The 10 Best Bicycle Repair Stands
Why You Need A Bicycle Repair Stand
Dedicated cyclists know that a bike regularly needs tune-ups, and that going to a pro shop for all of your maintenance can quickly become very expensive. After enough wear and tear on your ride, things like the shifter cables and gear shifts can become loose or stiff, depending on the conditions they face. When trying to work on a bicycle, it becomes readily apparent that leaning it against a wall or lying it flat on the ground doesn't give you the access needed for efficient work. This is where a bicycle repair stand can be invaluable.
Bike repair stands let you hold your bicycle in place so the body and wheels don’t pivot when you’re applying tools to them. They also allow you to elevate your bicycle, so you can better view and more comfortably access every part of it.
There are two types of bicycle stands: tube clamping and axle/bottom bracket mounts. The first one uses clamps to grab your bicycle either on the body tube or seat. Tube clamping stands are commonly used among bicycle hobbyists because they can accommodate the shape and layout of most bicycles. If you watch a professional bike race, however, you will see the best mechanics prepping the bikes on axle/bottom bracket stands. These can withstand the more aggressive tightening and wrenching of bolts that professional riders need to do, but they usually require you to remove a wheel in order to do your work.
A perfect example of the value of a bike stand comes when trying to do a routine gear check. You perform this by shifting the gears and spinning the wheels to make sure they are responding appropriately. If you try to do this by yourself without a stand, it can be nearly impossible. It's also much safer to test your wheel-to-gear responsiveness on your work stand than in real life when riding.
Extra Features To Consider
If your bicycle is your main mode of transportation, then you need a repair stand that is portable. Look for one that is light, foldable, and has some method of attaching directly to your bicycle when not in use, so you don’t need to put it in a backpack. If your stand does attach to your bike, make sure it isn’t too bulky and that it won't interfere with your ability to do your best pedaling.
Permanent repair stands have their own benefits, for example, since they bolt to the ground, they can handle almost any repairs you need to perform without wobbling or tipping over. Some cyclists like to have both a permanent and portable stand, so they’re never limited on the type of work they can do on their ride.
Models with tool trays are especially convenient, letting you keep the items you need within arm's reach and at a comfortable height while you work. If you plan on doing the most complex repairs yourself – like bleeding hydraulic brakes – look for a model that lets you adjust the angle of the clamp. Stands that swivel can also be extremely useful because they allow you to position the bike parts in the best alignment with your body for a comfortable working position. This also allows you to stay stationary as opposed to moving around the bike as you work.
To ensure your repair stand doesn't cause damage to your bike, find one with padded clamps that won’t scratch the paint job on your tubing. Quick release clamps are also useful because when you’re ready to ride again, they allow you to get your bike out of the stand in one easy motion, rather than strenuously loosening the clamp’s grip bit by bit.
The Most Famous Bicycle Mechanics
When people think of Orville and Wilbur Wright (aka the Wright Brothers) they usually think of the men who created the first successful airplane. But these famous inventors found their way to air travel through ground transportation. In fact, it was this duo's work on bicycles that gave them the idea that an unstable mode of transportation like the airplane could work with proper balance.
In the late 1800s, not long after both brothers failed to receive a high school diploma, the Wrights decided to profit from America’s newfound love of bicycles and opened their bicycle repair shop the Wright Cycle Exchange (later the Wright Cycle Company). As a byproduct of working extensively on bicycles, the young inventors noticed how, when a cyclist wants to turn, he leans into the turn – similar to how a bird does when it wants to adjust its flight pattern. This observation gave them the idea that their primitive model of an airplane could recover from a gust of wind if it tilted to the opposite side.
When the brothers built and maintained their airplane, they would mount it on contraptions they made in their shop that were akin to bicycle repair stands we use today. This is why some bicycle enthusiasts and historians credit the pair for inventing the first bicycle repair stand.