Choosing a Good Bicycle Work Stand: Cheap, Effective Options
There are few people who don't love a good bike ride. Fun, fast and exciting, a great jaunt on two wheels really livens up the soul. However, many bicycles sit collecting dust because they're in need of repair. As I was training to become a bicycle mechanic, I can to understand that having the right bicycle repair stand can make or break your repair experience.
Bikes are pretty heavy (even the light ones), and they love to obey the laws of gravity. Without a good work stand for your bicycle, even a minor repair becomes a major ordeal. Yes, it can be done, but it's difficult and unwieldy at the best of times. If you find the need to do regular repairs, you might want to consider investing in one of the good, cheap cycle repair stands on the market these days. It goes a long way.
In this article, I'll be offering three reviews of good stands that are sturdy, durable and user friendly. I'll take a close look at each item, and because they're each different, I'll mention any special considerations or potential issues so you're fully apprised.
Before the reviews, though, I'll touch on what you want in a bike work stand, and what you don't want. Let's get going!
Essential Features of Any Good Quality Bicycle Work Stand:
There are a lot of options at your disposal. You can build or buy stands of all shapes and sizes. However, there are a few things you should look for specifically if you want to avoid frustration.
Strong Clamping System:
The clamp is the primary pitfall of many otherwise decent bicycle repair stands. The clamp attaches to either the seat tube, seat post, or top tube of your bike, and it needs to be strong and well-designed.
You also want to make sure your stand is easy to set up and clamp. Some of them seemingly require three hands to get everything set.
Stable Tripod or Legs:
There's nothing worse than working on a shaky stand. Whether a tripod system or legs with wide bases, be certain that it fits your workspace. Tripods tend to be better in my experience, but there are a few exceptions.
Adjustable Height, Pivoting Head:
It's wise to get a stand with at least a limited amount of adjustment. There are a few very good bicycle work stands with telescopic shafts that let you raise or lower the height pretty easily.
You might also want to find a stand with a pivoting head. This lets you be selective about where you clamp onto your frame. It also lets you change the angle to access hard to reach areas without stretching or getting covered in chain grease.
1. Park Tools makes one of the best home repair bicycle workstands
If you're after a quality stand that will last, why make it difficult on yourself? Park Tools have been setting a high standard for a long time, and many bike shops swear by their equipment, tools and stands. Frankly, I'm not sure how this company makes any money, because their stuff seems to last forever.
The PCS-9 is a great little stand for the home mechanic. It's sturdily built and can hold quite a bit of weight, even heavy mountain bikes. It folds up to store, and it features a three point leg system that's steady in most circumstances. If you're working on uneven ground it could be tricky, but on pavement, cement or any flat surface this is extremely stable.
What I like about this awesome bike repair stand is the extra thought the manufacturers put into little things. There's a little notch on the head clamp to make room for you cables (so they don't get pinched as you work). The head rotates easily, and it's telescopic and height adjustable.
For the price, this is a solid choice and probably my first recommend to most people.
2. Feedback Sports: A sturdy & affordable home cycle work stand
This is a great stand by Feedback Sports that's sure to please most bike owners and mechanics. I owned this particular one for a few years and I was continually impressed by its rugged design, excellent strength and overall utility. It's very reasonably priced, and there's no assembly required.
This stand is strong! Made of steel tubing, it's capable of holding even extremely heavy rides like electric or downhill mountain bikes. It features a clamp that you close by turning a knob, and the whole head will rotate so you can clamp at just about any angle.
One of the best features of this awesome bicycle work stand is the feet. They slide down and are locked into place with a pin. Because there's a bit of 'freedom of movement', they give you good stability even on softer or uneven ground. I've even used this on grass.
It folds up and it will last forever. It has a warranty, but I don't think you'll use it, it's simple, strong and very reliable.
3. Topeak Prepstand Elite: A 'tripod' style bike repair stand, best for stability
You might know Topeak from their series of bicycle pumps. I'm pretty impressed with this stand for a few reasons.
It's highly portable, with folding legs and head. The legs are a tripod system. This means that you get great stability on a range of surfaces. The whole thing comes with a zip up carrying case that makes storage a snap.
The head clamp is excellent and strong, and I'd have no issues putting a heavier bike on this one. It rotates 360 degrees and the clamp has a mechanism to avoid over tightening.
Note: It tightens with a round dial, which might be harder to use if you don't have good hand strength.
It also telescopes up and down so you can adjust the height. You'll be surprised at how strong the clamp system is, you can hold your frame at pretty crazy angles without it getting tippy.
For anyone concerned about space and needing a more portable choice, this is one of the top bicycle repair stands around, and it's cheap to boot.
Can I Build My Own Stand?
You can definitely build a stand, but do be cautious. There are online plans that are not good at all.
I don't recommend building out of wood. Get some quality PVC or steel piping to put your stand together.
Focus on the clamping mechanism and make sure it's solid. You can also buy a bicycle repair stand head separately. It's a lot cheaper than getting the whole stand, and you can attach it to a workbench or something. Overall, however, I'm in favor of just investing in a stand that you know will work.
Other Things To Consider:
Now that we've covered a couple of the best bicycle repair stands around, I wanted to cover a couple of other things before I sign off.
- Regarding tools: If you're new to bicycle mechanics, you might be tempted to go 'all in' and get all the bells and whistles straight away. I'd caution you to purchase repair gear slowly and incrementally, based on your needs.
Start with a few simple options: a good ratchet set with a few common socket sizes, a set of decent hex wrenches (there are some excellent tri wrenches that are perfect for bikes), a chain breaker tool, and a good quality screwdriver with all the common bits. Don't invest in anything unless you're positive you'll be using it.
- Learning as you go: There are usually some free or inexpensive courses on bike repair at local community colleges. Internet diagrams are well and good, but a starter mechanic should have someone to walk them through the steps. It will save you a lot of headaches!
- Watch your paint: With any cycle work stand that you invest in, be sure that it won't mar up your paint job. If you're concerned that the inner clamp is too scratchy, add a little layer of foam rubber to the inside with double sided tape.
If you've got any questions I didn't answer, please feel free to post a comment below, I'll try to respond when I get a chance. Good luck!
Bicycle Repair Poll:
Questions or concerns about any of these cycling repair stands?
Tyler on April 12, 2016:
Holy cow, these are all quite expensive in my opinion!
Gratitude Journal on August 13, 2013:
I had no idea these things existed. Thanks for the info!