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We're looking for some bike racks for our school, but we're unsure as to the styles of bike racks and what's best. What features should we be looking for? Are there styles of racks that work well for schools?

At the moment, it's looking like these for price, capacity and design.

If anyone else has found something better, then please let me know as we're looking to get some sorted fairly quickly!

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Is this in a secured area, or will students need to lock their bikes to the racks? –  freiheit Apr 20 '13 at 20:57
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Welcome to Bicycles SE. Unfortunately, Stack Exchange sites aren't well suited to questions asking for specific product recommendations. Our ideal is a single best answer to each question that will work for everyone and a product that works well for one person may not work well for another. It's better to ask what kind of features you should be looking for and then make your decision based on that. –  jimirings Apr 20 '13 at 21:33
    
When looking for a public bike rack, its important that the rack should be designed such that backing in and locking through the back triangle/seat tube and wheel is the intended locking configuration. This is the most secure way to lock a bike. Locking only by the front wheel is terrible, and most locks, especially u-locks do not have the length to go around the front wheel and the main triangle (which even if they did, isn't optimal, because the expensive rear wheel is still vulnerable). Also, consider a rack that can accommodate many different sizes of bikes. –  Kibbee Apr 30 '13 at 14:32

4 Answers 4

Those don't look that great. Students would need a long cable lock in order to lock their bikes. There's no way that they could do it with a U-lock. And the weight of the bike is resting on the spokes, which is not good for them. Also, I'm not sure what level of school you're talking about, but I imagine an elementary school child might have a hard time lifting their bike that high.

Here are some features you should look for:

  • The bike rack should be firmly attached. Ideally, it would be planted in cement. If this isn't an option, it should at least be bolted down and the bolts should not be easily accessible or removable.
  • The rack should either have loops to put locks through or be completely enclosed at the top. A pole with a bulbous protuberance at the top, like a parking meter, is not sufficient. If a person uses a longish cable lock, the bike could easily be lifted over the top.
  • You should be able to park a bike next to it in such a manner that a person could easily get a U-lock around both the frame and at least one wheel, both if the front wheel is removed, like this.
  • People shouldn't have to lift their bikes up to get them into a rack. Requiring a person to lift a bike to get it into a rack makes them extremely difficult to use for the elderly, children, and people with disabilities.

This design has become pretty standard where I live and works wonderfully.

Loop Bike Rack

It's certainly not the only option though.

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In addtion the rack in the OP stresses wheel spokes - generates good business for the LBS..... –  mattnz Apr 21 '13 at 1:01
    
Good point. I've edited it into the answer. –  jimirings Apr 22 '13 at 2:02

Depends a lot on the situation. At urban public (ie, tax-supported) schools in the US one would generally want something quite rugged and able to stand up to abuse, and also something securely anchored. Quite often you see simple inverted U shapes of heavy pipe with the bottom ends set in concrete, with multiple copies spaced 1/2 to 3/4 meters apart -- the bikes would be leaned against these and locked.

In locations where vandalism and security are not as big an issue you might see racks similar to "The Claw" rack that you linked (though I've never seen that specific style). A problem with this style, though, is that many bikes will not fit the rack, because the tires are wider or it's a BMX bike with a smallish frame or whatever. And that specific style makes it hard to securely lock the bike -- you need a long chain or cable to reach from the rack to the frame or back wheel.

You definitely should look at the mix of bikes in your situation, and the need (or not) to securely lock them to "inform" your rack decision.

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There are many styles of bicycle racks available. If you are concerned with space they use, you could check Vertical bike rack which can provide high density of parked bicycles in small space.

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What I can recommend for a school is either this or this, and I prefer the first. It is a very simple construction, which is very space efficient and easily scalable. The other one can be used when you think that hanging your steer up isn't stable, plus it has a nice big loop for a chain lock, but it is probably more expensive, some people are afraid of bending their wheels and it's probably also less efficient in space.

If you really need your space, you could also consider this, which is often used at train stations, but it is less much convenient (for the one on top at least).

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It would be better if you described the styles of racks you're referring to, rather than rely on links to images. (Links often break over time.) –  Neil Fein Apr 30 '13 at 3:32
    
Unfortunately, none of these racks is usable with U-locks. –  amcnabb Apr 30 '13 at 21:52
    
@amcnabb They can both be used with u-locks. The first one has a hole in the clamp, through which a u-lock can be put to the frame. The ring of the other is very close to the frame, so you can also easily use the lock there. –  BrtH May 1 '13 at 9:07
    
@BrtH From what you describe, I can maybe imagine how the first one could work with a U-lock (though it's hard to see in a 200px photo. For the second, it looks like the frame is about a foot from the ring, which wouldn't work with my 5-inch U-lock. –  amcnabb May 1 '13 at 15:18

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