Introduction: Bike Wall Hanger Feat. Easy String Mechanism

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Here is my approach to the eternal problem of lack of garage space coinciding with the overabundance of bikes. This is the second iteration, with the first being a haphazard construct where everything was pretty much locked in place by everything else, and there was no way to rearrange bikes or change their height without pretty much redoing the whole thing.

So this is what I did, and the result is easier to make and a lot more versatile to use.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

This is a project intended to be made from scrap pieces. Use whatever you have on hand as long as it gets the job done. On the other hand, you can use new materials and make it look as shiny and clean as you want. It should hold bikes just as well made from exotic hardwoods rather than OSB and fir.

The Materials for the Bike Holder

  • a piece of OSB - large enough to hold the holder and to be fastened to the wall or the piece mentioned below if you want increased flexibility.
  • a large piece of wooden material (optional) - I screwed a large piece of MDF to the wall to which I can now attach the holders wherever I need them to go. Got a different bike? Just adjust the holder position. This is optional, as long as you have another way to keep the holders on the wall where you need them to go.
  • three pieces of slat/2x4 - they will form the actual holder. The only major size requirement is that they should be at least as high as your tire, i.e. if you place them on the ground next to your bike's wheel the top should be where the spokes are. I recommend you read through this Instructable before you chose your pieces because there are some more things that need to match size-wise, like the length of the pipes compared to the wood.
  • one long piece of wood - to bring the business end closer to you. Can be as long as you want, although I recommend somewhere between 30 cm to 50 cm or 12" to 20".
  • aluminium pipe - this will hold the tire in place. I originally used steel rods from old printer cartridges, but the aluminium works just as well, is easier to get and a lot easier to machine. The length you need it equal to the width of your bike tire plus twice the width of the wood pieces you are using for this holder. A little more cannot hurt, since you can always trim it later.
  • plastic pipe - This pipe needs to be roughly as long as the aluminium piece, and wide enough that said rod can move through it without interference while leaving room for a piece of string. Err on the side of a little more room!
  • eyelets (different sizes, read on) - You need two eyelets that the plastic pipe fits into, one eyelet that the rod fits into comfortably (you can use three larger ones, or widen two smaller ones like I did). Then you also need three more for the string to fit through. Large ones will do the trick, but smaller ones are recommended.
  • string - some sturdy string or twine that will move the rod back and forth. It will see some friction so make sure to use something smooth, but it does not need to be too heavy since there will be little load on it.
  • 2 handholds - Something to weigh the ends of the string down and make them easy to grab. I used corks in the first design and large washers in the second one.
  • screws - to screw things together. Make sure they are long enough to use on the t-portion, where they need to go through one slat into another.

The Tools I used

  • saws (optional) - just in case you do not have scrap pieces of the required size. Handsaws work just as well as powered ones, with the table saw followed by the band saw in usefulness. For the plastic and aluminum pipes, you can get away with a hacksaw (blade).
  • drill - to use drill bits with and also to put screws in.
  • drill bits - to drill pilot holes into the wood, a hole through the aluminum pipe and also to de-burr it.
  • vice - to open up the eyelets (if necessary).
  • countersink tool - to de-burr the hole in the aluminum pipe.
  • scissors - to cut the string to length.

Step 2: The Basic Idea

Here is what this bike holder will do for you. You roll your bike up to it, put it on its hind wheel, against the wall, pull on something and let go of the bike. To remove it is just as simple. Take the weight of the holder by gently pushing the bike, pull on something, and roll it backward out of the holder.

If that sounds easy, then that is because it is! When you close the holder - with a simple tug on a string - an aluminum rod will slide out and catch your bike's tire. When you pull another string, the rod will slide back out of the way.

And while it is your decision whether you want to use that design or not, we have used it for years now, most of the time using steel rods, with no ill effects to the bike tires or anything else for that matter. But just to be safe, I will not take any responsibility for whatever you do with your bike or wall. Use this only when and where you feel comfortable with it!

Step 3: The Wood

Take two of the three pieces and combine them into a T shape. I used two long screws for that, but if you want to you can use wood glue as well.

Then, screw the single piece to the backer near one side. You might want to leave some room for screws there, but you can also put them elsewhere later. Again, I used screws through the OSB back to fasten this one in place.

Then, I place the T next to the single one with enough room to accommodate the bike tire and screw that in place through the back as well.

Step 4: The Eyelets and the Pipe

Let me get into the required sizes for the eyelets first. You need two of them to hold the plastic pipe, but I did not have matching ones around either so I used slightly smaller ones. Which turned out to be a good thing because the slightly smaller size works well for the third eyelet, which needs to be larger than the aluminum pipe.

At this point, I will let you in on a secret. A lot of this project is comprised of happy accidents and educated guesses, so do not be afraid of experimenting. I used a vice to open up the eyelets I had. The way I did it was putting the top end in the vice and use pliers to bend it open. Then I inserted the pipe and used the same pliers to bend the end back into a roundish shape.

Now, the two pipe-fitted eyelets need to go on the T-shape, one at the end of the "leg" and one centered at the "top" relative to the letter. On the actual holder that is more like far left and far right on the T. You probably should pre-drill those holes with a smaller bit. It makes the eyelets easier to put in and prevents splitting of the wood. The aluminum pipe will come in handy in twisting the eyelets in once using bare hands has become tricky.

Now place the plastic pipe in them and make sure it is supported close to both ends.

We will wait with the third large eyelet until after we have installed the rod.

Step 5: Make the Holder Forthcoming

In order to be able to access the main feature of this bike holder comfortably, we need to bring them within easy arm's reach. To that end, I used another slat, smaller and longer than the others. I pre-drilled holes for screws to attach it to the outer end of the flat part of the T, and added three small eyelets.

Two need to go near the front end (the part sticking out towards you) about 2 cm to 1" apart. The position of the third is best determined with the slat already in position, as it should be placed close to the end of the plastic pipe.

Step 6: The Rod

You need a length of aluminum pipe that fits inside your plastic pipe with some room to spare, pretty much of the length of that other pipe.

You also need to drill a hole into the rod, about 1.5 cm or 1/2" from the end. It should be large enough for your string to pass through comfortably. If you do not have metal drill bits available, you can use brad point bits just as well. Aluminum is generally soft enough to be machined with tools made for wood. I cut my pipe to length on the band saw, for example.

Make sure to de-burr the cuts you make because there is string involved. It is not load-bearing, which means even if the string should tear at some point, your bike will still be safe! But we do want to keep the string from wearing down too fast. I recommend using a countersink bit for the outside of the holes and on the ends, and some sandpapers for any outward edges. To remove the burr that is bound to form on the inside of the through-hole, I use a drill bit and kinda ream the hole with the bit's side.

Step 7: There's a String Attached

To operate the rod back and forth we need what is basically two lengths of string, one for each direction. The easiest way to accomplish that is to take a single long piece of string and attach the rod via the through-hole at the center. If you do this you should either know where the string goes to determine a rough length (which you should be able to do in a few steps) or go for overkill.

I found two methods to fasten the rod to the string and keep it in place. I would recommend the second one since it is a lot easier, but who am I to spare you whatever thinking went into the first one? I made a knot at the center of the string, a simple overhand knot, and then another, and a couple more, until I had a knot larger than the through-hole in the aluminum rod.

Looking back, the second method is actually the more intuitive one. Thread the string through the hole, wrap around the rod and add two overhand knots. Done. And actually more flexible should you discover that you want to move the rod on the string somewhat for whatever reason.

Step 8: Threading Things Into Place

I will try to describe what needs to happen now as best as I can, but I think you get a better picture not just from the pictures but from the actual video linked at beginning and end of this Instructable.

First, take one end of the string and thread it through the plastic pipe from left to right (that is, from the tire side to the extension slat.

Pull the rod all the way into the pipe.

Thread both strings through the first small eyelet near the end of the pipe. That is the one you put through the plastic pipe as well as the one coming out the other end. That one should go along the outside of the pipe through that eyelet.

Now put both strings to the first eyelet near the end of the extension, and one of them (doesn't matter which one) through the second.

At this point I recommend putting some kind of handhold on those strings, like corks or washers, to make them easier to handle and to prevent them from slipping back through the eyelets. You can also test the mechanism now. Pull on one end and see whether something happens. If not, the other one should do the trick.

Step 9: Trim!

In order to make this holder highly intuitive, I recommend you trim the strings in such a way that it is always the upper end that you need to pull in order to change the state of the holder.

To do that, pull one string as far as it will go and make sure that the rod is in whatever end position corresponds to that string. In fact, pulling that string should take care of that anyway. Now, mark a position on the other string a comfortable 5 cm or 2" below the extension. Clothespins work well for that.

Then, carefully pull the string with the mark on it all the way down. The holder should switch positions. Now, mark a position on the other string, the one that you did not pull. Again, 5 cm or 2" from the extension arm.

You now have two spots marked. Test the theory by pulling on the upper one. After the holder opens or closes, respectively, the mark you pulled on should be the lower one, with the other one up above it, signaling where to pull next.

Put your handholds, corks or washers in that position and trim the rest.

Step 10: The Last Eyelet

There is one thing left to make this bike holder functional - the third large eyelet that will catch the rod as it slides out. Otherwise, the bike will just slip out of the holder, or be held precariously at best.

And this is going to be a little tricky. But if you do as I said (and not as I did in the video) and wait until the last moment to install that eyelet, you should be fine.

The important thing is to place the holder against the wall. Either by placing it in its final position or by clamping it to a shelf or board. The important thing is that the rod should behave just as it would when you want it to hold your bike.

Now, keeping your gaze firmly focused on the single piece of wood, let the rod slide out. Not too slowly, but not tearing-at-the-rope fast either. Make a mental note of where the rod lands relative to the wood. Actually, on top of the mental note mark the center point of the rod as it slides out on the piece.

Important: depending on how much play the aluminum pipe has in the plastic, it will sag a bit after performing its sliding action. Which is why you need to make sure that the eyelet is placed where the rod lands at first, not where it ends up as it comes to rest. It makes sense because you want the rod to shoot into the eyelet to be held there. Believe me, it makes sense.

Pre-drill and put the eyelet in at that position.

Now try the holder again and check whether the rod slides into the third eyelet. If it does, you are done! Congratulations! If not, you have some more work to do - but not much.

Take a look at why it does miss, then readjust your eyelet. If it comes in too high or low, you need to place the eyelet a bit more in that direction. If it is too far out or too far in, give it a couple of turns to place its center further up or down.

Eventually, you should be able to catch the bar, and then you are done!

Step 11: Putting It Up

I screwed a large piece of MDF against the wall to which I then screwed the holders, straight through the OSB backer. It works and allows me to realign the holders whenever I need to - to (somehow) make room for more bikes or to accommodate different heights for some reason. There are a few ideas in the next step that also require the ability to re-arrange things like that.

Of course, you can mount these holders on the wall however you want. You can put screws directly into your wall (as long as you make sure they can bear the weight - although they do not need to hold the whole bike), or you could use something like a french cleat system for a lot more flexibility (at the expense of accuracy height-wise).

Step 12: Final Thoughts

I had a couple more ideas on how to improve this holder that I have not yet been able to put into effect. Maybe you can make use of them, and if you do, please let me know in the comments! Also, any thoughts and feedback are highly appreciated!

If you have placed a large piece of screw-to material against the wall, think about adding holders and hooks for bike-related stuff like helmets (which I strongly recommend wearing), maintenance tools, spare tire tubes, camping or biking supplies etc. Make use of the room between the bikes!

If you want to place more bikes on a wall than will fit handlebar to handlebar, you can use a ramp at the bottom to raise every other bike and save some more space that way. If you make it sturdy enough (from scraps) and with guides for the back wheel, you can roll your bike up on it and thus lift it about 10 cm to 15 cm or 4" to 6" - and out of the way of neighboring handlebars.

You can, in theory, use the holder to hold a bike at an angle and not completely standing against the wall. While that will probably put more strain on the holder, it might be useful in situations where there are things standing against the wall that cannot be moved but allow for a bike to be placed above them.

Thank you for checking out this Instructable and (hopefully) my video. Again, let me know what you think, share what you make, and remember to Be Inspired!