Some say it's a cardinal sin to flip your bike upside down when doing repairs, and other than on the side of some country road, there is a better way; a bike workstand. They come in all shapes and sizes and will make jobs like replacing worn-out chainrings and creaky bottom brackets or even just cleaning your chain, considerably more enjoyable.
All a workstand needs to do is hold a bike off the ground so you can tinker; it sounds like a simple proposition but some get the job done considerably better than others. Like anything else, you get what you pay for and higher-end stands will often utilize better materials, have improved clamping mechanisms and greater adjustability.
Scroll down to see Cyclingnews’ roundup of the best bike workstands for the home mechanic available for 2020.
What to look for in a bike workstand
1. Clamp or race-style workstands
The euro-style or race-style, bottom-bracket-supported workstands look good and put zero unwanted stress on areas of carbon frame tube or seatpost. They are a great solution if your bike has quick-release skewers or your seatpost is a funny shape, however, if you're running thru-axles they can be fiddly and may require adaptors.
We tend to prefer the clamp-style as, with a bit of care, the jaws can gently grab onto even the weirdest and most fragile tube shapes. It’s also telling that the vast majority of bike shops choose standard clamp-based stands for use in their workshops -undoubtedly due to the simplicity of leaving everything in situ, wheels and all.
2. The clamp
Far and away, the most important thing on a workstand is the clamp. You want something that's quickly adjustable with one hand and offers plenty of purchase without heaps of clamping force, this is especially important if you're grabbing onto a carbon tube.
We would recommend you always clamp down onto the seatpost, because if something does go wrong, a crushed seatpost is a lot easier to fix than a top tube. Although, for quick and simple jobs, we tend to rest the bike's top tube into horizontally-aligned clamp jaws, and using gravity to hold the bike aloft, reducing the need for any clamping force at all.
The jaws should be lined with soft rubber not only to prevent scratches but a tacky compound also requires less clamping force. We also like clamps that have a quick release; when you're trying to hold a bike up with one hand, endlessly spinning a knob two-dozen times can be testing. That said, a degree of fine adjustment is also needed so you don't crush delicate components.
3. Workstand foldability
If you're anything like us, garage space is at a premium; shared with cars, camping gear, ski gear, lawnmowers, hedge trimmers... you get the idea. With this lack of space, most of us don't have room for a fixed workstand with a heavy pedestal base. There are heaps of folding workstands available, the majority are sure-footed and stable, and will fold down small enough to be easily stowed.
Two factors to keep an eye on are how compact the stand is when broken down, and the folding procedure. Race-style stands usually pack down considerably better than their clamp-based relatives.
4. Angle adjustment
Being able to tilt your bike is crucial when you're trying to get a bubble to rise to the top of a hydraulic brake line or get a better angle for straightening a derailleur hanger. On a clamp-style stand, look for those that allow the head to be easily tilted and then locked down rigid.
5. Replaceable jaw protectors
A workstand is an investment and should outlast most of your bikes. With that in mind, look for a stand with replaceable jaw protectors that are readily available.
The best bike workstands you can buy today
Feedback Sports Pro Elite
The gold standard in portable workstands
Weight: 5.7kg | Max weight: 39kg | Price: £295 / $270 / AU$400
The Feedback Sports Pro Elite workstand is lightweight, sees quality finishing and is arguably the best clamp on the market. There is a reason that, at just about any cycling event around the world, you'll find these workstands kicking around. The tubing is made from aluminium and the three-legged stance is stable even on uneven ground.
While the red anodised tubing is immediately recognisable, it's the ratcheted dial clamp that sets the Feedback Sports Pro Elite apart. With ratchet teeth placed in 5mm intervals, squeezing the jaws together with your hand will get you within one turn of the adjustment knob of the stand supporting the weight of your bike. Even better when a repair is complete, the clamp is released with the push of a button.
Park Tool PRS-25 Team Issue
The closest thing to a shop workstand in stability and price
Weight: 5.9kg | Max weight: 45kg | Price: £275 / $324 / AU$550
Not compact when folded
Folding and unfolding procedure is not effortless
Even though Park Tool's Team Issue workstand isn't dressed entirely in the brand's signature blue, it offers a folding design and a stable three-point platform. The hex-shaped tubing is made from aluminium which keeps the weight low, and it can achieve a clamping height of 152cm so you can easily get in underneath the bottom bracket.
The clamp is cam-actuated; the lever flips like a quick release and then spins for fine adjustments. The jaws can accommodate tubes from 22mm up to 76mm and are lined with soft-touch rubber. For fast repairs, there is enough room to hang the nose of the saddle over the clamp.
Topeak Prep Stand Pro
Workstand for weight weenies
Weight: 6.2kg | Max weight: 25kg | Price: £230 / $300 / AU$500
Weight weenies rejoice, now you can have a workstand and a scale in the same unit - Topeak has integrated a gram counter next to the clamp on its Prep Stand Pro.
The clamp opens more than wide enough to accommodate even the fattest aero seatpost, and the jaws are lined with a dense non-marking rubber. For the Prep Stand Pro, Topeak added a fold-out knob to help you gain additional leverage and make quick work of tightening the jaws, but it would greatly benefit from some sort of a quick-release mechanism.
With three 71cm legs, the stand has a wide footprint and is stable on uneven ground; plus it's one of the fastest to go from the carry bag to prepped and ready for a bike.
Park Tool PRS-22.2 Team Issue Repair Stand
The best race-style repair stand you can buy
Weight: 5.65kg | Max weight: 27kg | Price: £360 / $332 / AU$550
Most adjustable race-style stand on the market
Quick releases sit too close to tubes and are hard to open
Play in the centre-post
With a sliding mount, the Park Tool PRS-22.2 Team Issue Repair Stand can hold any bike, connecting the front or rear dropouts and supporting the bottom bracket without any adaptors to keep track of - it's also the best of the bunch if you're dealing with thru-axles. The main beam is fore and aft adjustable to customise the balancing point and the bottom bracket support can be tailored to your bike's specific needs.
The Team Issue Repair stand has been updated and now spins more easily to allow access to the bike at any angle without moving your feet. At 5.65kg, it's relatively light and breaks down flatter than any other Park Tool stand.
Weight: 8.6kg | Max weight: 29kg | Price: £276 / $310 / AU$TBC
Tray Shop-style clamp
Not great on uneven ground
Unior is well known for its tools, and the Gator+ workstand is fantastic if you're using bikes with the same seat tube diameter. The clamp on the Gator+ is based on the design of a proper workshop stand with a big lever operating the jaws.
The action is smooth, but you'll need to adjust the clamping tension before you're trying to balance a bike in one hand and spin the threaded adjuster rod with the other - a spring-loaded version of the clamp is also available. The jaws are lined with rubber, so there is no need to insulate your frame with a rag. Our favourite thing about the Bike Gator + is the included foam tray with a divided top and slots for tools; it's a luxury which requires an additional purchase with most stands.
The entire stand, including the clamp, is made from steel, so keep that in mind if you live near the beach, or your stand spends a large proportion of time in the elements.
Feedback Sports Sport Mechanic
Solid, durable and doesn't break the bank
Weight: 5.7kg | Max weight: 29kg | Price: £155 / $175 / AU$299
Compact when folded
No quick-release clamp
The Feedback Sports Sport Mechanic stand comes with a lighter price tag than its red anodised sibling and with the cost-saving, misses out on the nifty quick-release ratcheting clamp, yet it's still a stable, lightweight and portable workstand.
The clamp is still lined with grippy rubber, but to grab your bike's seatpost, you'll have to spin the lever on the clamp until it's tight enough to support the weight of your bike. Despite the max weight being 29kg in comparison to the Pro Elite Stand's 39kg, with anything except an e-MTB it's no less stable as you try to loosen bottom-bracket bearings or stuck pedals.
The Sport Mechanic compacts down just as small as the rest of Feedback's stands and it's still lightweight despite the lower price point.
X-tools Folding Workstand
Compact and budget-friendly workstand - if you live in the UK
Weight: 5kg | Max weight: 30kg | Price: £90 / $177 / AU$195
Includes work mat
X-Tools is sold through Chain Reaction and Wiggle. Sharply priced, most of its products are branded generic wares, which means you'll probably find the exact same stand with a different logo at other retailers (Bikehand and CyclingDeal to name but two). Even so, depending on where you live the X-Tools Folding Workstand costs about half as much as most of its competitors, folds up smaller and is lighter too.
Such a low price also comes with a few concessions; the dual-leg, three-point stance is noticeably hampered by its narrow footprint and the stand isn't particularly stable on uneven ground.
The entire clamp is made of plastic, and the angle adjustment is limited to where you can get individual teeth to line up, but for the occasional home mechanic doing basic jobs, it should suffice.
Feedback Sports Sprint Repair stand
The best stand for traveling roadies
Weight: 5.7kg | Max weight: 38.5kg | Price: £250 / $295 / AU$390
Sturdy foot wide footprint
High max weight
Eye-catching anodised tubing
Adaptors fiddly for rear dropout and thru-axel
Made with Feedback Sports eye-catching red anodised tubing, the Sprint Repair stand works with every modern axle spacing and standard except for Super Boost and can grab onto bikes at the front or rear.
Weighing 5.7kg, the Sprint Stand is lightweight yet strong enough to support bikes up to 38.5kg in weight. The tripod-style legs are stable even on uneven ground and the rotating platform allows you to spin the bike around with the flick of your wrist.
The bottom bracket is supported by plush 12cm rubber-covered metal strips with a cutout to allow cable routing and the like to pass through unobstructed. Feedback Sports also makes a range of extras from tool trays to bottle openers that attach to the centre column.
Park Tool PSC 4-1 Deluxe Home Mechanic Repair Stand
Heavy-duty folding stand ideal for home use
Weight: 11kg | Max weight: 45kg | Price: £275 / $290 / AU$370
Sturdy base on flat ground
Available with two clamps
With a four-point leg system, the Park Tool Deluxe stand is ideal for home use. It's available with two different clamps; one with an adjustable linkage and a micro-adjust cam clamp. Both of these are top-end, shop-level clamps meaning the bike can be adjusted at any angle and the jaw protectors are replaceable and readily available.
The legs are made from powder-coated steel tubing and are a bit wobbly on uneven ground. When you lift the stand up the legs collapse flat meaning the work stand can be tucked into a corner or down the side of a cabinet or closet.