Metal Bike Shed: The Secure Option
You might not usually think about metal when you think of a bike shed. Especially at home. But a metal bike shed has got a lot to offer.
A good metal bike shed will be strong and resilient (even against the toughest weather), extremely secure and maintenance free.
However they won’t be for everyone. And a bad one can be a nightmare! So in this article we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of metal bike sheds. And then I’ll recommend some of the best that are currently available.
But if you’re still not sure that a metal bike shed is right for you, I suggest you read my complete guide to choosing a bike shed first.
Advantages of Metal Bike Sheds
Metal sheds are generally very secure, offering more out of the box protection from thieves than the other options.
They're very durable. They won't rot. They're insect and rodent proof. And if they're made from properly galvanized steel, they won't corrode either.
And this means like plastic bike sheds they're maintenance free. You won't need to repaint or re-treat a metal shed. Just give it a wash with soapy water now and again!
They're also strong and sturdy. Like wooden bike sheds, they won't be affected by wind and sun or damage from the cold or snow.
Disadvantages of Metal Bike Sheds
Many people find metal sheds visually unattractive. This will vary between different brands and models. But you certainly don't get rustic or traditional looking metal sheds!
They're also more difficult to customize than wooden sheds. You wouldn't paint the outside. And it's more difficult to add shelves or hooks to the inside.
Metal sheds without a ventilation system can be subject to condensation which can damage bike frames and components.
They can also be much more difficult to assemble than the other options. Partly because of their weight and partly because there tends to be many more parts. Be prepared for a full day or two of assembly involving two or people and plenty of tools!
Cheap metal sheds can rust, especially in cooler, wetter climates. And once the rust takes hold it will severely weaken the structure and security of the shed.
Metal Bike Shed Buying Tips
The thickness of the steel panels used in a metal shed are a good indication of quality. Thicker panels will produce a stronger and more secure shed.
The standard thickness is around 0.25 mm, which is not great to be honest. So anything thicker is an improvement! Asgard sheds for example are the thickest at 1.2 mm!
Also make sure that any shed has an adequate ventilation system to produce enough airflow to prevent condensation.
Most metal sheds won't come with a floor. So you'll need to provide a level base of either concrete or paving stones.
Also, I've said it before but I will say it again here: metal sheds can be complicated to construct. You'll most likely need two people, a bag full of tools and a several hours spare...
But it's best to ask the seller exactly what you'll need and how long they estimate it will take before you buy!
What size do I need?
The exact size of the metal bike shed that you'll need will obviously depend on how many bikes you've got and how big they are. And the best way to work it out is with your own tape measure.
However, we can estimate here. In fact I've written a whole post on what size bike shed you'll need for X number of bikes.
For the full details and to see how I've worked it all out, you should read the full article. But in general, for average sized adult bikes:
- 1 bike needs a 6' x 2' shed
- 2 bikes needs a 6' x 3' shed
- 3 bikes needs a 6' x 4' shed (or sometimes 6' x 3')
- 4 bikes needs a 6' x 5' shed (or sometimes 6' x 4')
- 5 bikes needs a 6' x 5' shed
Be as generous as you can though. If it's a squeeze to fit your bikes in, then getting them in and out will be really stressful. Plus what happens if you buy another bike?!
So my advice is: get the biggest metal bike shed that will fit in the space that you've got available.
Best Metal Bike Shed
Since a metal bike shed will take some time and effort to put together, it’s not worth messing about with a cheap and flimsy model.
A bargain basement metal shed will be more difficult to put together, it won’t be very robust and there’s a good chance it will succumb to rust after a few years.
As always, it’s worth spending a little bit more on something decent.
It’s also worth stressing that the more expensive metal bike sheds are always more secure. And since one of the best reasons for choosing metal over another material is security, it’s best not to skimp!
The best metal bike sheds are made by Asgard. And if you can afford one, that’s what you should go for. However, they are also very expensive! And there are some more economic alternatives that are pretty good too...
Best Metal Bike Sheds: Mid Range
My favourite mid range metal bike shed is the Duramax Bicycle Store [Amazon]. Because unlike most other mid price metal sheds, it's specifically designed for bikes...
So, they've made it deep enough to roll the bikes in and out, storing them facing forwards rather than side on.
This is a huge advantage when you need to store several bikes that are used regularly, since you don't have to move one out of the way to access the other. All the bikes are easily accessible and they all roll in and out without disturbing the others.
This is helped further by the inclusion of metal ramps. They not only keep the bikes straight and in place, they also lift one bike above it's neighbors so that the handlebars don't get entangled.
All this means that the Duramax can store 4 adult bikes side my side without any interference in a shed that's just 80" (202 cm) wide.
The build quality of the shed is pretty good too. The steel panels are 0.33 mm thick (20% thicker than the standard 0.25 mm). This gives the shed extra strength, security and durability.
The hot dip galvanization process should prevent any corrosion. And air vents on both sides should prevent any internal condensation.
Metal sheds are naturally more secure than the other options. But the 20% thicker walls, hidden hinges and a reasonable lock make the Duramax more secure than many other metal sheds.
For sure, it's not as secure as a top end metal bike storage shed, which is specifically targeting high security. But it should be enough in most circumstances.
Like most metal sheds, there's no floor supplied with the Duramax. So you'll need to find a piece of concrete or lay some paving stones as a base. For extra security I would recommend fixing a ground anchor to the base too.
And although metal sheds tend to me more complicated than other sheds to construct, it seems the Duramax isn't one of the most difficult ones.
You'll still need 2 people and several hours. But the instructions are clear, you're told in advance what tools you'll need and the higher quality components make it a little easier.
So if you're looking for a metal storage unit that accommodates 4 adult bikes (plus accessories) very easily the Duramax has got to be a good contender [Amazon]!
Best Metal Bike Sheds: High-End
The UK is lucky in that there are two companies making really high end, high security metal bike storage sheds.
Asgard and Trimetals have been producing metal sheds for over 40 and 50 years respectively. And their bike storage solutions are aimed at those who are seeking both the highest quality and the highest security.
Which brand is best? Well, that depends!
If we compare the standard models, Asgard are almost certainly the most secure. Their locking mechanisms are integrated and are always hidden away so they are difficult to attack or tamper with.
And the steel panels used across all Asgard sheds are thicker than those used in the standard Trimetals sheds.
On Trimetal sheds the locking systems are external hasps which are secured by padlocks that are provided as an optional accessory.
This makes the locks easier to attack and the security they offer dependent on which padlocks you buy or are provided with.
Trimetals sheds are available at three different levels of security, which complicates things slightly.
But the highest level of security becomes so expensive, they're not comparable to similar size Asgard sheds. And they still use exposed security fittings!
What's more the idea that the thin cable that comes with Trimetals mid security "ProtectaCycle" provides any kind of protection is laughable!
Having said all that, the way the Trimetal sheds open (with one door that folds upwards) is far more graceful and accessible than anything on an Asgard shed.
And ultimately it will come down to space and price. Trimetals only produce one size shed, while Asgard produce loads of different sizes.
My advice is: work out the best size for your specific needs and then shop around looking for the best prices. There are often special offers to be found on both brands. Don't forget to check what comes as standard and what you need to pay extra for.
If the right size and price turns out to be Trimetals, go for it. It may not be quite as secure as an Asgard out of the box, but with the right padlocks and internal security chain you can make that largely irrelevant.
Metal Bike Sheds: The Competition
If you're not keen on my metal storage shed recommendations, check out the alternatives in the tables below.
There's one table for UK sheds and another for US sheds. In the UK table the measurements are in centimetres. In the US they're in inches.
The first number is the external measurement. The second number (in brackets) in the internal measurement.
UK / Europe Metal Bike Storage Sheds
US Metal Bike Storage Units
Installing a Metal Bike Shed
Metal bike sheds are heavy and can be difficult to put together. It's therefore really important that you put them on a strong, stable and completely level base. There are loads of different types of shed base. But the best choice for a metal shed in usually paving stone or concrete.
Once you've got a good base sorted, building the shed becomes a bit easier. However, metal sheds are generally more difficult to put together than other types of garden building and it may take two people up to two days.
Metal Bike Shed Summary
If security is a priority then there's nothing better than a metal bike shed! The good ones are built specifically with security in mind. So you know a metal bike shed will be able to protect your bike.
However, metal bike sheds do have drawbacks too. Some of them will be difficult to assemble. They won't be the prettiest thing in your garden. And a good one won't be cheap.
If you can afford one, then my advice is to go for as Asgard (for the highest security) or Trimetals (for elegance and ease of use).
However the Duramax is fantastic value for money and once you've got it up it will provide secure storage and easy access for up to four bikes!
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