Bike Parking

Industrial Bike Racks: Designed to Defeat Thieves

An industrial bike rack embedded in cement

Just how tough are industrial-grade bike racks?

A shot of an industrial bike rack of two levels with one bike up and one down
Industrial bike racks are often used in situations where many bikes are being stored.

What is an industrial bike rack?

Industrial bike racks are often used for places like train stations or park and ride where many cyclists require longer term parking. They are typically made of heavy gauge, industrial-grade steel.

Industrial-grade bike racks can be installed in-ground, embedded in concrete, making them undefeatable by bike thieves. A zinc coating and/or sealant combine to make industrial bike racks corrosion and weather resistant, resulting in a long service life.

Why choose industrial bike racks?

A man commutes to work on a bicycle
Secure bike parking helps prevent bike theft and encourages sustainable transportation.

Rugged industrial bike racks are purpose-built to prevent bike theft and make an ideal short-term bike parking solution for municipalities, business districts, schools, campuses, and residential buildings. Secure short and long-term bike parking is a growing priority for cities and businesses as public desire for cycle-friendly spaces increases. Some cities are making their commercial districts more pedestrian-friendly by replacing car park stalls with short-term bike parking. Inadequate or insufficient bike parking can result in increased bike theft and decreased bike ridership,  preventing a region or institution from meeting its sustainable transportation and climate change goals. A lack of short-term bike parking in commercial retail areas discourages shoppers who travel by bike – and cyclists have been found to spend as much money, or even more on average, as motorists.

What is the best bike rack material?

Many bikes are parked in a line on a cobblestone road
Galvanized steel, an alloy of iron and carbon coated in zinc, is a durable, rugged weather-resistant material for bike racks.

The go-to material used for tough, weather-resistant bike racks is heavy-gauge, industrial-grade steel. Some types are galvanized, which is a process of submersion in a hot dip bath of zinc that forms chemical bonds to prevent corrosion. Steel, and galvanized steel are both highly durable and offers several advantages. Wood is less secure and rots over time, compromising a bike rack’s protection and requiring frequent replacement. Bike racks made of softer metals can be more easily compromised to gain access to a locked bike. Other metals, like cast iron, are brittle and may crack in cold weather under force. Stainless steel is also an excellent option for industrial bike racks, but costs more than galvanized or coated steel.

What is the best bike rack finish?

Industrial bike racks are finished to a smooth surface to prevent nicks, scratches, and other damage to bikes. Traditionally, industrial-grade bike racks were powder coated, offering better protection from corrosion than paint. Our bike racks can also come coated in IronArmor, delivering resistance against vandalism, easy field repair, and improved weatherability, especially in wet or coastal climates. For added protection for bicycles we also offer specialized IronArmor FrameSafe which protects bicycles against scraping against it. The quality of materials and finish used in the construction of your industrial bike rack will significantly impact the length of its service life.

What is the best bike rack design?

Empty rectangular industrial bike racks
Choosing the right industrial bike rack design will depend on where it will be installed.

Choosing an industrial-grade bike rack design depends on where the rack will be installed, how it’s placement might impact pedestrian movement, and how many bikes the rack is expected to hold. There are a wide variety of industrial bike rack designs to choose from. The most common types used by stations and office buildings, often in cages or bike rooms, are multi-tiered racks that allow bikes to stack in close-packed rows. Other options can be installed in a corral, like bike bollards, ring racks, inverted u-racks, and wave racks. Generally, a bike rack offering two points-of-contact with the bike frame provides the best protection from thieves.

What’s the best way to install a bike rack?

An industrial bike rack embedded in cement
Embedding an industrial bike rack in concrete offers the best security against bike thieves.

It’s unlikely that surface-mounted industrial-grade bike racks (secured by bolts) would be removed by thieves. Special recessed screw heads make unbolting a surface-mounted industrial bike rack noisy and time-consuming. Thieves usually target bike locks rather than attempting to remove the rack itself. Choosing a good bike lock is just one of many actions bike owners can take to prevent bike theft. However, embedded racks, installed in-ground, offer the best protection for bike racks, especially when installed in isolated or unobserved areas. Embedding your industrial bike rack in concrete is recommended. Concrete embedded racks are extremely secure, and unlikely to budge even if hit by a vehicle.