Bikestow is the small firm of the Laight family from the UK Midlands whose son George developed the original Bikestow rack as a high school project from a rough prototype made by his uncle and father. People who saw the rack immediately started placing orders and a small stand at the National Bike Show started them on a ballistic ‘must have’ trajectory. That’s seen them move from a garage to a proper industrial unit and mum Julie has now been trained up by George to use the CNC router that cuts the marine-grade plywood that’s the basis of the builds. The UP takes its proven wheel cradle and guillotine design of the Bikestow 4 that we previously tested, using it as the basis for a minimum footprint vertical bike rack for use where a wall hook isn’t an option.
As much as that story still gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling about Bikestow products there are loads of similar tales behind other products that are frankly a bit rubbish. What’s impressive about the UP is that it looks like sculptural high art but is first and foremost brilliantly simple to use and put together.
That’s because George or Julie or one of the other family members (it’ll say on the maker's card) do most of the flat pack building of the twin row quadrant design themselves. You just need to slot the rear foot section into place and then bolt the bracing pieces into the pre-fitted thread inserts and get the two different seat post cradles and the wheel strap ready.
Then it’s just a case of rolling the back wheel (it’ll take any size of wheel or tire from 26in through 650B - up to 5in wide - and 700c to a fat 29er) into the forked notches in the cradle. You then slide the (locally made) anodized alloy guillotine onto the tire to hold the bike steady. At this point, the bike will stand horizontally and you can use it for basic workshopping as long as you don’t need to rotate the rear wheel. That’s not saving much space though so the storage win comes when you wrap the large velcro strap round between the downtube and the nearest point of the front wheel to stop it flopping round as you rotate the bike back and upwards. Presuming you’ve got the right height of cradle and it’s in the right slot (there’s a bit of trial and error here) the seatpost will rest in it and your bike will sit vertically in the stand. As the bike is balanced and supports its own weight when upright rather than cantilevered in any way it’ll handle heavy E-bikes too.
The only potential issue is that while it’ll use any size of wheel this side of a Cruiser BMX or kids bike, mudguards and rear racks are probably going to get in the way or end up getting squashed or scratched. There’s nothing to hold the bike in place when it’s vertical either so it can drop down if knocked. But then that’s also a safety feature as if the bike gets knocked sideways somehow it’ll drop forward rather than toppling over sideways. Because the UP is designed for home use with clean bikes the wood isn’t laminated like the big Bikestow racks either so you’re going to have to give it a bit more TLC or a coat of varnish. Unlike the OG Bikestow rack, there’s no easy way to fold it down when there’s no bike in it either.
Bikestow’s UP is a really smart and simple solution for racking a bike in small spaces where you can’t use wall hooks or even have tires touching the wall. The fact it does it in a really stylish way that still looks good even with no bike in is an added bonus and considering the handbuilt UK quality, it’s a really good price too. Mudguards/racks can be an issue though and it still takes up space without the bike in.
The Bikestow UP, along with its other bike stands, is only available from BikeStow.com.
Tech Specs: BikeStow UP bike rack
- Price: $N/A / £149
- Weight: Raw wood
- Compatible wheel sizes: Min: 26in Max: 29in
- Max tire size: 5in