Picking Out The Right Bike Repair Stand
Today, there are numerous bike repair stand options for the home mechanic. Styles and price ranges can vary drastically, so it's critical to do your researach and find the right one for you.
First, think about when and where you might be using your workstand. Will it remain in your workshop all the time? Will you store it in the closet and only use it when necessary? Will you carry it with you to bike races?
Second, think about how you will clamp your bicycle. Traditional stands use a spring-loaded clamp, while others use a screw-down clamp that applies gradual pressure. Still others hold the bicycle via the bottom bracket and dropouts. If you have lightweight carbon road bikes, you might not want a spring-loaded clamp. If you have a uniquely shaped mountain bike, there might not be a good spot to clamp the bike, so you might need the bottom bracket mount stand.
Now that you have thought about your bicycle and how you'll be using the stand, let's look at some types of repair stands...
The 5 Types of Bike Repair Stands
The various aspects of stands include bench mount stands, good for traveling stands, clamp mounts, bottom bracket mounts, tripod bases, and super heavy ones for shop use.
1. Heavy-duty Shop Stands. - These sturdy stands are found in most bike shops, and they're meant to stay there. The bases are extremely heavy so they can hold heavy bikes, and so you can apply lots of torque without the bike moving. They are also expensive.
Needless to say, this is overkill for most home mechanics.
2. Consumer Stands w/ Spring Clamp. - Most Park Tool workstands fall into this category. These stands vary in size and weight, but the key component is the spring-loaded clamp. When used properly, the clamp will provide the correct pressure to hold the bike without breaking it. However, it is possible to clamp too forcefully with these stands.
These stands usually satisfy all varities of home mechanics, and will even stand up to light-duty use in a bike shop.
3. Consumer Stands w/ Screw-down. - These stands will be like other consumer stands, but they offer an updated clamp design that screws down gradually. This allows you to easily adjust the clamp pressure, which is very important when dealing with lightweight bikes with thin-walled tubes.
These stands usually satisfy all varities of home mechanics, and will even stand up to light-duty use in a bike shop. This is a good choice in stand, whether you choose Park, Ultimate, or Spin Doctor brands.
4. Race Stands w/ Bottom bracket plus dropout mounts. - This is the newest style of workstand. One of these stands will hold the bicycle's bottom bracket and then fasten to either the rear dropouts or fork dropouts. This is great because it does not require any clamping forces applied to a frame tube or seatpost, and it will work with odd-shaped mountain bikes.
There are two main reasons to go with this stand. First, if you have a lightweight, fragile road bike, this is the safest way to clamp it in a stand. Second, if you have a mountain bike with shaped tubes that won't fit into a regular clamp, this stand should work.
5. Miniature Stands. - These stands simply hold the bike upright by holding the chainstay and seatstay. They also function as a light-duty repair stand, for simple maintenance and repairs such as chain lubrication.
The miniature stands work well for simple repairs done at home.
Important Features of Bike Repair Stands
Things to consider when comparing workstands:
Base - The base of the stand is important, because that is where the stand gets its stability. In general, a bigger and heavier base makes the stand more stable, so it will be able to handle heavy bikes and heavy wrenching. However, that will make it less portable.
The design of the base is also important. A stand with two flat legs will be stable in your garage, but it won't work very well on uneven ground. A stand with a tripod base will be stable on flat ground and on uneven ground. Definitely consider a tripod base is you will be using the stand outdoors, perhaps at a 24-hour mountain bike race.
Clamp Style - Some clamps are spring loaded, while others clamp down. Still others don't even have clamps.
I would choose a screw-down clamp instead of a spring-loaded clamp, because you an apply heavy pressure with either one, but it is easier to adjust the pressure with a screw-down style clamp.
If you want to be extra careful, look for the stands where the bike rests on its bottom bracket, eliminating the need for a powerful clamp. This style also comes in handy for bikes with small frames, no seatposts, or shaped tubes - all of which make it hard to clamp a bike in a traditional clamp.
Size and Weight - As I mentioned previously, a heavier stand tends to be more stable. However, a heavy stand is hard to transport. If you plan to travel, make sure your stand is light enough to carry.
Size is also important. The stand should hold the bike high enough off the ground for comfortable repairs, so that you don't have to bend over or contort your body to reach something. The right size will depend on your height, so look for a stand with a good range of height adjustment.
Folding - Most home mechanic stands will fold up for storage or travel. This is a very important consideration if you will be storing the stand in a closet when not in use, or if you will be carrying the stand back and forth in your car.
Ideally your stand will offer "tool free" folding and height adjustments. Some stands require an Allen wrench to set the height or to loosen bolts for folding it up, which can be annoying, especially if you are short on time.
Popular Bike Repair Stands
To help you get started comparing workstands, I have listed some of the popular models below, along with a short description of each.
Park Team Race Stand, PRS-20 - This is a popular, high-end workstand that holds the bicycle by the bottom bracket and dropouts. It does require removing one wheel, but it eliminates the need to clamp a fragile tube or seatpost.
Park Home Mechanic Repair Stand, PCS-10. - This is a quality stand from Park Tool at a home mechanic price.
Ultimate Pro Work Stand. - This is a very popular workstand, featuring a tripod base, good clamp, and folding ability for easy transport.
Spin Doctor Pro G3 Work Stand. - This stand is similar in design to the Ultimate Pro stand, but at a budget price.
Spin Doctor Quickstand Work Stand. - For the mechanic on a strict budget, this $20 stand elevates the rear wheel and holds the bike upright. It's great for quick repairs.
That is everything you need to know, now it's time to make a decision. Good luck!