Keeping your bike secure in London is hard. Especially if you leave it locked up outside every night. Factor in the charming British weather and it’s no surprise that many people choose to keep their bike indoors. As we have talked about previously this can raise various issues in small London flats.
I recently moved to a new flat with a spare room (the luxury!) which I immediately turned into a bike room, much to my husbands consternation. In an attempt to keep all my bikes in the flat but preserve the use of the room for guests, I set about looking at storage options.
The walls are not very strong so I was not confident about screwing racks to the wall to hang the bikes off of. This left me with a couple of options, specifically a gravity stand or a tension stand.
Tension stands, or ones that are a single pole tensioned between the ceiling and the floor (like a vertical shower pole set up), are slim but can be tricky to fit or move around. Gravity stands simply lean against the wall and have feet set up to use the bikes weight to push the stand against the wall.
I decided that a gravity stand was the best option as it is easier to instal and move around, and finally settled on the GearUp Lean Machine. The American company specialises in bike storage solutions and their products have generally favourable reviews. It was also a good price, important as I wasn’t sure if it would work out so I didn’t want spend lots of money. Plus, I love a good play on words!
Assembly and construction
The bike stand is very, very easy to put together. There are no tools required and it is very easy to follow the simple steps and get the thing together in a matter of minutes. The tube sections have little push buttons to clip them together, and the hooks for the bike are held on by simple screws. I did find that as the tubes are quite thin, the whole structure looked a little twisted when standing on its own.
The hooks that the bikes hang off are coated in a rubber/PVC type material which stops the bike frame from being scratched. It also holds the bikes in place nicely. This is something I found useful as I had to twist the arms around a little to get the bikes to rest and the rack to be flush against the wall.
The feet of the stand flare out at the bottom and have little rubber stoppers on them to keep them in place on the floor. It also stops the stand from digging into your floor, a benefit if you have nice wooden flooring. I am not sure how they would fair on carpet, deep pile should be fine, but very smooth carpet might need some care.
The stand just leans against the wall and then you alter the height of the hooks to put them in the correct place for the size of bikes. The two hooks are independent so you can get them in the correct position for the slope of the top tube on your bike, meaning any type of bike can be hung. You could even use this with something like a Velosock if you wanted to cover the bikes while mounted.
I put my heavier bike on the bottom and so adjusted the hooks for that first to hold it just off the ground. With just the one bike on the bottom hooks the rack seemed stable enough. After adjusting the top hooks and mounting the second bike, I found the rack was tending to lean over just enough that the top bar was not in full contact with the wall. A little jiggling of the hooks and weight of the bike fixed that and made it sit fine.
I have to admit to being a bit paranoid for the first few hours after putting it all up. I was somewhat expecting to wake up to a huge crash in the middle of the night! But no, several weeks later and everything has been great. When I use one of the bikes and there is only one left on the rack, there are no problems with stability, although of course I am careful removing them and not yanking the bike off.
It is possible to anchor the top to the wall if you want, but I have thus far found it unnecessary. However, if I had the stand in a high traffic area then I may feel otherwise – the little extra security couldn’t hurt, but it’s fine without.
As the rack leans against the wall and needs to have enough space for handlebars etc, there is a gap at the bottom between the legs and the wall. I find this is a great spot to store helmets (or a pannier or similar) as it keeps them out of the way and stops my lovely Smith helmet from getting knocked off a hook.
As a way of tidying up my spare room and increasing the storage available in my flat this is a great product. It works exactly how it should with very little fuss. I was a little concerned about the height as I have low ceilings but it is not a problem, and lifting the bike up is fine. There has been no movement in the rack and even leaving the single bike on the top has been fine.
It certainly is minimally invasive in terms of alterations to the wall, so would be great for rented apartments, but over time it might scuff the wall a little – you could probably mitigate this with some old inner tube around the top bar.
Aesthetically I think it looks pretty cool, but then I like my bikes and this does display them very well. It certainly frees up the room (and hallway) and even if there are a few scuffs at the top of the rack, they are nothing compared to the damage being inflicted by bar-end shifters on my wall leaning the bike against it.
If you fancy your own Lean Machine, you can grab one from Tredz.co.uk for £45 with free shipping.
Do you have a bike storage rack for your flat? If so which one and what do you like about it?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.