Jim’s Tech Talk
Yes, it might be crazy to be talking about gifts so close to Christmas. But, maybe you’ll get a certificate or some funny money as a present and want to buy your own Christmas toy. Or perhaps you’re still shopping and gifting last-minute virtually due to covid. Either way, I want to make a suggestion based on what I picked. It’s something that brings more joy to budding mechanics than maybe any other present.
That’s why we’re giving one to a loved one this Christmas (I can’t say who or it’ll spoil the surprise). He or she has started maintaining their bikes at home and we’re giving them a bike repair stand.
Before I share which stand I chose and the main reason why, please read this comment that arrived about Linda’s question, the subject of our last Tech Talk. You might recall that Linda broke her seat or seat post (it wasn’t clear which) and asked how common it was. There were many helpful and interesting comments worth a read: https://www.roadbikerider.com/bike-hack-broken-saddle-crash/.
This comment stood out to me enough that I wanted to make sure it was seen. It’s from Daniel S. Glass, who said,
“I am an attorney in California who has ridden extensively for the past 30 years, at least 5.000 miles/year. I also handle bicycle product liability cases for injured cyclists. A number of years ago I had a client who was injured (small vertebral compression fracture) when the bolt holding his saddle on the seat post snapped while riding and he was shot off the back of the bike.
At the trial of the case, my expert witness, who had a PhD in material science, testified that the stress on a single-bolt seat post is tremendous and eventually they will ALL fail from use. The key to safety is inspection, proper torque of bolts and even periodic replacement of the bolts. Lightweight components fail. Everyone should know it – that is one reason why carbon bikes have short limited warranties, not like the old steel bikes with “lifetime warranties.” Diligently try to find out what is causing that little “creak” before it becomes a disaster. Stay safe.”
Thanks for sharing that story, Daniel!
The Present I Picked
The number one job of bicycle repair stands is to hold bikes up and off the ground. That makes it easy to shift the bike and operate the brakes and spin the wheels to check and true them. It puts the parts up high where they’re easier to see and work on. No more bending over or kneeling on the ground.
It’s easier to remove the wheels, too, since gravity is working for you. And, any good repair stand lets you rotate the bicycle even 360 degrees, should you need to access the bottom of something.
The Clamp is Key
The key component of the repair stand that holds the bike is the clamp. Since you have to lift bikes to put them into the repair stand, you want a clamp that’s quick and easy to use. Otherwise, you might lose your grip on the bike and have to put it down or worse, drop it. While a featherweight carbon racer is usually easy to clamp, that’s hardly the case with beach cruisers or the heftiest rides today e-bikes! (You might need a helper with those.)
You also want a clamp that’s super secure so that the bike is held fast and tight and is not going to move around or loosen from its weight alone or while you’re wrenching on it. Equally important, the clamp mustn’t put the bike and/or components at risk of damage in any way.
Enter Park Tool’s Deluxe Home Mechanic Repair Stand
So it was the best clamp that I looked for in choosing which repair stand to purchase and gift. And, I picked Park Tool’s PCS-10.2 repair stand ($199.95 https://www.parktool.com/product/deluxe-home-mechanic-repair-stand-pcs-10-2) because it sports the same clamp I’ve been using for years at home and at work where it’s on 3 of our 4 Park professional repair stands.
What’s so nice about the clamp is that it opens wide, closes fast and fits from 1- to 3-inch (25mm–76mm) diameter tubes and seat posts of any shape and material. Also, its jaws are a narrow 2.7-inches wide (7cm) so that they easily fit onto short seat posts and into tight areas. A large clamp means having to raise and lower seats to put the bike in the stand and that’s a hassle since you then are resetting your seat height every time you rack up your bike.
Turn to Tighten or Use the Locking Cam Lever
There are 2 ways to use Park’s clamp. You can simply rotate the handle to the left or right to loosen and tighten the clamp onto the bike. Or, you can use the clamp handle’s cam lever. For this you first adjust the clamp by turning the handle. Once it’s set, you then flip the lever one way to clamp the bike and flip it the other way to release it. That’s the quickest way to rack bikes. It comes in handy when you work with the same size clamping area on multiple bikes.
I find for working on bikes with a wide variety of different clamping diameters that I usually just screw and unscrew the clamp. It’s your choice how to use it and it holds just as fast screwed down or cam clamped.
For excellent bike protection the jaws are padded with soft, replaceable rubber covers. And, there’s even a vinyl section on one side of the clamp arm for resting the tip of the saddle in case you only need to hang the bike for a quick inspection or adjustment without clamping it. These parts hold up over time. I’ve never had to replace them.
While the clamp is the main reason I chose Park’s PCS-10.2, it has other features I know are going to wow the person who’s getting it. These include:
- It folds quickly for storage and portability and weighs only 17 pounds (7.71kg)
- For raising and lowering bikes, there’s a quick-release clamp height adjustment from 39 to 57 inches (99cm–145cm) – that’s 18 inches (45.7cm) of adjustment
- To keeps racked bikes stable, the stand boasts all-steel construction, oversize tubing and a triangular base
- It hold bikes weighing up to 80 pounds (36 kg)
- A height-adjustable compact tool tray is included for keeping frequently used tools close at hand
Overall, Park’s PCS-10.2 is a top quality repair stand that will hold up to a lifetime of use and even abuse. It’s sure to please as a gift for others or yourself!
Ride total: 9,856
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.