Weekend Project – Bike Lift

Posted: July 31, 2013 in Biking, Home Improvement, Weekend Project
Tags: , , ,

Lifting a bike on newly installed Racor Bike Lift

This would hardly qualify as a weekend project if I was only going to install 1 bike lift, but the plan was to install four. There’s a cool factor to having a bike lift, but “cool factor” can lead to “buyer’s remorse” so I bought one to try it out. I found the Racor 1-Bike Ceiling Mount Bike Lift on the Home Depot website. Unfortunately, they did not carry it in the store, so I had to wait several days to have it shipped. I choose to have them ship it to the store to get free shipping. I have a Home Depot less than a mile from my house.

Installing the bike lift was easy. I used a stud finder to find the joists in my garage ceiling. The bike lift is designed to be attached to a single joist. I choose to put it near the back wall of the garage, so it would be out-of-the-way. My garage ceiling is higher than most at 11.5 feet. I was hoping the bike would be suspended at least 6 feet up, so I could walk under it without worrying. I could tell from the product picture that the bike would not be right against the ceiling, so I was not positive it would be high enough.

Threading the pulley’s, especially the part that went through the automatic stop/release was the most difficult part of the installation to follow in the plans. Line diagrams made the path of the rope hard to see. Even though it was difficult to follow it was pretty easy to figure out; you just bring the line straight through…

Threading of rope through the clamping mechanism

and it works like a charm.

Operation of the clamping mechanism

It is a little awkward to connect a bike for the first time, but with a little practice getting the bike connected is fairly straight forward.

Racor Bike Rack with Bike Lowered

Lifting the bike is easy. If you let go of the rope at any point the weight of the bike causes the clamping mechanism to engage and the bike just hangs there.

Racor Bike Lift with Bike Raised

There is a metal tie down point to attach to the wall, but it doesn’t hold the weight of the bike under normal circumstances.

Once I got the bike up, I was still unsure if I would get more than two lifts that could both go right along the wall. The second row of bikes will be about 3 feet from the back wall and in the way if they are not high enough. When I first put the bike up the bottom of the tires was at about 5’10”. I noticed that the seat was up quite a bit, and could easily be lowered with the quick clamp on the post. Once I lowered the seat the bike was high enough in back, but still a little low in front. Moving the handlebars is not a good solution, but it will be possible to connect the hooks in different places, or create a lower clamping location. I stood under both wheels to check the wheel height.

Front tire is not high enoughLowering the seat makes the back wheel high enough

If you decide you want to get this kind of bike lift, ensure you have tall ceilings. To get a rough estimate of how high the bottom of the bike will be add about a foot to the height of the handle bars and then subtract that from the height of the ceiling. If this will not be high enough you may be able to raise the bike about another 6 inches if you can connect the hooks lower on the front of the bike in some way.

I decided to get 3 more of these bike lifts. I’m certain I will be able to hang the bikes so that they are at least 6 feet above the floor. I found an alternate source to buy them on Amazon.com for about 6 dollars less per bike lift and ordering 3 qualified for free shipping to my house.

Update Aug 20 2013: Here’s a picture of 3 of the 4 bike lifts installed. No fourth bike to hang yet. The bike in the front row is several inches higher so there is no problem walking under it.

three bike lifts in the garage

I see at least one other project in the picture… need to fix the legs on the beer pong table!

  1. I’m a big fan of the Racor 1 Bike lift, which I currently have two of, but I’ve also seen some great reviews for the RAD bike hoist system. Which one do you prefer?

    • eric.rial says:

      Jason – Thanks fo the comment. I have not tried the RAD bike hoist system. We’ve had the Racor Bike Lifts in the Garage for a few months now and they are working very well. It is easy to access the bikes and easy to put them back up.

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