This Arkansas Company Creates Gorgeous Bike Rack Designs but Good Luck Buying One

PutUp designs and sells beautiful, unique bike racks manufactured in Arkansas.

“Sweet bike rack,” I thought to myself as we rolled our bikes into the carport at an AirBNB in Bentonville back in May. The colorful rack sat at the center of the enclosed storage area and easily held all four of our bikes and then some. The next day, I saw the racks again, this time at the Coler Mountain Bike Preserve trailhead. Returning home, I wanted to know who made the racks but Google wasn’t any help. A few weeks later I decided to message our AirBNB host.

“Oh! I love that you asked me! It’s my husband’s company,” came the reply.

Shane Matson is one of four partners in PutUp, an Arkansas company that designs and sells various bike storage systems, including the Radial Curb Racks I saw in Bentonville. While the business and production are both based in Northwest Arkansas, PutUp actually got its start in Durango.

“One of my best friends from growing up in Tulsa from kindergarten on [Matt Vincent] was a co-owner of Ska Brewing in Durango,” Matson said. “I went out to see him probably 10 years ago, and their new brewing facility had the most beautiful bike racks I’ve ever seen out front.”

When another friend of Matson’s, Mark Bray, founder and owner of Airship coffee, visited Durango, he also noticed the colorful, stylish, and functional racks around town and agreed they were special. In 2020, Matson and Bray managed to buy the rack company from Vincent, and moved operations to Northwest Arkansas.

Ska Brewing in Durango. Photo: Google Street View.

Soon after, Matson and Bray brought on two more partners. Vincent Edwards is an artist and a digital fabrication and sculpture instructor at the University of Arkansas, and he’s responsible for PutUp product design and working with the fabricators. The fourth partner, another University of Arkansas Razorback, is Matson’s neighbor in Tulsa, and handles the company’s sales plans.

This powerful brew that combines bikes, beer, coffee, and design is bound to turn heads, though it seems things are still just beginning to percolate. Outside of Durango, Bentonville, and now Tulsa, PutUp racks aren’t well known.

“We don’t have a single sticker on the racks saying where you can get them,” Matson told me.

Not that many consumers could afford a Radial Curb Rack anyway. Prices for a 3-bike unit start at $1,200 and the largest, 8-bike rack costs a whopping $2,900. And then there’s the issue of shipping; the massive steel racks aren’t exactly lightweight or portable, which is why they’re still mostly found in and around Bentonville, at least for now.

Given the expense, and the fact that a Radial Curb Rack needs to be bolted into a solid surface (generally concrete), most of the buyers so far have been cities, private businesses, and college campuses. For individuals, the $255 PutUp Radial Wall Mount is perhaps a better choice since it can be attached to a wall or a wooden post. Like the Radial Curb Rack, the wall mount is designed for both indoor and outdoor use and features a loop for attaching a bike lock.

PutUp contracts with a metal fabricator in Sonora, Arkansas which is just east of Springdale and southeast of Bentonville, to manufacture the racks. Powder coating is handled by Wayne’s Powder Coating nearby.

With Edwards at the design helm, PutUp has branched out into other, more portable and accessible designs like the Uplift, a modular system for hanging bikes and equipment that’s just as at home in the living room as it is the garage. Coincidentally, on another trip to Bentonville my room at the Bike Inn had an Uplift installed in the main sitting area, which I found to be both convenient and a nice design touch. Though it’s easier to ship, PutUp has had to pause sales of the Uplift, which is made from Baltic birch, due to supply issues.

“We haven’t really pushed those because Baltic birch, after the Ukraine war, became really expensive to get,” Matson said.

Perhaps it’s partly because PutUp racks are hard to get that they’re so desirable. The company is able to ship their $75 flat-pack Floor Stander bike stand, a holder that appears similar to the Ninja Stoke we reviewed earlier this year.

Matson says PutUp has a new, non-vertical rack in the works that’s designed for heavier e-bikes and will likely be priced around $300.

“We’re really focused on product development and looking for that right product that is going to work and be easy to ship out.”