Why bicycle storage hooks are still the best way to store a bike (especially in Park Tool Blue) (2023)

If you follow the rule of n+1, where ‘n’ is the amount of bikes you currently own, and you keep adding to that number – eventually you’re going to need more bike storage. I crossed that bridge a long time ago. Even before my days at Bikerumor, I could have been considered a bicyclehoarder collector,and it’s only gotten worse.

Recently after moving, I found myself in need of a complete redesign for my storage of the fleet. With a new space to fill out, I eagerly researched a number of different bicycle storage products. In spite ofnumerous options out there, I kept coming back to the humble bicycle storage hook. The simplest solution is usually the best, right?

I’ve used various hooks for years, usually whatever version you could find at the local home center. This time though, I wanted to check out the hooks from Park Tool. Are they noticeably different than those that have dutifully supported my bikes for the past decade? Before I knew it, a box of hooks was on its way from Park Tool to find out.

Why Hooks?

In terms of storage capacity, simplicity, and cost, the bicycle storage hook simply cannot be beaten. If you have a ceiling with sufficient height with a floor above it, you likely already have a built-in mounting system. Most basement ceilings will have floor joists that are spaced at 16″ on the center. That’s almost the perfect width to space out a row of bicycle storage hooks. Simply drill a pilot hole in the center of the joist, thread in the hook, and voila, you have bicycle storage. If you use this method, there’s nothing else to buy and no need to build anything. It doesn’t matter if the ceiling is finished or completely exposed – just make sure you’re not drilling into any electrical or plumbing lines, HVAC systems, etc.

I’ve always hung my bikes in an alternating fashion with bar up/bar down. This allows you to cram a bunch of bikes into a smaller space while still allowing your fairly easy access to each individual bike.

Even with the wide handlebars of modern mountain bikes, the 16″ spacing works quite well. Again, in terms of efficiency, it’s hard to find a way to store more bikes as effectively and efficiently as this. I do have a hanging rack that fits more bikes into a smaller footprint, but the spacing is too close to allow easy use with mountain bikes. The 12″ spacing isjust wide enough to use with many dropbar bikes, but even for wider bars on gravel bikes it can be a challenge to wiggle the bikes in and out.

(Video) Installing Bike Hooks for Vertical Storage

If you’re limited on ceiling height, don’t forget to think about the wheelbase measurement of various bikes. Some are quite a bit longer than others and require more height to properly hang.

Is it OK to Hang Bikes by the Wheels? Upside Down?

This is a common question, likely because there are a lot of anecdotes floating around about someone who hung their bike upside down and “now the brakes don’t work.” I’ve hung every type of bike in almost every direction for years, and chances are very good that if you look in the back of your local bike shop, you’ll find the same thing.

But to be completely sure, I reached out to a few brake and suspension companies to ask their opinion on the matter – namely, SRAM, Shimano, and Hayes/Manitou. The consensus seems to be that it’s completely OK to hang bikes with hydraulic disc brakes or suspension. Both Shimano and Hayes said that it’s fine to hang them in either direction, but is probably best to hang them with the brakes pointed up just in case there’s any air in the master cylinder.

Shimano MTB Product Manager, Nick Murdick went on to say, “Like other open system hydraulic brakes, Shimano brakes all feature a reservoir of extra fluid above the master cylinder piston. We take things a step further by using the brake’s architecture to guide air bubbles to the top of this reservoir where they won’t affect brake performance. This also makes the brakes easier to bleed when the time comes.

It is quite normal to find a small bubble in the top of the reservoir and it’s generally no cause for concern. If you hang the bike, it’s possible for the bubble to move into the rest of the brake system. However, the bubble will generally move right back to the top of the reservoir when the bike is taken down for a ride. Pulling the lever a few times can help get it back where it belongs, essentially self-bleeding the brakes. If you do that step with a bleed funnel filled with fluid installed, the bubble can even be eliminated completely.

The one thing to avoid would be pulling the brake lever while the bike is hanging. That can force any bubble into the brake line, making it harder to get it back into the reservoir.”

It was a similar story from Hayes/Manitou, with their engineers stating, “there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way of hanging a bike, at least not from the brake or suspension side of things.

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For brakes it shouldn’t matter since there should be no air in the system. The rider would notice air in the pressure path so if there is any air present it would be in the reservoir. In that case anywhere between bike horizontal (like it would be on the ground) and front wheel up would allow the air to remain in the reservoir. So if you are due for a bleed, avoid hanging it from the rear wheel.

As for suspension, some of our engineers hang their bikes so the bushings are at the bottom end so the bath oil can get down to the seals. But honestly, without any pressure differential the clearance between the leg and bushing is tight enough that the oil won’t break surface tension and slide down. Same goes for the damper, air shouldn’t migrate past the check valve unless there is sufficient pressure to push it through. If in doubt, the compression adjuster can be set to max before hanging the bike to eliminate the leak path for the air. In the case that air does get past the check valve, a few quick cycles of the fork should take care of bleeding those air bubbles out from under the damper.”

SRAM’s response gave the all clear for either direction, making it an easy decision. Based on all three responses though, it seems like bar up is probably the safest bet for bikes with hydraulic disc brakes, but as long as they’re in good working order, youprobably won’t have an issue either way.

But What about Carbon Rims?

This one is a little trickier since there are carbon wheels out there that are likely too fragile to hang from a hook. These seem to be more rare these days, but there were a few wheels that used essentially a carbon ‘fairing’ on top of a standard box section rim to create an aero wheel. I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I vaguely remember one such wheel from my bike shop days that even had a warning sticker on it not to hang it by the rim. But these rims typically feel fragile, and you could physically squeeze the carbon and see it flex. If your wheel feels stronger than that, it’s probably OK – but better to be safe than sorry and consult the manufacturer to be sure.

I’ve had no problems hanging many different carbon wheels over the years – the one thing I would say, is to be mindful of the graphics on the rims and of the valves themselves. It seems universally constant that if you pick up a bike to hang it, the hook will either land directly on the valve stem or on a graphic. Either can be damaged by a hook, so it’s best to find a spot on the rim without either.

What Makes the Park Tool Hooks Different?

So hooks are one of the least expensive, most efficient, and easiest ways to store you bike. But why would you want to go with the hooks from Park Tool over those from Home Depot? For starters, Park has a number of different hooks, specifically designed for bikes in different applications.

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Park offers two different hook thread options with three different sized hooks for each thread. If you’re not planning on threading the hooks into the wood, Park offers hooks with a machine thread so you could attach them to metal plates, C-Channel, or other flat objects. To differentiate the two, the machine thread hooks have a black vinyl coating. Note that only the black hook shown directly above is a Park Tool hook, the other black hooks pictured throughout the story are not from Park Tool.

The same three hook sizes are also offered with a wood thread, so they can be installed directly into wood once a pilot hole has been drilled. Note that the pilot hole size varies by the hook – the smallest 451 hook recommends using a 1/4″ or 6mm drill bit for the pilot hole. Both the 471 and 471XX recommend using a slightly larger 11/32″ bit due to the larger size of the hook.

That brings us to the three sizes – the 450/451 (machine thread/wood thread), 470/471, and 470XX/471XX. At the smallest end, the 55mm wide 450/451 is sort of your standard, old-school bike hook. If your collection includes nothing but skinny tires, this one should be sufficient. But as soon as you start tracking into modern mountain bike territory, the 75mm wide 470/471 is a better option. It will still work for any road bike, but the wider hook will work with most mountain bikes including many plus bikes. Finally, the 470XX/471XX is the heavyweight of the group with a 125mm wide hook that’s big enough for most fat bikes.

I have a separate rack that I use for bikes with dropbars since the spacing is too narrow for mountain bikes, so I opted for the 471 and 471XX. The 471 is big enough to work with any mountain bike or plus bike I currently have, and the 471XX works with all of my fat bikes. It’s also perfectly acceptable to use a larger hook for smaller wheels and tires, though the bigger hooks are more expensive. Honestly, unless I only planned on hanging road bikes, I would probably skip the 451 in favor of the 471 since it’s more versatile and almost the same price.

One of the most critical measurements and one of the biggest differences between the Park Hooks and generic hooks, isn’t the width. Instead, it’s the distance from the opening at the tip of the hook to the shoulder (represented above by the blue line). Taller tires with larger tread blocks and bigger volume require a bigger gap here to easily guide the wheel into the hook. Often if this gap is too small, you’ll have to tilt the wheel to guide the rim first into the hook. Depending on the tire and rim combination and whether you’re hanging it by the front or rear wheel, this can become fairly difficult – particularly on a high ceiling.

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In the time that I’ve been using the Park hooks, they have proven quite a bit easier to get certain bikes with chunky tires and rims in and out of the hooks. The larger gaps from the tip to the shoulder allow you to effortlessly guide the wheel in from the side without having to tilt it at all in most cases.

Also, most hooks that you’ll find from the hardware store that is big enough to fit a fat bike wheel are likely meant for ladders or other flat items. That means the hooks usually have a flat bottom.

This works, but the vinyl coating will quickly wear through which risks damage to your rims.

Since the Park 470/471XX is curved on the bottom, there’s a better chance of having more surface area between the vinyl coating and the rim. I’ll have to wait and see how they hold up in the long term, but theoretically, it should be better than the ladder hooks I’ve used in the past.


The Park Tool hooks are a good bit more expensive than something you’ll find at a big box store, but in the end, I think they’re worth it. Compared to other bicycle-specific storage, you could even say these hooks are fairly cheap at $5.45/$5.95/$8.95 a piece (451/471/471XX). But more importantly, they make it easier to load or unload the bikes, and work better with bigger rims and tires. Not to mention the row of Park Tool Blue looks pretty good against the ceiling.

(Video) 5 DIY Bike Storage Options For Any Garage or Shed



What is the most efficient way to store bicycles? ›

Vertical wall-mounted bike racks

Holding the bike by a single wheel, this method is best for storing bikes where width is an issue, but depth is not. It's the most effective means of storing multiple bikes together and is commonly used in many bike shop workshops.

What is the most efficient way to hang a bike in garage? ›

Screw-In Hook

By far the most affordable option, a screw-in storage hook for your wall or ceiling is a simple yet effective way to hang your bike off the ground and out of the way. Use just one hook to hang your bike vertically or two to hang it horizontally.

Do bike storage hooks damage rims? ›

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.

Where is the best place to store a bike? ›

The ideal storage solution will depend on your available space: garage, house, apartment or storage shed. Each has different applications, but in general, racks that let you store your bike vertically, wheels perpendicular to the wall, ideally positioned in a corner, take up the least space.

How long can a bike be kept unused? ›

Most new cars and bikes won't really have any problems if not used for up to a month. However, older ones will likely face some maintenance issues. It's not just with the batteries, but also with rust and fungus issues if one lives in a high-humidity or coastal region or places with a lot of rainfall.

Do bike tires deteriorate in storage? ›

However, when a bike tire sits idle and these ingredients aren't distributed, the rubber slowly oxidizes and begins breaking down at the molecular level. As a result, it becomes stiff, brittle, and cracked—a condition known as 'dry rot. '

How do you secure a bike in a parking lot? ›

For short-term parking, lock to a closed steel structure like a bike rack (not a tree or short sign post with no sign). Make sure that you can't remove your lock from whatever you are locking to and at least one wheel to the bike rack is secured (this might not work for mini U-locks).

Where should I store my bike without a garage? ›

A bike shed is a perfect outdoor bike storage solution for the family who has a yard or patio but no garage (or a garage that has limited space). If you have some DIY construction skills, you can build your own, or buy a slightly less attractive ready-made shed*.

How much weight can a bike hook hold? ›

Horizontal bike racks carry much the same weight as vertical ones do. Each hook or bracket on a horizontal bike rack can typically carry around 25 pounds, giving you a total weight tolerance of approximately 50 pounds. Once again, this is enough strength to hold a bike in place without falling off the wall or breaking.

Is it OK to store your bike upside down? ›

In a manual for its hydraulic disc brakes it says: “The disc brake is not designed to work when the bicycle is upside down. If the bicycle is turned upside down or on its side, the brake may not work correctly, and a serious accident could occur.

How do you store a bike with no space? ›

Wall storage

Vertical hanging takes up less wall space, so it's perfect if you don't have a lot of room, or if you're hanging multiple bikes. Mount the hook high enough so that your front wheel can hang from it, with the rear wheel raised above the ground.

How do you store your bike long-term? ›

Store your bike in a climate-controlled storage unit. Temperature fluctuations and humidity will eventually cause rust and that's important to consider when looking for long-term bike storage. Clean the chain to remove all dirt and grime and then apply a lubricant. Replace the brake pads if they became hard.

Where do you put your bike in public? ›

It's best to store your bike in a secure and covered area, like in a garage that's monitored by security. If that's not possible, aim for a visible area with a lot of foot traffic. Remember to take any parts that are easy to remove, such as lights, with you. Someone else may take them if you don't.

Where should I store my bike in a small flat? ›

How to store a bike in a small flat - Our five ideas
  1. Hang it from the ceiling. No floor space? ...
  2. Put it in your bookshelf. Is your flat so full that you can't possibly cram in another thing – not even a small bike rack? ...
  3. Store it under the stairs. ...
  4. Mount it to the back of a door. ...
  5. Get a bike tent.
Aug 25, 2016

What is the average lifespan of a bicycle? ›

A bicycle can last for 30+ years, or even a lifetime, if the frame and forks are strong and good quality. The life-expectancy of components is far shorter, and variable. You'll need to change different components between 1000 and 10,000 miles.

What happens if a bike is not used for 2 years? ›


Depending upon the time period for which the bike was not in use and the prevailing weather conditions at that time, the bike can rust. Rusting is a big problem when it comes to a bike, especially the fuel tank, engine, etc. Rusting is not only superficial; it can happen on the inside as well.

Can I use a 20 year old bike? ›

According to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, private vehicles need to be re-registered after 15 years and commercial vehicles after 20 years for every 5 years. These vehicles can then ply on Indian roads until they fail the fitness test.

Should you air down tires for storage? ›

Should You Store Tires Inflated or Deflated? Generally, it's okay to store your tires when they're still inflated. You never need to deflate them fully for long-term storage. To prep your tires for storage make sure to clean and dry them thoroughly before putting them away.

Do tires dry rot in storage? ›

Tires are kept moist by oils and resins that are mixed in with the rubber during the manufacturing process. These oils and resins are only activated when a tire is in motion. Therefore, tires that are immobile for an extended period of time (such as stored tires) are more prone to developing dry rotting.

Should bikes be stored upside down? ›

In a manual for its hydraulic disc brakes it says: “The disc brake is not designed to work when the bicycle is upside down. If the bicycle is turned upside down or on its side, the brake may not work correctly, and a serious accident could occur.

What is the best way to store a bicycle outside? ›

A bike shed is a perfect outdoor bike storage solution for the family who has a yard or patio but no garage (or a garage that has limited space). If you have some DIY construction skills, you can build your own, or buy a slightly less attractive ready-made shed*.

Should I hang my bike by the front or back wheel? ›

Because the steerer tube (the long, cylindrical piece of the fork that runs through the frame and connects to the stem and handlebars) is the primary point of movement on a bicycle's frame, a bike hanging from its front wheel runs a higher risk of rotating and swinging into something than a bike hanging by its rear ...

How do you store a bike long term? ›

Store your bike in a climate-controlled storage unit. Temperature fluctuations and humidity will eventually cause rust and that's important to consider when looking for long-term bike storage. Clean the chain to remove all dirt and grime and then apply a lubricant. Replace the brake pads if they became hard.

Should your feet be flat when sitting on a bike? ›

The height of your saddle is important for the most comfortable position and safe riding style. When you sit on the saddle, both feet should reach the floor and the balls of your feet should be touching the ground.

Is it OK to hang bike from ceiling? ›

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.

Is it OK to store bike with hydraulic brakes vertically? ›

At the end of the day, as long as your bike is serviced regularly, and your brakes are bled often you can store your bike vertically.

How do you store an expensive bike outside? ›

If you're planning to store your bike outside for more than a few days, bike covers might be your best option. They come with a special material that prevents your bike from being damaged by factors such as moisture, sunlight, and dirt.

Is it better to have bike seat higher or lower? ›

Too low of a saddle is hard on your knees and is very inefficient. Too high of a saddle and you can't get any leverage on the pedal cranks and is very uncomfortable. Either way, a saddle that is too far up or down is bad, uncomfortable, inefficient, and will eventually lead to injuries or pain.

Which bike posture is best? ›

Maintain a neutral spine.

Well, it's kind of like yoga. If you are familiar with the Cat and Cow positions in yoga, either of those positions while in the saddle could cause pain down below and inefficiency on the bike. Your back should be relaxed, keeping a fairly straight line between your hips and your shoulders.

Do front or back bike tires wear faster? ›

Tire Rotation

Your rear tire will likely wear at a much higher rate than your front because a majority of your weight is on the back wheel and it's responsible for your acceleration and drive (and braking if you're riding fixed).

Can a bike last for 10 years? ›

A bicycle can last for 30+ years, or even a lifetime, if the frame and forks are strong and good quality. The life-expectancy of components is far shorter, and variable. You'll need to change different components between 1000 and 10,000 miles.

Do bikes need to be stored inside? ›

If you're storing at least one bike at home, it's best to keep it indoors so it's not exposed to the elements, or the risk of theft. If you don't have access to a garden, a shed, or garage, then you may need to get creative about how to keep your bike(s) safely in your living space.

Is it OK to store bike in a garage? ›

Just be sure to consider the room you need to clear the handlebars when you park near or walk around your bike. There are mounts that have brackets that fold in against the wall when you are not using them. This is a working solution if your garage is a tight fit for everything you need to store in it.


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