Gone are the days of cookie-cutter bikes that all share the same frame tubing, wheel sizes, and axle standards. These days bicycles come in an almost infinite array of shapes and sizes; constructed of aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, and even titanium. Some are made for riding rough and rocky single track, others made to fly over asphalt. There's a decent chance you own more than one bike, or your garage is filled with yours, your kid's, and your spouse's. Regardless of how many bikes you have, eventually something will go wrong with one or more of them. At OutdoorGearLab we're lucky to have a huge variety of bikes and a bunch of people passionate about riding them. Some of us are pretty slick with a wrench and don't blink an eye at tearing down a suspension fork and servicing it ourselves. Others just want to make sure all the bolts are tight and the tires have air in them before they set out.
To determine which bike work stand is the best, we sought the opinions of a diverse cast of characters with very different bikes. We had each tester set up and break down each stand and use a variety of bikes on every one. We did setup time trials to determine which was the fastest and easiest to deploy. We had our testers adjust the height of the stands, as well as tilt the angles of the bikes in the clamps up, down, and all around. In the same way that bikes are shaped differently, so are the people riding them, so we examined how each stand's adjustability worked for people of different heights.
The stability of a bike work stand is very important not only for effective wrenching, but from a safety and ergonomics standpoint as well. In order to test stability, we had our testers perform a simple pedal swap an action that places a good amount of torque on the bicycle while mounted in the stand.
During testing we also rated the ease of use of the clamping mechanisms. We also measured the dimensions of the stands while both set up and collapsed, and considered their shape and weight in regards to their portability.
Another important rating metric was everyday maintenance. Tasks as simple as washing or lubing your bike after every ride are enhanced with a work stand. The more user-friendly a work stand is, the more likely we found ourselves using it. The everyday maintenance metric is basically a combination of all the other metrics we tested: ease of setup, height and angle adjustments, the clamp, and portability.
There's a lot to consider when purchasing a bike work stand but any of the stands we tested will be better than the one you don't have. We hope the information we've gathered helps you decide which stand is the right one for you.