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Here are some helpful suggestions as you mount this great product...
on September 21, 2008
We researched a lot of similar products via online reviews, settling on this one as having the greatest likelihood of highest quality / best price and WE ARE VERY PLEASED.
Here are some key things we'd like you to know:
1. It takes some time to get these things mounted right, so just plan on it... you need to string the rope through the 4 pieces and pulleys just so, mount them on joists just so, and ensure the distance between the two pieces is just right for your bike. We recommend at least two people, chips and salsa, and perhaps a coors light ;)
2. You can mount several bikes fairly close together if you offset the handlebars a bit forward and back among the mounts so that the handlebars never "share the same space." We bought 5 of these bike hoists and mounted them to run parallel to the joists spaced at 24" for mounting 5 bikes, one bike on each of five different joists mounted side-by-side. We bought long screws from the hardware store to replace those included in the package so we could securely screw through the drywall and further into the wood joists. We'd recommend including this hardware store errand in your time estimates for installation.
3. It is important that the BACK tire go toward the wall where the rope coming out of the brake will be cleated. The whole rope and braking mechanism works so well this way ... if you put the handlebars on the wall side like the picture for this product, then the handlebars block you moving the rope to operate the brake (trust, trust, trust me on this). If you put the back tire to the wall, the rope moves freely :) By the way, the braking mechanism in the pulley seems so sturdy you might choose not to mount/use the cleat, but it does feel safer to us to use it.
4. The distance between the ceiling and the bike will not be related to how far up the handlebars or the seat stick up ... it will be the length of the hardware above where it hooks on -- this may be important to you if you are mounting above a car and top-to-bottom distance matters. We mounted three of our bikes above a mini-van roof (the other two in front) and it was important to choose the lower profile bikes as not all of the bikes would have fit directly above the van. The "first bike" in line (at the front of the van) can be raised and lowered while the van is parked in the garage so that's a great location for whichever bike you'll be riding most frequently *or* for the bike of a kid not old enough to move the car in order to get his/her own bike down ;)
5. On arrival, the instructions said the mounts would hold 100 pounds (which is more than we had read here online). Our tandem bike fully equipped is just under 50 pounds and seems very secure and happy.
6. These are designed for the top rounded section of the lower hook assembly to fit into the rounded-out section of the ceiling mounted pulleys. The hook assembly will only fit into the ceiling assembly if the two pieces mounted on the ceiling are spaced EXACTLY to fit the specific bike where the hooks will grab the seat and handlebars. You'll be much more pleased if you take the time to get this spacing right (you can tell by letting the hooks hang down while you are choosing the mounting position ~ gravity will allow the ropes to work as a plumb line :)
7. Our thoughts relative to the complaints you might read about this product ... A. The rope has been fine, no fraying or other problems. B. The "hook" ends could be hook-ier without a doubt, although we've not encountered any problems with them (perhaps because we don't live in earthquake zones and we don't move with great haste :) C. Sometimes the front or back of the bike will raise or lower faster than the other end -- when this happens we simply grab the lowest tire and give it a boost up to level it which happens quickly and then it stays level for the rest of the up or down operation so it's never been a big concern. D. We mounted each bike directly into one joist (i.e., parallel/directly below one joist and not perpendicular between two joists) thus there was no need / benefit of mounting the brackets to a 2x4 first and then mounting the 2x4 to the ceiling -- we just mounted straight into the ceiling.
8. If you are going to cut the rope shorter, only do so when the bike is in the down position ... once the bike is lowered, this cool contraption uses a lot of rope!
9. Everyone in the family can operate these hoists easily -- they are so much safer and usable than the stationary hooks we used to have that involved lifting heavy bikes on and off. Also, if you leave the kickstand down as you put your bike up, then when you lower the bike on the pulley later, it will land ready to go :)
10. An unexpected benefit (beyond the extra garage space which we were hoping for) has been that all of us ride our bikes much more often than we used to. Putting the bikes up and getting them down is so easy that it has brought back a lot of frequency and joy to our bike riding experience.
July 2014 Continuing Update ~ Still using them and still loving them :)