In recent years this classification has become somewhat meaningless, because the intention was for a full mechanical enclosure. These mechanical, moving-part racks were doomed by breakdowns, high costs, and were not user-friendly. They have mostly disappeared.
Today, manufacturers attach cables to a standard commercial rack that can be cut as easily as cables purchased by consumers. The result is neither what was intended by the classification nor aesthetically attractive.
Now referred to as Short-Term, this remains the standard in bicycle racks (and bike parking today). It is also what may separate a commercial bike rack (u-lock compatible) from a low security rack like a grid-style. Its use generally is considered best for parking less than two hours at a time.
If you are looking to encourage bicyclists, racks that support the frame in at least two places are ideal.
Examples of racks with good frame support are the Hoop Rack and Campus Rack
Wave style racks are u-lock compatible, cost effective, and aesthetically simple. Rolling or wave style racks are not optimal for bicyclists because they do not provide two points of contact with the frame.
Bicycles often end up tipping over and are packed too tightly together. Bicyclists also will often park parallel to the rack, turning an 11-bike rack into a 2-bike rack.
Many standard "grid-style" racks support only the wheel of the bicycle and not the frame. This very often leaves the bicycle vulnerable to damage, which gave this style the nickname "wheel bender."
Who said bicycle racks had to be ugly? Several bike rack manufacturers (including us) are producing racks that could easily qualify as street art.
Some examples of other designs are found on our funky bicycle racks page. A well-designed bike rack can really enhance the visual appeal of the area in which it is placed.
Though custom racks cost more than a standard bike rack, the returns on your investment include heightened visibility and improved public perception of your organization's values.