Park Tool PCS-10 Review
Cons: Heavy, awkward setup/breakdown, not as portable
Manufacturer: Park Tool
Our Analysis and Test Results
Park Tool has a good reputation and is known for being the industry standard for bike tools and equipment. Their professional level tools, work stands, and clamps are present in most bike shops around the world. The signature blue PCS-10 work stand is the most current incarnation of their top of the line portable home mechanic work stand. The primary improvement made on the PCS-10 over the version we tested in our last work stand showdown is that they've managed to reduce the weight of it by 8 lbs — from 25 lbs down to 17. It's still the heaviest stand in our test, but in our opinion, this is a huge improvement that made it much less cumbersome and generally easier to work with.
Ease of Setup
The PCS-10 comes fully disassembled, so right off the bat you have the added inconvenience of putting the thing together. This task isn't all that complicated and it comes with detailed instructions and even the tools needed. We had prior experience with this work stand, so it took us 13 minutes to assemble, but we would suggest giving yourself about 20 minutes if you've never done it before. Once it was fully assembled we put it through our setup time trial and were able to get it fully set up in 30 seconds after a couple of practice runs. This is by no means a long time, although it takes roughly twice the time to set up than the Bike Hand YC-100BH or Feedback Sports Classic. In addition to the time, it's also sort of awkward to deal with, not nearly as simple as the stands that have tripod legs that easily slide into position.
To set up the PCS-10, you first have to unfold both of the legs and lock them into position with their spring-loaded buttons. Then, you open the quick release that secures the leg collar and slide the legs down to the bottom of the main tube and lock the collar into place using another spring loaded button and the quick release. It can now stand on its own, and the next step is to adjust the height to your preference by opening the upper quick release and sliding the upper tube out of the lower/main tube to the desired height. Since the clamp arm is attached in a fixed position, the setup is basically done at this point. To break the stand down simply reverse the setup steps. Again, this isn't all that hard to set up, it's just significantly more awkward than the other stands we tested.
The height of the clamp on the PCS-10 can be adjusted anywhere within the range of 39 to 59 inches. We never found ourselves dissatisfied by this range of adjustment, but it can't match that of our Overall Award winner, the Feedback Sports Pro Elite, with adjustment between 42 and 71 inches. Adjusting the height of the PCS-10 involves opening the quick release of the height adjustment collar and sliding the upper tube out of the lower/main tube. We found this process to be slightly more difficult on this stand than others, as the tubes didn't seem to want to slide all that freely. In our experience, we had to put a foot on one of the legs to keep from lifting the stand up off the ground with or without a bike in the clamp. Other models like the Topeak Prepstand Pro allowed much easier height adjustment due to a more friction-free movement. Unlike other stands we tested, there is no internal stop on the upper tube of the PCS-10, although a max height line is scribed on the tube.
The most impressive feature of the PCS-10 is the professional grade clamp. The jaws of this burly clamp open wide to accommodate tubes up to 3 inches in diameter, and close down to hold tubes as skinny as 7/8 inches. The jaws are controlled by a large spring-loaded cam lever that is attached to a wide screw that spans between to the two jaws of the clamp. Flipping the cam lever 180 degrees opens and closes the jaws and turning the cam lever allows you to fine-tune the pressure of the jaws further. We found this clamp design to be especially user-friendly, although we could see the potential for damage to frames if the cam lever was forced closed. We recommend finding a point where the cam lever closes relatively easily and dialing in the tension by turning it tighter after that.
The jaws of this clamp are covered in a grippy rubber that does a great job of securely holding a bike in place while on the stand. The rubber jaw coverings are fully replaceable should they ever wear out or get damaged. The jaws of the PCS-10 also have a unique shape with a groove down the center that accommodates aero or oddly shaped tubing, or fits externally routed cables and housing. Unfortunately, the clamp arm does not fold down for storage, but that also makes it feel extra stable and secure. The clamp arm can be fully removed, but this leaves your stand in two pieces. While this clamp feels stout and is relatively user-friendly, it can't quite match the convenience of our top rated modesl like the Feedback Sports Pro Elite.
The PCS-10 features a full 360 degrees of clamp arm adjustment with a smooth non-indexed rotation. The angle adjustment is controlled by a large handle on the back of the clamp arm. Loosening this handle allows a compression cone to spin within the composite top tube of the stand to the desired position. We found this adjustment to be especially smooth and controllable on the PCS-10, as you can modulate the rate at which the clamp arm can spin with the tension you keep on the handle that controls it. Angle adjustments can be made with or without a bike in the clamp, although we found it easier to do with a bike on the stand, assuming you are supporting the weight of the bike when the handle is loosened.
The PCS-10 scored well in our stability tests, but it was bested by several of the other models. It has a three-point stance created by the bottom of the lower/main tube and the ends of the two 32 inch legs. The main tube is situated at an angle that puts the clamp arm out and between the two extended legs. As long as the clamp is kept in this position, with the weight centered between the legs, we found the PCS-10 to be solid as a rock and great for our hardest wrenching efforts. It is worth mentioning that as soon as the weight shifts outside of this balanced area, the PCS-10 gets quite wobbly. We also noticed that as you used this stand the clamp would drift as the upper tube would rotate inside of the lower/main tube. No matter how much we tightened the height adjustment quick release, it would still rotate enough to be an issue. We found ourselves having to check this regularly and rotate the clamp arm back into position from time to time. This issue was easily avoided by paying attention but is notable nonetheless. That said, with the weight in the right position, this is a stable work stand, plus the PCS-10 can support bikes up to 80 lbs.
When it comes to portability, the PCS-10 doesn't hold a candle to the competition. At 17 lbs it is the heaviest stand we tested, and it also has the largest collapsed size. We measured it to collapse down to 47 inches long and 14.5 inches wide with the clamp arm attached. If you take the time to fully remove the clamp arm it reduces the width down to 7.5 inches, but then your stand is in two pieces. The other thing that hurts the portability of the PCS-10 is the awkward top heavy weighting of it with the clamp arm attached. It makes it unwieldy to carry around, and it has a tendency to want to fall over if leaned against a wall. The clamp arm, various levers and handles, as well as the metal yoke for the legs also had a tendency to grab onto things as we moved it around or when removing it from our vehicles. It is certainly portable, but if we traveled often and wanted a stand to bring with us, this would not be our first choice.
We feel this stand is well suited to everyday maintenance assuming you have a place to leave it set up all the time. The clamp is sturdy and very user-friendly, so tossing the bike in the stand takes just seconds and makes it quick and easy to clean your drivetrain and squirt on some lube before a ride, or hose your bike down after. It wouldn't be our first choice as a travel stand whether on a road trip or heading to a race due to the more awkward setup, heavier weight, and larger collapsed size. If you've got a dedicated workshop space, we feel this is a great option for keeping setup and ready to tackle your daily maintenance or major repairs.
If you've got a space that you're turning into a home repair shop and looking for a sturdy, stable stand with a professional level clamp, then look no further than the PCS-10. We found the clamp design to be one of the best in our test, and the 80 lb capacity means that it is up for the torquiest of wrenching efforts. It is somewhat more time consuming and awkward to set up and break down, so we feel it is well suited to staying in one place. This is not to say that you can't travel with it, it's just not as user-friendly as the competition.
We feel that the Park Tool PCS-10 offers a decent value. It's stable, durable, has a solid clamp design, and it's backed by a lifetime warranty. It may not be the best for those of you who like to travel, but if you're going to primarily leave it set up in your workshop, then you'll likely have this stand for the rest of your life. You do the math, but no matter how you look at it, that's a pretty good deal.
With the PCS-10, Park Tool has made a solid work stand, and with a serious reduction in weight over the previous version they've made this stand easier to deal with, yet it still has a sturdy construction and stout clamp design. The PCS-10 is capable of supporting the heaviest bikes you've got and not flinching under serious wrenching forces. It's definitely a little heavier and not as portable as the other stands in our test, and is therefore not as well suited for travel, but it's durable and will likely provide years of trouble-free service.
Other Versions and Accessories
Park Tool makes a full line of portable home mechanic and professional grade work stands. They also make a wide variety of accessories, including a tool tray, paper towel holder, handlebar holder, and wheel truing stand which can mount directly to the PCS-10 to create a complete home workshop. You can also stock your bike workshop with every tool imaginable from Park Tool.
— Jeremy Benson