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The ShadowStand invisible bicycle stand is a super slim accessory to whip from your pocket and snap that perfect shot – your pride and joy, framed epically against the landscape, with no ugly stick holding it up. It sinks easily into soft ground and isn't particularly secure in strong winds, though, and I'm still sad it's not a stand for an invisible bike.
The bike industry uses various tricks for great static shots – bespoke lengths of thin, stiff wire angled to hide behind components, fishing line held out of shot, clear perspex rods – but nothing as immediately practical and pocketable as the ShadowStand.
Made in Hungary from 100% recycled acrylic, the ShadowStand works like a curb to support your pedal, while chain tension prevents your bike from rolling away – so long as it's not wanting to roll forward. Unlike a curb, though, it's see-through and fits in your pocket.
Also unlike a curb, it doesn't keep your front wheel in line, and balancing everything just so can be tricky – anything more than the lightest breeze will upset things. Also, if you have heavy luggage on your bike it's not likely to end well. This is really just for light, pretty bikes. Like this one:
It's there, honest
Ideally those bikes will be on a road, too, as the ShadowStand easily cuts into grass or soft dirt as it's so narrow. Should make for some gorgeous shots of your gravel bike collapsing in the sunset, though.
This small version is designed for a gap of less than 110mm between the ground and the bottom of the pedal axle. Bikes with high bottom brackets, fat tyres, short cranks or a combination of all three will need the large.
My Sonder Camino is fine on 38mm tyres, but 55mm doesn't work... the extra 17mm of lift mean the pedal is too high. Measuring first is critical, then, as the small is really for classic skinny-tyred road machines only. Happily, there's a size guide on ShadowStand's site.
If your bike is over the 125mm max of the large size, ShadowStand also offer custom fits, and should you want to make your invisible stand visible again, they also offer etched custom logos.
It's fair to say ShadowStand has cornered the light-small-thin-bike-photo-stand market first crack – a niche too far, perhaps, but their Instagram page is full of admirers. There really aren't any alternatives beyond the usual DIY improvisations, and at €17 (around £15) including postage anywhere in the world, it's pretty well priced.
Yes, there's Topeak's Flashstand Slim X, but that's a £40 folding stand that slips over a crank end, weighs 196g and is restricted to certain crank dimensions. It's certainly more stable, but really it's more of an home/studio tool than a mid-ride photo aid. Plus, while its shiny chrome finish is attractive, it's a long way from invisible.
If you simply must have your cranks level, ShadowStand also do a much longer €25 (£22) Photographer's Stand which fits into the non-driveside crank. It's not pocketable though, unlike this – which, within its rather strict parameters, is a great way to display your bike for that perfect photo. You won't even notice it until that magic moment arrives.
Yes, it's for road and gravel bikes only and doesn't work on grass or in the wind, but otherwise the ShadowStand does what it sets out to do simply, effectively and at a reasonable price.
Slim, light and effective on hard surfaces, but susceptible to sinking or blowing over
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road.cc test report
Make and model: ShadowStand Photography Aid
Size tested: One size
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 balance their traditional road bike to take nice photos.
ShadowStand says: "Featherweight and so portable, you won't even know it's in your jersey's rear pocket until you come across that perfect spot, where the light is just right and the scenery stops you in your tracks. It is a see-through acrylic triangle with a top curve, which fits below the pedal axle and a wavy bottom to avoid slippage. It's simple, but it works."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
18g (size small)
100% recycled plastic
Small and large sizes
It's very nicely made.
Good on firm ground with no wind, limited otherwise.
Can't see how it would ever wear out.
18g - basically nothing.
More expensive than a stick, but much harder to see - good value if unobtrusiveness if your goal.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
with practice, pretty well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The size and weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No way to attach it so you can shift the bike around.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There's really no comparison...
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes-ish
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
I really like the idea, and it's as minimalist as it gets. If there were a way for it to attach so adjustments were easier it could be an eight, but as it is it works well and is a good seven.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
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: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L