Introduction: Overhead Garage Bicycle Storage System

About: I'm a High School Technology teacher with Creativitis, a disease that doesn't let my brain sleep. I spend my days trying to infect my student's minds with a desire to learn. I lead by example and hope that my …

I've been collecting and restoring 70's banana seat bicycle for many years now. I've always wanted a great space where I could enjoy building my bikes. When I started renovating my garage, I knew that my growing collection of bicycles would need to be stored in a way to maximize my work space. As the renovations progressed, my bicycles started moving home from their temporary storage at work. Where are they going to go?? The ceiling of course! I spent quite a bit of time researching bicycle storage systems. Some are good, and and some are not so good. The good ones are really expensive and most are designed to hold four bicycles. I was looking to get as many on the ceiling as possible.

Step 1: Materials and Design

My design is based on some existing models. I think my final design is higher quality and ended up being much cheaper. I designed my system using Unistrut metal channels. These were purchased in ten foot lengths from Lowes here in Canada for just over $20 each. I needed two lengths for the main ceiling tracks, and each additional length was cut in half to allow for two bike hangers.

You can buy the rollers that slide in these channels, but they are quite pricey at around $20 a piece. In order to hang one bicycle I needed 4 rollers. This put me over $100 per bike. This was getting expensive. Instead, I designed the body of the rollers to be 3d printed. To complete the roller assemblies, all I needed to buy was 5/16" nuts, bolts, and washers, and some 5/16" steel rod for the bearing axles. Oh, and some bearings. My first test run used some old roller blade bearings. I then ordered a box of 200 bearings on ebay for $20. I scoured the internet for the best deal on the Park bicycle hangers. I managed to get them for just under $4 a piece.

I went through a few design changes to get the best clearance for the roller assemblies, and then I put the printer to work. The printing, as many of you know is quite time consuming. I simply printed a couple sets each night and brought home my bikes in pairs to hang on the ceiling.

I have attached the STL files for each trolley to this step so that anyone can print the designs. You'll just need to buy the appropriate hardware that is outline in the next step.

Step 2: Assembly

Putting the roller assemblies together was pretty straight forward. I installed the two main tracks on the ceiling using #12 screws. Make sure your screwing into your rafters. I initially used some lag screws, but I was running into clearance issues with the roller assemblies.

To assemble the trolley that hangs in the main track you'll need:

  • 4 - bearings
  • 2 - bearing axles - 5/16" diameter rod x 1.45" length
  • 2 - 2-1/2" x 5/16" carriage bolts
  • 2 - flat 3/8" washers large enough to cover holes in the unistrut
  • 1 - 5/16" washer
  • 3 - 5/16" nuts

To assemble the single bearing trolley for the bike track you'll need:

  • 2 - bearings
  • 2 - axles
  • 1 - park bicycle hook that comes with 2 nuts
  • 1 - flat 5/16" washer

The bearings are standard roller blade or skateboard bearings. I bought these bearings from ebay.

The system is designed to allow bikes to slide side to side in the main track, but also back and forth in their own track. This allows me to offset the seats, handlebars, and pedals of many different bikes. After hanging the first few bikes successfully, I continued to print and build more hangers. My bikes were happily coming home.

Step 3: All Hung Up....

I want to share a few progress pics of my work space coming together. It was a heck of a lot of work, and could be an entirely different instructable entitled, 'How to make a bicycle workshop in your garage'. I'll save that one for a later date. My final design exceeded expectation as I managed to hang 16 bikes along the 10' track. For easier access for hanging and removing bikes, I think the ideal number is probably 12. This gives you space to slide bikes side to side and get a bike out that is in the middle of the rack. The location of my rolling ladder actually makes it quite easy to hang a bike. You simply pull the hook toward you to hand the front wheel. The whole bike will then slide along its own track allowing you to hang the second wheel. All of this can be done from the same position on the ladder. Removing a bike is just as easy. Take the first wheel off, and the bike will naturally slide towards you to allow for the removal of the second wheel.

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