The Tacx Spider Team workstand is very light and packs down small, making it ideal for travel, but it has its limitations for general workshop use.
At 4.1kg including tool tray, the Spider Team is light, but can be configured to 'race build' by ditching one slider and the tray, getting weight down to a frankly ridiculous 3.7kg. When you're a jobbing pro mechanic flying about the place, keeping weight down is critical for saving excess baggage charges.
Tacx rate the Spider Team for bikes up to 15kg, so you're not going to be doing any racked-up steel tourer bike or monster downhiller work on this stand.
The Spider Team arrives mostly assembled; the only thing you need to do is pop the arm onto the base, decide the correct axle spec and insert your choice of axle spacer and quick-release skewer if needed.
One word of warning: the instinctive way to unfold the legs is to hold the top of one leg and push down. This is likely to end with the skin between your thumb and index finger being eaten by the hinge at the top of the leg.
Folding up the stand involves sliding the fork mounts right to the end of the arm. Then undo the lever on the pivot, slide the arm along and fold it down. The folded package measures 105cm tall and 25cm across, and can freestand in a corner or behind a door until needed.
Packing the Spider Team for travel means removing the arm, and possibly the three sliders. The now-naked arm and base standing together measure 83.5cm tall and 18 x 16cm across – small enough to fit into a medium-size suitcase. The three sliding sections can be stowed wherever they fit.
If you want to save space and weight by ditching one of the fork sliders and tool tray, the two sliders are identical – you change fork or dropout width or diameter by swapping insets, so if you don't plan to mount the bike by the rear dropout there's no point carrying the second slider.
The Spider Team Pro breaks down into two parts by lifting off the arm section. On the pole there's a press-button that aligns with a hole in the black plastic head to lock the swivel. The head then cannot spin or be removed until the button is pressed in. This can be an issue – if you've not locked the head because you wanted to be able to spin the bike, lifting to relocate it can see the legs fall off. And if you've unlocked the bike, sometimes it can lock again mid-spin.
If you remember which leg the locking point aligns with you can spin the bike back and forth so long as you don't overshoot – I marked that one leg with a strip of red tape to help. Watching videos of pro mechanics spinning bikes around full circle, you can't help but guess they have disabled or removed the locking buttons somehow.
With this stand, the 90cm height a bike's bottom bracket sits at can't be adjusted – a compromise to cut down on weight (Tacx claim the height is 100cm). The tilting function does allow a degree of adjustment to this, but as there's no way to secure the BB area, tilting more than a small amount forwards while fork-mounted risks the bike turning around the headset and falling off.
Where the tilting mechanism does come in useful is when mounting the bike by the rear dropout; it allows the bike to sit horizontal or even tilted down. This means you can work on the front of the bike (with or without the wheel fitted) without the handlebar flopping to either side under its own weight. Yes, this can be avoided using one of several 'flop-stop' holders, but if weight is a prime consideration it's a nice benefit. The same tilt means a drivetrain can be set horizontal when fork-mounting.
Pro mechanics are focused on speed of turnaround, and – let's face it – the machines are new. The chances of a team bike needing prolonged, detailed investigation of a slipping gear, errant brake block or wonky BB are extremely remote, so achieving optimal ergonomics takes a backseat to low weight and compact size. If you're going to spend hours working on your bikes and don't have a good yoga teacher, you might end up sore.
The foot of each leg sits 55cm out from the centreline of the stand, giving a triangle-shaped footprint 94cm on each side. This is a larger distance than the Park PRS-21 and just a tiny bit smaller than the Feedback Sports Sprint. The tilting rubber pads give excellent purchase on uneven surfaces – well, you never know what quality of car park the team bus will pitch up at...
As the legs can be locked at any distance the Spider Team could easily be used in a confined space such as a van, shed or small hotel room.
In the box you get no fewer than 14 grey plastic inserts to suit various combinations of axle diameter and width. Sizes accommodated are 5, 9, 15 and 20mm front, and 5mm rear at 130/135mm, plus 10 and 12mm.
Although having a box of bits to suit pretty much every combination is a good thing, the reality is these are not a good way to work on multiple bikes of differing specs within a short timeframe. Once the inserts are slid into the holder they aren't coming out without the help of a decent screwdriver in the provided slot and a fair bit of welly. It's a process that gets boring real fast, and the soft grey plastic marks up.
Again this reiterates the race heritage of the Spider Team – having a truck full of 5mm-QR, 110/130mm-dropout weasel-weight bikes to wrangle means you never need to think about wrenching on a dual bolt-through mountain bikes.
The Tacx-branded QR skewers are nicely chromed and workable enough, but unlike the Park and Feedback Sports front QRs they aren't an 'exaggerated-cam' design. This means to clear the fork tip 'lawyer lips' you need to wind/unwind the nut three or four turns. The fact that the default-for-most setup is a 5mm QR with 9mm plastic 'fake axle' ends means you really need two hands to tighten or loosen the QR – so get good at holding onto the fork ends while winding/unwinding/clamping/unclamping lest your bike fall off in a potentially expensive/sweary pile.
The bottom bracket sits on two 4mm-thick rubber blades, with 10mm clearance under the BB shell. The inside width is 49mm, outside width 57mm – designed to fit in between 68mm external bearing cups to aid stability.
The included plastic tool tray is a minimal affair compared to other brands, with four 10mm and six 5mm holes for tools. The tray mounts in one of four positions – either side of the arm or at a slight angle to straight on – and turns along with the arm.
The tray height is 23cm below the bottom bracket shell and isn't adjustable, so I found myself sometimes collecting the tops of large screwdrivers and hex T-wrenches with the pedals/cranks. The tray has to be removed to fold the stand.
A padded bag is available to carry the stand.
The tilting mechanism is locked by friction, not indent – this gives unlimited adjustability but also makes a very robust lock hard to get. There's a two-finger-width handle to twist to lock and unlock the tilt, which can be twisted out of the way so as not to foul the cranks.
The arm slides back and forward to achieve balance, locking with a lever, as do the fork/dropout mounts. Unlike other designs where the fork slider is secured by screwing a handbolt in or out, the lever is fast and slippery-hands-proof. Incremental gains and all that.
A notable feature of lightweight materials and small size is that there's quite a noticeable amount of play in the main head area – this translates into movement back and forth once the bike is mounted. With only 7cm of alloy pole inserted into the plastic head the result is a less-than-airtight fit. If you are washing a bike, replacing cables/bar tape or performing basic adjustments, some movement is fine – but this really isn't the stand to be doing a 70-80Nm bottom bracket installation on.
Again we come back to the raison d'être of the Spider Team Pro – lightweight, compact, fast.
Over several months of daily workshop use the Spider Team Pro performed well for road bike work – but I did have other stands to hand for mountain bikes and disc-equipped bikes with axles other than 5mm QR. If I'd had to swap axle adapters on even a weekly basis the shine would have gone off our relationship sharpish.
Talking of shine, the finish showed a few signs of wear but only where it had been dinged against benches and so on.
The bottom line is that for the RRP of £179.99 it's a high quality bit of kit. If you want a light and compact stand and you only work on one or two bikes, then at easily-found prices closer to £120 it's a great stand that should give years of service. And it does have the ability to accommodate any axle standard with a few minutes' swapping of adapters.
The Tacx Spider Team is very light and packs down small, making it ideal for travel. Just be aware of limitations
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Make and model: Tacx Spider Team Workstand
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 really aimed at the person with one type of lighter-weight bike, who might occasionally have to work on another.
"The Spider Team is developed with the help of WorldTour team mechanics who use the repair stand intensively on a daily basis. Thanks to their tips, you too can professionally and efficiently adjust, assemble and repair. The Spider Team is light, compact when folded away and easy to carry. The work surface can rotate and tilt. Exchangeable components for fork holders are included as standard, meaning all frames fit. Also suitable for other brackets such as time-trial bicycles, bicycles with sensors for power measurement and bicycles with electronic gearing.
Types of bicycles
Suitable for racing bicycles and MTBs with 5 mm quick release. Includes exchangeable components for fork holders, so also for modern MTBs.
Also suitable for bicycles with other brackets such as time-trial bicycles, bicycles with sensors for power measurement and bicycles with electronic gearing (Shimano Di2 or Campagnolo EPS).
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Bicycle rests on bracket support; attached to the front or rear fork
Work surface is tiltable and can be rotated 360°
Fork holders adjustable in length
Removable tool tray
Lightweight aluminium frame
Triangular profiles; dirt is less likely to adhere to the surface
Anodised tubes; detergent-resistant
Wide rubber feet; solid and stable
Retractable and foldable, size 120x23x18 cm
Weight 4.25 kg
Maximum load 15 kg
Working height 100 cm (bracket)
Packaging, size 90x30x15 cm
Alloy and plastic construction means no corrosion, and very light.
The alloy parts are solid, the plastic ones, not so much. Can't help feeling if the head was alloy the overall package would be much more stable.
Bearing in mind the USP of minor work/cleaning of lightweight bikes, it's a cracker. Very solid foundation, and adjustable enough to get stuff done.
Over two months of daily use nothing developed to give concern.
Wow. Lightest in its class. Possibly the world.
Ergonomics aren't a strong point.
For RRP it's good value, for online prices, bearing in mind the caveats, it's very good.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Admirably. Easily set up/put away, freestanding, very stable, slightly annoying spinning options and tool tray but not deal-breakers.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Weight and stability of the base. And for low-torque work, the top section stability is fine.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The spinning function. Annoying. Surely could be made on-off with a little thought.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, particularly at discount
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but only if they specifically needed the strong points and didn't need the weaknesses. The compromises are stark.
Use this box to explain your score
If Tacx fixed the spinning-lock issue, indexed the tilt, made the tray adjustable-height and tightened the head/tube tolerances, they'd have a real winner on their hands. Oh, and something about the axle adapters. Them too.
Age: 42 Height: 183cm Weight: 71KG
I usually ride: Charge Juicer My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, singlespeed and Dutch bike pootling