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After you've experimented with various rotations of the bike on a stand, which position do you end up using?

I initially thought that the logical position is to align the wheels so they're at equal distances from the ground.

position of bike on stand

That doesn't work so well. The handlebar will not stay put without hooking the extra support bar. (The main disadvantage of the support bar is that instead of spending a few seconds to set the bike and close a quick release, it's necessary to tinker for several times that much. If it can be avoided, at least for quick jobs, it's better.) Another factor, the bending moment applied on the seat post, may not be a cause for worry, since the bike itself is so much lighter than the rider on the seat.

In any case, it's pointless to make the bike look like it's about to fly. It's perhaps more sensible to keep the seat post (and we should be hanging it from the seatpost to avoid crushing the frame) vertical, as in the second diagram above.

Now even in that position the handlebar could tilt.

Do you tilt a bike on the stand all the way until the fork, not just the seat post, is vertical?

Update (after Henry A. Kissinger's comment)

Another way of asking this is: Does tilting the bike until either the seatpost or the fork is vertical impede any repairs? Is there any advantage to keeping the bike level?

  • I just rotate it until the handlebar stops tilting. – Noah Sutherland May 7 at 19:14
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    Ten people with bike stands could potentially leave different answers and none of them would be wrong. What is your goal, are the repairs you need to perform impeaded by tilting handlebars? – Henry A. Kissinger May 7 at 20:08
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How your bike is positioned in a work stand should depend on the type of work you are going to perform.

Much of the time it seems more convenient to have the bike in the stand so it is titled forward with the front wheel a fair bit lower than the rear. Such as position prevents the front wheel from flopping over and puts many key components and systems such as both derailleurs, the rear brake, front crankset, handlebars and shifters at a good working height in relationship with each other.

This minimizes the amount of excessive bending and reaching required for many common tasks such as adjusting shifting, cleaning the drivetrain, replacing chains, wrapping handlebars etc.

If you are working on a less common task such as bleeding hydraulic brakes, replacing a bottom bracket, or installing a new bash guard on the down tube of a mountain bike; adjust the bike stand height and/or tilt appropriately to accommodate the specific task you need to perform.

For something like bleeding a rear hydraulic brake this could mean lowering the overall height of the stand and rotating so the the front of the bike is tilted higher than the rear wheel to maintain an upward flow from the caliper to the brake levers.

It can help to have the bike level when adjusting the saddle’s angle and setback but honestly it is usually easier to perform those tasks with the bike flat on the ground instead of in a stand.

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    Completely agree with the answer. Basically, whatever position fits the current goal. There is a recent series of Park Tool's hydraulic brake bleeding videos, and in each video they mention that the bike should be rotated (and lowered) in the stand so that the brake line is positioned correctly. On the handlebars flopping issue, there are tools meant to hold them steady when in stand. But they are sort of a luxury item, not many people have them at home. – Grigory Rechistov May 8 at 7:07
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The rare times I use a workstand like this, I aim to get the part I'm working on at a comfortable height.

So I'm normally doing transmission stuff, I want the rear axle somewhere between waist and shoulder level. It that means the bike is pointing down a lot, so be it.

I don't want to bend when working on these stands, so I don't. As long as your tools are in reach, and not on the floor then its much more comfortable to stay vertical, and the bike can conform to me.

Do note that many workstands get tippy when extended too high, which is also to be avoided.

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    If I'm not doing any front wheel work, I attach a bungee cord to the bike stand and the front wheel rim. That will keep the front wheel from flopping around. – P. Barney May 31 at 14:08

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