Wall hooks are an incredibly space-saving and cheap solution to store bikes. Since not everyone has the space to store their bikes on the floor, they must consider alternative ways of stowing their mountain bikes, like hanging them vertically. But will you damage your mountain bike by storing it vertically?
There isn’t any harm in storing your mountain bike vertically. Many worry about damaging the rim, suspension fork, or hydraulic disc brakes hanging their mountain bikes from the front wheel. But these components are designed to withstand much more than the bike’s own weight.
While you may be concerned about storing your mountain bike vertically for several reasons, you can rest assured that it is not only safe to do, but can even be surprisingly beneficial for some components. We’ll discuss what you should consider when storing your mountain bike vertically and why some riders (including me) prefer storing their bikes this way.
Can You Damage Your Mountain Bike By Storing It Vertically?
Despite these apparent advantages, many worry that vertically storing a mountain bike can damage the rims, hydraulic brakes, or suspension forks. So let’s once and for all answer the old question if hanging your mountain bike vertically for storage will damage any components.
Let’s bust some common myths, shall we?
Scratches or bends in the rims
Hanging a mountain bike will not damage the rims. Any decent bike hook has rubber or silicone over any part in contact with the rim. Some worry that the bike’s weight may buckle the rim. This fear is completely unfounded. Why should the weight of an empty bike be damaging when the average rider weighs a multiple?
“Hanging a bike up by its wheel is no problem at all. The wheel is designed to take loads far in excess of the weight of the bike.”GearHooks UK
Especially mountain bikes, built to withstand jumps and rough bottom-outs, are designed incredibly tough. Same with e-bikes: They’re built stronger to accommodate the additional weight of the motor and battery.
Ensure that the hook on which you hang your mountain bike is rubberized or has a protective coating to prevent it from scratching your bike’s rims. Then, you can rest assured that your mountain bike’s rims won’t sustain any damage by being stored vertically.
Hydraulic Disc Brakes stop working
You may notice that your hydraulic disc brake levers feel slightly loose when you take your mountain bike down after having it vertically even for a couple of minutes – like in a gondola lift. However, this does not mean that the vertical storage has damaged the mountain bike’s brakes. Instead, it indicates that air is somewhere on the system and just moved. It’s a sign that you must bleed your brakes.
The hydraulic disc brakes require bleeding when air has gotten into the brake line. When you store your mountain bike vertically, the air bubbles travel to the highest point, the levers or the highest bend in the hose. When the bike is back horizontally, pumping the squishy levers several times should reset it and feel like before. But the air’s still trapped in there.
If hydraulic brakes stop working, it is a sign that the brakes are faulty. How the bike is stored just revealed the underlying issue to you.
Suspension forks get bent
Finally, some riders worry that storing their mountain bike in the vertical position may damage its suspension forks. However, quite the opposite is true. First of all, they’re designed to take a lot of beating. Not only in the direction of the travel but also fore and aft to deflect impacts to the tire from the front like sharp edges. Think of big roots, square-edge rocks and casing a jump.
Secondly, suspension forks are sealed with a rubber seal that stops the oil from leaking while being able to travel through the stroke. When your bike is stored vertically, the oil runs to the rubber, keeping it moist and lubricated.
If not lubed regularly, the rubber seal can dry out and shrink if your mountain bike is stored horizontally. Then, the seals won’t work correctly and will eventually start to leak oil. Therefore, vertically storing a mountain bike with suspension forks is the best way to help keep the fork seals lubricated. Obviously, this is not a substitute for regular servicing.
Let’s recap how some of the common fears are actually positives.
The benefits of vertical bike hooks
Despite many people telling you different horror stories, it is perfectly safe to store your mountain bike vertically. Either by the front or back wheel. It doesn’t really matter, as there isn’t any danger to any components of the bike when storing it in this way. On top of the little space needed for bike hooks, there are quite a few benefits of storing your mountain bike vertically.
The most significant advantage of storing a mountain bike in the vertical position is saving space. Living in a small apartment means you don’t have room to store your mountain bikes upright. So hanging them on the wall is an excellent way to make use of the three-dimensional space available.
Furthermore, it’s also a form of bike protection. It can’t fall over like a bike leaning against a wall or standing in a pile of bikes. Bike hooks can either be bolted in at a set distance from one another, or sit in sliders to move them closer together once hung. Either way, the risk of damage is greatly reduced.
But more surprisingly, some components even benefit from a rotation by 90 degrees. The suspension forks’ seals will get lubed naturally by the oil inside flowing “up” the lowers. Also, any air bubbles trapped in the brake systems will rise up to the levers over time, improving the bite point by itself and making it easier to bleed quickly.
This is why I store pretty much all my bikes vertically, hanging from the front wheel. Even for long durations like all winter long.