A workstand aka bicycle repair stand 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.
Even a basic bike repair stand gets your bike of the floor so you don't have lean over to work on it; your back will thank you
Gear and brake adjustments in particular are made a lot easier by a workstand allowing things to move while you fettle them
While most workstands will accommodate most bikes, owners of carbon fibre bikes should shop carefully for one that will lift a bike clamped by the seatpost to working height, or use a race-style repair stand
If you can afford it, don't skimp — more expensive bike repair stands are easier to use thanks to their better fit and finish
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.
We're not for a moment suggesting that this bike shop behemoth is a sensible purchase for a home workshop, but as our fleets sprout e-bikes and cargo bikes a bank loan is starting to look mighty tempting. The PRS-33.2 effortlessly lifts bikes up to 54kg (120lb in old money) so you don't have to hoik heavy bikes yourself to change the working height, a serious limitation of conventional workstands.
The latest version boasts a couple of USB charging ports for your phone and Bluetooth speaker, and tool trays to keep the spanners you're using right at hand. It's designed to be bolted down, either to very well-anchored bolts in the workshop floor or to Park Tool's 52kg #135-33 workstand base.
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 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.
This appears to be the same as the four-legged stand that sometimes pops up as a Lidl seasonal offer for £25-30, and is available on Amazon under a multitude of other brand names. 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.
Sometimes you just want to get your rear wheel off the floor and hold your bike steady so you can make minor adjustments to your gears, and a stand like this doubles as upright bike storage too.
If our selection of the very best workstands doesn't do it for you, check out these highly-rated options.
The Park Tool PRS-25 Team Issue Repair Stand has the added bonus of folding down reasonably small so you can stick it in the back of the car or van and take to races or events. It holds bikes firmly and has an easy-to-use clamp, but it is a bit expensive.
You can quickly and easily collapse the stand so you can take it on trips with you. It folds down to 47 inches long (119cm) and the clamping height adjusts up to 60 inches (152cm), which I found plenty for working on a bike.
Getting it out of the box and assembled is an easy task, and within minutes it is ready to be put to work. The legs slide out smoothly and provide a large platform – you need a reasonable amount of space to set it up – and once opened, quick release levers tighten everything securely to place.
The Micro-Adjust clamp is the star of the show. It's both easy to use and versatile and provides easy one-handed operation, a good thing because your other hand will be holding the bike up to the stand. The clamp is operated by a cam-actuated quick release mechanism, making it quick to attach and release the bike, but it can be rotated for fine adjustments. At the back of the stand is a large handle that allows rotational adjustment.
The Park Tool PRS-22 is a professional-level bicycle 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 bicycle repair stand, 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.
As with the Park Tool PRS-33.2 we're not suggesting home mechanics rush out and buy a stand like this, but if the Feedback Sports Pro Elite is the Rolls Royce of bicycle repair stands, this is the John Deere 9560RT and more than deserves a mention.
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.
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 your own bicycle repair stand.
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 bicycle repair stands that fold away 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 bicycle repair 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.
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Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson 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 editor Tony Farelly, 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 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.