Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Bikes: Redline Conquest, Cannonday, Specialized, RANS
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The first thing to keep in mind is that unless you take your bike apart, you can't change how much space it takes up. It's going to take up a box-like area equal to its height, width, and length. This is usually about 4'x2'x6'. What you can change is what particular space it occupies, and try to use as little prime real estate as possible. In general when you're storing stuff, the prime areas are the floors and the walls up to 6' or so. Beyond 6', the higher up the less prime the space.
So ideally you would hang them to take up as little prime space as possible. If your garage has an overhead door this becomes complicated, as the door takes up a lot of the ceiling area. The higher your ceiling, the better in terms of taking up less valuable space.
My garage has an 8 ft ceiling and I hang my bikes by the rear wheel from hooks screwed into the ceiling, about 2 ft from the wall. I use a block and tackle to hang trailers against the ceiling. If you run a 2x4 perpendicular to the joists it gives you more freedom to place the hook, which allows you to pack the bikes more efficiently.