Instructables

Bicycle Hoist or "How to get the wife's bike out of my way"

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This is a pretty simple and quick way to build a bike hoist that will lift a bike evenly and easily out of your way. The neat trick is that it uses one rope to lift the bike evenly from two points which helps it lift easily and uses pulley magic to reduce the weight of the bike for the hoister. No power tools required although a drill is handy.

This setup would also work for a kayak or canoe if you had a longer beam.


 
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Step 1: Gather Supplies

You will need:

- 5' or so 2x4 or a rafter that you can attach this stuff to

- (2) larger hooks that will hold bike. I did not end up using the ones in this pic - i ended up bending my own out of 3/8 aluminum stock from Hope Depot. Lots of options here (see hook page).

- (1) 50' length of rope. I used 3/8th inch poly (something that is softish but does not stretch much).

- (5) pulleys to fit the rope. Pulleys should all have swivel heads (two of mine did not...) and be one size larger than the rope will fit through. This give you some leeway for safety..

- (3) hooks with wood screw threads (basically monster sized cup hooks) and/or:

- (1) eye bolts that is the same size as the hooks above (you can use eye bolt style hooks for all four depending on what you have on hand).

- one drill bit that is the slightly smaller than the core of the hook shank (ie the size of the bolt if you ground off the actual threads) - err on the size of small...

- Brackets to attach hoist to ceiling - i used 2x12 rafter hangers which are $2 each at Home Depot.
Depending on your hardware, you might also need a propane torch (nothing fancy - just the small one...

- some utility screws/drywall screws (the duct tape of fasteners) or decent sized nails.

A few wrenches or something to help you bend the hooks (ie bench vice)

- Ladder and someone to hold it while you monkey around.

- Optional equipment: cheapo carabiners (like the $2 100 lb rated ones from home depot), lighter to fix rope ends, etc.

Man, I have been looking for some thing like this, to hang my bicycle. Terrific idea. I will make my own. Thanks for your time.
DGW4 years ago
Just to save someone a bit of work: Harbor Freight stores (and online) have this same pulley arrangement w/rope (a Bicycle Lift) for about $12 (I got it for $8 on sale).
The main problem I have is I tried to hang a boat that was heavier on one end and it doesn't work because the heavy end will not lift until the light end reaches the top. Does anyone know of a pulley arrangement that does not do this?
amountain DGW4 years ago
Most bike hoists use a single-rope system, yielding a mechanical advantage of 4.  The disadvantage of these systems is, as you stated, the heavy end will not rise until the light end is at the top.
There are a few bike hoists available that use a double-rope system, yielding a mechanical advantage of 2.  These allow independent control of the front and rear pulleys.  The disadvantage of these is, the mechanical advantage of 2 allows one to lift only about 50 pounds before serious hand-pain ensues.

The double-rope bike hoists currently available are:
1) "Sport Solutions Up and Away Deluxe Hoist System" available on amazon.com for $53.99
2)"Kayak / Canoe Lift Hoist by RAD Sportz" available on amazon.com for $34.95
3) "BAC Industries PH-01 Storage Pulley Hoist, 100-Pound Capacity" available on amazon.com for $49.99
2 concerns: (not step seven, that's probably how I would rig it up if not for the comments)
1.  I've always thought that heating up the metal weakens it, though maybe in this application it is no bog deal.
2.  The entire weight of the load is suspended only by the threads of the eye hooks into the wood.  Not sure that will last forever and could be catastrophic if it pulled out.  I'm running a threaded eye hook through a pre-drilled hole (actually I'm using unistrut but a hole drilled through the 2x4 depicted here would work just as well).  A big fat washer and nut keeps it from ever having a change of pulling out.  This, and the method of fastening to the ceiling are super important.  Make sure they are robust. 

Great instructable!
dontno4 years ago

Using 2 rope slings to lift the bike. A pulley fixed securely to the overhead, with rope with a hook on one end,  Run the rope through the pulley, and connect to the slings on the bike to the hook and hoist it up.  

lazyme4 years ago
Why did you have to attach it all to a separate piece of wood? Why not just the center beam?
fortneja5 years ago
I set this up, but I'm having the hardest time getting the hooks to lift evenly. I'm using brand new pulleys with the right sized rope, but I still can't seem to get it to lift evenly. Any ideas? Oh, and I modified your design to accept 4 bikes at once. Basically, I attached a 2x4 with 4 hooks across it to where you have your bike hooks. Simply hook the front wheel through the four hanging hooks. For strength, I'm using a ratcheting boat trailer crank to do the lifting.
Hycro5 years ago
When I built the lift for my bike, which weighs a monstrous 70-80lbs, I also needed a way to help out with lifting it period, so I tied an old lead-acid car battery to it, and it's heavy enough that it helps me lift the bike, and holds it in the air, but isn't so heavy it just takes off with the bike pulling it straight to the ceiling
I think this system should be designed with higher standards as it is a life safety device. As you said, that bike can kill somebody if it's let loose. Check the rope and all connections from time to time and go for climbing knots used for man carrying applications. I would advise a Munter hitch which gives control and safety when descending the bike. This way there will be no way for the rope to just run away and send the bike down crashing. Safety first!!

One more thing. The hooks should have enough weight to descent to the floor when they are not carrying anything. Otherwise it could be a problem to pull them down when they are somehow pulled all the way up. What do you think?
dchall85 years ago
The canoe should raise and lower evenly if your pulleys are well oiled or otherwise give you about equal friction. With this project you can use nylon rope but you will find that nylon will stretch all the time. I prefer using Dacron or polyester rope for something like this. If you can't fine polyester rope at the orange store you can find it at the blue one, and vice versa. Step 7 still gives me the heeby jeebies. Here's a better picture of a cleat hitch. It is very (VERY) simple to tie off securely. You go around the entire cleat twice (only), cross over the top once (only) then under, back to the other side twisting the loop onto the other side and you're done. Figure out something else to do with the extra rope but don't try to store it on the cleat by wrapping and wrapping. On my boat I have a zippered bag the coil of excess goes in.
cleat-hitch-2.jpg
ToolNut (author)  dchall85 years ago
LOL - yea step 7 gives my wife the heeby jeebies too. I was going to go the cleat route, but I was trying to minimize the project to hardware on hand. One of these days soon I'll switch it over to the style you suggest and modify the instructions to something more reasonable. My version is perfectly functional - but no where near as efficient. Thanks!
this is fantastic. i was about to go ahead and build, then i saw that COSTCO has this exact system for $15, less than it would have cost for me to purchase everything (called the Racor bike hoist)...
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=33784&whse=BC&topnav=&browse=&lang=en-US&s=1

i am using it to lift a 14 foot kevlar (<32lb) canoe to a 12 foot ceiling, i was afraid that there wouldn't be enough included rope, but there was.
peter
bedbugg26 years ago
thats neat!! i wish i had a high enough place to put this id even buy a shed with a high roof to use as an ecscuse to put this up :D
snoyes7 years ago
Fantastic, now my wife won't have to hear me whinge about her bike being so heavy (until she makes me ride it since the kids' trailer is attached to it). And when you decide that radial arm saw is just too dangerous, I'll take it off your hands.
Sirckus7 years ago
Awesome instructable. Going to do this this weekend. I think I may get a little goofy and see if I can rig it with a sixth and seventh pulley in a triangle type support so that I can end up with the bike being horizontal to the ground. My head has some type of magnetism for low hanging objects.
bison7 years ago
Thank you! I used your method to hang two 14' sea kayaks in my garage. It worked great. Pulls up and sits down easily.
you've sold it to me, I'm making one of those, pronto.
carlos66ba7 years ago
This is a very nice instructable. Let me suggest one more thing: 1 week ago I bought at Target a similar setup (for about $25). It is very nice and simple (very similar design). One feature it has that you should add: if the rope disengages from its holding place, there is a gizmo near one of the pulleys that blocks the rope so that the bike does not fall. It is built similarly to the lines that pull mini-blinds up: you have to have the rope at a certain angle for the locking mechanism to unlock.
vectorges7 years ago
ToolNut (author)  vectorges7 years ago
I like the concept but am not comfortable with how easy it is to undo. Something/some kid snags the rope and that thing is coming down. With a boat you are not actually standing under it. That style would be ok with me if there was a backup tie off and you just used them to relive the pressure in order to tie off that backup knot....
willofgod7 years ago
FYI "flag pole tie off type of thing" = Cleat
ToolNut (author)  theRIAA7 years ago
Thanks to both - I have revised step 7. When i get a chance to find some better hardware, I'll ditch the whole double hook messiness. But hey it works...
jeffreyf7 years ago
Impressive build, and a great Instructable. Thank you!
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