Working on your bike at home is made a lot easier with a bike stand.
There's a reason no professional workshop is complete without a bike stand: undertaking even simple jobs is made much harder without one.
A bike stand suspends your bike in mid air, so that you can work on it without having to hold it up yourself, prop it against anything or ('rules' observers close your eyes) turn it upside down.
Bike stand styles
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Most home mechanics will want a foldable bike stand which clamps the bike via the top tube or seat post. These are lightweight, usually cheaper, and appropriate for the majority of bikes.
Foldable is good because you can return your living room/spare room/garage to its normal state when you're done, and the tube clamping mechanism is quick, easy to use and often highly adjustable to suit different bikes and indeed mechanic heights.
Professional mechanics, or those lucky enough to have a dedicated 'bike room', may opt for a fixed stand with a heavy solid base which is not designed to be moved around or folded at the end of the job. This makes it easier to loosen tight bolts such as those on bottom brackets.
The clamp on most home mechanic stands comes with a warning: very lightweight aluminium or carbon bikes shouldn't be clamped by the top tube, and you'll need to use the seat post. This becomes an issue if you've got a stubby seat post, or an aero seat post.
The alternative here is a workstand that mounts at the bottom bracket. These are popular amongst pro team mechanics as they're easy to transport but don't require any clamping to the frame.
Here's a look at some of our favourite bike stand models...
Park Tool PCS-10 home mechanic bike repair stand
A folding bike stand that has been a firm favourite in the Park Tool range for some time. A cam-type clamp is suitable for tubes between 24mm and 26mm and the pressure is adjustable - it's suitable for a variety of tube shapes including those found on a recumbent. Height adjustment is operated by a quick release and the folded size is 104cm. Three legs form the base, reducing the chance of tumbles.
The unit itself weighs 11.4 kg and can take up to 36kg.
Topeak PrepStand ZX bike stand
Taking a very different approach to most, Topeak's PrepStand allows you to balance the bike without clamping it. The jaws are rubberised, and it folds up to a tiny 88 x 11 x 11cm.
The unit itself weighs 3.29kg and can hold up to 25kg.
The lack of solid clamp and lower weight of the unit makes it more suitable for jobs where you're not going to need to produce a huge amount of torque - changing cables and adjusting brakes - but if you plan to stick to these kinds of jobs it's a good lightweight option.
Feedback Sports: SPRINT bike repair stand
A slightly more pricey option, the Sprint stand from Feedback sports is ideal for those who don't want to clamp the bike via top tube or seat post. The design means the bike can swivel 360 degrees, which is handy for jobs where you want to get up close.
Designed with top-end carbon frames in mind, the bike is mounted at the bottom bracket and forks, and the stand is compatible with 100mm front quick-release dropouts, 130/135mm rear quick-release dropouts. Adaptors are available for 15mm and 22mm front thru axles and 135 x 12 and 142 x 12 bolt through rear axles.
The overall weight is 5.9kg and it can take up to 38kg, with a folded size of 13 x 19 x 76cm.
Tacx Cycle Motion Workstand T3075 bike stand
Axle-mounted workstands are largely a more expensive breed, but this one from Tacx comes with a more friendly price tag. The bike can be attached via front or rear fork, resting on the bottom bracket support. The fork holders are adjustable and suitable for 55mm quick-release skewers.
The frame is constructed from steel, folds to 58 x 25 x 25cm and weighs 8kg. The max load is 20kg and working height is not adjustable, at 80cm.
X-Tools Home Mechanic Prep Stand and workshop mat
Coming from X-Tools, the in-house brand at Wiggle, this prep stand carries many of the features of more expensive options.
The height is adjustable, and the clamp can suit tube widths from 30 to 80mm. The legs fold for easy storage, and then in use, they sprawl out to provide a wide and stable base. The clamp arm rotates 360 degrees, locked into place by interlocking teeth which are extremely secure.
The unit itself weighs 4.4kg. No max weight is listed, but the stand can hold downhill and full suspension mountain bikes so will be fine with road bikes.
Xtreme S 1300 assembly bike stand
One of the cheapest options available (unless you're lucky enough to pick up an Aldi Special Buys bike stand in one of their low run product drops, usually about £30), the Xtreme available at Rose Bikes again carries many features you'll find on more expensive models.
The clamp rotates to 360 degrees and extends to cater for tubes from 22 to 52mm. It's height adjustable from 100 to 160cm and has a max load of 18kg.
Notably, the legs don't fold. It can be packed away if disassembled but if you need it out of the way often then it's probably not ideal, but you do get a swanky tool holder mounted on the main leg.
Trivio Wall Workstand Junior
If space is at a real premium, then it's worth considering a wall-mounted bike stand like this one from Trivio. You can mount it at any height you like, and the clamp arm can be positioned on the top or seat tube, with a quick-release mechanism.
The major flaw is that you'll have to remove and remount the bike to get to the other side - which isn't always ideal, but for basic jobs, adjustments and cleaning, it'll have you sorted.
Key features to look out for when buying a bike stand
There are a few features that set a good bike stand apart from a bad bike stand. Unfortunately many people learn what they are via purchasing a bad bike stand.
Here's a few things you want to look out for:
- Clamping adjustment: you want this to be quick to use, to save yourself having to fiddle with knobs and dials with one hand whilst trying to balance the bike with the other
- Strong clamps: foldable stands will feature several clamps which need to be tightened when in use. If these aren't robust, you can find the whole thing tipping your way in the middle of a complicated procedure, which isn't ideal
- Folding size: if space is a factor, check the stand folds down to a size where you can store it easily
- Height adjustment: can you change the height at which the bike will be balanced? Important if more than one person will be using it
- Max weight: the greater the weight the stand can take, the more sturdy it's likely to be
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