Does hanging your bike by the wheels damage it?
A lot of us struggle with the question of where to store our bikes…
We can't leave them outside as they're not designed to cope with the elements. They are also more likely to be stolen if stored outside.
And, well, if you've spent as much money on your bike as we have then you'll be desperate to find somewhere nice to store it.
So, maybe in the garage? The problem is most of us don't have enough available floor space to keep our precious two-wheeled angels. So the floor is a no go.
Wait a minute, we've got loads of space on our garage ceiling...
Mounting your bike on the walls can seem like an irresistible solution if you're tight on space. They do it all the time in bike shops, so it can't be bad for the bike right? Plus, your bike looks pretty cool hanging up there like that.
But if you are hanging your bike by its wheels then you could actually be doing a lot of damage to it.
In this article, we're going to talk you through why mounting your bike on the wall and hanging it by the wheels might not be a good idea.
But don't panic yet, we're also going to talk you through some great space-saving alternatives.
Does hanging your bike by its wheels damage it?
Does it damage your bike?
There is a surprisingly fierce debate surrounding this topic.
Many people claim that they have been storing their bikes this way for years and have had no issues. Storing your bike this way is convenient and it looks good on the way in our opinion.
Others state that we should be avoiding storing our bikes like this at all costs as it causes unnecessary pressure on the rim and spokes of the wheels.
However, to get to the bottom of this question we decided to look at how professional cyclist store their bikes.
We looked at this group as they have better access to expert mechanics and the science behind cycling than us humble bike lovers.
We have discovered that the vast majority of professional cyclists do not hang their bikes by their wheels as they believe it throws off their wheels.
When preparing for a race they don't have time to recalibrate their wheels so it's easier to not hang them up like that.
How does it damage it?
There are three main ways that hanging your bike by its wheels:
- The air can drain from your hydraulic disk brakes if stored at this angle
- The wheel can be bent out of shape by the excess pressure it is under
- The pressure of supporting the weight of the whole bike can also dislodge the wheel. This can stop the braking system from functioning correctly
These are all problems that can be expensive to fix. So, let's look at alternatives for hanging your bike from its wheels, that will still help you to save space.
If I can't hang my bike by its wheels, how can I store it safely?
Here are the four most popular ways to store a bike. But, are they a good alternative to hanging your bike by its wheels?
Kickstands are handy little devices that allow to you stand your bike up almost anywhere. They are an awesome space-saving option and have the added bonus of being useful outside the garage as well.
The downside of using a kickstand is that they don't take a lot of the pressure off the wheels of the bike, so storing them like this can damage the wheels over time.
They also don't protect your bike from any dirt at ground level.
Floor stands come in many shapes and sizes but are similar in concept. They provide a solid base to slot your bike into taking a lot of the pressure off the wheels.
These can be a great option for bikes that have to be kept in storage for long periods of time. As they help prevent long term wear on the wheels.
These types of stands do have two major downsides. Firstly, the bike is still kept quite low to the ground and therefore is vulnerable to build-ups of dirt and dust.
Secondly, this is not an option for anyone who is tight on space. Floor stands can get very big.
Freestanding rack (wall mounted)
Freestanding, wall-mounted racks hit every point we love about hanging our bikes by their wheels, without any of the side effects.
Wall mounted, freestanding racks allow you to store the bike off the floor, making use of empty wall space.
They are easier to access than bike hooks on the ceiling. The bike will out of the reach of floor dirt too.
The major benefit of using a wall-mounted rack is that these types of racks use the frame to support the bike's weight, not the wheels.
The weight is spread more evenly, meaning to point of the bike experiences excess pressure.
Gravity racks toe the line between being a floor stand and a freestanding rack. They share the pros of both - removing the pressure from the wheels, storing the bikes off the floor, etc.
However, they do share a major downside with the floor stands - they take up a lot of space. Particularly floor space.
But you can use them to store multiple bikes, so if you need to do that they might work out as a really efficient use of space.
The Best Option
If you like the idea of being able to hang your bike by its wheels but don't want to damage your bike then your best option is to install a freestanding bike rack on your walls.
This storage method is similar in concept to hanging your bike by its wheel, however, it spreads the weight more evenly and uses the frame to support the majority of the weight.