Thursday, January 17, 2013

How To Make a Bicycle Hoist..

Last year I bought a really nice time trial bike. It had been a conundrum trying to find a safe place to store her where dings and scratches would be improbable. Randomly, a friend informed me  that he was buying a few bicycle hoists to store bikes up in his garage ceiling. I had never heard of such contraptions. I read a few reviews on regarding current hoists on the market. They all sounded cheaply built. Not many customers were happy with them. Not the type of hoists I was ready trust my baby with. I wondered if I could build something better. After searching the net, I found a blog where someone had already solved the problem. So I copied their plans! It was actually an easy project. The hoist works flawlessly. This hoist provides a mechanical advantage of 5:1. Since my TT bike weighs approximately 17 pounds the pulley makes the load feel like 3.4 pounds. For every foot you want to raise the bike you have to pull five feet of rope. You can use that rule of thumb to figure out how much rope to buy. The only downside to this project was that it was way more expensive. My hoist cost about $75 in parts as opposed to the $20 hoists for sale on the internet, but I guarantee mine is way stronger, and was a great excuse to build something! Enjoy the pics and video.

Here is everything you will need to get started. The most expensive part will be the pulleys. I used Campbell pulleys that I ordered off of Amazon. You will need 4 wall-ceiling pulleys  (5 are shown because that is how many came per package), and two single sheave rigid eye pulleys, 1 wire rope thimble and clamp set, 1 rope cleat, 1 eye screw, two spring links, 1nylon rope, 1 2X4, wood screws, and 2 1/8th inch braided steel cables coated in plastic. The braided steel was used to attach the bicycle to the hoist. I used a swaging tool at the hardware store to clamp the ferrules to make the loops at the ends of the braided wire (I didn't want to spend $30 on a swaging tool for a one time use).

I started off measuring and marking the midline of the 2X4. The next step was to figure the layout of the pulleys. The eye screw was placed at the end of the 2X4. The rope was threaded through they eye and clamped off with the wire rope thimble and clamp set. The first ceiling pulley was mounted above bicycle seat, the next one was mounted above the fork, and the third about 6 inches in front of the fork. The last pulley was mounted close to where I wanted the 2X4 to end. All the ceiling pulleys were mounted to the midline of the 2X4 with wood screws.

Everything was pre-tapped to facilitate mounting the 2X4 to the ceiling with the wood screws. I tried to get by without pre-tapping, but the woord screws would just strip and not screw in all the way. I used a little grease on each screw so they would go in like butter.

The sequence for threading the rope was: ceiling pulley, rigid eye pulley, ceiling pulley, rigid eye pulley, ceiling pulley, ceiling pulley. This turned out to be a terrible place to mount the hoist, so I moved it to better spot. What a pain! Also cleaned out my garage after seeing this photo!

The final resting place for the hoist. I still need to cut the end of the 2X4 off. The Shiv sure does look good up there.

Here you can see the plastic coated braided steel wire used to connect the bike to the rigid pulleys of the hoist.

Here is the wall cleat used to tie off the rope. One advantage that the commercially available hoists have on me is that they have a breaking system to prevent your bike from crashing down should you loose grip on the rope or your cleat fail. From what I read it was more of a pain than it was worth. I will post a video of the bicycle hoist in action soon! Here is a link to the blog that I used to make my hoist. Give credit where it is due!


  1. We use bicycle hoists to free some space in our garage for our two wheeled friend. You can buy different types and makes of hoists in the market, but to make your own bicycle hoist is a talent! It's practical, and I can see that it's done well so you are free from worries that your bicycle might fall. Nice!
    Zo-Air Company Inc.

    1. Thank you for your comments. It was a fun project. I am by no means an expert craftsman, so if I could make this, anyone could.

  2. NIcely done! I couldnt find your video, though... Cheers, m

  3. Hey, this is really very innovative post.
    Thanks for sharing all this in your post.

    4 Post Hoists