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The Topeak PrepStand eUP Pro is a great idea: a high-quality folding workstand with a pneumatic assist for hoiking e-bikes and the like around, but for less than half the price of motorised stands like the Park Tool PRS-33 or Unior Electric Repair Stand. Unfortunately a couple of flaws in the execution make it far less useful than it should be – with a few tweaks it really could end up on our best bike repair stands list, but for now it's a miss.
This stand incorporates a nitrogen-charged cylinder, operated with a foot switch, that provides 17kg of lifting force. For lighter bikes that means you can let the stand do all the work, while for a heavy ebike it's the difference between easily getting the bike into place and grunting and swearing at it.
It's simple to use: you put the bike in the clamp, press the foot pedal and the bike moves up, with a bit of help from you if it weighs more than 17kg. This certainly makes getting up to working height easier. Or it would if the clamp actually dropped low enough to grab a normal bike.
Topeak's video shows a bike clamped by the seatpost with its tyres on the floor being lifted to working height, but to do that you need an exceptionally tall seat post. The top of the clamp is 112cm from the floor; the top of the seatpost on my road bike, by comparison, is 90cm, so the bike still needs to be manually lifted 22cm (just under 9in in old money) before you can start work.
My partner Caroline tried getting her 25kg ebike into the eUP Pro and simply couldn't do it. She's not tall enough or strong enough to lift the whole thing up to the necessary height. I could just about manage, but it certainly wasn't trivial – bear in mind you can only use one hand, as you need the other to work the clamp.
Now, you can do what Topeak's Demo Man does and lift just the back of the bike up to the clamp, leaving the front wheel to take some weight, but Demo Man only gets away with this because he's handling a tall mountain bike with a long front end; a more conventional bike, like two of the ebike hybrids in my family's fleet, aren't tall enough for this to work. So again you just have to hoik them up into the clamp.
Okay, you could get a very long seatpost just for this purpose and fit it so it reaches the lowered clamp, but with 42cm of lift, doing it that way doesn't get the derailleurs up to an easy working height.
This is disappointing. To really make working on heavy ebikes easier, you need to be able to lift them straight from the floor.
The PrepStand eUP Pro does at least fold up easily for transport, and Topeak offers a bag to store and carry it in. At 14kg it's not something you're going to want to chuck around, though.
This stand is very sturdily built from large-diameter aluminium tubes. The two main legs fold out and are held in place with a quick-release clamp. There are two short auxiliary legs to help stabilise it, held in place with large knurled screws, and for storage and transport the clamp removes easily.
Most folding stands are a bit flexible; it's nothing you can't live with, but they're not rigid enough to resist serious welly. This, though, is the stiffest and sturdiest folding stand I've used. I'd be happy to use it to support a bike while I applied a breaker bar to end a 20-year relationship between a frame and bottom bracket.
The clamp is very similar to Park Tool's well-regarded Professional Micro-Adjust Clamp in that it has narrow jaws (so you don't need much seatpost showing), grabs tubes from 22.2 to 76.2mm across, and can quickly open wide/close back up with a few spins of a handle.
It's not as easy to use with just one hand as, say, a Feedback Sports clamp, but it's pretty good.
To spin a bike in the vertical plane you loosen the handle on the back of the clamp until the two toothed discs move apart enough that one can turn independently of the other. The axle through this section is really sturdy, so while I was initially worried that it might get damaged when half-open, it doesn't. It's tough.
You'll need plenty of open space around the eUP, however, because the stand doesn't spin around the vertical axis, unlike some with tripod bases. If you're working on one side of a bike, you have to walk round to work on the other side. This is only a problem if your working space is a bit cramped. Mine is, so I'd come to depend on being able to spin a bike round.
There aren't any as far as I can see. There are several out there with actual motors, but the cheapest of them, the Goliath Pro+ from Spain, is still almost €2,000 before shipping and customs duties (thanks, Brexit) and you'll still need a base for it.
There's a gaping hole in the workstand market between the best manual home-use workstands, such as the Feedback Sports Pro Elite (£350), Unior BikeGator+ (£364.99) and Park Tool PRS-25 (£405), and the electric-assist stands that start at well over two grand. If you have heavy bikes then some sort of assistance is a godsend, but you really need to be able to lift from the floor.
The Topeak PrepStand eUP Pro just can't do that with many bikes, and that's rather disappointing considering the £869.99 price.
Nevertheless, if your fleet includes big mountain bikes and lighter ebikes you should get plenty of use out of it. If you can lift your bikes about a foot with one hand, then the Topeak PrepStand eUP Pro does the rest of the job really well. In truth though, that's a disappointingly narrow use-case.
Sturdy workstand with effective lift-assistance, but needs to reach down lower to be truly useful
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Prepstand eUP Pro
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's a folding workstand with a pedal-operated gas lift to help with heavy bikes, such as e-bikes and downhill mountain bikes.
"The PrepStand eUP Pro is the first lift assisted foldable workstand – ideal for working on e-Bikes and other heavyweight bikes. Additional Reinforced Support Unit adds stability while a bike is mounted. The foot pedal operated, built-in pressurized cartridge provides an additional 17kg (37lb) of lifting power making easy work of raising and lowering most bikes weighing up to 35kg (77lb). A 360 degree rotatable clamp head with non-marring jaws quickly and securely holds your bike stable for repairs, cleaning and general maintenance. Quick release legs conveniently fold to a compact size for travel and storage.
Pressurized N2 cartridge can last for at least: 2 years or usage of 30,000 cycles
17kg LIFT ASSIST
Effortlessly assist raise and lower heavyweight bikes with pressurized cartridge lift assist.
NON-MARRING RUBBER JAWS
Clamp head features non-marring rubber jaws & anti-slip sleeve won't harm finish.
Fits tubes Ø22.2-'€76.2 mm.
360° ROTATABLE CLAMP HEAD
Speed lever add convenience for rotating clamp head
Built-in 4in wheel makes moving stand easy
OPTIONAL TOOL TRAY
Art no. TW001-SP02
OPTIONAL STORAGE BAG
Art No. TWB030
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
WEIGHT: 14 kg
SIZE: 114 x 112 x 92 cm / 44.9' x 44.1' x 29.9'(Open) | 112 x 24 x 21 cm / 44.1' x 9.4' x 8.3' (Folded)
ADDED FEATURES: Pressurized cartridge, Rubber base feet, Built-in 4in wheel
MAX LOAD: 35 kg / 77.1 lb
MATERIAL: 6061 T6 Tubes
FOLDING: QR clamp
CLAMP OPENING: 1.2cm - 9cm (Fits tubes ø22.2 - ø76.2mm)
CLAMP HEIGHT: 107cm - 149cm
CLAMP HEAD: Non-marring rubber jaws, 360˚ rotation
There is much sturdiness.
It does well what it's designed to do, but that doesn't include lifting a bike from having both wheels on the floor and that's a major shortcoming.
Plenty tough, should last well.
It's less than half the price of assisted stands with electric motors, but on the other hand it's around three times the price of a good conventional folding stand, which seems an awful lot extra to pay for a gas-lift mechanism.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty well - if your bike is tall enough to reach the minimum clamp height.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Helps get a heavy bike up to working height; overall beefiness.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Clamp doesn't drop low enough to lift many bikes from the floor.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There's really nothing comparable on the market. A Park Tool PRS-33 is over two grand and very much pro workshop equipment, while the best folding stand, the Feedback Sports Pro Elite, is £350. For permanent home workshop use I'm very tempted to rig a linear actuator or an electric hoist to a Kestrel Model BK stand.
Did you enjoy using the product? Somewhat
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
I'm giving the Prepstand eUP Pro a score of Good because the aspects that work well are very good: it's very stiff and supportive, and the lift assist is genuinely useful once your bike is attached. What pulls it down from Very Good or even Excellent is a) its inability to reach down to anything but the tallest bikes, and b) the price, which seems to me about £200 over the odds.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.