DIY Bike Rack

**UPDATE**

Check out the newest version of this rack:  Bike Rack 0.2

So for those that don’t know, I’ve moved into a new apartment. My old place was kind of a tiny hole, which was exacerbated by the pile of bikes that lived in my kitchen. We had 3 or 4 bikes leaned up against the wall, in various states of disrepair. I scribbled up some plans for a vertical rack with legs to support it, but never built anything.

A few months back, I saw this online, and figured I could build one cheaper.

Here are some pics of my version.


It took about 30 minutes to slap together. It’s a 2×4, cut to about 7’7″. I drilled a hole in one end and screwed in a long lag screw. I just unthreaded the screw to tension the 2×4 against the block at the top. The bikes are held by some stud hooks that I found at Home Depot. They slide over the 2×4 crosspieces, and hold really well. The entire project cost about $15.

I have to credit my dad with the idea of using a lag screw to tension the rack. I was hashing out much more complicated (read expensive) solutions; this is real slick.

It’s rock-solid, as well. I was a little worried about stability, but it’s not going anywhere. As you can see, the construction is pretty rough. I could make it prettier, but this is functional.

Comments

39 Responses to “DIY Bike Rack”

  1. Updated bike rack pics : mike.sapak.info on January 12th, 2008 4:09 pm

    [...] I’ve updated the pictures the recent post about my bike rack. If you missed it before, check it out.link [...]

  2. Lois Whipple on January 22nd, 2008 7:19 pm

    Erin told me about your bike rack. She was pretty excited about it. It does look great!

    Reply

  3. Spicybiscotti: Fake It Till You Make It » Ugly DIY: Vertical Bike Rack on February 15th, 2008 9:31 am

    [...] I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t I see this somewhere else? Maybe some super-popular site, with millions of hits every day?” You’d be correct; I originally posted this at mike.sapak.info. [...]

  4. David Castro on February 15th, 2008 11:09 am

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. $15 is hard to beat! I look forward to putting a couple of these together this weekend in my garage.

    Reply

  5. DIY Bike Rack Revisited [DIY] · TechBlogger on February 16th, 2008 4:37 pm

    [...] the bike only set him back around $15 in supplies and took about a half hour to assemble. Not bad! DIY Bike Rack [...]

  6. Elle on February 16th, 2008 6:54 pm

    Your a genius! I’m so making one of these for my apartment. It will be perfect out on my balcony. My landlord has been complaining about the bike parking lot we have out there!

    Reply

  7. mike.sapak on February 16th, 2008 7:17 pm

    @Elle

    Glad you like it. Bikes are tough in apartments, aren’t they?

    Reply

  8. Cornflower on February 16th, 2008 9:29 pm

    I really like it! You can buy for about 30 cents each a copper pipe bracket _|-|_ (looks like an omega) to keep your stud hooks from slipping.

    Reply

  9. Mark on February 16th, 2008 9:58 pm

    You’ve got to be kidding me! That’s the ugliest, most kludged together thing I’ve ever seen! I just bought two wall-mounted folding racks from a local sporting goods store for $9.99 each. Two screws to install each unit.

    Reply

    Lynn Kenady Reply:

    I am sorry you have to be so rude. Didn’t your mother or anyone else teach you any manners at all? A simple explanation of finding an alternate to this one would have sufficed just fine.

    Reply

  10. mike.sapak on February 16th, 2008 10:27 pm

    @Cornflower

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve been thinking about a good way to attach the hooks. I bet a pipe bracket would work nicely.

    @Mark
    Wall-mounted means finding studs and drilling holes. Not a good option in a short-term apartment. To each his/her own. However I have seen the folding bike racks, and they do look pretty sweet.

    Reply

  11. diy bikerack - die bastelvariante on February 20th, 2008 12:59 am

    [...] gibt es ja noch die Möglichkeit es selbst zu bauen. Ausschauen könnte es dann wie bei Mike. Das möchte ich dann aber nicht mehr in meiner Wohnung [...]

  12. BikeLover on October 14th, 2008 2:41 pm

    Could you please elaborate on “using a lag screw to tension the rack”? I am sure how it is done. Thank you very much for the information.

    Reply

    mike.sapak Reply:

    Sure. A lag screw is just a heavy screw with a hex head. You use a wrench or socket to drive it, rather than a screwdriver.

    First I drilled a vertical pilot hole in the top of the rack. Then I drove the lag screw almost all the way in. Then I stood the rack in position, and had my girlfriend hold the horizontal piece against the ceiling. I unscrewed the lag screw until it pressed tight against the horizontal piece.

    You can’t really see it, but I drilled a shallow hole in the horizontal piece, to keep the lag screw head from sliding. I also covered the top of the horizontal piece in rubbery non-slip cloth. The bottom of the main rack has some screw-in feet to keep it from sliding. These things might be optional, but I felt like they helped.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Reply

    BikeLover Reply:

    How do you “unscrewed the lag screw until it pressed tight against the horizontal piece”? It seems to me you can drive the lag screw only from the top of the hex head. Thank you very much again for the information.

    Reply

    mike.sapak Reply:

    I just used a crescent wrench to unscrew it. If you don’t have a crescent wrench or an open-end wrench, you could probably use a pair of vice-grip pliers to grab the shaft of the screw. A wrench would be the easiest, however.

  13. Buckminster Fusher on November 14th, 2008 11:27 am

    Mike,

    I liked the design and the price and I have a similar situation myself where I’m not allowed to mount to the wall.

    I built two, but using 1×6 and 2×6 scraps from a construction dumpster to fashions “hooks” to hold the bike. Saved money, but way more time. Also, instead of the lag screw I used salvaged casters and threaded inserts, primarily because I had the casters laying around. Anyway, I was into things for less than 3 bucks each, plus screws and wood glue I already had.

    Besides complimenting your design/idea, I was curious how yours has held up. I was wondering if the 2×4 has warped under the weight/tension over time.

    Thanks again for saving me big bucks.

    Reply

    mike.sapak Reply:

    Glad it worked out for you. I was only in that apartment for 8 months, so it wasn’t exactly a long-term experiment. However, I had no problems with warping at all. I was actually amazed at how well the thing held up. After about a week, I gave the screw a bit more tension, just to be sure. After that, I didn’t make a single change. I checked on it every month or two, but it never slipped or sagged once.

    I’ll definitely use this design again. With a bit more care and some finish work, I think it could be attractive as well as functional.

    Reply

  14. Here’s 10 cheap and easy DIY bike projects anyone can do on September 29th, 2009 2:44 pm

    [...] $15 DIY Bike Rack (Sapak) [...]

  15. That is One COOL RACK! on January 15th, 2010 6:09 pm

    Very cool, man. I would’ve tried this if I didn’t buy one of those racor things… Bah! I guess when I add more bikes to my collection, I’ll hook it uo! Great post!

    Reply

  16. 2 bicycles (+ 2 adults) in 1 studio apartment… : mike.sapak.info on May 10th, 2010 9:05 pm

    [...] Fortunately, I have experience storing bikes in kitchens.  Some may remember my original DIY bike rack.  That post got a lot of traffic, and many people complained about the crude [...]

  17. Top 10 Creative Ways to Store Your Stuff | SocialPWR on May 29th, 2010 2:21 pm

    [...] Avoid paying for pricey bike mounts with some DIY offerings, like a few tension cables, a very cheap, board-based version, a modification of an IKEA storage pole, and that pole’s carpet-friendly cousin. (Original [...]

  18. Top 10 Creative Ways To Store Your Stuff | Lifehacker Australia on May 29th, 2010 4:43 pm

    [...] Avoid paying for pricey bike mounts with some DIY offerings, like a few tension cables, a very cheap, board-based version, a modification of an IKEA storage pole, and that pole’s carpet-friendly cousin. (Original [...]

  19. Dan on November 8th, 2010 7:25 am

    great build, I’m doing something similar at the moment.

    Reply

  20. Top 10 Creative Ways To Store Your Stuff « shop 4u blog for shirts on December 21st, 2010 4:07 am

    [...] Avoid paying for pricey bike mounts with some DIY offerings, like a few tension cables, a very cheap, board-based version, a modification of an IKEA storage pole, and that pole’s carpet-friendly cousin. (Original [...]

  21. Steph on January 23rd, 2011 7:00 am

    It’s a cool idea, but think you’re overdoing it with that lag-screw-tension thing. Consider the physics of the problem. The vast majority of the force is going straight down through the upright. As long as the upright is resting on the floor, you could simply cleat it to the wall (stud) with a half dozen 3″ screws. Don’t believe me? Temporarily put the bikes on the unit and hold it against the wall. I’ll bet you can hold it there with 1 finger…

    Reply

    mike.sapak Reply:

    @Steph: You’re right, it doesn’t take much to hold the rack in place, provided it’s nice and straight.

    However, attaching it directly to the wall would involve screws in the plaster/drywall. This was a short-term apartment, and the goal was to avoid any actual modification.

    I used a similar rack here: http://mike.sapak.info/2010/05/10/2-bicycles-2-adults-in-1-studio-apartment

    Reply

    Steph Reply:

    Well, I haven’t rented for 25 years or so, so I’ll defer to you on that point…
    Thanks for the post. I’m going to use your design and then fasten it to my garage wall with my method. :-)

    Reply

  22. Kyle Huwer on April 7th, 2011 3:57 am

    Another way to tension it to ceiling is to get a threaded rod (I used 1/2″) and put it in place of the lag screw. To create tension, add bolts, lock washers, and washers to push away from one another. This is a little confusing to describe but if you design it correctly, the bolt/nut design will allow you to vary from different height ceilings more than a lag screw would. Maybe I will post my idea on my page when I am done.

    And you thought your rack is ghetto. I am using scrap lumber from an old pallet!

    Reply

  23. Shane on June 9th, 2011 4:01 pm

    Excellent info, exactly what I needed. Thank you for taking the time to post and share this. Much appreciated.

    Reply

    mike.sapak Reply:

    Hi Shane, glad you found it useful. I’ve built 3 or 4 of these racks for various apartments, in slightly different configurations. They’ve all worked beautifully.

    One piece of advice: check the tension on the lag screw after a week or two. I’ve noticed that they loosen up a bit at first; I suspect it’s because of flex in the upright.

    Reply

  24. popok bayi on April 12th, 2012 10:38 pm

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of DIY Bike Rack : mike.sapak.info . Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

    Reply

  25. Ingenious Household Project That Can Help You Save Some Space on December 15th, 2012 2:02 am

    [...] A bike takes a lot of space in a home and most often that space could be used for something else. But if zou hang the ike on the wall, then the problem gets solved. It wonşt take zou more than 30 minutes to complete this simple project. Zou need a 2×4 cut to the siye you want. Drill a home in one end and insert a long lag screw. Add some stud hooks and you’re done.{found on mike}. [...]

  26. Lloyd Alter on December 17th, 2012 7:55 am

    Hi there, I know this is a couple of years old, but could I show your images of your bike racks on TreeHugger? People always complain that the racks I show are way too expensive….

    Reply

    mike.sapak Reply:

    Hi Lloyd,

    Absolutely, feel free to share! I now store my bikes in the garage, but over the past several years I’ve built three different versions of these racks for apartments. I’ve probably spent a total of $50 on all three combined. They can be as pretty or as ugly as you care to make them, they do no damage to walls, floors or ceilings, and they’re very solid.

    I do have to recommend tightening up the lag screw after the first couple weeks, and checking it again a few times per year. They can have a tendency to loosen a bit as the wood ages or as the seasons change.

    Reply

  27. DIY Bike Rack Revisited | Lifehacker Australia on December 19th, 2012 12:22 am

    [...] the bike only set him back around $15 in supplies and took about a half hour to assemble. Not bad! DIY Bike Rack [...]

  28. 11 DIY Projects | Style Motivation on April 20th, 2013 9:43 am

    [...] link [...]

  29. Patrick on August 1st, 2013 7:29 am

    I made one of these racks last night and it works great! Two things, though…

    First, thanks to inflation, the cost is actually about 20 bucks or so.

    Second, I made a minor modification by installing a ‘T’ nut on the top of the upright 2×4. This allowed me to use a regular 3/8″x3.5″ bolt as the tensioner screw. The ‘T’ nut allows you to really get the tension good and tight.

    Reply

    mike.sapak Reply:

    That’s a great idea. We just moved into a downtown apartment without a garage, so I’ve recently built another one of these as well.

    I’ve changed my design slightly over the years. I now use a 2×6 instead of a 2×4, and 2 lag screws instead of 1. I also lay a short piece of 2×4 under the bottom of the 2×6, and toe-screw the upright into this footer. The result seems to flex less, maintain tension better, and the upright doesn’t rotate (a minor annoyance with previous versions).

    Reply

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