting bike bracket or hook that is small enough, and fixed at the right angle, to easily fit between the spokes on the front wheel.
All you need to do then is pull on the back brake, take 2 steps backwards (the bike will magically rise onto its back wheel), release the brake, roll the bike up to the hook and then hook the wheel. This series of photographs illustrates this.
Storing heavy bikes on hooks, where you need to lift the bike up, isn’t a great idea. Heavy bikes can be really awkward to lift up and you stand a fair chance of hurting your back. Also, this might mean that one person will become the designated ‘bike-hanger-upper-and getter-downer’ which is a right nuisance and it means only one person can get the bikes down or put them away. With the right kind of wall mounted bike hook you simply don’t need to do this.
Will hanging a bike by it’s front wheel damage the wheel?
Unlikely. Assuming the hook has a nice rubber coating it shouldn’t scratch the rim. What most people seem to worry about is deforming the wheel but this is never going to happen.
Consider that your road bike weighs around 5 to 10Kg. A mountain bike might weigh 10 to 15Kg. A downhill or an electric bike might be as heavy as 25Kg. If the bike is hanging by the front wheel then one wheel is going to have to support the entire weight of the bike. It doesn’t matter that the weight is being applied to the inside of the rim.
Normally the wheels have to support the weight of the bike plus the rider. Even 25Kg is a tiny load compared to what the wheels on a bike are designed to cope with. Even a race ready, skinny biker will weigh around 70Kg. You’ve probably noticed lots of riders who are a bit bigger than that, perhaps 120Kgs or more. In this case each wheel is supporting a static load of 60Kg.
If it’s a mountain bike or a bike being ridden through a pothole or up a kerb then the loads will be multiplied many times. On a downhill bike that could be 10 times or more. Unless something very extreme happens, all wheels including road bike wheels, are designed to cope with huge loads.
Hanging a bike up by its wheel is no problem at all. The wheel is designed to take loads far in excess of the weight of the bike. The only potential problem will be if the bike is held upright by the tyre and the tyre goes flat!
Will the hydraulic brakes still work if I store a bike vertically?
When hydraulic brakes need bleeding, air has got into the system. When you store the bike vertically the air bubbles rise to the highest point, the brake levers. When you take the bike down from the wall they may feel spongy at first.
However, pulling the levers a couple of times should quickly sort the problem out.
You should make sure the brakes (all kinds) are working before you start riding for obvious reasons. If squeezing the levers a couple of times doesn’t fix the sponginess then there is a problem with the brakes, not the way the bike is being stored.
Will suspension forks be OK if the bike is stored in an upright position?
Yes. Undoubtedly. In fact this is the best way to store any bike with suspension forks.
All suspension forks have stanchions (the shiny tubes) that slide in and out of the fork legs (the bit attached to the wheel). To make these movements super smooth, the fork legs are full of oil. To stop the oil spraying everywhere every time you compress the forks there is a rubber seal fitted at the top of the fork legs. This will have a foam seal fitted behind it to hold the oil against the stanchions.
When a bike is stored horizontally on the floor, the oil drains out of the foam seals. If left for a long time the seals dry out and shrink. This stops the forks working properly and can damage the stanchions. That can be expensive, especially with mountain bike forks that can cost £800 or more.
If the bike is stored vertically on the wall, the forks are tilted backwards. This means that the oil in the forks runs backwards and pools against the foam seals. This keeps the seals properly lubricated and stops them drying out.
Another benefit of some wall mounting bike racks is that there is space between the bikes to store lots of other gear. That's a bit like even more 'free space' because it would otherwise be wasted, hidden behind the handlebars. GearHooks have a range of separate hooks for bike stands, track pumps, tools, spare wheels and other parts.
So, to summarise why storing bikes on the wall is a great idea:
- storing bikes vertically on the wall takes up much less floor space
- a bike hook isn't expensive and can cost less than £10
- you don’t have to lift heavy bikes off the floor
- you can get to individual bikes without moving others
- bikes are held apart so they won’t get damaged
- the front wheel can easily support a bike hanging from it
- hydraulic brakes may feel spongy at first but soon passes
- suspension forks benefit from being stored like this
However you decide to store your bikes have fun riding!
Thanks for reading. Hope it explained a few things. Feel free to contact us for more help and advice about storing all kinds of sports and leisure gear.