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Designed to hold the bike while contacting nothing but the tyres, the Australian-designed Steadyrack is one of the more innovative and popular cycling products to come from Down Under in the past decade.
In addition to making no contact with the frame, rim or spokes, the rack can also be swung side-to-side for easier access, or to open up other storage options, and can be mounted at a height where the bike can simply be rolled into the rack without having to lift it.
The Steadyrack Classic is almost entirely unchanged from its original product and continues to be one of the better options for storing bikes vertically. And recently the company added a wider, mountain bike version of its popular rack. Not much changed in this mountain bike version compared to the original, however, it’s as good a time as any to revisit this product and see whether it stills stands alone all these years on.
Related reading: Our favourite indoor bike storage solutions
- What: Wall-mounted vertical bike storage.
- Key updates: MTB version offers larger tyre clearance (up to 3″).
- Price: From US$70 / AU$80
- Highs: Impressively space-efficient, easy to use, secure hold, easy access to other bikes, delicate on bikes.
- Lows: Involved installation, price is per bike.
Before you can use the Steadyrack you need to mount it to a solid vertical surface, aka a wall. You’ll need the usual tools for mounting things to walls: a drill, the appropriately-sized drillbit, a beverage, and fasteners tools. Yep, none of this is suitable if you’re renting.
Each Steadyrack includes the necessary hardware for mounting into timber and with plugs for masonry. Personally I mounted my sample into brick with AnkaScrews, something that I find to be easier, faster and even stronger for mounting into brick.
The installation isn’t tricky, but it’s a little involved. Each rack requires a total of four holes, with an additional two for the optional rear-wheel protector. Six holes ain’t bad, but that workload obviously grows with each rack you wish to mount.
Steadyrack recommends mounting the rack at a height that allows the bike to be wheeled straight into it. This is certainly an option, but you’ll need to pay attention to the differing wheelbase lengths of various bikes. Personally I’ve found these racks still easy to use even when they’re raised from the ground, and so I’ve kept some floor space below mine.
The plastic rear wheel hook is simply there to keep the bike pivoting with the two wheels in a straight plane, and it also helps to keep tyre marks off the wall. It’s simple to install, but switching from an adult 29er mountain bike to your kid’s 20″ BMX will mean the hook is in the wrong place for one of the bikes. Thankfully it’s far from an essential element of this rack and so you can do without it if you’re not a fan of the aesthetic, or drilling more holes.
Time to mount the bike.
Using the Steadyrack
Roll the bike back onto its back wheel and slot the front wheel into the rack. Your bike is now safely hanging from the wall. The Steadyrack really is that simple to use.
Only the tyres come into contact with the rack and from there the whole bike can be swung in an almost 180-degree arc in order to make space or to access other bikes. As an added bonus, accidentally bumping a bike will simply see the rack swing, whereas simpler hooks could see bikes fall.
The rack itself can be folded up when not in use, and without a single manual latch or button, it’s extremely easy to unfold with one hand.
The space efficiency of these racks can’t be emphasised enough, and the ability to swing a bike out of the way really opens up possibilities for more tightly crammed bikes. Our community manager Andy van Bergen is a big fan of the Steadyrack and has his garage fitted out with a row of them so he can move his bikes like pages in a book.
I’ve also seen others set their Steadyracks at alternating heights so that handlebars don’t overlap when the bikes are crammed closely together.
And that space-efficiency from being able to swing the bikes out of the way also means that you can potentially alternate your bike storage between basic hooks and Steadyracks, something I’ve done. Sure it’s not as nice, but it remains an option if you’re looking to maximise space and ease of access on a budget.
It’s also worth noting that the rack cradles the front wheel in a way that even an unexpected front flat tyre won’t perturb the holding ability, something that’s not the case with other hook designs which grab the bike by just the front tyre. Likewise, there’s no chance of scratching or damaging a rim or spoke with the Steadyrack’s design.
And yes, you can use a lock to secure a bike to this rack.
MTB vs Classic
As already mentioned, Steadyrack recently released a wider version intended for modern and ever-growing mountain bike wheels. This newer version is extremely similar to the original Classic rack, but offers a little more width and a deeper basket for large 29er wheels. It also costs about $10 more.
Skinny-tired road bikes can still be used within the new MTB rack, although it’s a bit of a sloppier fit and the front wheel can wriggle around within it. Similarly, the smaller tyre will sit deeper into the wheel basket, and so clearance issues with some road frames can occur. This wider rack can handle up to a 3″-wide mountain bike tyre, plenty of room for everything except a fat bike (though, there’s a fat-bike specific model for this).
On the reverse, the Classic rack works perfectly with road, gravel and older mountain bike wheels, but it becomes a squeeze with anything wider than 2.3 inches. For example, my trail bike with 29 x 2.4″ tyres could be forced into the Classic rack, but it’s a far easier and more comforting experience with the MTB version.
In short, modern mountain bikes will likely need the MTB version, while if you’re a diehard roadie and your idea of mountain biking is a gravel bike, then the Classic is still the right choice for you.
What doesn’t fit?
Ok, ok, so this rack isn’t perfect. Those who have a mud-guard surrounding their front wheel will need to look at another version, the Steadyrack Fender. In theory, it slips right past the fender, but I haven’t used one to provide an opinion on.
Similarly, the design requires some space above the front wheel, and so those on certain aero bikes where the front wheel is shielded by the downtube may be out of luck too. The Classic rack was no issue on the modern race bikes I tried, such as a current Specialized Tarmac, but it could still be an issue on more aggressively optimised frames which have less than a 2 cm gap between the tyre and downtube. Steadyrack suggests using the Fender version for frames with tight clearance.
Still a benchmark product
Plenty has changed in the last decade, and even the indoor bike storage market has become more hotly contested. Still, the Steadyrack remains what I consider to be a benchmark product. There are plenty of options on the market that allow similar space efficiency, ease of use and secure holding, but there aren’t many that combine all of those attributes quite like the Steadyrack.
So why aren’t my garage walls lined with Steadyracks? Well, the price. I can buy all the simple wheel hooks I need for roughly the price of one Steadyrack, and probably have them installed in a similar timeframe to what one rack takes, too. Fewer bikes would make the choice easier, but when you’ve got more bikes than there are days in the week, converting them all over to Steadyracks remains a big expense.