The Best Bike Work Stands for Home and Travel
Which is the best bike work stand for repairing your ride when at home or on the road? To find out, we researched 20 top models and bought five for hands-on testing on trips and in our garage. We looked for which ones were easiest to get the bike in and out of, the most stable, and the easiest to collapse and then set back up. We spent a lot of time testing the clamp operation. Read on to find the best option for the (home) bike mechanic in all of us.
Read the full review below >
Test Results and Ratings
|Displaying 1 - 5 of 5||<< Previous | View All | Next >>|
Analysis and Award Winners
This summer, we checked in with our award winners, and all are still current. We surveyed the scene of other available stands and still feel our lineup represents many of the best models available.
Feedback Sports Classic
In an ever more specialized world with many tools for many problems, the Feedback Sports Classic is a refreshing one-stop-shop. It securely held every different bike we had. It is one of the easiest to use out of the box. It is intuitive, light, sturdy, and easy to operate and will serve just as well on the road traveling to races as it will in your garage. While competitors had some impressive features, none of them performed as well on the whole. It gets the job done every time.
Lightest model tested
Intelligent clamp design w/ smooth quick-release
Comes fully assembled
Not the most stable
Color fades in sun
Read full review: Feedback Sports Classic
Best Bang for the Buck
Park Tool PCS-10
If a stand that's twice as hefty as the rest doesn't bother you, the Park Tool PCS-10 could be a great bet. It's 25 pounds and not that portable, but if it's unlikely to ever leave your garage, who cares? The clamp looks like it was designed to hold steel pipes steady for welding, rather than lubing the chain on a 17-pound road bike. The price tag and lifetime warranty will set your mind at ease.
Excellent clamp and a great value
Stable, heavy-duty steel construction
Easy angle and height adjustment
Heavy and not that portable
Read full review: Park Tool PCS-10
Top Pick for Traveling Techies and Weight Weenies
Topeak PrepStand Pro
One of our testers still had his Topeak Alien multi-tool that he bought 20 years ago as a freshman in high school. He kept showing it to us and raved how it was the only tool he carried aside from a pump. Topeak has continued the tradition of crafty innovation decades later with a product like the PrepStand Pro. With an integrated weight scale, you can see just how much less your pack weighs while carrying that Alien, while your riding buddies tote around an entire tool box in their backpacks. They'll respect you when you show up late after the car is all packed for your group trip to Moab with your Prepstand Pro in the included carrying case; it'll slide in easily amongst all the other cargo. The PrepStand's long tripod base legs provide stability on uneven ground and won't tip over if you accidentally back your camp chair into it when you get up to water the bushes.
Built-in scale and storage bag
Stable tripod base
Portable and easy set up/break down
Excellent height adjustment
Slower in setup
Hard to adjust angle
Read full review: Topeak PrepStand Pro
Analysis and Test Results
We tested the competitors' strengths and weaknesses and had everyone from the frequent rider to their non-biking friends mess around with and put them up to the challenge. We jammed them in our cars, set them up in our garages, and left them out in the rain after our rides to find out just exactly what they can handle. One thing is for sure: they certainly are a much better alternative to leaning your bike up against a wall while trying to stop your brakes from howling.
For more information on styles of bike repair stands and tips on how to choose the right one for you, reference our Buying Advice Article.
Selecting the Right Product
Different bikes and certain repairs may be better suited to one stand over another. During our testing, we used a wide variety of bicycles. This broad spectrum of bikes could easily represent the different bikes found in the home of a single consumer. In the case of multiple bike ownership, it is important to consider how each bike would mount in a given stand. Mom's road bike with quick release wheels and standard dropouts may work easily in an axle/bottom bracket mounting stand; however, when Junior falls off his BMX bike and knocks his brake lever out of position, do you really want to bother with removing his bolted-on wheel to throw it up in the stand? Dad's new mountain bike has a 20mm thru-axle that requires an adapter he hasn't ordered yet and he can't wait to go try out his new bike with the boys. For this family unit, perhaps a top tube/seatpost mounting stand is the best product for them. Such a stand will work with all of their bikes.
Very dedicated riders and riders who tend to do most all repairs themselves may be well suited to an axle/bottom bracket mounting stand. In the case of building a bike or other lengthy repairs, the extra time taken to remove a wheel is relatively minor. When mounted by the front axle, the fork and handlebars don't flop around like in a top tube/seatpost mounting stand, making jobs like routing brake cables a less arduous task. Spinning the bike to access whatever side you wish is also more convenient than unclamping and reclamping the bike.
Criteria for Evaluation
The chart below compiles all the scores from the individual metrics to give an overview of performance across the board.
Ease of Clamping
Arguably, the most important feature of a bike work stand is the clamp; this is the part of the stand that comes into contact with your bike. A poorly designed clamp can mar the paint job or even place crushing pressure on frame tubes. The clamp's main job it to hold the bike securely while force is applied to the bicycle during repairs. If the bike is slipping around in the stand while you're using a torque wrench on a sensitive part, not only do you risk damaging expensive componentry, but the likelihood of injury rises as well. A quality clamp accommodates a wide range of frame tube or seatpost sizes.
Oddly enough, with all of the brands that we tested, we were not able to fully decipher how clamp opening was measured. It makes sense when fully closed, the clamp opening is zero. At its widest setting, the clamp is only effectively as wide as the open end where the bike frame or seatpost is inserted. Unlike the flat jaws of a bench vise, the clamps of bike work stands are C-shape to accommodate the shape of the tubing. But, if the tube diameter is too large to pass through the opening of the clamp jaws, it doesn't much matter how large the internal clamp diameter is. Thus, for the purpose of this test we have given the clamp opening measurements — how wide the clamp jaws open from their fully closed positions. These numbers are useful; the clamp numbers in some manufacturer's specs can be less useful.
The clamp on our Editors' Choice winner, the Feedback Sports Classic, was a standout among the top tube/seatpost clamping stands. This stand features a Slide-Lock mechanism that allows the jaws to slide freely along their opening range; this allows the user to quickly open the jaws to accommodate whatever part of the bicycle is clamped. Once the bike is in, the user freely slides the jaws closed and then uses the knob on the front of the clamp assembly to tighten the clamp down. This makes for a quick bike hanging, whereas with the Topeak Prepstand Pro, the user must turn the front knob to move the clamp jaws open and closed. Although this is not terribly inconvenient, it does require holding the bike in place manually just a tad longer. Once in place, there's a bit more knob turning involved to secure the bike snugly. Another noteworthy clamp was the updated, shop-quality clamp of the Park Tool PCS-10. The Park PCS-10 also allowed rapid deployment of the clamp jaws, albeit through a different design. A plastic cam handle is opened and rotated counterclockwise to accommodate the bike; flipping the cam handle and rotating it clockwise closes the jaws on the frame tube or seatpost and allows fine tuning. The clamp alone is worth the money.
The Feedback Sports Sprint and Park Tool PRS-20, both axle/bottom bracket mounting stands, held the bikes in a very similar fashion. With either the front or rear wheel removed, the dropouts are placed in a quick release skewer and the bottom bracket is cradled in a saddle. The Park Tool PRS-20 includes a strap to hold the bottom bracket in place on the saddle, which we found helpful sometimes and unnecessary for lesser repairs. The most immediate drawback we noticed during our testing is that we couldn't mount all of our available bikes to either of these stands straight out of the box. The Feedback Sports Sprint offered a wider range of acceptance through the use of spacers and tubes that fit up to a 15mm thru axle; buy an adapter for 20mm thru axles. The Park PRS-20 requires an adapter (the 1728-TA Sliding Thru axle Adaptor) to accept 15mm and 20mm thru axle wheeled bikes. With bike technology constantly evolving and "standard" sizes changing each season, your next mountain bike, or your friend's, will probably require another adapter shortly. Historically, adapters rank pretty high on our "where the heck did I put that thing" list.
A Note on Angle and Height Adjustment
Some of the bike work stands we tested allowed bikes to be placed in nearly any orientation at varying heights. Some bike parts are tucked away in hard to reach places and having a stand that allows the bike to be tilted up, down, or even upside down is pretty handy. There are short people and tall people. Some people may choose a seated position for repair work, while others may opt to stand. Variety is the spice of life and we get what makes (and keeps) us the most comfortable.
Angle adjustments on the Park PCS-10 proved to be the smoothest of the group. A large swing handle provides a secure grip and it's very easy to modulate the amount of tension to prevent the bike from spinning too quickly and losing control of it. At the desired position, crank down the tension and be sure the bike is not going anywhere. We found angle adjustment similarly easy on the Feedback Classic. However, the same knob used for angle adjustment is also the same knob that locks the clamp arm in the horizontal position.
Though unlikely, this knob could be loosened too much, causing the clamp arm to fold into its stored position. Although a drawback to its storage capabilities, the clamp on the Park PCS-10 is fixed. We were skeptical of the angle adjustment on the Topeak right away; the Topeak PrepStand Pro uses plastic teeth that interface with one another to assist in holding the clamp at its desired angle; the teeth looked like a part that was susceptible to premature wear. We confirmed this by rotating the clamp (with the teeth only partially engaged), which sent bits of plastic shooting around. Like the others, the clamp is still held in place through tension on the threaded knob, so the plastic teeth are not the leading player in the system. We found this noteworthy, as it's something that could affect the stand's long-term usability. Careful use will easily avoid this problem. The round ribbed knob on the back of the clamp was also not a favorite, requiring a bit more effort on our part to tighten.
Height measurements on our top tube/seatpost stands were taken from the clamp to the floor with the base fully opened. The Feedback Classic had the greatest degree of height adjustment at 30 inches. The range of height adjustability among all stands proved sufficient for all our testers, who ranged in height from 5'1" to 6'4", though the quality of height adjustment was what set some stands apart from others. Both The Topeak PrepStand Pro and the Feedback Classic had smooth, telescoping height adjustment secured with large quick release levers. The stands with tripod bases, like the Topeak Prepstand and Feedback Classic, can slightly manipulate height if the base is secured in a less than fully open state. Though this can be helpful if floor space is limited, caution should be used since a smaller base of support can greatly reduce the stability of the stand, especially at greater use heights with heavier bikes. The height adjustment of the dual legged Park PCS-10 proved tougher than the others. The action was not as smooth and even forced some users to place a shoulder under the clamp and press up with their legs to direct the stand up (when loaded with a bike).
Axle/bottom bracket mounting stands appear to have a lesser degree of height adjustment when only looking at the numbers. Due to their design, you'll never get the front or rear tire close to the ground like you can on the other stands. These stands hold the bike in a fixed horizontal (wheels down) orientation. The angle of the beam in which the bike rests is always fixed as well. The Feedback is dead horizontal, while the Park PRS-20 is slightly angled. One major advantage that these stands have over the toptube/seatpost attachment is the ability to spin the bike in the stand. You can reach both sides of the bike simply by turning the stand, versus walking around or re-clamping the bike as necessary when using a toptube/seatpost mounting stand.
Greater bottom bracket height can also be achieved with these stands and can be helpful in certain repairs. We enjoyed the Free Collar Clamp on the Feedback Sprint. The Free Collar allows the user to safely disengage the Telescoping Collar for height adjustment, thus freeing the beam to spin granting access to all sides of the bike. The Park PRS-20 uses a similar system that has a combination of a quick release collar and a knob. The Feedback system was much sleeker and easier to operate when using the same consistent collar for all adjustments, rather than a combination of quick release and knobs.
Among the various repairs we performed while using these bike stands, the simple act of removing and replacing pedals was a great way to test stability. Requiring only a pedal wrench, this is an easy, reproducible procedure that almost anyone could perform. This action places a good amount of torque through a long lever arm (the cranks) in a mainly vertical, but also slightly horizontal plane that would cause an unsupported bike to shift position.
The Park PCS-10 had a long dual leg base that impressed users. The combination of two long support legs (34.5"), a slightly angled main tube, and a bomber clamp, was unwavering even when trying to unstick the most rusted, non-greased pedal threads on some of our test bikes. Among the two other top tube/seatpost mounting stands, the Topeak PrepStand Pro edged out the Feedback Classic. Once tightened, both clamps are quite similar in hold quality. We attributed the PrepStand's longer tripod legs and large rubber feet to its increased stability. The Park PRS-20 had a smaller base diameter than the Feedback Sprint, which cannot be adjusted; its center of gravity appeared to sit higher with this design. While everything on the Sprint is tight, the beam on the Park-20 secures with a cotter pin and bolt. This design results in a couple millimeters of lateral and vertical play that is evident during hard wrenching.
Each time you use your bike stand, you'll start to feel like you're gaining back a little portion of your investment. As we mentioned in our Buying Advice, chances are you'll be using your bike work stand even when your bike is fully operational. Careful care and maintenance of your bike will practically guarantee smoother operation. Things like washing and lubing your bike and checking to make sure everything is tight after every ride can go a long way in prevention. A bike work stand is a great tool to use to practice excellent upkeep of your bike. If you still find your bike flipped upside down in the lawn when you do these things, because you couldn't be bothered to set up your bike in the work stand, then you've bought the wrong model.
You might even own a few different bikes; one for climbing up smooth trails, one for descending rocky trails, one for asphalt, another for the pump track, etc. How well your chosen stand works with each bike and your riding/maintenance habits is an important purchase consideration. We rated this category highly and feel it encompasses the broadest range of users possible. Your individual usage and needs may make it less important.
Our Editors' Choice Feedback Classic was a no-brainer in this category. This stand is your daily driver. You'll be just as happy with it set up year-round in your garage workspace as you will be packing it in the car and traveling to races on the weekends. It's more than two times lighter than the Park PCS-10 and clamps quicker and easier than the Topeak PrepStand. It folds down small and secure and holds any bike imaginable. Both axle/bottom bracket mounting stands scored considerably lower in this rating metric. Daily tasks such as lubing a chain, washing, and derailleur adjustment, are made nice and easy in a stand. We felt the need to remove a tire, especially when tire removal is not necessary for the task at hand, negated the convenience of using a stand in the first place.
The Feedback Sports Sprint scored highly in this category. It was the second heaviest model, beat out only by the Feedback Classic by a mere 1.5 lbs. We read numerous accounts of this stand being accepted as carry-on luggage for air travel, with a stored height of just over 30 inches. If the ability to travel to far-flung races is important to you, this stand should top your list. The Topeak Prepstand was not as compact, but still plenty light. Most notably, it was the only stand where a storage bag was included; it's nice to be thrown a bone every so often.
A myriad of extras are available for each of these stands but at an additional cost. At 11.1 lbs, the Feedback Classic was the lightest and shortest of the three top tube/seatpost mounting stands. The Park PCS-10 tipped the scales at 25 pounds and was the heaviest by a good margin. Another drawback to this stand is the fixed position of the clamp, so it was not as easy to slide into a packed car and will hurt your gas mileage more than the others.
Both Park Tools stands required assembly. Granted, you're likely to only assemble your bike stand once, so the hassle is soon forgotten. We must admit, though, it was really nice having a test-ready stand with all three other models by the time the UPS guy made it back to his truck. Assembly aside, the Park PCS-10 had nearly every tester flipping it upside down, pinching their fingers, and engaged in a game of Twister trying to set up and break down the stand.
A number of factors go into selecting a work stand. Height and angle adjustment, stability, and portability are just a few of the important factors to consider before making your purchase. The head-to-head comparisons in this review are designed to help you sort through the available options and identify what stand works for your individual needs. For more guidance as you cycle through the marketplace of work stands, consult our Buying Advice article.
— Sean Cronin
Table of Contents
You Might Also Like