Bicycle wrenches are an endangered species at home. Not only is the acceptance for the tool and the pitch-black chain in the living room small, no, you also often have to deal with an unruly wheel. The front wheel always tilts to the side, removes the wheels must turn it upside down, and at the most inopportune moment, it tips over. A disaster.
Logical is the step to a bicycle assembly stand so that you can work back-friendly on the stabilized wheel. It hangs freely in the air and you can adjust gears and brakes. Nothing tilts. But what is the right assembly stand – and does it have to be so expensive? What criteria are used to evaluate the clunky helpers?
We have actually tested more than 10 bike stands. So unpacked, set up, and worked with them. Unlike many websites that take manufacturers’ data sheets and pack them into texts. Here you will find honest tests, photos and our opinion on the individual products. Many assembly stands have also received their own test articles – you can also find these linked. Dive into the Bike Mounting Stand Guide 2022 and find the right helper for you.
General Criteria And Evaluation
The first stop is the differentiation of the game types. So before we discuss specific products should be clear which variant is best suited for your own situation. Depending on where you place your workshop another variant will be more suitable. Criteria are Space, stability, foldability, and stability.
Types And Superstructures – Bike Stand
Not all assembly stands are the same. In general, I would recommend distinguishing in four types. Each form has its advantages and disadvantages. As well as a place of use. Depending on the space and room, you will decide differently what is best for your situation. Here are the possible types in detail.
Gripper Arm Assembly Stand
The most popular type of bike stand is a gripper arm with 2-4 legs. Where the number of legs is not decisive for the stability. Mostly, these assembly stands can be easily folded, but many are also particularly space-consuming or can not be folded and stowed at all. Then the space becomes tight. Advantageous is the gripper arm with adjustable pressure force to tighten or lighten depending on the material (carbon vs steel). In addition, you do not have to prepare the bike (disassemble wheels) but clamp the bike to the Seatpost and screws it off.
This type of assembly stand dominates the category, most products are built according to this scheme. Especially the cheap copies seem to have copied the scheme, while other setups also have their advantages.
Tested products in this category:
- Park Tool Assembly Stand (PCS 10)
- Feedback Sports Elite
- Crivit assembly stand
Pivoting Assembly Stand
The second type of construction is similar to the gripper arm. However, the wheel is fixed directly to the frame. Usually, the frame rests on the bottom bracket and the fork is clamped in front. The front wheel can then be removed.
The advantage of this setup is that the wheel is even more secure, it wobbles much less than on the gripper arm. Since no large lever arm brings the wheel to swing. In addition, this platform can be swiveled. You can turn the wheel more easily to the side, because without a front wheel also requires less space. In addition, these assembly stands are easier to fold and smaller. The disadvantage is obviously that the front wheel must be dismantled.
Tested products in this category:
- Tacx Spider Team
- Topeak PrepStand Max mounting stand
Hanging Bike Stand
An alternative to assembly stands is to hang the bike. As a rule, the goal is rather to stow the wheel than to hang it for assembly. But with a hanging wheel, you can also always work reasonably well. The wheels are in the air and you can change a tube easily, you also get the brakes and gears adjusted. It usually hangs at the right height.
In one category the hanger is unbeatable: Weight limit. A bracket neatly attached to the ceiling can carry a lot of weight, via a pulley you can then even bring a cargo bike in the air. Otherwise, maintenance on the extremely large and heavy wheels is hardly possible.
The main disadvantage is “only” that the wheel swings freely. As soon as you want to tighten a screw, this levitation device becomes a problem. Because the wheel reacts to resistance by swinging to the side. In this respect, this type of assembly stand is not the first choice for the real workshop. For smaller repairs in the own garage however quite an option.
Compact assembly stands and mounts
Rather a bicycle wardrobe than an assembly stand is the following category. The compact assembly stand is a small stand, the bike remains practically on the ground. So you can do minor repairs and maintenance, but much more will not go with it. However, the space advantage is enormous. Because here the wheel is well parked and for most maintenance and adjustments to the saddle, handlebars, gears, or brakes it will be quite sufficient.
Especially since one does not spend a fortune on these legs. Thus, this can also be a real option for the home workshop on the terrace, balcony, or basement.
Tested products in this category:
- Topeak Tune-Up Stand X
In addition to these types of setups, you should also consider exactly which bikes you will be servicing. Is it about heavy e-bikes? Featherweight road bikes? Children’s bikes? With this, you can refine your choice even further. Pay attention to these features, suitable for your intended use:
- max. weight limit: How much kg does the mounting stand support? The weight of e-bikes can exceed some load capacity of a stand.
- How heavy is my bike? For bikes over 15kg, you should take a particularly sturdy stand (either a very well-made gripper arm or swiveling assembly stand that grips directly to the frame).
- How much space do I have at my place of use?
- Should the assembly stand be foldable or does it remain permanently set up?
- At what point can the gripper arm grip? Is it carbon or steel? With carbon, you should be especially careful and rather invest in a high-quality gripper arm that allows a fine pressure adjustment.
- What does the product cost?
Tests And Profile
We recommend the following assembly stand tests if you are particularly interested in the following key points.
Cheap assembly stands and cheap imitations – what can DIY products and plagiarism from Amazon?
Cheap does not have to be bad. The Crivit assembly stand from Lidl particularly surprised us in the test.
The best-tested bike mounting stands you will find are summarized in the following overview.
And For All Those Who Have No Time – Our Recommendations:
The Most Compact:
If you are looking for a stand that is particularly compact and quickly ready for use, you should reach for the Topeak Prepstand Max.
In addition to many brand manufacturers, it was the inexpensive assembly stand from Crivit (the house brand of Lidl) that surprised us. He is inexpensive and good – so our conclusion is short.
The Middle Ground:
For all those who are looking for the middle ground, the Park Tool PCS-10 is the right choice. It is designed by cyclists for cyclists, can be set up quickly, and is well thought out in every detail. With it, you can not go wrong. In addition, Park Tool is a known quantity, which concerns bicycle tools of any kind.
Features And Quality Characteristics In Detail
What makes a really good assembly stand? In this section, I highlight in detail what can go wrong if you choose a particularly cheap model. And why you could then also quickly regret times.
At the bike stand, the gripper arm is the heart of a good and well-thought-out product. Here you can also do the most wrong if you just blindly copied and as a manufacturer has no own product development. Let’s look at two gripper arms directly next to each other – “Veloman” (interchangeable hardware store product) vs Feedback Sports Elite.
The difference is noticeable. Either you scratch the wheel and have a difficult-to-adjust gripper arm. Or just a finely adjusted tool. In this case, the price is also reflected in the result.
Pay particular attention to the good workmanship of the gripper arm, if the gripper arm must grip in a sensitive place. For example, on a carbon Seatpost or directly on the painted frame. But if this is not an issue for your bike, then you can also save some money here.
How securely the bike stands in the assembly stand has two facets. One question is how stable the stand itself is (legs, standing surface). But you should also think further: how tightly does the bike sit in the stand? A gripper arm usually grabs onto the seat post (where nothing gets scratched or jammed). This gives a long lever arm and when working the wheel will also move. Better fixed is the wheel when it is fixed directly to the bottom bracket and fork.
Freely suspended fixtures are naturally doomed to oscillate. This is extremely impractical when screwing. In this respect, you will also have to make these compromises. As a rule, a gripper arm will have sufficient stability, but the most stable solution will always be a stand that grips the wheel centrally.
Why not let the gripper arm also grip centrally? It is often tempting to place the gripper directly on the frame triangle. But be careful: carbon frames are not meant to be squeezed (carbon has different stiffness values depending on how the weight and forces act). Also, many tubes are too thick to grip cleanly on them. And brake cables can also be pinched, which is not helpful in the setting.
So the recommendation remains: grab the Seatpost. However, it is not a leg break to grab also times at other places, if the situation permits it.
Assembly stands are by nature large and want a lot of space. However, a good assembly stand will always have the option that it can be folded. Make sure you shop accordingly for your needs here. How much space do you have in working mode? Where should the stand disappear when you are done?
The compact assembly stands like the Topeak Tune-Up can be a real asset here. Space-saving and yet sufficient for most work steps.
As mentioned above, the two contributions to the Crivit assembly stand and test of cheap products can be found above. The quality of such products is conceivably fluctuating. As a rule, the question of budget is to decide on the basis of your own fleet.
Do you own an expensive racing bike made of carbon? Or an e-bike that is particularly heavy? Are you a bike enthusiast and does the rule “n+1 bikes” means something to you? Then a bike stand should be worth a more generous budget.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on the bike mounting stand, then the following tips are for you. Would a compact assembly stand like the Tune-Up Stand tested above possibly be an option? Here you can save some money. Or would a suspension device be sufficient? Depending on your needs, you can be quite satisfied here without raiding the piggy bank.
Who wants to go further can even build the bike stand itself. To do this, you just have to get creative, as we prove in the following chapter.
Build Your Own Assembly Stand?
Do It Yourself (DIY) is a very popular category here on the blog. I love to do it myself. And in the course I have built a Bikeshelf, a top tube bag pimped, made a handlebar Shimano Di2 compatible, and just built a mounting stand itself:
But is it really advisable to go that far? In the linked example, it was mainly about having a permanently built stand for the workshop. It does not take up too much space. The scaffolding pole itself stands freely in the room and hardly takes up any space if no wheel is fixed. This is practical, in this particular case. However, this is not the rule.
Usually, the motivation is that you could save costs by building something yourself. But in that case, it’s rarely valid. Because a good gripper arm alone will be expensive. In this case, the budget should not be the decisive reason for the DIY project.
But if you are looking for a very specific solution, then you can definitely come up with a good result with creative ideas. The beginning is then usually a gripper arm, which you “only” have to place somewhere well and fix. Possibly on a wall or workbench, or… well, that’s up to you.
Stiftung Warentest On Bicycle Stands
To the best of our knowledge, the ever-popular Stiftung Warentest magazine has not yet tested any bike stands. While this is often searched for and asked about, most tests come from trade magazines. Other websites and blogs also have “tests”, but these are usually only in datasheets that have been texted. The author has then usually never had such a product in front of him but knows it theoretical tips to give.
In the following magazines, you will find detailed tests on the subject of mounting stands.
Conclusion – What Is The Best Assembly Stand?
Assembly stands to differ in size, price, design, and workmanship. You have to find exactly the right product for your bike and work surface so that you are happy for a long time. Quick times only looking at the money is not useful. Also just buy the most expensive stand little purposeful.
The perfect solution will look different for each of us. Just as our bikes are all different. Because the assembly stand must also fit your bike.
I hope you didn’t come up short in this post and can decide for your situation which solution is the best.