Some say it's a cardinal sin to flip your bike upside down when doing repairs, and when working on your road bike at home, there is a better way; a bike repair stand. They come in all shapes and sizes and the best stands will make jobs like replacing worn-out chainrings and creaky bottom brackets, or even just cleaning your chain, considerably less laborious.
All a bike repair stand needs to do is hold a bike off the ground so you can tinker; it sounds like a simple proposition but some get the job done considerably better than others. Like anything else, you get what you pay for and higher-end stands will often utilise better materials, have improved clamping mechanisms and greater adjustability.
Clamp or race-style bike repair stands
The euro-style or race-style, bottom-bracket-supported bike repair stands look good and put zero unwanted stress on areas of carbon frame tube or seatpost. They are a great solution if your bike has quick-release skewers or your seatpost is a funny shape, however, if you're running thru-axles they can be fiddly and may require adaptors.
We tend to prefer the clamp-style as, with a bit of care, the jaws can gently grab onto even the weirdest and most fragile tube shapes. It’s also telling that the vast majority of bike shops choose standard clamp-based stands for use in their workshops -undoubtedly due to the simplicity of leaving everything in situ, wheels and all.
Far and away, the most important thing on a bike repair stand is the clamp. You want something that's quickly adjustable with one hand and offers plenty of purchase without heaps of clamping force, this is especially important if you're grabbing onto a carbon tube.
We would recommend you always clamp down onto the seatpost, because if something does go wrong, a crushed seatpost is a lot easier to fix than a top tube. Although, for quick and simple jobs, we tend to rest the bike's top tube into horizontally-aligned clamp jaws, and using gravity to hold the bike aloft, reducing the need for any clamping force at all.
The jaws should be lined with soft rubber not only to prevent scratches but a tacky compound also requires less clamping force. We also like clamps that have a quick release; when you're trying to hold a bike up with one hand, endlessly spinning a knob two-dozen times can be testing. That said, a degree of fine adjustment is also needed so you don't crush delicate components.
If you're anything like us, garage space is at a premium; shared with cars, camping gear, ski gear, lawnmowers, hedge trimmers... you get the idea. With this lack of space, most of us don't have room for a fixed work stand with a heavy pedestal base. There are heaps of folding bike repair stands available, the majority are sure-footed and stable, and will fold down small enough to be easily stowed.
Two factors to keep an eye on are how compact the stand is when broken down, and the folding procedure. Race-style stands usually pack down considerably better than their clamp-based relatives.
Being able to tilt your bike is crucial when you're trying to get a bubble to rise to the top of a hydraulic brake line or get a better angle for straightening a derailleur hanger. On a clamp-style stand, look for those that allow the head to be easily tilted and then locked down rigid.
Replaceable jaw protectors
A work stand is an investment and should outlast most of your bikes. With that in mind, look for a stand with replaceable jaw protectors that are readily available.
Park Tool PRS-25 Team Issue
Weight: 5.9kg | Max weight: 45kg
The closest thing to a shop workstand
Even though Park Tool's Team Issue bike repair stand isn't dressed entirely in the brand's signature blue, it offers a folding design and a stable three-point platform. The hex-shaped tubing is made from aluminium which keeps the weight low, and it can achieve a clamping height of 152cm so you can easily get in underneath the bottom bracket.
The clamp is cam-actuated; the lever flips like a quick release and then spins for fine adjustments. The jaws can accommodate tubes from 22mm up to 76mm and are lined with soft-touch rubber. For fast repairs, there is enough room to hang the nose of the saddle over the clamp.
Topeak Prep Stand ZX
Weight: 6.2kg | Max weight: 25kg
Stable and simple
Rather than a clamping jaw, the PrepStand ZX features two rubberized arms on which you can rest your bike's saddle or frame. For the Prep Stand ZX, Topeak took things back to basics by removing the clamping mechanism.
With three 71cm legs, the stand has a wide footprint and is stable on uneven ground. It folds down to 5" x 5" x 35" for easy storage, and it's one of the fastest to go from folded to prepped and ready for a bike.
Park Tool PRS-22.2 Team Issue Repair Stand
Weight: 5.65kg | Max weight: 27kg
Most adjustable race-style stand
With a sliding mount, the Park Tool PRS-22.2 Team Issue Repair Stand can hold any bike, connecting the front or rear dropouts and supporting the bottom bracket without any adaptors to keep track of - it's also the best of the bunch if you're dealing with thru-axles. The main beam is fore and aft adjustable to customise the balancing point and the bottom bracket support can be tailored to your bike's specific needs.
The Team Issue Repair stand has been updated and now spins more easily to allow access to the bike at any angle without moving your feet. At 5.65kg, it's relatively light and breaks down flatter than any other Park Tool stand.
Weight: 8.6kg | Max weight: 29kg
Great build quality
Unior is well known for its tools, and the Gator+ bike repair stand is fantastic if you're using bikes with the same seat tube diameter. The clamp on the Gator+ is based on the design of a proper workshop stand with a big lever operating the jaws.
The action is smooth, but you'll need to adjust the clamping tension before you're trying to balance a bike in one hand and spin the threaded adjuster rod with the other - a spring-loaded version of the clamp is also available. The jaws are lined with rubber, so there is no need to insulate your frame with a rag. Our favourite thing about the Bike Gator + is the included foam tray with a divided top and slots for tools; it's a luxury which requires an additional purchase with most stands.
The entire stand, including the clamp, is made from steel, so keep that in mind if you live near the beach, or your stand spends a large proportion of time in the elements.
Bikehand Folding Workstand
Weight: 5kg | Max weight: 25kg
Bikehand is a lesser-known brand that puts its logos on the same products as Lifeline tools from Wiggle - a brand that has built a reputation of good value for money.
The Bikehand Folding Workstand costs about half as much as most of its competitors, folds up smaller and is lighter too.
Such a low price also comes with a few concessions; the dual-leg, three-point stance is noticeably hampered by its narrow footprint and the stand isn't particularly stable on uneven ground.
The entire clamp is made of plastic, and the angle adjustment is limited to where you can get individual teeth to line up, but for the occasional home mechanic doing basic jobs, it should suffice.
Feedback Sports Sprint
Weight: 5.7kg | Max weight: 38.5kg
Sturdy foot wide footprint
Made with Feedback Sports eye-catching red anodised tubing, the Sprint Repair stand works with every modern axle spacing and standard except for Super Boost and can grab onto bikes at the front or rear.
Weighing 5.7kg, the Sprint Stand is lightweight yet strong enough to support bikes up to 38.5kg in weight. The tripod-style legs are stable even on uneven ground and the rotating platform allows you to spin the bike around with the flick of your wrist.
The bottom bracket is supported by plush 12cm rubber-covered metal strips with a cutout to allow cable routing and the like to pass through unobstructed. Feedback Sports also makes a range of extras from tool trays to bottle openers that attach to the centre column.
Park Tool PSC 10-2 Home Mechanic
Weight: 7kg | Max weight: 36kg
Sturdy base on flat ground
With a folding leg system, the Park Tool Deluxe stand is portable and ideal for home use. It's available with two different clamps; one with an adjustable linkage and a micro-adjust cam clamp. Both of these are top-end, shop-level clamps meaning the bike can be adjusted at any angle and the jaw protectors are replaceable and readily available. The legs are made from powder-coated steel tubing.