The Park Tool PCS-10 is a heavyish-duty workstand that will hold your bike while you work on it – but for £150 the lack of finesse is disappointing.
When considering the 'value' or quality' of a workstand, the owner's use-case is critical. What is your budget? How often will the stand be used? How tolerant are you of intolerances? To mangle an oft-used cycling adage from one of the fathers of mountain biking: strong, accurate, cheap – pick two. Where you sit on this continuum of fettliness will define your view of the PCS-10.
At £150 rrp, the PCS-10 sits in the middle of Park's home mechanic range, the cheaper PCS-9 using a simpler clamp and the more expensive PCS-4 having more stable legs and advanced clamps.
The basic design is a telescoping pole with two fold-out legs – so effectively a tripod base, which bodes well for uneven surfaces. It's almost exactly the same design employed by the X-Tools Home workstand we reviewed a while back, except the legs fold up differently; some would say, 'more complicatedly'.
Folded up, the PCS-10 measures 125cm tall, 37cm deep (the clamp head), and 22cm wide. Annoyingly, it cannot stand up by itself when folded. Park says the PCS-10 is only 104cm folded, but that must be with the clamp head removed – not beyond the realms of possibility for a long trip but you wouldn't want to be doing that every time you used it.
Unfolding the legs is a twofold process of hingeing them up until they lock into the yoke with spring-loaded buttons, then undoing the yoke quick-release, then sliding it down to the base of the main pole and pressing in another spring button, to then lock it in place. Then tighten the QR back up. Best done sober, possibly with a third arm handy.
Folded out, the legs give a triangle measuring 87 x 87 x 110cm – with the clamp head more or less central to that, aiding stability.
At this point I raise the first 'intolerance' – with your feet holding down the end of the legs, it's possible to move the un-extended clamp head back and forth by a fairly generous 3cm, because of the play inherent in the leg-yoke junction. Now you may not see this as an issue if the PCS-10 is freestanding, but if you've put a sandbag or similar across the legs to afford more stability to the whole setup then this leg-yoke flex will be very apparent at the bike end. It's not something you'd expect for £150, and at just £70 the X-Tools stand had no flex in the same area.
To the max (not beyond)
The next stage of setting up is to extend the clamp upwards. Compacted, the clamp head sits 107cm off the ground, and fully extended it's... well, hard to say. Because there is no stop limit. If you undo the second QR clamp, you can pull the entire clamp and upper pole out of the base. The second pole is 54cm long, so it's your guess how much to leave inserted to be stable. At 7.5cm there's a 'Max' line, so going with that the clamp is 149.5cm high. Doing up the QR on the plastic collar to 'stupid tight', it's still no effort at all to twist the whole clamp and pole in the lower half of the stand – again, another 'intolerance', and the comparison is stark with the X-Tools stand, where the alloy pole is keyed so rotation is impossible. This second clamp has two holes to take a Park Tool tool tray (not included).
The clamp head angle (and therefore the angle at which the tube you are clamping your bike to) is adjusted by loosening and tightening a plastic handle at the rear of the head. It flips around to allow good leverage when operated from the front side, but beware trapping the skin of your hand in it.
Clamping is critical functionality for any good stand, an area where the PCS-10 is best described as 'adequate'. It's a simple set of hinged jaws with a single pivot, the distance controlled by turning a handle that drives a threaded rod into the opposite side. This rod has no end stop, so if opened wide the rod will eventually drop out.
Inserted to the minimum depth, the jaws are open enough to clear an 80mm tube. There's a deepish cutout in each jaw to accommodate aero seatposts that might match that distance, and if you are clamping the top tube, any under-tube cabling can be actuated if it aligns with the channel in the jaws. Each jaw surface is 90mm high, so if you have that much seatpost showing you'll be fine. The clamp handle has a cam action, and closing it down brings the jaws in by 2cm.
If you leave just enough space to insert a pretty standard 27.2mm seatpost, you cannot close the cam as the 2cm closing exceeds the space available. So if you want to use the cam, you need to set the gap the distance you want plus three turns of the handle outwards. This will let you offer the seatpost up to the clamp, then close the cam pretty much bang onto the post. Problem is, there's not enough clamping force in the cam to ever be able to hold a seatpost – so you always end up tightening it using the winding handle about 1-1 1/4 turns to give sufficient clamping. This is all fine if you only work on the same size of seatpost, but if you chop and change you'll be left holding a possibly heavy bike while you adjust the clamp closing in or out.
The handle of the clamp is nicely curved to fit in the hand, and bracing your thumb against it to tighten down the final half-turn or so isn't hard.
Clamping a large road bike frame horizontally by the seatpost puts the rear mech about 90cm off the floor; angling the bike to put shifters level with the rear mech makes it a more lower-back-friendly 105cm high. With a 10.5kg road bike clamped in, the stand is pretty stable – you wouldn't want to be swinging on a 50-60Nm torque setting doing a bottom bracket, but for most jobs it should suffice. Even clamping the frame near-vertical (no, I can't think of why either), it was still reasonably stable.
The jaw covers are replaceable should you manage to wear them out, and like other Park Tool products, spare parts are available for pretty much the whole stand.
Steel construction puts the PCS-10 just over 11.3kg, almost twice that of similar stands from X-Tools or Feedback Sports. This, coupled with the significant folded size, make the PCS-10 an unlikely candidate for a user who needs to travel, or fit it into the boot of a small car. And with a hefty bike on it, the combined weight of well over 20kg plus the size makes for a fairly unwieldy package to be shifting about a workshop or garden patio. Given the maximum bike weight Park recommends is 36kg, you'd have quite a time shifting it about.
The logical comparison stand to the PCS-10 would be the Feedback Sports Sport Mechanic workstand, with an identical rrp and at the same £120 discounted price through major retailers. Major differences would be that the Park PCS-10 is twice the weight, the FBS lifts the bike another 20cm higher, the Park is rated for bikes 5kg heavier, the FBS has a tried-and-true sliding mechanism to unfold all three legs at once, the Park can't stand up by itself when folded, the FBS warranty is three years, and Park's is lifetime.
Overall, the PCS-10 is a good contender for a mid-range workstand, and with the lifetime warranty Park offers, should give many years of service. You'd hope future versions will improve on the fit of various parts and make them of metal instead of plastic, to deliver a more premium feel to a product that is at the pricey end of the spectrum.
And I still have absolutely no idea how you'd use this to hold a recumbent as Park claims it's good for.
This workstand should do the job for most home mechanics – just don't travel with it
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Park Tool PCS-10 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 the moderately-serious home mechanic, for fairly regular fettling. You wouldn't want to travel with it though.
HOME MECHANIC REPAIR STAND
The PCS-10 has all the features of our popular PCS-9 Home Mechanic Repair Stand but with special upgrades to make set up, take down, and use faster and easier. The PCS-10 works well with many recumbents and bikes with odd shaped tubing.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Cam-type clamp allows single action clamping of tubes 7/8" to 3" (24mm to 76mm)
The clamp jaws are nominally 3.5 inches (9cm) wide; Will also clamp on aero shaped seat posts
Clamping pressure is fully adjustable and jaw covers are replaceable (part #1185K)
Three-point leg system with reinforced center yoke for superior stability
Composite top tube for smooth 360-degree clamp rotation
Spring buttons lock folding legs in place
Exclusive receiver pod accessory system integrated into the top tube and height adjustment collar to allow easy installation of PTH-1 Paper Towel Holder
Height adjustment collar accepts #106 Work Tray
Quick release height adjustment from 39" to 57" (99cm to 145cm)
Folds down to 41" (104cm) for portability and storage
Base when open forms a triangle of 36" x 36" x 45" (92 cm x 92 cm x 115 cm)
Approximate weight: 25 lbs.
NOTE: The maximum weight holding capacity of the PCS-10 is 80 lbs. (36 kg). This assumes the weight is centered over the legs.
Tolerances are disappointing for the price.
Once you get past the design issues, it does hold a bike firmly.
Some spots of rust were apparent after a few months, where it had been scratched. And the over-torqued-to-be-tight-enough plastic components may not last the test of time.
The maximum height is lower than many people will like for working on drivetrains.
Overall it's OK value, but there are other options around that arguably outperform it, sometimes for nearly half the price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall the experience, including setup and packing away, is 'good enough'. For £150, you'd expect a bit more finesse.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The stability. It's pretty stable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Folding and unfolding. It's a faff.
Did you enjoy using the product? It's OK.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes. But possibly not at rrp, and not as my main stand.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but with the caveats understood.
Use this box to explain your score
Compared with other stands, and for the price, it's difficult to justify more than a 'good'. The design choices and manufacturing tolerances do leave something to be desired.
About the tester
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