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My garage has a one inch thick wood shelf up high. I want to hang bikes below it. The bikes are heavy electric bikes, about 70 lbs each.

I bought J-hooks but I don't think that'll cut it. I've used toggle bolts with drywall before, do they have anything like that for 2x4s? Something that can drill through and expand on the other side of the shelf?

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  • nuts and bolts will do it
    – Traveler
    Commented Jun 7 at 4:09
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    How is the shelf supported? Is it screwed to the wall? Is it capable of supporting not just hundreds of pounds, but people manipulating that, pulling on it etc? You are only asking how to attach the bike to the shelf, but I think there are many other factors you need to consider.
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:32
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    Wood types vary in their strength. 1" thick oak is different than 1" thick pine. What kind of wood?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:43
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    I hung my first race bike (<20 pounds) from a couple of hooks up high in the rafters. It was a major struggle to get it up there, and it hasn't come down since (keeping the bike for sentimental reasons, not day-to-day use). Your bike weighs 3 times as much as mine did. This storage system might be a bit more of a challenge than you're thinking.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:47
  • Can you lift the bike without assistance ? If not, this becomes a danger to you underneath.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 9 at 22:06

2 Answers 2

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You can store bicycles vertically with the rear wheel resting on the ground:

  • You don't need to lift the bike to hang it

  • The fastener doesn't need to hold the full weight of the bike, only prevent it from falling over

  • Most of the weight rests on the floor, not hung on the shelf

Here's an example:

enter image description here

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    That is an awesome , bobflux.
    – RMDman
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:04
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    That's pretty and I upvoted. It does not free up the floor space beneath the bikes, which is often the goal of hanging bikes. It does free up some floor space. In the case of a 70 lb bike I think this is the only solution. Actually hanging is dangerous.
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:23
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    Stephanie, actually lifting a 70 lb object that isn't rigid, with its weight held far from your body and trying to get a part of it that rotates in two dimensions onto a little hook is a bad idea. Eventually someone will get hurt. This solution gives you most of the benefit, for much less effort and danger.
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:28
  • When the kids were younger, I had 5 hooks just like this screwed directly into the bare studs in the garage. Worked perfectly and even the youngest could get his bike up there himself.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:45
  • Yes it's easy to turn the bike upright like this, just push it forward, lift the handlebars and pull. With an ebike the heavy battery is usually on the rear rack, plus whatever you got in the rear bags, that weight on the rear actually helps lifting the front wheel. Lifting it off the floor is another story...
    – bobflux
    Commented Jun 7 at 12:04
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Your question is "How can I hang bikes under a thick wooden shelf?" (I point this out because others have proposed alternatives for bike storage that reduce but do not eliminate footprint by tilting it back and attaching the front wheel to the wall. If that would be sufficient for your situation, see "Alternative solutions" below.)

Now to your actual question:

First, I would note that a typical ¼" wood screw eye can hold 600 lbs or 300 kg, so if the wood is sound, you may use wood screw hooks. Still, I wouldn't want to stand under a 70 lb load with just one screw holding it. In fact, I wouldn't stand under anything while hoisting it, or ever if it didn't have at least two mounting points each capable of holding the entire load. That said, there are safe and reliable means to hang bikes overhead. For all of them, the substrate holding the weight must be sound (e.g., a sound 2x4 or joist; not drywall, plaster, etc.). I presume you are satisfied with the strength of your wood shelf; if not, post another question.

Now, to answer your specific question for something similar to an expanding toggle, that is, something that will spread the load over more of the wood:

You would use screw/bolt eyes (or hooks) with a machine thread, two flat washers, and two nuts. Thread a nut and washer onto the bolt, insert up through the hole you've drilled in the shelf, top with the other washer and nut, and tighten the nuts to squeeze the shelf. Some hooks have spring clips on the hook as well. The larger the washer, the more weight the wood can sustain; fender washers are larger and will hold plenty on a sound 1" board. The projection above the shelf need be no higher than the thickness of the bolt plus washer, so you lose little if any storage space.

(screw hook)

Alternative solutions:

A swivel wall mount like this will hold over 66 lbs or 30 kg, is ready-made and easy to install, and will pivot to allow the bike to rest closer to the wall. You need not mount the bike with the rear wheel up off the floor as in the pic; I wouldn't want to lift it up there. (swivel mount)

A bike hoist is a very elegant yet inexpensive solution that will screw directly to your shelf. (bike hoist)

Its pulleys give a mechanical advantage of 4:1, so a 70 lb bike needs only an 18 lb pull, and it's pulling downward instead of lifting upward. The two brackets attach to the wood with eight included wood screws (providing plenty of redundancy). The rope lock holds the weight after each pull as you lift it, and stops the bike's descent if you let go.

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    But that would mean the top surface is no longer flat...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:26
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    @Solar Mike : True, but since OP asked for something like a toggle bolt, I assumed projection would not be a problem. Even then, the projection could easily be minimal, i.e., the thickness of the nut and washer.
    – MadMonty
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:34
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    +1 for the bike hoist. Seems like the only reasonable option for a heavy e-bike. If the bolts project through the top of the shelf too far to store something there, then losing some top-of-shelf storage space is the price paid for hanging the bike below the shelf.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:48
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    @jay613 I assume the bolt pictured is illustrating the general idea of bolt eye/hooks, so OP can look in the right area and choose something appropriate for their specific application. That said, if one did go with this particular little hook any number of rope/velcro/carabiner/s-hook/etc options could hold the bike to the hook easily and securely. It's a direct answer to the limited question OP asked.
    – Jay McEh
    Commented Jun 7 at 17:08
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    If the projection of the nut+washer is an issue, consider adding a ply board on top of the shelf with holes drilled out for the fittings (locate the holes from below with a pencil or drill bit). If the ply is thick, you might not need to drill all the way through. Commented Jun 8 at 13:51

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