Keeping your bikes organized in your home, apartment, office, or while on the road usually requires many different solutions. Wall hooks, ceiling-suspended racks, and cheap stands from eBay or Amazon certainly do the trick, but I’ve never seen something as well designed as the AhHa Toaster for all the above bike storage solutions.
This unique bike rack folds from flat into a sturdy, secure 5-bike rack, designed to fit up to 2.6″ tires, and still fold down to be tucked away under a bed, behind a desk, or even in the trunk of your car, your van, or road-trip mobile.
Last week I took delivery of the AhHa Toaster and immediately put it to use in my home office where I stash my vintage bikes, so let’s check it out in detail below.
What is the Toaster
As I laid out above, the Toaster is a flat-packed bike rack that arrives in a slim cardboard box and unfolds into a secure and stable bike rack that can fit five bikes total or three bikes against a wall indoors. It measures 32″ x 30″ x 2″ when flat and folds up to a 32″ tall by 30″ wide by 32″ long bike stand.
On each side of the stand, there is a rolling track with an indexed notch to lock the upright stand in place. For security, two notched security brackets lock in place, keeping the rack from collapsing. There are little rubber feet to keep the Toaster from scratching your hardwood floors.
There’s even a nice handle cut into the wheel insert part of the stand to make it easy to transport. The Toaster weighs about 14 lbs.
As for construction, it’s made in the USA, stamped from US-made aluminum, bent and bolted together with M3 hardware bolts, and is powder-coated black.
Toaster can be pre-ordered for $429 ($389 for introductory backers) on the Toaster Kickstarter campaign and thereafter directly from ahha.bike, and is available to ship to all fifty states from October 15. Toaster is guaranteed for two years.
There are even $45 Grommets to scale down the tire opening to fit road or gravel bikes better.
Who is It For?
There are no if and or buts here: Toaster is expensive. We don’t want to hang bikes from the wall in this room in our house, so floor stands are the only option. The bike stands I ordered from Bailey at Sincere Cycles did the trick for the above-pictured space. Sort of, anyway. They’re big, bulky, and tend to move when you’re loading the bikes in. But they were around $50 a piece for three, totaling $150. Granted, they’re not as sleek as the Toaster and aren’t made in the USA, nor do they pack down (which is a necessity for when we have guests staying over), but they got the job done.
If you are crafty, you could make something similar out of plywood with a table saw, a router, and some clever tinkering with cabinet hardware. It wouldn’t be as light as the Toaster, nor would it be as slick, but it would work.
Yet, if you want a simple, mobile bike rack for your bikes, I can’t think of a better solution on the market right now. Or if you like to car camp or travel in a van or RV and don’t want to lean your bikes against your car, well, the Toaster works for that as well.
Why is It So Expensive?
A 4′ x 8′ sheet of 1/8″ thick US-made recycled aluminum costs around $300-$400 these days. You could make two Toasters from that 4′ x 8′ sheet, plus the cost to laser cut, bend, drill, powder coat, and assemble with all the necessary hardware. Of course, mass production creates better margins, etc.
Doing all this in the USA provides jobs for Americans and keeps fabrication industries alive. There’s nothing political about this breakdown, but if you wonder why US-made things are expensive, start looking at what goes into making better, fewer things while adhering to environmental and worker safety regulations.
Making “stuff” in America is neither affordable nor profitable compared to overseas manufacturing. I’d be surprised if the AhHa designers make a 30% margin on the Toaster.
Now, the question: would I buy one? As I type this answer, acknowledging the expensive bikes it’s holding, it feels expensive, even considering the material/labor estimate above. Perhaps this is because the Toaster is a luxury item that replaced a few cheap, made-in-China stands that got the job done but weren’t all that easy on the eyes nor as practical for someone with limited space and too many bikes.
However, if you value well-designed, practical, US-made “things,” then you probably don’t think the Toaster is all that expensive. We spent around the same amount of money on some of our made-in-the-USA lawn furniture, so I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. But I’m not going to lie here. I really dig this and think it’s worth it.
Sometimes, products like the Toaster blow up on Kickstarter, so it’ll be interesting to see where this goes for AhHa.
The Toaster presents an interesting conundrum as someone who supports US production as much as possible in his cycling and non-cycling purchases. It is a space-conscious bike storage solution in places where wall hooks or ceiling suspensions are not possible. It does the same job as prolific, cheap, made-in-China bike stands (that don’t fold away neatly). All while teetering on a pricepoint–$429 ($389 Kickstarter Backer pricing)–that is deserved based on its US-made, all-metal construction but is still clearly a luxury spend.
Yet, it is compact and folds flat to be stowed under a daybed, couch, or in the trunk of a car or road trip van. Your bikes are secure in the stand, and no natural force could compel them or the stand to fall over when used outdoors. It looks great and is appropriate in a guest bedroom or home office.
- Lightweight at 14lbs
- Folds flat and tucks away
- Secure at holding bikes
- Stable and solid construction
- US-made from US-made materials
Roll on over to the Toaster Kickstarter to see more.