Customer Reviews: RAD Cycle Products Heavy Duty Bike Lift Hoist For Garage Storage 100lb Capacity Mountain Bicycle Hoist
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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 :)

Bon Appetit!
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on May 8, 2007
This bike lift is almost identical to the more expensive Racor list. We purchased a Racor first, then three of these. The only difference is slightly cheaper rope, and different pulleys. For the price, I'm happy that I went with this one.

Review from my Racor purchase (applies to all of them):
We purchased four lifts (three of this brand, one Racor) for our garage and are happy with them. We were able to position each bike about 16" apart and have no trouble getting any bike up or down.

I have several hints from our installation, and one complaints, but on the whole am very satisfied:

* Works smoothly
* Clever, simple system
* Locking mechanism for rope is nice
* Installation is straightforward

* Hooks need a safety strap, depending on where you attach them

* I attached the hooks to a lower location on each bike to have the bike lifted all the way to the ceiling. This gives me enough room to stand beneath the bikes without bending my head.
* I used some of the extra rope, after cutting to an appropriate length, for safety straps for the hooks. Depending on where the hooks attach, they may not have enough bite to fully trust -- easy way to prevent potential injury (see an earlier post on earthquakes!!)
* I don't recommend using the supplied bracket for excess rope. I just coiled the rope and hung it from one of the quick-release levers on the bike. Works great, and keeps the ropes from getting tangled.

On the whole, I'm happy with our purchase. Almost identical to the Racor lift here Racor Ceiling Mounted Bike Lift #PBH-1R and a significant savings that adds up if you're buying several.

UPDATE: January 20, 2010
After living with these hoists for a while, I have mixed emotions:

* Hooks do not have a deep/aggressive enough curve, resulting in a less than optimal hold depending on what part of the bike you're trying to hold.

* Some sort of safety strap is necessary on each hook, partly due to the shape of the hook.. I dropped a bike several times due to the hook not holding reliably, a strap would have at least made this less painful.

* While the hoist makes the bikes easier to raise and lower (minus the hook issues), it is not able to get the bikes as high as simple bike hooks mounted in the same location

Given the lack of trust in the hold provided by the hooks plus the few inches of lost clearance that make a difference in our garage (though our mounting situation may be lower than yours) I've gone back to good old bike hooks to store our bikes.
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on February 7, 2009
I am actually using the product to hoist something other (much heavier) than a bicycle but I think my comments might still be of interest to others. I found the product to be reasonably well made. The rope, as noted by others, is inexpensive but suitable for its purpose. If you don't like it, you can certainly afford to replace it based on the product's low price. The only complaint I have is that the two pulleys don't rise at the same rate; the pulley carrying the least amount of weight will rise first and once at its maximum height, will then allow the pulley with the heavier load to rise. This probably isn't an issue for hoisting a bike but in my application, I need both pulleys to rise equally at the same time. It's an easy problem to work around but the product would be perfect without it. To be honest, I'm not sure what could be done about this as I think it's just the physics of its two-pulley design. For $12.00 each and free shipping though, I'm more than satisfied (and I purchased 4). For those hoisting bikes, it certainly beats lifting your bike in the air to hang it on a hook and, by storing the bike horizontally, you have more space underneath it than if you had to hang the bike vertically from a single hook. As for mounting, as others have suggested, I would recommend first mounting the entire hoist on a 5 or 6 foot long 1x4 and then mounting the 1x4 to your ceiling. Without the 1x4, trying to align the hoist's mounting holes with your ceiling joists is all but impossible if you're mounting the device parallel to your joists. Even when mounting the hoist perpendicular to your joists, the hoist's mounting points need to be as vertical to the bike's attachment points as possible to ensure maximum security when lifting the bike; something your joist spacing may not allow. Pre-mounting the hoist to the 1x4 eliminates nearly all of these concerns. Other than that, I highly recommend the product; it certainly beats paying $60.00 for the glorified hook of a competing product.
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on July 22, 2009
Get some chain with a quick release connection so you can create a safety cable. The way the hooks attach to the bike, it's too easy for it to slip off. The bikes have already slipped off and were saved by the safety cables I had. I happened to have a safety cable lying around and I wouldn't have it any other way. The hooks that come with the system already have the holes to attach the cable to.

Whether you are setting up the system parallel or perpendicular to the studs, first "build" the system using a 2x4 as suggested with the perpendicular stud drawling (Drawling 3). Then lag the entire unit as one into the ceiling. It's much easier.

Other than that, I like the system very much. It works great.
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on August 10, 2010
First, I would like to say that I bought this system for $15 dollars on the "apparent" sale from the original price of $55. It is not worth $55 dollars. But for $15 dollars, with a little additional work, it's worth it. Now, I could write a book on the pros and cons here, but I'll try to stay concise:

1. It's very easy to set up. Simply measure the distance between the your handle bars and seat, attach the two mounts that hold the pulleys that amount of distance apart on the roof of your garage, thread the rope through the pulley system, and you're done.

2. Although none of the parts are by any means heavy duty, it's certainly enough to withstand the weight of a bike. Note : if you're thinking about using this pulley system as a cheap alternative for hoisting some heavier equipment, DON'T DO IT. The system (including semi-weak rope) won't stand up to the weight.

3. As simple as it is, the locking mechanism works surprisingly well.

4. Well, it accomplishes the task at hand, my bike is now out of the way mounted close to the ceiling.

1. As I motioned, it's kind of cheaply made. A) My rope has already frayed a bit through the installation process, but now that it's up, since the weight of the bike is small, I suspect it won't fray anymore. B) There is too much space on the sides of the wheels of the pulleys, so without significant weight pulling the rope into the groove of the wheel, the rope can slip out of the groove.

2. LARGEST CON : The bike holder is not the shape shown in the advertised pics. Instead of having a curved hook at the end, they are simply "L" shaped braces. Well, this seems to work fine for the handle bar end of the bike, but is easily slips out of the seat causing the bike to fall (happened to me a couple times!). However, this is easily fixed by drilling a hole in each "L" brace on the seat side and tying a security loop of rope that can go around and under your seat to secure the "L" braces to the seat. Now it works great and can't slip out.

3. Unless you have an extra tall ceiling, the bike tires won't be hoisted above the height of the garage door when it opens, therefore restricting where you can mount your bike. PLAN FOR THIS! I didn't and had to move the mounts when I realized the problem.

4. The screws that it came with are incredibly weak. I don't know why they couldn't supply this kit with 20 regular strong wood screws (a cost of merely $1-$2), but they didn't. Without a pilot hole, drilling these 2' screws straight into a 2x4 starts to strip the head of the screw. Easy fix by using your own screws.

Conclusion : If it costed me $55, I would have given it 1 star because it's not worth it. But for 15 bucks, with a little additional work, it's great!
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on February 19, 2010
Beware, the RAD and Racor bike ceiling mounts have minor important differences. Previously I had purchased a Racor, and I thought I was buying the same bike mount when I bought the RAD. The main important difference is the hooks. The RAD's hooks are "L" shaped; they're not "J" shaped like those in the illustration advertising the product. The RAD's hooks are also rivited onto the pully assemble and the tension cannot be adjusted. The rubber coating on the RAD's hooks is also short; it only comes up about 1/2" after the turn.

If you're looking for a bike mount, the Racor is also cheaply made, but it's certainly better than the RAD for only a couple of dollars more.
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on June 5, 2010
I did a lot of research and bought this mount based on the reviews. This was NOT a quick and simple project like hanging a flat panel TV. This installation took some time to do all the measuring, finding the joist location in the attic, pre-drilling holes, painting the 2X4, etc. but it looks and works great. My only advice is to take your time and measure several times. We did not use the supplied screws we used longer wood screws for the 2X4 and better quality screws for the mounting plates. We also bent the hooks a little bit to hold my bike seat better.
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VINE VOICEon February 27, 2009
If you can get past the installation process, this bike hoist works well. The components are strong enough for the job. Only the screws are substandard and get stripped easily. Since they are dry wall screws and you really want to fix the hoist to a wood beam to support the weight of the bike, you will do much better with your own wood screws anyway.

Here is a list of tools and material that I recommend for the installation:

1. One fully charged drill/screw-driver with appropriate drill bits and screw heads.
2. One piece of 3/4"x3 1/2" lumber for extra support. It also gives you some flexibility if the ceiling beam does not run through the exact location of your choosing.
3. One electric saw for trimming the lumber to the right length, which depends on the bike you want to hang.
4. #8x2" and #8x3" wood screws.
5. One pencil.
6. One tape measure.
7. One stud finder.
8. One ladder.
9. One set of stuck screw extractors, if you insist on using the default screws.

By the way, the Racor PBH-1R Ceiling-Mounted Bike Lift is exactly the same as this product except for a coat of less shiny paint. There is absolutely no reason to pay extra for Racor, particularly since the screws are equally worthless.
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on April 9, 2013
I just purchased and installed my second of these hoists. I'm actually using them for whitewater kayaks instead of bikes, but a whitewater boat still comes in well shy of the 55 lb limit. Overall, these are certainly a bargain for what I paid for them through Amazon's sale price of $13.49, though I can't see paying the list price of $54.95 for the adequate yet flimsy hardware when you could buy individual components and make an industrial-strength hoist for around $40.

For hanging boats, I removed the hook part of the pulleys and instead used heavy duty nylon cordage tied in a loop through the bolt holes in the pulleys, though I would have been a little antsy about hanging a heavier bike with the hooks anyway; they were pretty flimsy and bent easily with very little applied force.

The pulleys themselves are also a bit disappointing. While the plastic rings and thin metal housing look cheap (and they are), they're strong enough for this application; however, what is annoying about them is that there is far too much wiggle room on either side of the ring, so when the rope isn't under load, it's easy for the rope to jump off of the ring and rest between the ring and the housing on the pulley's axle. I've already had this happen several times, though thankfully it has only occurred on the two pulleys that hold the boats (or bikes), so it's easy to reach and re-situate the rope in the pulley wheel's channel; if this problem occurred on the ceiling-mounted pulleys, you'd have to get a ladder every time the rope derailed, and that would be a deal-breaker.

Lastly, the rope is pretty low-quality braided nylon. All the other components are flimsy but adequate, but the rope is the one component that I expect that I'll have to replace. I've had my boats suspended for just a week or two, but I can already see several spots where the rope is wearing as it feeds through the auto-lock mechanism. Time will tell how they hold up, but I'd bet that a year from now I'll have replaced the ropes with something a little more durable.

But for all its flimsy components, this hoist is sturdy enough for its application (small, lightweight objects). If you find this on sale for under $20, it's worth it. Obviously, since I bought a second one, it gets my recommendation.

Pro tip: If you end up needing to mount the rope cleat out of alignment with the hoist (i.e., if the only nearby wall to mount the cleat on is off to the side), you can loosen the nut on the auto-lock pulley and rotate it by around 30 degrees, then tighten the nut again. This will allow the rope to pull more in line with the wheel's direction, rather than the rope meeting the wheel at an odd, off-axis angle.
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on May 2, 2009
One reviewer commented on the quality and size of the screws included, and they were correct: much too large, and too easy to strip. I used my own screws instead.

Another reviewer commented that the hooks used to hold up the bikes were also not bent correctly (too flat, not enough curve) and I totally agree. In fact, because the front and back pulleys move up at different rates (depending on the weight balance of the bike front-to-back), the tilt angle of the bike caused it to slip off the too-flat hooks. This was terrible! My solution was to purchase 2 steel spring cargo clips for an additional $4 at home depot. I unscrewed the hooks from the bottom of the pulley and threaded in a short length (2') of rope I cut off. This makes a perfect loop for the spring clip and lets me actually clip the pulleys to the seat and handlebars. Much more secure.

I still give this product 4 stars because it was so inexpensive and I knew what I was getting myself into based on the useful comments from other reviewers.
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