From replacing worn-out brake pads to rebuilding a shock damper, or even just cleaning your chain, a quality bike work stand will make the process considerably more enjoyable. A work stand needs to hold a bike off the ground so you can tinker without having to lean it against something or flipping it upside down.
It sounds like a simple proposition, but there are some which get the job done considerably better than others. Like anything else, you get what you pay for, and higher-end stands will use nicer materials, have better clamps and greater adjustability.
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The most important thing on a bike work stand is the clamp. You want something that's quickly adjustable with one hand and offers plenty of purchase without too much clamping force — especially if you're grabbing onto a carbon tube, a concern you'll be familiar with if you also own a lightweight carbon road bike.
Also look for something with soft rubber on the interior of the clamp as this will not only prevent scratches to the paintwork but also require less clamping force. We also like clamps that have a quick-release mechanism as opposed to a rotary knob - the latter of which makes setting up very tricky and frustrating at times. 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 equipment, 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 - instead, you're going to want a foldable stand. You should also keep in mind how easily it folds and unfolds to maximise storage space.
3. Angle adjustment
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 working on your suspension forks.
Look for a stand that allows the head to be easily tilted and then locked down rigid.
4. Max weight
The maximum weight a stand can hold really didn't become a significant issue until the advent of e-bikes, however with e-MTBs weighing 20kg plus, and quickly gaining popularity it's something to keep in mind.
5. Replaceable jaw protectors
A bike work stand is an investment and it's something you should be able to use and abuse for years to come. Most stands, even on the more budget-friendly end of the price spectrum, will have replaceable jaw protectors and should be readily available through an authorised dealer.
6. Clamp, not race stands
The race-style bottom-bracket-supported bike work stands look good, and they work well if your bike has quick-release skewers, however, if you're running thru-axles they can be fiddly at best.
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The best bike work stands available today
The Feedback Sports Pro Elite bike work stand is lightweight, sees quality finishing, and is home to arguably the best clamp on the market — there is a reason you'll find a million of these work stands kicking around at just about any cycling event around the world. The red, anodised tubing is immediately recognisable, but it's the ratcheted dial clamp that sets the Feedback Sports Pro Elite work stand apart from its rivals.
The clamp works incrementally and requires no more than a full revolution to tighten and support the seat tube. The clamp releases with the push of a button.
The tubing is made from aluminium, and the three-legged platform is stable on any surface, uneven ground included.
Even though Park Tool's Team Issue bike work stand isn't dressed entirely in the brands signature blue, it is the brand's best portable work stand, offering a folding design and a stable three-point platform.
The clamp is cam-actuated; the lever flips like a quick release and then spins for fine adjustments. Lined with soft-touch rubber, the jaws can accommodate tubes from ~22mm up to 76mm. For fast repairs, there is enough room to hang the nose of the saddle over the clamp.
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.
We know a few weight weenies that weigh their bike just about every week, and for those that prioritise grams over everything else, the Topeak Prep Stand offers a clever alternative to the awkward hanging scale, with an integrated gram counter.
With three 71cm legs, the stand has a wide footprint and is stable on uneven ground; plus it's one of the fastest to go from the carry bag to prepped and ready for a bike.
The clamp opens more than wide enough to accommodate even the fattest dropper post, and the jaws are lined with a dense non-marking rubber. For the Prep Stand Pro, Topeak added a fold-out knob to help you gain additional leverage and make quick work of reigning the jaws down, but it would greatly benefit from some sort of a quick-release mechanism.
Unior is well known for its tools, and the Gator + bike 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 (salty sea mist can accelerate rust), or your stand spends a large proportion of time outside.
With a notably smaller price tag, the Feedback Sports Sport Mechanic misses out on the nifty quick-release ratcheting clamp and red anodised tubing of its more expensive sibling, but it still offers a stable, lightweight and portable bike work stand.
The clamp is still lined with grippy rubber, but to grab your bike's seat post, you'll have to spin the lever on the clamp unit. (It's tight enough to support the weight of your bike). Despite its max weight being 29kg to the Pro Elite Stand's 39kg, with anything except an e-MTB, it's no less stable even when attempting to loosen bottom-bracket bearings or crank bolts.
The stand compacts down just as small as the rest of Feedback's stands and even with its lower price point, it's lightweight, too.
X-Tools is sold through Chain Reaction and Wiggle and, with sharp pricing, most of its products are branded generic products — meaning you'll probably find the exact same stand with a different logo — Bikehand and CyclingDeal to name a few. Even still, depending on where you live the X-Tools Folding Bike Stand costs about half as much as most of its competitors and folds up smaller (it's lighter too).
Of course, the low price also comes with a few concessions; the dual leg, three-point stance is noticeably hampered by short legs, 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.
With a four-leg system, the Park Tool Deluxe stand is ideal for home use. It's available with two different shop clamps; one with an adjustable linkage and a micro-adjust cam clamp. Both of these are top-end shop clamps meaning the bike can be adjusted at any angle and the jaw protectors are replaceable and readily available.
The legs are powder-coated steel tubing but can get a bit unstable on uneven ground. When you lift the stand up the legs collapse flat meaning the work stand can be tucked into a corner or down the side of a cabinet or closet.
Motocross race pits are packed full of work stands that support the bikes from the bottom, and so it's no surprise this idea has been adapted for MTBs. The Feedback Scorpion uses a rod which slots into the hollow bottom-bracket axle to lift the rear wheel off the ground.
Small and light, the powder-coated steel arms are rated to hold 22.7kg and the work-stand folds down flat when not in use. It can also double as a storage stand.