Topeak takes a different approach with its Prepstand ZX by doing away with the clamp. It works well for basic maintenance and cleaning, plus it's compact, very portable and easy to use, but inevitably it's not as secure for more serious work – and it's still quite expensive.
This stand feels and looks classy; the build quality is superb. Even by the end of the test, the 6061 T6 tubes were showing no signs of rubbing, abrasion or wear, despite the regular opening up and closing of the stand. The etched height markings are as clear as they were when it came out of the box.
The rubber feet and clamp jaws are equally sturdy, effective and durable. The QR clamps are chunky, easy to operate and grip the tubing securely.
The Prepstand ZX is sure to appeal to those attending sportives, races or other such events when they start up again; it's perfect for pre-event tinkering and post-event washing. Its folded size and weight make it ideal for this.
It's perfect for fettling at home too. Folded down the stand is just shy of 90cm long, with an 11cm cross section at its widest parts, so it's easy to store. Topeak claims it weighs 3290g, though we measured it at a fair chunk less – 3010g. Either way, it's not particularly heavy.
While the height is adjustable up to 132cm, the arm extends a fixed 30cm away from the vertical stand, so the pedal never comes close to the stand.
Your bike is held by thick, rubber jaws, and sits with its front wheel on on the ground. While the most obvious way is with the jaw under the saddle, some frames allow you to get the jaws around the seat tube, giving a nicer work level for some jobs.
Topeak says it's 'not compatible with aero seat post widths larger than 45mm'. It takes my carbon bike with a 45mm aero post, but it's not ideal; it's forced to sit at a slight angle.
That 'front wheel down' stance means the smaller your bike, the more you have to stoop to work on it – but despite Topeak's intention, it's not vital to have the wheel on the ground. I've aligned front disc brakes with the stand fully up, with no problems. It's okay for something like gear indexing too – you just get a bit more movement.
The stand really does make a great post-ride wash prop, and it's simple enough it doesn't really suffer so long as you don't fold it away soaking or refuse to show it the lube.
While tasks like changing cables, adjusting brakes and gears are no problem, the lack of a clamp means you can't do anything requiring even a moderate amount of torque.
Also, the stand has a limit of 25kg, and the heavier the bike the less stable it is. You can boost stability by lowering the height, though as mentioned, this results in more stooping.
Finally, there is no tool holder, and I really missed this. Something to hold hex keys and bolts close to hand while working is priceless. Topeak does a compatible Aluminium Tool Tray it's unfortunately managed to put a price on, however, and it's a £17.99 extra.
Given this stand's limitations, it's a considerable investment at £139.99. However, if you plan to stick to basic maintenance and want something that is hassle-free, portable and of excellent quality, it really fits the bill.
For comparison, FWE's Compact Folding Workstand is £64.99 and perfectly decent, though the quality isn't up to Topeak's standards. If you want to match the quality, Park Tool's PRS 25 Team Issue Repair Stand is great (and has a more traditional clamp), but it's £300 – their more basic PCS 9.2 Home Mechanic Repair Stand is close to the Topeak at £149.99, though, and again is far more versatile thanks to its clamp, taller adjustment and higher weight rating.
Wiggle's in-house LifeLine Home Mechanic Workstand is £90, and even comes with a mat.
If you plan to stick to lightweight maintenance and principally want a portable, easy-to-use stand, Topeak's Prepstand ZX is certainly worth considering. It's a top quality product that should serve you well at home or away, and promises to last the test of time.
Ideal for basic maintenance and cleaning, portable and easy to store – but not for strenuous jobs
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Prepstand ZX
Size tested: 96 x 86 x 58cm
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?
Topeak says: "This simple and easy-to-use workstand does not require any mounting or clamping action which may scratch or damage your bike seat tube surface or seatpost. Just lift your bike, hang seatpost or seat tube on the arm of bike holder, and lift up rear wheel for bike maintenance and adjustments. Optional tool tray holds tools and small parts close for easy access."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
HOLDER HEAD: Hard rubber jaws
HOLDER HEIGHT: 80 cm to 108 cm /(31.5' - 42.5')
ATTACHMENT: Attaches to seat tube or seatpost with front wheel on the floor
FOLDING: QR clamps
MATERIAL: 6061 T6 tubes
MAX WEIGHT CAPACITY25 kg / 55 lb
ADDED FEATURES: Rubber base feet Optional tool tray (Art No. TW016-SP01)
LIMITATIONS: Not compatible with aero seatpost width larger than 45mm
SIZE: 96 x 86 x 58 / 37.8' x 33.9' x 22.8' (Open) 88 x 11 x 11 x / 34.6' x 4.3' x 4.3' (Folded)
WEIGHT: 3.29 kg / 7.25 lb
Only intended for light maintenance, and it's a great stand for this. May be low for tall folk, though.
Makes maintenance much more comfortable, though may be a bit low if you're tall.
Has its limitations, but it's a top quality product that does what it's designed for very well.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very portable, exceptionally quick to set up and perfect for light maintenance. I can't fault it in terms of its designed purpose.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Quality build, compact fold, zero-faff mounting. For light maintenance and washing, I go to this stand every time.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing when used for its designed purpose.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's not cheap. FWE's is half the price, while Wiggle's own LifeLine Stand lies between the two at £90. If you step up in quality Park Tool will cost you more, but you're getting a clamp in all these cases.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
For light maintenance and cleaning, this is ideal, and its size means it travels easily too. It's not as secure as a clamped stand for more serious work, but it's not designed to be; the high price given its slightly limited use does hold it back slightly, though.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
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, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…