Sunday, August 24, 2014

Minoura Bike Tower 10 Review

Do you have a bike storage problem? Too many bikes and not enough space to store them? This is a very common problem in Singapore, where homes are usually small and don't have much space for full sized bikes. Folding bikes help to alleviate the situation somewhat, but it is only a partial solution as the bikes still take up space when folded. For convenience's sake, many people actually prefer to keep the bikes unfolded.

One good way to maximize the use of space in the house is to store items vertically, using the space above other items. For bicycles, the only way to do this is to use a bike storage stand for hanging bikes. There are many different bike storage stands available, and they serve similar purposes. Most of them use the concept of suspending bikes above each other, saving some space.

There are two main types of storage stands, the type that is freestanding, and the type that is supported by the floor and ceiling. The advantage of the freestanding bike storage stand is that it can be placed almost anywhere in the house, and is super easy to set up. However, there will be the support legs of the stand that will stick out across the floor, which may cause accidents if someone trips over them.

The other type of bike storage stand would be the type that is supported by the floor and ceiling, without the use of support legs across the floor. The advantage of this type is a very clean and minimalist design. However, it cannot be used on soft floors such as carpets. Also, it needs a solid ceiling for the pole to push against. False ceilings cannot use these type of bike storage stands as the false ceiling cannot support the force of the pole pushing against the ceiling. There is also a maximum height limit, depending on the brand and model of bike stand.

For my new place, I had already planned out where to install this bike storage stand. As such, I ensured that there is no false ceiling at the area where I planned to install the bike stand. So which is the bike storage stand that I chose?

I selected the Minoura Bike Tower 10 as Minoura products are usually well designed, very sturdy and durable. The design may not be as attractive as some other brands, but they are very functional.

Minoura Bike Tower 10! Comes in a slim but long package that is about 1.8 metres long.

There are quite a few steps to assemble and install the bike stand, as it is not as straightforward as it looks. Many safety features and fail safe designs can be seen, to minimise the risk to the user.

Some features of the Minoura Bike Tower 10:
1) Can fit up to 4 bikes of 20 kg each (comes with 2 cradles, can buy 2 additional ones if needed)
2) Max height of 3.1 metres, fits almost all HDB flats, even for top floor units.
3) Hooks and arms of the cradles are independently adjustable, ensuring optimal hooking angles for any bike frame.
4) Wide range of mounting heights for the bike cradles, to fit in different types of bikes
5) Very small footprint on the ground, does not have support legs sticking out across the floor.
More details available at this link.

I forgot to take pictures of the bike stand as I was setting it up, as I was too engrossed in making sure that I fixed it up properly. One important thing to take note when setting it up is to ensure that the pole is vertical and not slanted, or the pole may slide to one side and topple.

The bike pole when fully set up! I reinstalled many times before I got it perfectly vertical.

To install the bike stand, we need to first set it to the correct length and fix the length. After that, rest the bottom rubber cup on the floor, and pull down the top section to compress the internal spring. Then, align the pole to a vertical position, and release the top section such that the top rubber cup is pushed hard against the ceiling. This combination of friction and spring force should be sufficient to prevent the pole from moving.

One useful tip for setting the top rubber cup is to place a piece of paper or something between the rubber and the ceiling. This will prevent black marks from being left on the ceiling. For me, I taped the top of the rubber cup with masking tape and cut off the excess at the edges.

Bottom rubber cup seated firmly on the floor tiles.

Top rubber cup resting on the solid ceiling. I designed L-box lights for the ceiling so that the bike pole can rest outside the L-box.

The two included bike cradles can be placed anywhere along the length of the pole. The recommended set up is to have one at the bottom section, and the other cradle at the top section of the pole.

Bike cradle for one bike. The angle of the arms and hooks are independently adjustable.

Cradle hooks are rubber coated to prevent frame damage

The intersection between the top section and the bottom section. The two bolts shown at the right of the picture fixes the height of the entire pole. The chunky clamp of the cradle can be seen also.

Clamp of the lower bike cradle. The many bolts you see allow different arm angles to be fixed and secures the clamp securely to the bike pole.   

The user manual recommends that the front end of the bike should be hung lower than the rear, to prevent the front wheel from swinging around and hitting the bike itself.

Best to ensure that when the bike is placed onto the hooks, the cables are not squashed between the hooks and the frame.

All the bikes located around the bike pole! Dahon Boardwalk at the bottom, the folded Dahon Vitesse at the back, and the Avanti Inc 3 at the side.

I decided not to hang the Dahon Boardwalk using the bottom cradle, as there is not enough space on the frame to hang the bike properly. The cables that run along the bike frame will be squashed between the hook and the frame.

The bottom cradle is not wasted! It can be used to hang other accessories such as helmets or bags.

With the bike pole, it allows four bikes to be compactly stored in a space usually needed to store two full sized bikes.

Although this bike stand did not save as much space as I would have liked, as it only suspended one bike above the others, it still achieved its purpose of helping to store all the bikes neatly in one corner. Also, it displays the great looking MuEX bike in the air as part of the house decoration.

The bike collection! Placed prominently in the living room, near the main door so that bikes can be wheeled in and out of the house easily.

If you have a bike storage problem, this Minoura bike storage stand may just be able to solve your problem!

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