We previously reviewed the Feedback Sports Sprint workstand , and awarded it 9/10 for being excellent across the board. The Pro-Elite is the Sprint's bigger sibling, the only real difference being that it clamps bikes by the seatpost, not the front hub.
The 'spinability' of the Sprint makes it well suited for quickly washing and checking over a bike, but if you want to work on entire bikes, including bikes with full-length front mudguards, or to do detailed headset work, this is the one to go for.
Why did Feedback Sports omit the simple collar that would have made the Pro-Elite able to rotate? Feedback Sports says: "Due to the design and nature of how the bicycle is held in the stand, a rotating feature on a traditional clamp style repair stand would cause the stand to become unstable at specific points. The Sprint is capable of rotating because it has a lower centre of gravity as well as the bike being more centred over the tripod than a bike hanging from the seatpost would be."
The design language is identical between both stands from the neck down – the same rock-solid tripod design, the same clamps, the same red anodised alloy material and finish. The Pro-Elite's magic trick is the seatpost clamp, and it's this that makes it such a joy to use, day in, day out.
All About The Base
The Pro-Elite's base is slightly wider than the Sprint's, being 115cm along each side of the triangle and 68cm out from the centre, each leg 11cm longer than on the Sprint. This gives a very stable platform from which to hang bikes; this is important as the smaller Sprint more or less centres the bike's weight over the middle of the stand on the bottom bracket, whereas the Pro-Elite has the bike out on an arm, higher up. With the need to have the clamping point much higher, this wide footprint is critical to stability, and on rough surfaces the Pro-Elite wins over designs with four contact points which will teeter at the slightest irregularity.
With the clamp as low as possible it sits 105cm off the deck, and fully extended it's a frankly nosebleed-inducing 180cm. This means on a large size frame with the wheels level, the hubs sit 130cm high - perfect for even a tall person to do drivetrain work without hunching over. More realistically, the bike will be lower and angled downwards at about 45 degrees, putting the shifters level with the rear hub and making gear adjustments easier.
Lowering the clamp also stiffens up the whole package. There's no 'play' in the system as such – all tolerances are tight. There is a small degree of flex with a bike mounted, as is to be expected when using lightweight alloy tubes. This doesn't affect usability, and should be compared with other portable, folding stands weighing under 6kg, not 50kg-plus immovable workshop models. As with the Sprint workstand, the Pro-Elite is class-leading in terms of stability and solidity for portable, packable stands.
Folded down, the Pro-Elite stands 115cm tall, and will balance itself inside a square 25 x 25cm – so easily stood in a corner ready to go.
Working With The Clampdown
The clamp is the heart of any workstand, and on the Pro-Elite it's a hefty bit of engineering that wouldn't look out of place on the end of Optimus Prime's arm. The business end has red plastic C-shaped faces 80mm long and 40mm across. The clamp opens a massive 65mm wide, meaning it can accommodate the deepest and weirdest aero seatpost or frame tube imaginable.
With the clamp open, you insert a seatpost or tube, then push the clamp closed – it has a fine ratcheting mechanism that takes up the slack, 40 clicks over the 65mm closing distance giving 1.6mm increments. Once the clamp faces contact the bike's seatpost or tube, give the three-armed knob one to two full turns to tighten – noting user beware of over-tightening on carbon, alloy or thin steel tubing/posts (consult your manufacturer, or maybe buy a spare thick metal seatpost for workshop use).
In practice this is an excellent system that quickly secures posts or tubes of varying diameters. If you only ever work on one bike this is probably not a key selling point, but for people frequently maintaining different bikes it's a godsend. The inside, unmoving face of the clamp sits 240mm out from the supporting pole, meaning even the widest roadbike handlebars and pedals will clear the stand as a bike is rotated.
At the other end of the clamp is a second three-armed knob that controls the tilt angle of the clamp, a full 360 degrees. Why you'd want to work on a bike completely upside down escapes me, but it's possible. Loosening off the rear knob fully allows the clamp to fold down, saving space and letting the stand pack up into the optional carry case. Depending on the angle and weight of the bike, between two and three turns are needed to unlock and re-lock the clamp arm at the desired angle. Most of the time it will be set close to vertical, holding the seatpost to get hub and shifters about level.
Next to the clamp is a triangular red knob with 'PRESS TO RELEASE' engraved on it. This is the magic button. Give this a decent hit with the heel of your palm and the clamp springs open, allowing quick removal of the bike – no faffing with knobs or levers.
The quality of engineering on show is exemplary. The quick-release clamp adds another £50 over the next model down, so you can see where the investment has gone compared with its sibling, which doesn't have the quick-release button. Feedback sells a beefed-up £240 'Commercial' version of the clamp itself as an upgrade to existing stands using the industry-standard 50mm post mount, so you can fit it to a Park stand, for example.
The clamp is fully serviceable, Feedback Sports providing a service doc on request should you ever need to tear it down.
As a rigidity test I clamped an 830mm-long section of metal gas pipe horizontally then hung 4kg off the end, to try to simulate putting a serious amount of twisting force onto a stuck bike component. The end of the pipe deflected by just 3cm – compared with three times that from another workstand currently on test, which then fell over at that point.
Expecting it to reach a tipping point, I kept adding weight – but nothing happened. Finally, at about 10kg on the end (plus the weight of the pole itself), the tilt angle slipped a bit. This was wildly exceeding the turning moment that even a heavy mountain bike would present – an 18kg full-suspension bike was supported vertically by its seatpost fine. This stability demonstrated the value of having that wide footprint. Basically, if you can make this stand tip over with a bike on it you're doing something I cannot imagine within the realms of bike workshop sensibility.
Milk And Alcohol
As with the Sprint, Feedback Sports sells a carry bag (£30) and a bottle opener (£15) that pops over the top of the post. If you need the padded bag you are probably a team mechanic flying about the place wrenching bling, so it's well worth it – the bag can be worn as a backpack leaving your hands free for important things like giant bars of Toblerone. And if you need the bottle opener, you clearly have your bike fettling priorities right.
You can also add the excellent tool tray for £35. There are holes for 2-8mm hex keys and screwdrivers, slots for cutters/pliers, a hook for hanging rolls of cable, and a large area called the 'Washbasin' complete with drain plug. The tray can be removed or added to the upper or lower sections of the stand in a few seconds using a couple of plastic shims to space the bracket that the tray clicks into. Once on the stand it can be slid up, down or turned while loaded, and still hold steady when needed. But most importantly there's a space in the tray dedicated to either a large mug of tea (Yorkshire of course) or a pint glass of real ale, accessed via the aforementioned opener.
Achilles Last Stand?
Regardless of your mythological persuasion, the Feedback Sports Pro-Elite is almost certainly the last workstand you'll ever have to buy. Spares are readily available, so should it suffer even catastrophic damage at the hands of the Baggage Handling Gods or a feckless workshop colleague, it can be rebuilt. The rrp of £250 is often bested online, with £165 seeming a common price at time of publishing, which is remarkable for the quality and functionality.
Eric Hockman from Feedback Sports says this about the pedigree of the Pro-Elite: 'The Pro-Elite is a true workhorse and can be found in the hands of many professional race mechanics. From Cyclo-Cross to Cross-Country to the pits of the World Cup Downhill circuit, the Pro-Elite is a very versatile repair stand that professional mechanics and home mechanics can reliably depend on to perform day in and day out.
'As a former pro race mechanic for Shimano, we used Pro-Elites exclusively on all of our rigs. The stands were stored in their tote bags and thrown into the belly of the truck or van after each day of use. After seeing thousands of bikes and many consecutive years on the road, they still functioned and performed reliably on a daily basis.'
If you need a backpackable or in-out-the-shed-door or car-boot workstand to take into battle against the forces of wear or grime, something light yet stiff, quickly adjustable, while providing a solid platform to launch heroic feats of fettliness upon, the Feedback Sports Pro-Elite is the one for you.
The last workstand you'll ever need to buy, and you'll love using it, every time
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Make and model: Feedback Sports Pro-Elite 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 for people wanting to work on fully assembled bikes, who need to transport or shift their stands, and who want the best-possible experience.
Feedback Sports says:
Pro-Elite Bicycle Work Stand
Product Description: The Pro-Elite is the go-to bike repair stand for mechanics on the road and at home. This heavy-duty portable stand features our quick release clamp head and the rubber jaws can accommodate up to 2.6" tubing. Stable on almost any surface, this stand can support 85lbs. and has an adjustable work height from 42" – 71". Anodized aluminum tubing won't rust.
Ratcheting Quick Release Clamp
Precision Adjustable Clamp Force
360° Bicycle Rotation
Quickly Folds into a Compact Unit
Includes heavy-duty, padded tote bag for transport and storage.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Anodized 6000 series aluminum for lightweight and durability
Weight: 12.6 lbs (5.7 kg)
Clamp Height 42"-71"
Clamp Opening .75 – 2.6" (19mm – 66 mm)
Jaw Width 3.25" (82.5mm)
Base Diameter 54" (1372 mm)
Folded size: 5.5" x 8" x 46"
Load Capacity 85 lbs. (38.6 KG)
Outstanding. Can't fault it.
It makes working on bikes a lot more fun than it possibly should be.
The propensity for anodised finishes to wear not withstanding, it's solid.
This must be the lightest full-noise workstand around.
Getting bikes high up, at the right angle, means comfort, even for the tall of limb. The ability to very quickly secure bikes of all diameters is great.
At RRP it's great value, at the typical £160 price it's staggering.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really can't fault it. it's that good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The clamp. It's all about the clamp. OK, and the wide stable base. That too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
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 score
This is so very nearly a five-star product. Apart from the price, the only way to take even half a star off the score would be to lament that there's a slight amount of flex present. And that I want only one turn to fully lock a seatpost down, not two. But these would be truly minor niggles. It's exceptional, and if you can find it at £165 it's nigh-on perfect.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 183cm Weight: 72kg
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, and Dutch bike pootling