After using the beautiful-looking Bikestow racks of other photographers and demo guys we finally bought our own this year and realized how brilliant it was. The family back story adds a warm fuzzy glow to one of our favorite bike-related products ever.
BikeStow is a tiny family firm from the UK. They started when dad Simon and uncle Matthew made a makeshift MTB rack for their van, which son George then based his high school design project on. He made it into a beautiful piece of Scandinavian-looking sculpture and refined its user-friendliness in the process. They started selling to friends, took a punt on a stand at a bike show and they’re now so busy that George will be teaching mum Julie how to use the CNC router to keep up with demand.
Like many of the best things, the basic design is very simple. A folding A-frame of high-quality heavyweight birch plywood (you can get weatherproof laminated or unlaminated ‘raw’ versions). Pull it up from flat and the two locking ‘dog bone’ struts drop down to notch into place with magnetic catches for extra security. V slots at the three contact points of the tire provide the basic ‘hold’ before you slide a thumbwheel secured, anodized alloy guillotine into place over the top of the tire, locking the bike upright and totally stable. Spacing is perfect to avoid bike on bike scratches and there’s no potentially damaging rack to bike contact either as it’s all wheel based.
We’ve maxed out capacity scrubbing a 66mm wide, 60mm tall 29x2.6in enduro bike tire in and out, but it’ll take a 27.5 x 3in tire without worry or a road bike/26in wheel MTB at the other end of the spectrum. There are even retrofit guillotines on the way to handle kids bikes, too, so only full-on snow conquering fat bikes get left out in the cold. You can choose between 2, 3 and 4 slot setups and Bikestow regularly do special edition colorways alongside the gorgeous black laminate with silver guillotines. All the parts that Bikestow doesn’t make in-house are made locally too and considering the quality of materials and the luxury feel when you’re using it the price is excellent.
While the reassuringly sturdy build makes it a bit heavy to hump about, that gives it extra stability in the van and BikeStow provides two generous length tie-down straps to stop it sliding about if you’re a more ‘dynamic’ driver. The rack folds flat instantly for storage and it’s pretty enough to look at home in the poshest penthouse. A quick wipe is enough to get it looking brand new again after several months of looking after dirty bikes in the back of my van and being able to whip them in and out in seconds with zero worries about stability or scratches is still an absolute joy.
All sizes and finishes are only available from BikeStow.com.
Tech Specs: BikeStow 4 bike rack
- Price: 2 bike £179, 3 bike £239, 4 bike £289, 4 bike raw £219
- Weight: 2 bike 7.5kg, 3 bike 10kg, 4 bike 12.5kg, 4 bike raw 11kg