My first bike rack design (see my other answer to this question) was easy to make and held a lot of bikes. It was also free-standing, which is a necessity for those with no available wall space.
Still, there were two problems. First, it took a lot of floor space in my garage, 6 feet by 11 feet. Second, there wasn't a good way to use the air space above the bikes. Therefore, I built Bike Rack 2.0. The basic idea was to design a free-standing frame upon which to hang the bikes vertically from hooks. A roof would provide space for boxes of bike parts, wide enough for two copier-paper boxes to fit across the top yet not be so tall that the boxes hit the roll-up garage door. It had to be easy to make by a not-very-skilled carpenter like me.
Besides the above concerns, this design was driven by the available materials. I happened to have some old fence posts, approximately 3.5" square. Four of them were 6 feet long after I cut off (most of) the rotten, termite-infested parts that were underground. The other two were pressure-treated lumber, approximately 8 feet long. I also had a number of 2x4s of varying lengths.
Conveniently, I determined that I could hang each of my bikes from a hook screwed into a beam 6 feet off the ground without the bottom tire touching the floor. If you ride larger than 56-cm or have a long wheelbase bike, you may need to make your bike rack a few inches taller than mine.
The bikes hang on hooks screwed into the bottom of each of two parallel horizontal beams. They hang at an angle, with some overlap. 36-inches of separation between the horizontal beams allowed the bikes to hang without bumping, but since your mileage may vary I encourage you to make your own measurements.
List of materials:
- four 6-foot fence posts, approximately 3.5" square
- two 8-foot fence posts
- four 6-inch x 1/4-inch bolts, the cheapest available, about 50 cents each at Home Depot
- eight washers, two for each bolt,
- four nuts, one for each of the bolts
- twelve bike hooks (78 cents each from Home Depot, where they are described as Crown Bolt 25 lb. Screw-In Bicycle Hook). Note that these hooks are rated for 25 pounds. If your bikes weigh more than this, you should use a different hook. I hung my 50-pound English 3-speed from one of these hooks, but who knows if this is safe? These other bike hooks are rated for 40 pounds, but they cost more than double the price.
- two 6-foot 2x4s
- six 3-foot 2x4s
- two 6-foot 2x2s
- several 3-foot x 1/2-inch planks
- 3/4" spade drill bit
- 1/4" drill bit
- 7/8" drill bit
- 1/2" chisel
- Socket wrench
- Tape measure
Step 1: Make two large frame members, out of the fence posts. The 8-foot long post sits horizontally on top of two vertical 6-foot posts. Join them using draw bolt joints, as pictured here:
Begin by using the spade drill bit to drill a horizontal 3/4" hole a little more than half way through each vertical 6-foot beam, centered 2 3/4 inches from the end of the post. Use the chisel to square off the side of the hole that will receive the lower washer.
Now drill a vertical 1/4" hole through the top beam and the end of the vertical beam. The hole needs to end up intersecting the horizontal 3/4" hole in the vertical beam. Having the horizontal hole already in place gives you a target to aim for when you make this vertical hole. Using a long drill bit makes it easier to aim.
Counterbore the hole in the top beam. Insert the bolt with a washer. On the other end add another washer and nut.
It was challenging to get the lower nut onto the end of the bolt, inside the horizontal hole. To do this I wrapped some tape around the end of the screwdriver, sticky side out. I used this to position the nut at the end of the bolt, while I tightened with the socket wrench. When I discovered that the horizontal hole was too small to get a wrench on the end, I jammed the screwdriver between the nut and the edge of the hole and managed to keep the nut from turning while I tightened the bolt.
Step 1 was by far the most time-consuming for me. An experienced wood worker with better tools might find this easy, but it took half of my construction time (1 of 2 days) to figure out how to do this and bolt the fenceposts together.
Step 2: Nail the two pieces together using 36-inch 2x4s. To hold them in place during assembly, I leaned one of them against the wall, and tied the other one to a ladder using some old inner-tubes.
The result resembles a long, narrow table 6 feet tall. I put one 2x4 at floor level, another 2x4 in the middle, and a third 2x4 on top of each end of the horizontal beam. The lower 2x4s go on the inside; if the long diagonal went on the inside it would create more interference with the bike that hangs next to it.
Step 3: Nail a diagonal 6-foot 2x4 cross brace across each of the narrow ends. This increases the stiffness of the frame by a surprisingly (to me, anyway) large amount.
Step 4: Nail a horizontal 2x2 at floor level to connect each of the legs for stiffness in the long dimension. Originally I used 2x4s here, but they interfered with a couple of my very long wheelbase bikes. The 2x2s provide just enough clearance for these bikes.
Step 5: Attach the hooks to the bottom of one horizontal beam. I put the first one 5 inches away from the end, and then spaced them 10 inches apart. This was wide enough for me to hang my bikes without bumping, as long as I alternated one with the front wheel up and the next with the front wheel down.
Step 6: Attach the hooks to the bottom of the other horizontal beam. Place these hooks so the bikes on this side hang between the bikes hanging on the other beam. For me, the first hook went 10 inches away from the end, with the remainder spaced 10 inches apart. A 7/32" drill bit makes the right sized hole for the hooks to go in snugly.
Step 7: Add the planks to the top. I just laid them on top, where by accident they fit snugly between the two 2x4s that are nailed across the top beams. If the planks move around when I'm getting boxes down from there, I'll glue them in place.
Because I used lumber on hand, the cost of materials was about $12 (mostly for the hooks). Then I spent $18 more for some spray to treat the termite-infested end of the fencepost; if I did it over again I'd probably ask my neighbors to see if any of them had an old fencepost that was pest-free.
Oh, and though I forgot to mention it earlier, you should wear safety glasses before pounding on things and maybe a dust mask or respirator if you're going to drill pressure-treated lumber or spray bug killer.