10 March 2008

bikefix Exclusive Review: Topeak Dual Touch bike storage

Bikes are great. But they sure a pain to store. One isn't too bad, two can be manageable, but if your household includes 4 or more bikes, they can really start to take over. There are a number of bicycle storage options out there, but none have ever seemed perfect. While the $2 nylon-coated hook can do quite a good job, those require drilling into walls or ceilings (preferably then into studs) and you're usually stuck with bikes coming straight out of the wall. Wheel stands are versatile, but they leaves loads of space above the bike(s). There are a number of leaning storage racks out there, but most aren't particularly flexible. Just leaning a bunch of bikes bikes somewhere is just asking for a messy pile of scratched bike.

Topeak, who make a surprisingly wide range of (usually) well thought-out cycling accessories, have been selling the Dual Touch bike storage stand for several years now. A renter at the time, what drew me to the Dual Touch at the time of purchase were its adaptability to different ceiling heights and non-permanent (no drilling required) mounting. A pair of telescoping tubes extend to press non-marking white suction cup feet against the ceiling and the floor. A foot-operated cam provides a bit of oomph and locks the whole thing in place. That's it. A pair of cradles hold bikes' top tubes. The spacing of the cradles' hooks can be adjusted, as can their angle, so can almost always be set up so that the front wheel doesn't flop around. The cradles can be easily slid up, down and around the tubes and are locked in place with a large knob on the far side (see pictures).

All of the Dual Touch's hardware has proven to be quite well thought out and is built of aluminum or the type of composite typically seen on car roof racks. The hardware is metric and most can be adjusted with a common (for cyclists) 5mm hex wrench. In about 5 years of ownership, the only problem that I have had is the occasional slipping of the quick release that holds the setting of the telescoping tube- though only while setting up the stand and not in use. From time to time, 1/4 turn of the QR's allen bolt helps to put my mind at ease. I also snapped one of the cradle hook bolts once, but a replacement was easy to find. While not cheap at $135, the design, construction and materials are far better than other bike holders I've seen and seems reasonable for something so durable. Thanks to the lighweight materials, each rack only weighs 11lb and easy to set up, store or move. Mine have adapted to a number of apartments and houses without complaint. Additional bike hangers (for freestanding installations holding up to 4 bikes) are available for around $30, but I would probably keep it to lightweight road bikes at that point.



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