Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Bicycle repair stands make it easier to maintain and fix your bikes by holding them off the ground where all the components are within reach and easy to see – no bending over needed. Plus, they let you spin the wheels to check and true them as necessary, and to inspect and adjust the brakes. You can also pedal and shift to tune the drivetrain.
Better repair stands allow raising and lowering the bike in the stand and also rotating it up to 360 degrees – and lock it in place to work on it there. They also have bike clamps that hold tight and won’t damage bicycles or components. Most of the time, the bike is held by the seatpost (for telescoping “dropper” posts, always clamp the base of the post).
My favorite repair stand is Park Tool’s Deluxe Single Arm Repair Stand. This is a shop stand designed for shop/home use because of its heavy iron base (you can also bolt it to the floor if you don’t want to use the base). Park makes a portable version that has most of the same features: https://www.parktool.com/en-us/product/team-issue-repair-stand-prs-25?category=Portable.
Another great stand I’ve used is made by Feedback Sports. All their stands are portable. Here are their latest models.
HINT: repair stands such as Park’s and Feedback Sports’ make awesome Christmas gifts. If they’re using an older repair stand, they’ll appreciate the upgrades found on new stands such as more versatile clamps to fit more bikes, better stability and even the strength to support ebikes (be sure to check the repair stand specs to get the correct model if an ebike-compatible stand is on their wish list).
A New Category of Repair Stands
Speaking of ebikes, which weigh a lot more than standard bicycles – in response we’re starting to see a new type of bike repair stand that includes a lifting feature so that you don’t have to risk injury trying to lift bikes to put them in the stand.
How Standard Repair Stands Are Used
To explain, a standard repair stand’s clamp is at a certain set minimum height. To put a bike in the stand you lift the bike until the seatpost lines up with the clamp, put the seatpost in the clamp and close the clamp to lock the bike in the stand. Even with superlight bikes this isn’t always easy. With heavier bikes like a beach cruiser for example, it takes a lot of strength to lift it, hold it and clamp it – especially if you have to hold it longer because you had to fine-tune the clamp.
How Lifting Repair Stands Are Used
With the lifting repair stands, you simply roll the bike up to the stand, lower the clamp to put it next to the seatpost, move the bike so that the post is in the clamp, adjust the clamp as needed, close the clamp, and the repair stand mechanism lifts the bike for you. The mechanism lowers the bike to the ground too when you’re done working on it.
All of these new type stands are more expensive than models without lifting mechanisms – most a lot more. And I don’t know of any portable models. Since they’re made to lift and hold heavy bikes they either bolt to the floor or are on heavy steel base plates.
Still, if you have ebikes that you want to work on, or if you’re tired of lifting regular bikes into a workstand (or you don’t have the strength or agility to do it), you might be interested in these new stands that do the work for you. So I want to tell you about the ones I know of and provide links so you can learn all the details. I expect we’ll see more.
The first stand of this type I learned about was Efficient Velo Tools’ (EVT) EZ-Lift. The brainchild of company founder Brett Flemming, this ingenious stand uses a counterweight and pulley system to lift bikes (different weights are available). The EZ-Lift is so strong that Brett actually demonstrates how well it works at industry trade shows by hanging onto the clamp and riding it up and down!
I tried the EZ-Lift at the Interbike bicycle show a number of years ago and it worked beautifully. It’s a popular stand with some bicycle shops and their mechanics especially love the included EVT Right Arm Repair Clamp which only requires 2 inches of exposed seatpost to hold on to.
Park Tool’s Power Lift Shop Stand PRS-33.2
Park Tool offered the first motorized bike repair stand I’ve seen with their Power Lift. It uses a chain drive system to lift and hold bikes weighing up to 120 pounds (54kg). And it boasts Park’s excellent 100-3D Micro Adjust Clamp, which is my favorite clamp. You can see the Power Lift in action in their video here.
Remco Tools’ Bike Lift
The new player in lifting repair stands, Remco, offers the Bike Lift, which is the most affordable motorized electric stand so far that I know about: https://www.remcotools.com/collections/primary. It can handle bikes that weigh up to 100 pounds (45kg). Part of the lower price is the fact that it’s designed for you to use the clamp and base plate you already own. So if you don’t own those you’ll need to buy them.
For features, Remco says “there are three memory presets so you can position the bike at your preferred height, a control lock to keep others from operating the stand, and the ability to switch between Metric and US Customary units on the display.” I do not know what mechanism is used to raise and lower the stand.
If you end up adding one of these new stands to your home bicycle workshop or you use one now, please share how they’re working out for you.
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. A pro mechanic & cycling writer for more than 40 years, he’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Tune in to Jim’s popular YouTube channel for wheel building & bike repair how-to’s. Jim’s also known for his cycling streak that ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.