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The Bici Pro Version Bike Stand for Cycling Photography is a useful device that allows you to take photos of your bike. Sadly, it's hard to get the stand the right length for your bottom bracket height, so it'll only work with particular bikes.
I love taking photos of my bike and sharing them on Instagram, but until now I've been clumsily propping the bike up against surfaces, or using objects in the surrounding area as a makeshift stand. Neither scenario is ideal.
Now, I know sticks or rocks work for some people, but I am pretty clumsy and as unlucky as they come. I fear that if I employ this method I'll no doubt end up dropping my bike and damaging it. So, when the Bici Pro stand came up for review on road.cc, I was really keen to test it out.
It's a simple thing really – made from clear plastic (100% recyclable, says Bici) and made in NYC. At £26 it's pretty pricey for what it is, but if it lasts a lifetime (as plastic usually does), and enables you to easily take photos of your pride and joy, then it's not the worst investment ever.
It comes in three lengths to suit different types of bike: 10 1/2in for road bikes, 11in for gravel/mountain bikes, and 11 3/4in (and a slightly thicker 4mm rather than 3mm) for ebikes.
To fit the stand, you just put your left crank in the three o'clock position, and nestle the curved end underneath in the space between the bottom bracket and the crank.
So, just pick the stand that suits the bike you want to shoot, and you're good to go, right? Well, not exactly – there are several issues with the design of the stand that make getting it to work with your bike somewhat tricky.
The first of these is that bottom bracket heights inevitably vary between bikes. My Condor Italia RC, for instance, sits a bit lower than the Road Bike Stand really allows for, in my opinion. For reference, its BB height is 265mm; the Road stand comes in at 266.7mm (10 1/2in), which in theory seems like a perfect match, but I guess it only takes a millimetre or so to get in the way of an ideal fit. If I tilted the stand quite a bit, I could get the bike to stand up, but it didn't rest where it should, sitting somewhere in the middle of the BB shell. If it was a particularly windy day, I'd be worried about it falling over.
Other frames have higher BBs – a Specialized Tarmac SL7 Pro, for instance, has a BB height of 268mm (in the larger sizes), which might be too much for the stand, making it rest too much on an angle.
The second issue is, even if you can get the stand to work with your BB height, it's bloody hard to get the bike to rest without wandering about. It took me countless attempts to get the bike in the shots to stand up.
The thing is, because the bike isn't standing perfectly straight, the front wheel has a natural tendency to fall to one side, and the bike is forever moving forwards or backwards. So, you end up in this juggling act of keeping the bike upright without the wheel falling, while you pray that the bike then rests on the stand without slipping off.
Testing the Gravel/MTB Stand with some other bikes in my collection further highlighted the issues with length. This longer version didn't work with my wife's Trek Checkpoint gravel bike, though I just about managed to prop it up with the Road version.
When I tried using the same stand with my mountain bike I was all out of luck – it was far too short to even slightly tilt the stand on its side.
So, there you have it. If you're interested in purchasing the stand, I'd recommend measuring your BB distance from the floor (or just look at the tech specs on your bike's geometry sheet). You want the stand to be just slightly longer (like, a millimetre or so) than the height of your BB, though it's a bit hit-and-miss whether it will actually work right in reality.
On a positive note, once you do get the stand to work you don't really see it in the photos because it's clear, which I have to say does look rather good.
The ShadowStand we reviewed last year is very similar to the Bici Pro, but it attaches to your pedal arm instead. It's £11 cheaper, and we found that it worked OK. Bici also makes a similar stand (the Compact version), but it's £19.
A great idea in theory, but issues with BB height variances hinder its success
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bici Pro Version Bike Stand for Cycling Photography
Size tested: Large
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?
Bici says, "The Stand (pro version) is an ultra lightweight, portable, invisible bike stand, that allows you to get the best photo of your bike, at any angle in any background without wasting time with photoshop.
The larger size stand is the same design as the compact version but taller, allowing you to get a photo of your bike in any background with the crank arm at the ideal 3 o'clock position.
As cyclists, we want to get photos of our bike. We invented the Stand because we were tired of ruining pictures using walls or guard rails to prop up our bike.
The Stand securely supports your bike, allowing you to snap pictures against incredible backdrops you discover while cycling.
Take the Bici bike stand with you anywhere you go. Great when you need flexibility to move your bike around.
Pro bike stand is available in different heights and thickness to support Road Bikes, Gravel/MTB, and E-Bikes. Compact stand is compatible with all bikes. "
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Road Bike Stand
Dimensions: W 3"x L 10.5" x D 3mm
Maximum Load: 30 pounds
Gravel/MTB Bike Stand
Dimensions: W 3"x L 11" x D 3mm
Maximum Load: 30 pounds
Dimensions: W 3"x L 11.75" x D 4mm
Maximum Load: 40-50 pounds
When it works, it's OK, but not as secure as I would like. I certainly wouldn't trust it not to fall over on a windy day.
A few scratches around the top of the stand where it rests against the bottom bracket, but otherwise it's fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's hard to get it to work with your bike's BB height, and even then it's hard to get the bike to stand without toppling over. Maybe I am just too clumsy!
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Makes for great-looking photos.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's very hard work.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The ShadowStand attaches to your pedal arm and is £15, and we found that it worked OK. Bici also makes a similar stand (the Compact version), but it's £19.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
A great idea, in theory, but in practice it doesn't work as well as you would like. Getting the length of the stand to work with your BB height is the first issue, and then propping the bike on the stand without it falling over is the second. It's also too much money for a piece of plastic.
About the tester
I usually ride: Steel audax bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,