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DCR Behind the Cave: The CLUG bike mount system

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Since I unveiled The DCR Cave a few months ago, I’ve continued to get a number of questions on one particular item that has no electronics at all in it: The CLUG.  It’s the tiny little blocks that are holding my bikes up against the wall.  So I figured I’d kick things off in this DCR Behind the Cave series with explaining what they are and how they work (and what I think of them).

The Basics:

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The CLUG made the Kickstarter rounds last summer, as part of a project by a small design studio.  The goal was simply to offer a minimalist way to store your bike in a vertical manner.  Most bike racks are a bit more unwieldy to install, either in terms of space, or just in terms of clunkiness.

The CLUG meanwhile is about as small as you can get.  So I ordered a bunch of them.  Eight in total.  At the Kickstarter prices they were a steal, so I kinda went overboard.  But, we had just started building out the space for the new CupCakery/Cave location, so I had some rough ideas on where I might use them throughout the office.

Back in the fall the folks behind the CLUG sent over a few prototype units for me to give some initial feedback on, and then back a little while ago I finally got my Kickstarter pile of units:

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The attachment to the wall is super easy, you just take the two screws and drill them into the wall.  Ideally they’d line-up with a stud to offer additional support for heavier bikes, but that’s not a requirement.  They also include anchors too.

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In my case, I had dreaded concrete.  Like, concrete designed for a bunker a hundred years ago.  It was a beast.  Still, I made it work.  And by ‘I’, I mean a massive power-drill with some gnarly drill bits and a heck of a lot of noise.

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Next, you just make your bike vertical and slot the front tire into it.

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And you’re done.  Seriously, it’s as simple as that.

Some things to note:

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Now, I’d say it’s fair to state that the goal of the CLUG is to make your bike storage look pretty.  To that end, it fits the bill perfectly.  It’s also a good bike display option too.  But, there are some things to think about.

First is that the unit depends on air in your tire (tube) to keep enough pressure against the CLUG.  So if you leave your bike there long enough and the tires deflate naturally, it’ll eventually fall off the wall.  We’re talking months though, in most cases.  In one case one bike I had up there didn’t fall off by itself, but did when brushed lightly (I caught it).  It was perhaps 4-6 weeks of non-use.  I’m not sure when it would have reached the point of just falling off by itself.

In talking with the company last week, I asked about the tire pressure piece.  They noted they are looking at some sort of strap system that you could apply to keep less-well-utilized bikes in their place.

Next, is that you’ll need to think about the sizing.  In my case I bought mostly road bike ones, which are sized as small (aka ‘Roadie’).  These have worked well for all of my regular and race tires.  No issues there at all.

I also bought two of the larger sized tire ones (Hybrid), but I haven’t put them up yet.  Here’s the full sizing chart of sorts:

Small (aka Roadie): 23-32mm, 1-1.25”
Medium (aka Hybrid): 32-42mm, 1.25-1.75”
Large (aka MTB): 42-60mm, 1.75-2.5”

Finally, the solution works well in The Cave because it’s basically just me and The Girl around that space.  But if we had small kids running around, or other potentially destructive creatures – it’s likely they’d get pulled/bonked off the wall easily.  The bikes hold perfectly fine by themselves, but if you walk into them, they’ll likely pop off.  Whereas more beastly bike racks might reject you instead.

A Video Overview:

Photos and text not really your style?  No worries, I’ve put together a bit of a walk through of the CLUG’s on the below video.

With that – thanks for reading or watching!

Wrap-up:

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I’d have no qualms in buying the CLUG’s again.  In fact, I’m sure I will at some point.  I’m got a few left to install, which I’ll do in our desk/office area upstairs where I often quickly stash a road bike when I’m too lazy to navigate the steep steps into the Cave.  And the same for our two commuter bikes (using the Hybrid mounts) for when we don’t want them just hanging out near the doorway taking up valuable floor space.

At the same time, you would need to keep your environment’s occupants in mind.  For us, these work great since it’s low-traffic in the impacted areas.  But if you had inquisitive kids or clumsy pets…probably not so much.  Similarly, it would work well in a small office area of a handful of employees, but I think if you deployed them to a larger office (i.e. numerous cyclists), then I suspect folks might bonk into them too much in a daily commute setting.  Still, for the house – they’re awesome.

Pricing-wise all the units are the same $25, though the bundles are the better deal (and admittedly, the early Kickstarter deals were fantastic).  I’d agree $25 is a bit steep given the size/materials of the unit, but compared to most other bike-specific bike racks it’s pretty cheap.  Personally if I was to order more I’d find a friend and split up a larger package of them to save a few bucks since there are discounts at the bulk pack levels.

Thanks for reading!

*DCR Behind the Cave: This is (yet another?) semi sporadic series on things that are found within the DCR Cave, or otherwise behind the scenes in it.  Just when I think I’ve covered it all, it turns out there’s lots of little things that folks find interesting.  So this is my attempt at bridging that gap.  Enjoy!

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32 Comments

  1. Max

    Thanks for the review, this will help them a lot I guess.

    I participated in the Kickstarter financing for the 3D printing file. I have it somewhere, but I actually forgot about it and my bikes are against the wall leaving ugly marks on our Parisian flat. Now I will definitely find those files or just buy one…

    thanks

  2. Brett

    Ray, since the CLUG doesn’t load bear really, you could just get a velcro strap and put it behind the clug before screwing it to the wall. Simples

  3. Jon Heard

    I got a couple of these on the Black Friday deal to put in the bedroom for the wife and I’s bikes for the winter. We don’t have the bikes vertical, I mounted them low so we could just back them in standing on both wheels. They have been fantastic so far with no issues. I’m thinking of ordering some more to use in the garage for summertime and the mountain bike. I agree that $25 seems a bit steep but like DC said, cheaper than the alternatives. However, if they dropped the price I could see having a bunch of these all over the place.

  4. Mikkel Andersen

    Was thinking about getting a couple of them for the garage, but since I use latex tubes in my road bike, the tire semi-deflates within a couple of days. So not the ideal solution unless you use the velcro straps as suggested above.

  5. phr3dly

    I was tempted by the clug, but in the end decided it was a little flimsier than I wanted (not to mention I assume it would be finicky about wheel size). And at the non-KS price of $25, it costs more than I can stomach given what it is.

    Right now my bikes are hanging from hooks in my garage. With an 11-foot ceiling I can still walk underneath them. When it comes time to mount them to a wall, I’m planning to cut some PVC lengthwise, screw it into the wall, and run a velcro strap behind it to support the wheel. Should be functionally equivalent or superior to the clug, but at a price of less than $1. Of course it won’t look as nice, but 9 bikes X $25 each == $225 that I don’t have!

  6. Kyle Polansky

    Do the Clugs “clip” onto your rim, or is all of the force applied to the tire? Wondering for some of my carbon rims that say not to attach any mounts to them.

  7. falk braun

    thank’s for your work, which I appreciate a lot.
    Can’t the bike tilt sideways? Only the friction between the holder and the tire seems to prevent it. Otherwise very useful. The idea with the velcro seems good, thanks Brett

  8. Simon Hodgson

    Should I buy one for the back wheel so it doesn’t dirty the wall?

  9. How does it work for bikes of different base lengths? Does the CLUG needs to be exactly where the wheel touches the wall or can it be a bit higher or lower?

    I’m trying to figure out if I’d have to plug the same bike in the same spot every time or if I can move my bikes around

    • So when I installed them, I wasn’t thinking – and put them all at the same height. Symmetry and all. Then I realized that The Girl’s bike is made for rather small peoples. It’s got 650 wheels and probably has a 40cm frame size. Luckily…despite being far smaller than the rest of the bikes, it still works.

      Now the only catch is that it has slightly less stability because it’s ‘grabbing’ onto an upper portion of the wheel on a bit of a curvature. But, it works. If I were to do it again, I’d probably put it a bit lower for her bike.

  10. Doug

    Is it possible to put the bike vertical but have the rear wheel up top? I ask because I have two bikes but only a narrow area to put them – one bike with the handlebars on top and one on the bottom will save a lot of space. Thanks.

    • Matt

      Nope, it’s got to be front wheel up. There would be too much twisting force for it to be stable. You could get it in there, but any bit of a nudge and it’ll twist and come out.

  11. Matt

    I’ve got my cyclocross bike on this thing right now. I bought a roadie and a hybrid since I’m around 32mm/33 mm (measured). The roadie is too small and the hybrid is a bit too large. The bike has come out twice (with full inflated tires). I had to install a strap around it. Just an FYI for all of you that may be right on the border between two sizes.

  12. Grzeg1

    Ray, did you see these? The concept is interesting, wondering if it’s any better than waistband light.
    link to kickstarter.com

  13. Ted

    I picked up a couple of these on KS a while back, I’ve got my aero bike set up in my den, works like a charm!

  14. Travis M

    Have you ever considered the Feedback Sports Velo Hinge? It’s about as easy to use, but holds the bikes more firmly and doesn’t need the air pressure. The design isn’t quite as simplistic on your wall, but doesn’t stand out too much.

    Also has the benefit of allowing the bikes to swing sideways to save space if need be.

  15. Michael

    link to m.rei.com|pcrid|54042510520|

    Still my favorite bike mount for vertical mounting. Works hanging from the front or rear tire. I could see why you would want to use this with carbon wheels though.

  16. Doogie

    I’m inventing a new storage addition to the CLUG. It’s called “Clug-Cro”. It’s a long strip of fabric with little plastic hooks embedded into the fabric. Simply install a nice sized strip on the front of the CLUG, use the screw to secure and strap to the wall and wrap the Velcro…er Clug-Cro around your wheel.

    Clug-Cro, PM me for your order today! 😉

    (Actually, I’m going to order a couple of Clugs for my Germen/Concrete walls.

  17. “I’m got a few left to install” Typo alert.

  18. mikedotonline

    I have one and it is great. However, I would note in your review that if you have a fender and mud guard (as is required for club rides during the shoulder seasons in Vancouver) you won’t be able to use the clug as your fender will rest on the ground. Looking forward to getting the fenders off!

  19. some-guy

    i am very excited about innovation and to see all this buzz about a tool holder ripoff that is entirely unsafe, does not fit all bikes and damages the drywall is beyond comprehension

    • some-guy

      no, not at all. see the kickstarter page for angry comments from actual customers…

    • Odd, I’m an actual Kickstarter backer (you can find my name here: link to kickstarter.com). Looking through the Kickstarter comment page, I see only a single person having an actual issue with the unit. I do see some leftover order fulfillment issues (though, that’s also fairly normal for projects with this many backers).

    • some-guy

      well done then. keep those tires inflated and clean, and always use a brick wall with a clug. hopefully they will send you the strap for free otherwise clear the area 10 feet around and hang the ‘bikes falling’ sign.

      i’m joking man. i am glad it works well for you. i just think that it is not a complete product and it was rushed out for a quick buck. please feel free to delete my comments. on the kickstarter page, you can always press to load more comments for the complete picture…

  20. damien

    anyone have experience with using 23mm tires and the roadie version? i have heard the bike will fall out super easy as the front tire of a 23mm is not inflated as high as a rear i think my front only measures 22.5mm at 100psi. thanks in advance

  21. Barry-Lee Lodewyks

    Hi Ray, great review and based on this I bought this piece of magic but someone asked me a question i’m hoping you or a reader could answer.

    A mountain bike in a clug with both wheels up on the wall (like you store yours). is there any chance the oil could leak out of the shocks?

    Regards
    Barry-Lee