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I'd like to buy a repair stand, but I can never seem to convince myself to drop the $100 minimum it seems I'd need to spend. Has anybody had any success building a stand themselves, or is it worth it to just buy one?

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Also see: What brands of repair stands are sturdy? –  Neil Fein Oct 20 '10 at 12:33
I see many folding stands priced in the $50 range. –  Daniel R Hicks Nov 20 '13 at 1:00

11 Answers 11

up vote 20 down vote accepted

I can tell you from experience that your best option is to buy a repair stand.

I worked in a shop for a number of years and thought there was no way I could use a consumer grade stand when I left. I purchased park tool PRS-4W at cost before I left the shop and built my own stand from it. The consumer price is now $200 for that so that is obviously not dealing with your $ issue. And even if it did, I have since purchased and use a consumer grade stand with less features to maintain 4 bikes of different size frames for 5 years now and it was well worth the $ spent. It gets the job done. Bite the bullet, get the stand you'll be glad you did.

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The only thing I would add is that it is worth the extra money to buy a nicer one that is easy to set up and take down. If it is a big pain, you won't ever want to get it out –  Geoff Aug 27 '10 at 23:08
I've gone the other way with the stand - I have a proper stand bolted to the floor of the garage. The bolts are removable so I can clear the area when I need to, but it's so useful that I rarely do. –  Мסž May 11 '11 at 5:15

As a number of other posts have pointed out, your best option is to get yourself a proper repair stand. They are not that expensive, and you will find that you and your friends all get good use out of it. But, if you are determined to do it on the cheap, here are a couple of techniques that worked for me before getting a workstand:

  • Turning the bike upside down - this is really simple and requires no additional purchase. You may want to look at putting some form of drop sheet down underneath the bike both to protect the saddle and handlebars, and to catch drips. This works well for pretty much any work on the wheels or transmission.
  • A bike storage rack or car rack - obviously these are already designed to hold a bike, and you may already have one to hand.
  • Suspending the bike with rope - If you have some overhead attachment points, this can work, however it is not going to provide an immovable mount for the bike - you will still need to hold the bike against the force of your tools when fastening and unfastening things. A trick to be aware of is to use two suspension points overhead and two on the bike (head tube and seat tube) otherwise the bike will spin in the air.
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+1 for turning the bike upside down. –  Cosmic Flame Nov 5 '10 at 11:47
Turning a bike upside down doesn't work very well for many road bikes where the cables arc up several inches above the handlebars. –  Daniel R Hicks Nov 20 '13 at 0:58
@Daniel R Hicks you can put under the handles boxes that are few inches hieght –  Alexander Nov 20 '13 at 1:10
@Alexander - Not very stable. –  Daniel R Hicks Nov 20 '13 at 12:45
I have done the rope from the ceiling joist thing. It is way more difficult than it was worth. Never got any real height out of the bike, but it did stay upright for a little while. However, it might be a different story with the winch and pulley bike storage systems. –  BPugh Nov 20 '13 at 14:59

A lot of bicycle repair shops I've been in have metal double hooks hanging on a rope or a light chain from the ceiling such as these:

alt text

One hook goes under your saddle and the other on your handlebars on either side of the steering support. If you attach them a bit farther apart on the ceiling than the distance between your saddle and handlebars it makes for a pretty stable "repair stand". You can get them for EUR 3.95 (here for example) or you could make something similar.

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A storage stand can make a pretty good repair stand, anything that lets the wheels and pedals rotate. A car rack will also work well.

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I used my car rack for quite awhile before getting a proper stand. Gotta be careful not to get gunk onto the paint, or to scratch stuff up with the pedals etc... –  D'Arcy Norman Oct 21 '10 at 20:46

There are a large number of sets of instructions for making your own DIY Bike Repair Stand over on Instructables, this page is the result of searching for Bike Repair Stand on their site. I keep meaning to try out one of these but I never seem to have the time to build one, some of the results look more practical than others, as ever YMMV.

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Between the ability to turn the bike upside down and having a trainer that I can hook it to, I never found the need to buy a repair stand (and my current bike was assembled completely from components, so I had to do everything to it that one gets to do to a bike!). I see that a repair stand would save a bit of time, so I would get one if I was doing repair professionally. However, for the amateur, it seems like overkill.

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I have a large workbench with a bench vise mounted on it. I made a jig from a couple pieces of wood to hold the bike upside down, then I clamp the bike either high or low so it doesn't twist in the jig. This holds it in place, rock solid.

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I have this and a proper workstand that I mount in it. The stand is actually on a plate that bolts to the ground, but I don't have space for that so I just hold it in place with the vice. Admittedly this is a proper engineering vice on a solid workbench, it wouldn't work with a 5kg portable workbench. The stand itself weighs 10kg. –  Kohi Jul 15 '12 at 23:08

I suggest buying one. They come in very handy for all sorts of tasks, especially if you are into doing your own maintenance.

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I built one out of timber, part of an old car bike rack (you could easily pick up a damaged one 2nd hand for this) and a few plumbing fittings. I usually use it for storage, but I built it as a work stand. The timber was left over from other jobs, all the other bits were parts I had anyway, so total cost was zero.

Realistic cost in the region of £30/$50 if you don't have to buy a bike carrier (which was disassembled, not destroyed in the process). I also painted it with fence paint so I can leave it outside if it gets in the way, or use it for cleaning bikes if I want to get the gears to a nice working height.

The upright is only 2x2" though, I'd recommend a fence post instead for stiffness. I'll try to get a picture at the weekend, when I can get to it in the light.

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My dad's garage contains a large workbench with a bench vise mounted on it.

He takes a piece of flexible closed-cell foam, perhaps 1 cm (0.25") thick. He wraps the foam so that it protects the bottom and sides of his bike's top tube. Then he puts the wrapped top tube inside the bench vise.

This works fine for him.

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I have done the same with a kids bike, but clamped a wheel. –  BPugh Nov 20 '13 at 18:55

Probably not the best, but my bikes have a double leg kickstand that will pick one of the wheels off the ground. Then I can put it on a regular workbench or table.

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