Dragging my trash cans around my touring bike was getting to be a pain, so, inspired by Jack’s garage, I bought this ceiling lift online. It is a Racor Pro ABL Aluminum Ceiling Mounted Bike Lift.
This lift looks cool and gives you back some garage floor space. However, it has some so-so product features and installation was not smooth. I decided to give it a brief product review…
- Extruded aluminum top track very sturdy. Product is plenty strong for most bikes.
- Nice finishes throughout, mostly bare brushed aluminum
- Pre-drilled holes fit my 24″ ceiling joists perfectly. Other widths are pre-drilled as well.
- “Venetian blind” locking mechanism seems to work quite well.
- Lower pulley housings are too wide – allows the rope to easily slip off the pulley wheels
To remedy this last problem, as suggested by a post I read online, I installed two loops of light gauge picture frame wire loosely over the pulley wheel to keep the rope in place. The wire rubs slightly on the wheel as it turns, but no big deal.
- Pulley stops do not fit or slide smoothly in top track. Some people have resorted to filing these stops so they will slide. I ended up just jamming them into place with a screwdriver since it was a one-time operation anyway.
- Low grade phillips head wood screws are included, which needed really big pilot holes because they’re difficult to torque (and don’t accept a #2 driver)
- The hook ends consist of 2 hooks that are mechanically coupled together. This presents problems. My Specialized Avatar Body Geometry seat is relatively flat underneath the back, and that surface doesn’t accept the hooks well. If the hooks were separated (not mechanically coupled) it might be better – I might then be able to hook onto the seat supports or at least be more inventive.
- The double hook also is difficult to hook under the seat if, like me, you have a little tire repair bag there.
To remedy both of the above problems, I added a heavy gauge picture frame wire “hanger” off the back of the seat as shown.
So the hooks can attach like this:
- Likewise the double hook doesn’t fit handlebars that might have items attached around the stem, e.g. a light set. I had an Ortlieb handlebar mounting system there, and the hooks will not accommodate it – again because they are coupled.
I had planned to hang my Surly LHT on this, but couldn’t do it without removing the handlebar bag mount (and didn’t want to) or adding a wire hanger there (likewise I didn’t want to). In the end, I put my Trek on it, with the modifications to the seat as shown.
Of course, as you can see from the photo, this thing works. But it should be a slicker product. This model is not sophisticated and will generally require modifications. I’ll give it 4 stars out of 10.
At least it looks kinda cool on my garage ceiling.ADDENDUM 4/30/2012:
After more than 18 months of use, I will definitely upgrade the rating I gave to this product. Despite the installation snags and mods described above, this lift has performed flawlessly and I’m glad I bought it. The venetian blind locking mechanism is very dependable. Rating is hereby promoted to 8 stars out of 10.