Any serious workshop, home or race mechanic will need a workstand to get bikes off the floor and allow easy adjustment of gears and other parts.
Read on to find out more about the different types that are available and the features that you may wish to look for.
Whether you’re running a professional workshop, enjoy tinkering with your bike or are just looking to save some money on bike repairs, a workstand is an essential purchase to enable you to adjust brakes and gears and perform all sorts of bike repair jobs.
There are many things to consider when purchasing a workstand, not least the environment in which you are likely to be using it (concrete-floored garage or rocky trailside?) and how much use you expect to get out of it. As with all workshop equipment, investment in a sturdy piece of kit from a reputable maker will pay off in the long run, but there are a few different types of work stand to be aware of.
• Workshop stand: A heavy-duty piece of equipment with a strong adjustable clamp, solid base and considerable carrying capacity. An essential for the serious workshop and jobs such as frame facing, BB replacement, headset removal etc. Can be a considerable investment but the right stand will last a lifetime.
• Portable stand: A lighter version of a workshop stand which folds down for easy transport. Ideal for race day situations.
• Wall- or desk-mounted clamp: One option for the home workshop when space is at a premium, simply a clamp that bolts to a wall or workbench.
• Rear wheel stand: Suitable for light and occasional work such as gear adjustments, this lifts the rear wheel off the ground to allow you turn the pedals and drivetrain unimpeded. Not enough for the keen mechanic but will help get minor jobs done.
The kind of stand you buy and the level of investment you put into it will likely reflect your interest and involvement in bicycle mechanics – put simply, the more you want to work on the your bike(s) the better a stand you will appreciate.
Some key features to look out for are:
• Stand stability: Your stand will need to be stable in order not to rock or fall over when you are struggling with a particularly tricky bolt. Many professional workshop stands have a solid base but this obviously limits the portability of stands for home mechanics. If considering a stand with legs look for a broad footprint to help prevent it tipping over. A four-point leg system is ideal for a flat garage floor but for trailside or portable stands a three-point leg system is more stable on rough or uneven ground.
• Stand materials and adjustment: While some lower-end stands may feature steel tubing most are made from lightweight aluminium. Look for a model that is easily adjustable (ideally with one-handed operation) to different heights in order to accommodate mechanics of varying statures and bikes of varying sizes.
• Weight: Work stands can vary considerably in weight with the tradeoff being stability versus portability. If you think you will be moving your stand around, look for one that balances light weight with sturdiness and stability.
• Clamp design: A secure and adjustable clamp is a must. Look for one that locks down firmly but easily (again one-handed operation is ideal), features adequate cushioning to protect thin tube walls and can accommodate a wide range of tube sizes. The ability to rotate 360° is desirable as is some form of ‘micro-adjust’ system that allows for incremental adjustments – this will help ensure that the bike is as secure as possible without running the risk of crushing tubes.
• Storage size: If space is an issue keep in mind the folded dimensions of the stand.
• Maximum carrying weight: Most stands will be rated for a maximum carrying weight e.g. 45kg (100lbs). Be sure that any stand you wish to buy can carry the weight of your bike!
• Accessories: Removable accessories such as tool caddies and part trays can be helpful – check your stand’s compatibility with aftermarket accessories and aim towards building your workshop resources.
Sturdy and heavy-duty workstand for the professional workshop. Strong and stable, but not portable.
Portable or home mechanic stand
Not quite as stable but lighter in weight and foldable for portability/storage, this is the ideal option for the race mechanic or home enthusiastic.
Wall- or desk-mounted clamp
One option for the home mechanic – immobile but space-saving.
Rear wheel stand
A basic tool to facilitate gear and rear brake adjustment. For some mechanics this may be all they need.
Many workstands and workstand systems are compatible with a wide range of aftermarket accessories enabling you to build your complete workshop solution. These may include work and tool trays, weighing scales, handlebar stabilisers, tool caddies and more.
Meanwhile a transport bag for your workstand will enable you to take it from home to trail or race and back again without damage.