> Our review guidelines
When you live in an apartment, or flat as it’s known in some places, your bike storage options may be few.
If you’re lucky, you might have a garage nearby or a cellar, but even that is often a little inconvenient and insecure.
At least when you’re storing bikes indoors they’re mostly protected from the elements and theft, but how do you store a bike when space is at a premium?
This article looks at apartment bike storage and offers several ideas on the best ways to maximize whatever space you have.
The Best Apartment Bike Storage Ideas
There are many ways you can store a bike in an apartment, though only a few of them may fit in with the layout and contents of your home.
First Up, Try Space-Saving Bikes & Bar Stems
One thing you might consider when you’re pondering bike storage ideas is the possibility of buying a space-saving bike. That way, no form of bike rack is needed and you can take the bike with you almost anywhere you go.
Foldable or folding bikes fold into a compact size that is handy for apartment storage. The smallest models tend to be those that allow the rear wheel to fold under the main frame, which applies to the whole Brompton range as well as other bikes.
Most foldable bikes take about 15 to 30 seconds to fold into their storable and portable size. And portability isn’t a bad feature to have on a bike that you might need to take in a lift or carry up flights of stairs.
Folding Handlebar Stems
If you install a folding handlebar stem like the Revelo THINstem onto mountain bikes or a hybrid bike, you can store said bike flat against an apartment wall.
You’d normally combine this idea with folding pedals so no bike parts are sticking out. Your flattened bike can then be stored in a narrow space like a hallway, or corridor.
As you might expect, this works best on bikes with straight handlebars. The hooked handlebars of most road bikes wouldn’t work so well.
An apartment wall has obvious potential for bike storage, and there are various ways to utilize the wall. This can be an inexpensive bike storage solution, too, sometimes costing only a few dollars, euros, or pounds.
You can buy a wall bike rack that hangs a bike vertically, usually so it sticks out from the wall. The purpose of this is that it’s easier to load and unload. You can often just wheel a bike towards the rack via its rear tire and slot the wheels into holders.
These racks are often better positioned near the corner of a room where they’re unlikely to impede movement. The solution works well for multiple bikes, too, as the floor space taken up is effectively equal to the bikes’ height rather than their length.
Unlike most vertical bike racks, horizontal bike racks tend to hold bikes flat against the wall. This is probably more viable if you have only one or two bikes to store, or you could quickly cover a whole wall (not such a bad idea).
A horizontal bike rack may only have simple holders because gravity does most of the work. You might only need to hoist the bike up and drop it into a cradle or onto hooks.
A downside of this type of rack, rather like many car racks, is that it works better with bikes that have a horizontal top tube. Vertical racks are a more versatile form of bike storage in this respect.
Video: DIY Bike Shelf With Storage
A useful alternative to a regular horizontal rack is a bike shelf. This holds a bike horizontally, too, but incorporates a shelf where you can lay your bike helmet or other sundry cycling items.
This type of rack may be elegant enough to enhance your home décor, or at least blend in with it, as some examples are made with attractively finished wood. It’s the type of product you’ll find on Etsy.
It’s not the most imaginative of bike storage ideas, but plain old hooks work well for storing bikes. They’re cheap and practical, and you can screw them straight into the wall. Ideally, you want plastic-coated hooks or hooks with rubber sleeves.
You’ll find these hooks for just a few dollars on Amazon. Normally, you’d hang bikes the right way up on these hooks, but you can also hang them by their wheels if it’s easier. This might be the case if the bike has an irregularly shaped frame, for instance.
An obvious benefit of ceiling bike storage is that it leaves all of your floor space untouched. If you position the bikes well, they may not limit your movement at all.
When installing hooks into a ceiling, normally they’ll go into the ceiling joists. Unlike using hooks in a wall, you’ll nearly always hang your bikes upside down when they’re dangling overhead.
Hanging bikes upside down from a ceiling makes them easier to store. If you can imagine trying to lift a bike overhead by its wheels, some difficulty is foreseeable.
Many ceiling bike rack systems use hooks. These aren’t always ideal for apartments as they typically take up more vertical space (e.g., Saris Cycle Glide with sliding rails is primarily intended as garage bike storage).
Depending on the height of your apartment ceiling, you are quite likely to have to hang bikes toward the edge of a room so you don’t injure yourself. An apartment with a very high ceiling might require our next bike storage solution.
Bicycle Lifts & Pulleys
Video: Storing Bikes On Pulleys
Ideal for apartments with tall ceilings is a bicycle lift or pulley system. You can buy this ready-made, so the only DIY involved is attaching the two pulleys to the ceiling joist.
Typically, the pulley system will have a safety locking mechanism to prevent bikes from accidentally falling. One slight downside you might encounter is a need to adapt the pulley hooks before they hold on to the saddle and handlebar of your bike.
A bicycle pulley lift can hold bikes of up to 100 lbs (45.35 kg) in some cases, so there’s scope for storing heavier bikes such as full-sus mountain bikes, e-bikes, and fat bikes.
Although this is among the more versatile bike storage solutions, the ceilings in most apartments are too low for it.
Even when space is at a premium, a carefully positioned floor stand or rack might work for your bike(s). Of course, not all apartments are short on space.
By “floor stand”, we mean a tall bike stand with feet that doesn’t necessarily need to be screwed into anything and which can hold up to four bikes. Unlike a regular bike rack, a floor stand makes use of vertical space.
These stands normally either lean against a wall (more stable than it sounds) or wedge between the floor and ceiling. They are normally suitable for bikes of average weight (e.g., up to 40 lbs / 18 kg).
The wedging type of stand has a height-adjustable column and is held in place by compression between the floor and the ceiling. Like the leaning stand, this is a versatile form of indoor bike storage that can be moved from room to room.
Floor Rack / Stand
Video: DIY Mountain Bike Stand
With a floor rack, you can stand your bike up in any available space, rather than also needing a wall to lean against. And that makes it a versatile form of bike storage suitable for any apartment size.
The above being said, if you live in a small apartment and have multiple bikes to store, you’re better off with one bike stand rather than several racks.
When weighing up bike storage ideas, the amount of vertical vs horizontal space you have available is key.
Some of the more innovative floor racks have a mechanism that holds onto your front wheel as you push it in. The bike is secure until you’re ready to ride again.
Floor bike racks are an affordable form of bike storage that help keep your bike in good condition. Many floor racks are free-standing bike racks. If you prefer, you can always screw or bolt a bike rack into the floor and make it a semi-permanent fixture.
Other Storage Ideas
You may be able to utilize other areas of your apartment for bike storage aside from the obvious floor, wall, and ceiling.
Under stairs bike storage pic.twitter.com/BHvClLEOhb— StephO (@bixiezip) September 28, 2015
If your apartment is on more than one level, the space under steps or stairs may be ideal for bike storage. Any area too low to walk under is a potential place to store bikes. A sloping apartment ceiling may present a similar opportunity.
You’d only need to attach a few coated hooks to the underside of your stairs to hang bikes upside-down in this space. Kids’ bikes would fit very neatly below steps.
Underneath the stairs might also be a good place to put floor-type bike racks.
Finally installed a hook on my door to hold my bike! Friggin RIGHTEOUS, optimizing small living spaces ftw 😄 pic.twitter.com/gKw27tkqVe— SweetiePotaterThot (@gabbygeewhiz) September 9, 2018
Among the more unusual bike storage ideas is a door-mounted bike hanger. This just hooks over the top of a door as many coat hooks do.
Of course, if you’re looking at this idea, you have to be careful not to install it on a door that is in regular use. Ideally, it’d go on an entrance door. That way, when you’re ready to leave, you just grab your bike and go.
This may be a more viable idea if you’re the sole occupant of an apartment. That way, you won’t be blocking any doorway for anyone else.
What Can You Do If There Is No Room Inside Your Apartment?
If it’s physically impossible to store a bike inside your apartment, all may not be lost.
Garage Or Cellar
Many apartments have either garages or cellars included with them, or both. One problem with these spaces is that they tend to be some distance away from the apartment. On the plus side, security may be good in some cases.
A garage inside an apartment block is often sited within a locked area and among other garages. Thus, it can arguably be more secure than a garage next to a house.
Apartment cellars vary greatly in nature, with some being too damp and insecure for bike storage purposes.
If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony in your apartment, perhaps you can use this as a bike storage space. The main thing to avoid is exposing your bike to the elements and potentially reducing its lifespan as a result.
You should cover your bike if you’re going to store it on a balcony, preferably with a ventilated cover that won’t encourage condensation. Check your bike regularly to make sure it’s dry, and keep the drivetrain lubricated.
Video: Montague Folding Bike Placed In A Car Trunk
If you keep a car parked near your apartment, you can always leave a bike inside the trunk. It will help if the bike is a folding bike, otherwise, you’ll struggle to fit your bike in without folding the back seats down. And once you’ve done that, the bike is visible – thieves will love that!
Full-sized folding bikes like Montague bikes or Change bikes will go into most car trunks without being detectable from the outside.
Communal Bike Storage
Some apartment blocks have an area set aside for residents’ bike storage. Exactly how secure this space is will vary, but one or two robust locks will give you peace of mind.
This probably is not a place you’d put a bike worth thousands of dollars, but that depends on how well you know and trust your neighbors.
Rent Bike Storage
In some cities, it’s possible to rent bike storage for the year. And such schemes are likely to increase as the world attempts to become more eco-friendly.
On-street bike lockers are available for hire in many cities around the world, so it’s worth looking out for those in your locality.