A workstand holds your bike firmly and off the floor so you can
do repair and maintenance work more easily. You don’t have to spend a
fortune to get a perfectly decent one.
Eventually you get fed up of trying to work on a bike that’s leaning
against the kitchen bench or — the horror! — upside down in the shed.
You’ve seen the beefy static workstands shop mechanics use and want some
of that action at home. It’s time to take your mechanic-fu up a step and
get a workstand.
Very broadly speaking, there are two types: a pro shop style fixed stand
with a heavy base — or even bolted to the floor — that lives in your
dedicated bike repair space, or a folding stand that can be packed away
when not in use and taken to events. Few of us have the space for a
dedicated workshop, so folding stands are far more common.
There are two common ways that workstands hold bikes, either with a clamp
that grabs a frame tube or the seat post, or with a combination of a quick
release fork clamp and a bottom bracket cradle. Race mechanics like the
latter type because they’re very stable and handy for cleaning bikes, but
a stand with a clamp works with a wider range of bikes.
There’s a caveat with clamp-style stands though: they can easily crush
light frame tubes. Carbon fiber and very light aluminium frames are the
most fragile and must be clamped by the seat post if it’s beefy enough.
We’re not aware of any seatpost makers that warn against clamping, but if
you have a very light seat post and you’re worried about it, then get an
el cheapo aluminium post to use with your workstand.
Your typical folding stand has three points of contacts with the ground
on legs that fold out from the body, some sort of adjustment of the clamp
height usually through a telescoping vertical member and a clamp that may
or may not fold away depending on the design. Within that outline there’s
a lot of variation in detail and quality, so let’s take a look at six of
the best workstands.
The FWE Compact Folding Workstand from Evans Cycles is a good investment
if you want to make your bike fettling easier but you don't want to break
the bank. It's a good stand for the money.
The top section with the clamp folds down, making it a very compact
package when folded. It's easy to stash in the corner of the shed or bung
in the car for pre-sportive faffing. There's a foam rubber sleeve on the
clamp section, so you can hang your bike over the stand by the saddle if
you just want a super-quick gear fiddle.
The clamp will accept tubes between 35mm and 75mm and does a pretty good
job of holding onto aero seatposts too. It's better than the majority of
clamps we've seen at the budget end of the market.
It's not quite sturdy enough for heavy bikes, so e-bike owners should
look elsewhere, but overall, you can't really grumble for less than 50
quid. It's a good starter workstand.
The Tacx Spider Team workstand is aimed more at fettling your bike pre-
and post-race rather than as a full-on workshop tool, and thanks to its
lightweight aluminium alloy/plastic construction it's easy to transport
and simple to set up.
It's been designed in collaboration with pro team mechanics for the type
of jobs likely to be carried out in the pit area or back of a lorry:
cleaning jobs, gear fettling like replacing cables or new chains, plus
general adjustments, with that ability to quickly spin through 360 degrees
making it very useful for confined spaces.
At just 4.25kg the Spider Team is ideal for travel and is easy to fling
in the back of your team van or boot of the car. It folds down quickly and
without fuss, which makes it easy to carry to the pit area if you're at a
race with no vehicular access.
The Park Tool PRS-22 is a professional-level repair stand that's strong
and stable, the beam design allowing it to support the bottom bracket and
hold either the front or rear dropouts so there's no need to clamp either
the frame or seatpost.
Most repair stands feature a clamp that you tighten around the seatpost
but the PRS-22 is an entirely different design in that your bike is
supported by a central beam. You whip one of the wheels off, rest the
bottom bracket shell on its support on that beam, and then secure the
dropouts on the quick release axle.
Once your bike is fixed in place, the PRS-22 holds it firm and secure,
although bikes with sloping bottom bracket shells aren't as stable as
others. Whether you're adjusting the gears or brakes or doing something
that requires a bit more force, the PRS-22 is more than strong enough. The
wide base is really steady on a flat floor, each of the three aluminium
legs extending outwards 60cm from the centre.
The Bikegater+ Repair Stand from Slovenian company Unior is a practical,
tough and stable tool for home and shop mechanics alike, though the clamp
unit will need upgrading if you work with a lot of different bikes.
If a stand ain't stable it ain't worth having. Some seem OK until you
load the bike in, at which point the whole thing becomes top heavy. That's
a danger to you and your bike. Well, the Unior Bikegater+ passes that
particular test with aplomb. Though only a two-leg design, the geometry is
sorted so that a bike clamped by the seat tube sits squarely over the
centre of gravity. No amount of leaning on foot-long bottom-bracket
wrenches threatened to topple it. This was true even at maximum extension
– a very generous 155cm, I might add, which made it the first stand I've
used that was actually a bit too tall!
With a delivery price well in excess of what most people are prepared to
pay for an entire bike workstand, the Hirobel Carbon Frame Clamp is going
to remain pretty rare even among diehard home workshop fettlers. But if
you have a fleet of bikes, strange carbon aero shapes, or very short
exposed lengths of seatpost, this may well be the workstand accessory
you've been looking for all these years.
Clamping a bike by the seatpost can mean having to move the post to
secure enough 'real estate' for the clamp – risking misalignment of the
saddle, returning it to the wrong height or ultimately stripping the clamp
bolts through repeated tightening/loosening. With modern bike-fit
principles setting seat height to within fractions of a millimetre, you
don't want to be getting this wrong...
Combine this with the difficulty of clamping increasingly thinner-walled
and strangely shaped hydroformed alloy tubing or complex 3D carbon layups,
and what's an honest fettler to do? Enter the Hirobel Carbon Frame Clamp.
Many manufacturers make a professional workshop stand along these lines,
with a heavy steel base and a simple but robust clamp that slides up and
down the upright so you can place the bike at exactly the right height.
The base of Var’s stand weighs 28kg, so it really isn’t intended to be
portable, unless you're the Incredible Hulk of bike mechanics.
Var says the tacky rubber used for the jaws of the clamp means you don’t
have to tighten it as hard and illustrates it holding a Look carbon frame
by the seat tube.
The Rolls Royce of folding/portable stands, Feedback Sports’ Pro-Elite
stand is superbly made and a joy to use thanks to a brilliant, beefy clamp
that opens and closes in a jiffy but holds your seatpost securely whatever
its size or shape.
It’s made from aluminium and stainless steel so you don’t mind getting it
wet when using it as a bike wash stand and when it’s not in use it folds
tidily into the optional tote bag. Our man Mike Stead concluded in his
review: “The last workstand you'll ever need to buy, and you'll love using
it, every time.” He’s not wrong — I’ve had a Pro Elite for years and can’t
think of any reason to replace it.
This is Feedback Sports’ take on the fork-end-and-cradle supported stand
popular with race mechanics. The Sprint is easy to use, with a simple
clamp that can hold either the front or rear dropouts. Mike Stead again:
“The Feedback Sports Sprint Workstand is a great-looking top-class bit of
kit that you'll look forward to getting out to use. If you can bring
yourself to put it away, that is.”
The more expensive of Park Tool’s pair of folding stands, the PCS-10 is
worth the extra over the PCS-9 for its easier folding and unfolding, and
quicker, nicer to use clamp. The adjustable, cam-action clamp fits tubes
from 24 to 76mm and it takes Park Tool’s handy accessories like the tool
bucket and paper towel holder.
This is a simple and sturdy stand at a good price, with lots of positive
reviews on Amazon, where it can
sometimes be found for a bargain price. It has quick releases so
it’s easy to put up and down and a simple cam-action clamp.
This appears to be the same as the four-legged stand that sometimes pops
up as a Lidl seasonal offer for £25-30. Amazon reviewers report that it’s
plenty stable and sturdy, and the
Lidl stand is a forum favourite, usually described as far better
than you’d expect for the modest price.
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Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.