Thursday, 27 September 2012

£40 Bicycle Workstand Review

Continuing in this months assault on decadence, I scrape a few pennies together and buy a brand new workstand off EBay. Purchased with a view to future bike builds, there's plenty of product testing to be done cleaning up my Flyxii and reassembling the Trek.

"Pop outside for a long stand me old mukka"

Park Tool do a workstand which sells in the region of £80 and £90. This appears to be lowest price range for the bigger companies (X-Tools and Park both sell workstands at around £90 with more complex models climbing into the hundreds). Since building [most of] my bike I've been hankering after a third arm. A quick trawl through EBay yielded positive results. There is now a crop of cheap alternatives available, all of which look reassuringly solid. They all weigh in around £30 - £40 and come with a variety solutions for holding a bike above the ground whilst you safely work on it.

One of the products I researched was sold with a magnetic tray, which clinched the deal.

The lightly magnetic tray is solid metal and a decent size.
I ordered it on tuesday and it arrived today (thursday), well packaged in a carboard box and bubblewrap. Opening the box up I didn't feel the need to root around for instructions (I can't say if it actually comes with any) as the setup is elementary. the base tripod can be spread out for a wide stable anchor point. The pole coming out of the tripod is secured by the black plastic screw you can see above the tray.

A very simple design.
The horizontal bar slides into its housing point and is again secured by a similar screw. The fixing point where bike frame slots onto the workstand is rubberised and soft enough to assuage the fears of most mechanics. However, like most mechanics I know, the additional rag between clamp and frame provides maximum peace of mind.

All the fixing points are robust and built to cope with moderate abuse. Because some of the components are plastic, I wouldn't suggest this workstand be used in a bike shop, or by a drunk. But the average cyclist who approaches their bike with a degree of reverence shouldn't have a problem.

I gave my Flyxii a good clean today and took a pedal off whilst it dangled precariously above the ground. After getting used to how tight I needed to screw the horizontal bar into the housing I easily secured the bike whilst being able to fiddle to my hearts content. I also found that the base was best positioned with one of the arms stretching out under the bike to prevent it toppling if knocked (but that is common sense).

Safe as houses. I wouldn't suggest trying to mount it in this position however.

Raising the old girl to head height revealed a plethora of cosmetic aberrations
With the Trek I found I was able to alter the height of the stand, pull up a chair, and scratch away at some persistent gummy marks that had been dirtying the forks for years. Being able to position the bike and not work hunched up allowed me to spend time on mundane tasks I'd have put off in the past. As a result, the Trek now looks almost young again.

At approximately half the price of the big boys, this stand from Rutland Leisure Outlet (via EBay) has already shown itself to be a solid and worthy contender. Whether it "stands" the test of time (I'm too witty for my own good!) remains to be seen.

Incidentally, thanks to this purchase I was also able to send a video to Wiggle demonstrating the problem with my brand new Scwalbe Ultremo Tyre. The tyre has an unusual bulge in it which I wouldn't expect in a top quality race tyre. You can see the bulge here and if you think the wheel is buckled, look here. I'm waiting on the reply from Wiggle but expect to return it ASAP.



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