For anyone who wants to do any work on their bicycle, a bicycle repair stand becomes an absolute necessity in one form or another. You do not want to simply turn your bike upside down as this can cause damage, is not steady and not easy on your body either for that matter. It is extremely useful and helpful to have a stand that holds your bike at an elevated level and that allows you to rotate it to the required working position. You also need it steady.
So what to use? Well there’s the question asked by many. Here are your options:
A Make Do Stand
By a make do stand I mean using something that is not designed to be a work stand but is able to somewhat do the job. One idea is to use a bike rack that is attached to the trunk of your car, the kind that is designed to transport your bike places. It will support your bike at an elevated level. You won’t be happy with that option if you do much bicycle repair, but for the odd emergency it will serve the purpose.
Hooks & Ropes
A somewhat simple and economical solution. You can use ropes or strong wires threaded to hooks in your basement or garage ceiling. To do this, you would fasten your hooks into a joist under the drywall or plaster. Once the wires or ropes are attached, you would place your bike up and over so it is suspended by the wires as best as possible. Make sure the ropes hold the bike in such a way that it won’t fall off. Some bike shops will even have large hooks that are specifically designed for this purpose.
DIY Bike Repair Stands
There are many people creating their own bike repair stand by cutting and welding metal pipes, clamps and sometimes wood to make a home made creation. I’ve seen some wild works of art out there, and I’ve seen some that are pretty impressive. It takes a certain skill to be able to pull this off. You need to be the real handy man, because although anyone can make a stand, it is not easy to make a really strong and sturdy one that will allow you to rotate your bike like a commercial stand. You will probably have to sacrifice the ability to rotate your bike, but you will save on money and have the satisfaction of your own creation. It is something to start with, but if you get serious into home repairs or are not this handy, this may not be for you.
Professionally Manufactured Stand
There are home mechanic repair stands (the most common type), racing stands (for really light racing bikes), shop stands (for real heavy duty work or bike shops) and a few cheaper variations that you can buy in bike shops and online. However if you buy a manufactured stand, I’d suggest you buy a good one, as you will be light years ahead of the above stands if you do. Look for one that is sturdy, has a strong base and that will rotate your bike 360 degrees with a good clamp. Most commercial stands will have a padded clamp to protect your bike from any damage.
Another option is to get a work bench clamp, which is basically a clamp that you screw down on a work bench. It holds your bike solid, and takes up little space, but you won’t have the versatility of a full stand if you go this option.
Many people complain about pricing of commercial stands as they often cost well over $100 but keep in mind that you are paying for the quality, workmanship and customization of the parts. If that is not want you want, then create your own, but there is a difference.
So you are on the road, have a major problem and need to do some emergency work. It is very unlikely you have some kind of repair stand folded up in your backpack.
For emergency solutions like this, just turn your bicycle over on its side which is a bit better than turning it upside down. Or see if you can find a tree with a low hanging branch (that isn’t going to break!) to hook the nose of the saddle over.
If you are at home, lay the bicycle on top of a table with the handlebar hanging over the edge so that the front wheel can spin freely and the rest of the bike lies flat.
A bike repair stand is an absolute necessity for anyone interested in home bike mechanics. It is the equivalent to a good table in your home. You can technically do without a table and eat on the floor, but it is not a great way to go. In the same way, you can make do without a good stand, but you’ll be a lot happier with one.