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 singletrack, and 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.
How We Tested Bike Work Stands
Our thorough test process aimed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each model and rate them on seven predetermined metrics. Each model was run through a series of tests and measurements to see how each performs and how they compare to each other. We tested and rated each model on Ease of Setup, Stability, Clamp, Angle Adjustment, Height Adjustment, Portability, and Everyday Maintenance. We got into detail about how we tested each of these metrics below.
Ease of Setup
To determine how easy each work stand was to set up and break down, we set them up and broke them down repeatedly. We practiced with each model and did timed trials to see which were the easiest and fastest to deploy. We also took into account any assembly required, although it didn't affect the overall ease of setup scores.
Stability is a very important aspect of each work stand's performance for effective wrenching and safety. As a baseline test for 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. Our testers also used each stand for a variety of other repairs and maintenance and positioned the bikes in them at maximum height and extreme angles to really push the limits of each model's stability.
A good clamp design can make or break a work stand. User-friendliness is one of the most important aspects of a clamp's performance, and we primarily took ergonomics and ease of clamping into account as we evaluated them. Every clamp-style stand we tested has wide non-marking rubber-coated jaws, but the closure mechanisms vary dramatically. Some have super user-friendly slide-locking or ratcheting designs while others use a cam-locking closure. By loading and unloading bikes repeatedly our testers were able to determine which models had the best and worst clamp designs.
To evaluate the angle adjustment on each work stand we examined the design and interface of each model before using them in practice. Testers made frequent adjustments to the clamp arm of each model with and without a bike in the clamp jaws. Bikes were held at extreme angles and repairs were performed to test the stability and security of each model's adjustment.
Most bike work stands have an adjustable height so that the user can position the clamp arm at the appropriate height for the task at hand. We measured each model at their maximum and minimum height and compared those numbers to the manufacturer's claims. Additionally, we tested how well each stand's height adjustment worked by raising and lowering them repeatedly with and without a bike in the clamp's jaws. Factors like the hardware, friction, and ease of raising and lowering were taken into account along with the adjustment range.
All of the work stands we tested are portable and collapse down for storage or transport. We measured the dimensions of each model in its smallest collapsed size to determine its dimensions and weighed each stand on the same scale for consistency. We also took into account additional features like storage bags, a well as loose parts and pieces to keep track of.
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 work stand is the right one for you.