Bike Radar Reviews the Access E-Bike Storage Shed
Bike Radar Reviews the Access E-Bike Shed
The Access E Plus is a great storage option both for e-bikers and for riders who want to charge accessories in situ. Buy if, You need secure outdoor storage with power built-in, whether it’s for charging e-bikes or lights and accessories
Pros: Super tough steel construction and quality finish, ease of access
Cons: It doesn’t come cheap and socket mounting and wiring is up to the customer
Building the Access E Plus
The Access E Plus arrives as a flatpack direct from the factory, consisting of a number of galvanised steel sections with a nice hammer paint finish, and bags containing all the necessary hardware. Assembly requires some basic tools, the most important of which is an electric screwdriver with a Pozidriv bit. You could theoretically build the Asgard with purely manual tools, but the sheer number of fasteners would make it a bit of a nightmare and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it.
Construction consists of positioning the base and then slotting together various panels, which are secured with sheet metal screws. All of the fasteners are on the inside of the box and the lid hinges are secured with coach bolts, so it would be very difficult to tamper with anything once the box is locked.
The locks themselves are protected by shrouds so only the keyholes are accessible, meaning that it should take a concerted effort with power tools to break into the box. Overall, the Access E Plus goes together fairly quickly, and even first-timers would likely be able to complete the job in about an hour and a half.
I found that a few of the fasteners near the base were quite difficult to access with a chunky electric screwdriver, so I broke out a ratchet as well, which offers much more leverage in a confined space than a standard screwdriver. Much of the assembly could be undertaken solo but an assistant is pretty well essential when it comes to manhandling the base and the lid, which are both large, heavy pieces of metal.
The Asgard needs to be on a firm, level surface, but as in my case, you can get away with very slight unevenness. The box may distort slightly under its own weight, but Asgard supplies shims so that can be corrected. If you want a little extra security, the box can be screwed to the ground below.
While this particular box’s USP is that it’s designed to take electrical sockets, it’s up to you to supply these (Asgard suggests heading to Screwfix) and get them wired in, something which needs to be done by a qualified electrician. The mounting plates provided are simple pieces of sheet metal that are spaced out slightly from the ends of the box. There are some pre-drilled holes, but if they don’t match your sockets you can either use self-tapping screws or drill more holes. You’ll also need to pierce one (or both) of the plastic cable-exit plugs to bring power into the box
Asgard offers optional internal shelves which mount at either end, and cost £29 each. These are handy for storing shoes and tools, and if you’re using the power outlet to charge lights I’d suggest getting at least one shelf as it gives you somewhere to put everything. Hooks for hanging helmets and other bits and bobs costs an extra £12 for a pack of five, and can be positioned as you see fit
Living with the Asgard
Taking bikes in and out of the Access E Plus is straightforward. Removing the locks takes a few seconds (particularly if you use keys-alike locks, which Asgard sells for £19 a pair) and then it’s a case of lifting the lid and unbolting the front doors so they can swing open. The gas struts take the weight of the lid (just like on the tailgate of a car), so minimal effort is required.
It’s impressive just how much stuff you can squeeze into the box. I’ve currently got two road bikes and two mountain bikes in there (all size medium and non-e-bike), so Asgard’s nominal capacity of three e-bikes is about right, since e-bikes tend to be chunkier. The box is long enough that you can tessellate bikes quite effectively by staggering them, and there’s still enough space at the ends for all manner of bits and pieces: track pumps, riding packs and so forth.
Thankfully, nobody has attempted to break into the test box as yet but I was pleased to note it suffered no ill effects from being buried in snow this winter, with the contents staying completely dry.
A big box is good box
No one’s going to get excited about a big metal box, but the Asgard is thoughtfully designed and seemingly robust. As ever with security, a determined thief can always find a way in, but they’d struggle to access the Access without making a hell of a lot of noise because there are no obvious weaknesses to be exploited.
The finish is good, and in brown* it’s pretty inoffensive looking despite the sheer bulk of the thing. (It’s also available in green or ivory if you prefer.) The Access E Plus comes at a £50 premium over Asgard’s standard four-bike box which seems fair given that you get both the support for power and a little extra capacity. It’s certainly not cheap though. As tested with two shelves, a set of hooks and two locks you’d be shelling out £664 (or £814 if you had it built for you) and you’ll need to buy sockets and pay an electrician on top of that.
On the other hand, you end up with something that’s much more secure than a conventional wooden shed and one which should serve you for many years.
The Access E Plus is pitched at e-bikers but it’s also well suited to riders of standard bikes who want to keep lights and other accessories charged. Doing so means fewer fire hazards inside your house, and with some lights you could even charge them without removing them from the bike.
*Brown is now discontinued, Asgard sheds are available in Grey, Green and Ivory