Bike Hand YC-100BH Review
Cons: Lots of plastic parts, not as tall as competitors
Manufacturer: Bike Hand
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Taiwanese cycling tool and bike stand manufacturer, Bike Hand, isn't well known in the US cycling market. Their incredibly inexpensive bike work stand, the YC-100BH, caught our attention. The Bike Hand certainly had its work cut out for it going up against a stacked roster of well-established work stands, some of which cost up to 3 times more. The Bike Hand proved that just because something costs more, it isn't automatically better, and it caught us off guard with its user-friendliness, great features, and simple but effective design. Our biggest concern is that it's made of less expensive materials, notably thin aluminum tubing and plastic parts, which will likely be subject to some durability issues over time. However, we loved the incredible light weight of this stand, its very compact collapsed size, included tool tray, and easy-to-use clamp and angle adjustments.
Ease of Setup
The Bike Hand YC-100BH arrives fully assembled in the package, although the included tool tray needs to be attached by the consumer if you intend to use it. This extra step is minor considering it only takes a few seconds, and that most of the other stands we tested don't come with this useful feature. If you're setting up and taking down your Bike Hand work stand regularly, you'll need to put on and take off the tool tray if you want the work stand to collapse down to the smallest size possible. Full setup of the Bike Hand was speedy and almost on par with the fastest models in our test.
Instructions are included, but it was quite evident to us how to set it up without them. The legs fold out from the main tube of the stand and are controlled by the lower of the two quick-release levers. The legs are attached at the bottom of the main tube, so they fold down from that pivot point, as opposed to other models where they slide down to the bottom. Height is adjusted using the upper quick release, and the upper tube slides out of the lower tube to the desired height, anywhere in the range between 39"-59". The clamp arm is controlled by a quick release and is held into one of two positions, extended horizontally or folded closed, in indexed slots. Once the arm is extended, the angle is controlled by a large knob on the back of the arm and can be rotated 360 degrees with a circular ring of large interlocking plastic teeth. The jaws of the clamp open wide, 2 5/8", and close with a threaded screw attached to a plastic cam lever that locks the large rubber clamp jaws around your bike. Breakdown of the Bike Hand is just as simple and takes approximately 15-20 seconds to go from holding a bike to travel/storage mode.
While the Bike Hand was far from the most stable stand in our test selection, it was generally stable enough for our everyday use. We found it to get a bit less stable with the bike positioned at more extreme angles and especially when extended at full height. Hard wrenching efforts while on the Bike Hand also made it feel a bit unstable for our testers — remember, the weight limit is only 55 lbs. However, for most applications like cleaning, lubing, simple adjustments, changing cables, etc., it was more than up to the task and held strong and stable for us.
The height-adjustable upper tube has a groove on the back side of it designed to keep the clamp arm extended in the ideal balance position, centered between the feet. We found this simple design feature to help maintain the stability of the work stand by not allowing the upper tube or clamp arm to twist and throw off the balance of the stand. Like most work stands, we found that the stability improved the lower we positioned the clamp and the weight of the bike.
It may be made of plastic, but the clamp of the Bike Hand work stand opens wide and works well in our experience. With jaws that open up to 2 5/8", the Bike Hand can accommodate even the fattest of tubes and clamp all the way down to the 0.75" range. The width of the clamp is roughly the same as all the other similar models we tested, around 3 5/8", and the plastic jaws are covered in non-marking rubber. The rubber-coated jaws are shaped similarly to those of the Park Tool PCS-10.2 and Eclypse and can accommodate aero and oddly shaped tubes or externally routed cables.
The tension on the clamp jaws is controlled by a large screw that spans between the two clamp jaws and is attached to a cam locking lever. The cam lock lever flips to open and close the jaws about a half an inch, and pressure can be micro-adjusted by spinning the lever to tighten or loosen them further. It wasn't our favorite clamp design in the test, but it performed its duties well during testing though we have to admit that its all-plastic design feels a bit less durable than many other competitors. Our favorite clamp is that found on the Feedback Sports Pro Elite, which has a very user-friendly ratcheting closure and quick release opening design.
The angle of the clamp arm is adjusted by turning the large lever handle on the end of the clamp arm to engage or disengage a ring of plastic teeth. The angle can be adjusted anywhere within a 360-degree range. We feel this adjustment is best performed without a bike in the stand to avoid damage to the plastic teeth, although you can adjust the angle with a bike in the stand if you do so very carefully.
Due to the indexed, toothed, nature of the angle adjustment, turning the handle is limited to a range of 180 degrees, open or closed, to engage and disengage the teeth of the angle adjustment. In our experience, the angle adjustment was secure and held our bikes up as well as we could have hoped. The weight limit of the Bike Hand is 55 lbs, and we could see the teeth of the angle adjustment potentially getting damaged if used improperly or by exceeding the suggested weight limit. Testers generally preferred the smooth non-indexed angle adjustment found on the Park Tool and Feedback Sports models.
The height adjustment of the Bike Hand is one of the metrics where it lost ground to its competitors. With a range limited to 39-59 inches, both the Bike Hand and the Park Tool PCS-10.2 have the same range of adjustability, which is plenty for most uses but falls about 11-12 inches short of the bar set by the Feedback Sports Classic and Topeak PrepStand Pro. That said, we found the Bike Hand to be tall enough for most do-it-yourself repairs regardless of it falling short to its competitors.
The adjustment is super simple and stable in the form of a quick-release lever that clamps around a collar that secures the lower/main and upper tubes of the work stand. The upper tube slides out of the lower tube of the stand easily and holds securely when adjusted. Beyond the shorter range of adjustability of the Bike Hand, the height adjustment worked well and suited our home/travel mechanic purposes.
At 10.75 lbs, the Bike Hand is among the lightest weight work stands we tested and also collapsed down the smallest of all the models. With a collapsed size of 40" long and 8" wide, the Bike Hand is easily stored in your workspace or stashed in your vehicle to take on the road. Our Best Buy Award winner, the Eclypse weighs slightly less but doesn't break down quite as small as the Bike Hand.
The quick-release levers kept everything held in place when collapsed, including the clamp arm, which folds down and locks in position. The tool tray can be left on when the unit is fully collapsed, but it needs to be removed if you want it to be as small as possible. Removal of the tool tray is as simple as unscrewing a couple of nuts with your fingers and requires a little organization not to misplace it when not attached.
The overall ease of use of the Bike Hand makes it relatively well suited to everyday maintenance. Leave it set up all the time, or collapse it after each use. The ease of setup and breakdown and impressively small collapsed size also make this stand great for use while traveling. We feel the Bike Hand is best suited to lighter duty daily maintenance tasks like cleaning, lubing, and simple repairs. In contrast, tasks requiring large amounts of force may be better performed off the stand for fear of damaging the plastic parts or thin aluminum tubing. The large amount of plastic on this stand does give us some concern about its long term durability and the effects of weather and sun on those parts.
The Bike Hand retails around 2-3 times less than most of the other bike work stands in our test selection. We feel this is an incredible value considering the features and performance that this work stand offers. From the simple, intuitive, and easy to use design, the lightweight and compact collapsed size, and the included tool tray, the Bike Hand is a good option for home or travel. It may not be the most stable, and it probably isn't the most durable, but the Bike Hand is an affordable option that gets the job done.
With a price far less than most of the competition, we could hardly believe it ourselves when the Bike Hand YC-100BH work stand performed admirably during our testing. With our expectations blown out of the water, the Bike Hand is among the best values in our test and a close contender for our Best Buy Award. While this stand probably won't satisfy the needs of the more serious home or travel mechanics out there, we feel it is a great starter work stand for those who mostly do simple maintenance and repairs, and the price certainly can't be beaten.
Other Versions and Accessories
Bike Hand produces a full line of cycling tools, as well as display and work stands. Their line includes a variety of wall and workbench mounted clamps, as well as several freestanding and collapsable repair stands. www.bikehand.com
— Jeremy Benson