What is a wheel-bender?
What is a wheel-bender and why are they so bad?
A ‘wheel-bender’ is a bike rack that can damage bikes and is hard to securely lock your bike to.
Bike-users don’t like ‘wheel-benders’ because:
- They can damage the bike’s wheel or disc brake, especially if the bike is knocked.
- They make it harder to lock your bike securely.
- There are many different tyre widths, and not all will fit into the standardised ‘slots’.
A good bike rack supports the bike frame at two points.
Without support for the frame of the bike, all the bike’s weight rests on the wheel. This can cause damage to the spokes and rim and result in buckling to the wheel. If the bike has disc brakes, they can become dented or bent causing the brakes to malfunction.
Bike thieves love them
Wheel-bender racks are also make it difficult to prevent bike theft with secure locking. Police recommend using a ‘D-lock’ and pass the lock through an immoveable object (the bike rack) and a non-removable part of your bike (the frame). Learn more about secure locking in our blog post Lock it or Lose it. When parked at a wheel-bender it is very hard to lock both the bike and frame as many cable locks are not long enough, and are easily cut by theives with bolt-cutters.
It takes all kinds
This type of wheel-bending bike rack is sometimes called ‘old school’ bike racks, or ‘toaster’ racks. They may have worked better when bikes were made of steel and everyone had the same size wheels, and probably didn’t worry too much about locking their bike.
These days bikes come in all shapes and sizes, including e-bikes, adult mobility tricycles and fat-tyred mountain bikes.
When the bike parking provided is inadequate, or there is no bike parking provided, bike-users will make do and lock their bikes wherever they can.
Improvised bike parking can cause safety problems for pedestrians or staff, or block access to your business.
Why are they still available?
Although some councils have minimum standards in their district plans, NZ has no national standards for bike parking. This means that sub-standard bike parking is still manufactured and sold. Although they may be a little cheaper up-front, if they are not used or cause problems, it is a false economy.