If you were one of the thousands of people who acquired a new bike over the past couple of (very outdoors) years, you probably also acquired a storage problem. Especially in cramped city apartments, simply leaning a bike against a wall can lead to scuff marks as well as other interior-design frustrations. Luckily, there are plenty of options to streamline your bike storage, many of them both inexpensive and drill free. That’s right: You don’t have to touch that drywall if you don’t want to. To find the best mounted bike racks, tension poles, and floor stands, we asked six experts — including avid cyclists and bike-store employees — to tell us about the ones they recommend, and we combed through our archives to surface any standouts we’ve written about before.
What we’re looking for
Wall-mounted versus freestanding: According to Andrew Crooks of NYC Velo (a bike shop that has been operating in the East Village since 2005), the best bike racks are “one of three kinds”: wall mounts, floor stands, or tension poles that reach from floor to ceiling, with the two latter styles requiring no wall drilling to install and better suiting those who move a lot or like to change up their décor. We’ve included expert recommendations for all three types, including minimalist and maximalist options — because while some may wish to make their vintage Schwinn a living-room focal point, others may wish to simply save as much space as possible between rides. We also included options that hang bikes by both their wheels and their frames.
If you think you want to store your bike on a hook or wall mount, all of our experts remind us that the higher you put it, the more effort it will take to hang up your bike and take it down. So if your bike is superheavy, it may be better to position the hook or mount lower. Crooks adds that any mount or hook designed to hold a bike is only “as safe as the wall you’re mounting it to,” so it’s worth double-checking that your walls have studs, beams, or something beyond drywall as an anchor.
Single versus multiple bikes: If you’ve got cyclist roommates or just a burgeoning bike collection of your own, it makes sense to invest in a storage solution that will accommodate at least two sets of wheels. We looked for wall mounts and floor stands for single and multiple bikes, including a surprisingly sleek six-bike option for families.
Scratch protection: The process of using and storing your bike on a daily basis can be a little arduous for both you and the bike — particularly its frame and spokes. Because bumps and bangs can lead to damage or just annoying little paint scratches, we’re recommending wall mounts and floor stands that protect your precious rims with materials like rubber, vinyl, and even foam padding.
Best overall bike mount
Wall mount (front wheel) | Single bike | Vinyl coating
While floor stands are easier to install (we’ve got plenty of them further down on this list), a majority of our experts — four, to be precise — told us that Park Tool’s inexpensive hooks are the best way to store a bike. “Sometimes the best choice is also the simplest solution,” explains cyclist and outdoors writer Morgan Tilton, who uses the hooks herself. Each is “made from seven-millimeter steel and burly,” Tilton says, explaining that she uses “a single hook to vertically hang my 29-pound Specialized bike by the front wheel in a corner of my bathroom.” Using two hooks, she says, you could also “hang a bike by both wheels” from the ceiling. Because the hooks are coated in vinyl, Tilton says she’s “not worried about my rims getting scratched.” Most important, she adds, they’re genuinely affordable and “easy to install.” (Speaking of installation, the brand says the hooks “can be installed into ceiling joists, wall studs, or any piece of wood that can support the weight of a bicycle.”) Ben Sawyer, a mechanic at Maine’s CycleMania bike shop, also told us about these hooks, saying they “do the job.” Crooks likes Park Tool’s hooks too and notes that they’re quite effective for being “about the size of your hand.” Their fourth fan is Thomas Dunn, the founder and owner of the Hilltop Bicycles stores in New York and New Jersey, who says the hooks are “the cheapest and simplest” way to store a bike. The numerous expert recommendations (combined with an unbeatable price) make this our best overall pick for easy, effective, and pleasingly minimalist bike storage.
Best adjustable bike mount
Wall mount (front wheel) | Single bike | Rubber coating
For a little more customization, here’s an only slightly more expensive wall-mounted bike-storage solution. The Delta brand came up numerous times in our reporting, with two of our experts recommending this hinged wall rack that allows you to tilt your bike into different positions on the wall once it’s hung. The vertical mount is “secure, minimal, and safe,” according to Dunn, with Crooks adding that the “ability to shift it a little” makes it a “really good option,” especially for people maneuvering around small apartments. For that reason, he says it’s “the one we recommend the most.” Like the Park Tool hook, this has a rubber coating to protect your bike’s finish.
Best bike mount with helmet storage
Wall mount (top tube) | Single bike | EVA foam pads
If you prefer to make your bike rack more of a functional design feature, this mantel from Specialized not only has space for a bike but also two ledges designed to hold a helmet and (if you use them) clip-in bike shoes. It’s another wall mount recommended by Dunn, who calls it a “very simple metal unit that holds the bike by its top tube.” The mantel offers protection for bikes in the form of some foam cushioning. And speaking of helmets: Specialized makes some of our favorites.
Best floor stand
Freestanding (top tube) | Two bikes | Adjustable padded hooks
If you rent your home or aren’t the DIY type, it’s totally possible to find floor stands that (aside from their assembly) require little-to-no installation yet are visually almost indistinguishable from the trickier mounted racks. This one from Delta got nods from two experts, including cyclist Alexa Lampasona, a happy owner who calls hers a “stout, leaning wall rack that allows you to mount two bicycles in a narrow space.” She adds that the rack’s “arms adjust, so you can mount bikes with many different geometries from flat to sloping top tubes.” Dunn also recommends it, explaining that “gravity racks” like this are designed so the weight of the bikes keeps the rack firmly in place.
Best vertical floor stand
Freestanding (back wheel) | Single bike | Stabilizing Velcro strap
When former Strategist senior editor Anthony Rotunno was looking for a bike stand last year, he wanted a space-saving solution (like a wall mount) but one that wouldn’t require him or his husband to lift a bike up and down every day. “A floor stand that mimicked the effect of hanging a bike vertically” is how Rotunno described his ideal storage, which he found in the Bike Nook. According to Rotunno, this stand is easy to set up, holds bikes securely enough (thicker tires are a better fit for its one-size-fits-all design), and allows those bikes to be presented more like sculptures thanks to the way it props them up on their hind wheels just so. To keep things as secure and scratch free as possible, this stand is designed with a stabilizing Velcro strap.
Best family floor stand
Freestanding (front wheel) | Up to six bikes | Powder-coated steel
If you’re looking for a floor stand the whole family (or all the roommates) can use, Sawyer recommends this “great industrial-style one” that can hold up to six bikes. However, because it doesn’t store them on top of one another like the Michelangelo rack, he cautions that it will require more floor space. The stand is fairly bare bones: There’s no rubber, vinyl, or padding to protect your spokes — but its utilitarianism can’t be beat for larger households.
Best tension pole
Tension pole (top tube) | Two bikes | Rubber hooks
For ease of installation, tension poles fall somewhere between floor stands and wall mounts; they don’t require drilling holes into walls or ceilings, but you may need to do a little more work to get one in place. They often cost more than (non-trainer) stands and mounts, but Crooks and Dunn say that may be money well spent if you think you’ll move a lot and want bike storage that can easily move with you, no matter the size of the home. Tension poles, Crooks adds, are also worth considering if you redecorate a lot. “Say you buy a new chest of drawers — you can redesign the whole apartment without having to work around that bike mount you screwed into the wall already,” he explains. Made of aluminum with rubber-coated hooks for mounting each bike’s top tube, this model recommended by Dunn has a sleek black finish, and though the pole can hold only two bikes as is, Feedback Sports makes add-ons that let it accommodate up to four.
[Editor’s note: Feedback Sports’ popular tension pole is currently on backorder but is expected to ship on April 7, 2022.]