If you’re a serious rider, learning to do basic maintenance on your bike is must. Having a repair stand improves the experience of servicing your bike at home significantly. Short of a shop quality stand, and having pro-level work station, the Feedback Sports Pro-Elite repair stand cranks that experience up to 11.
- Anodized red aluminum
- Weight: 12.6lbs
- Claim height: 42″ – 71″
- Folded size: 127mm x 203mm x 1161mm
- Load capacity: 85lbs (38.6kg)
- 3 year warranty
I actually got my start in the bike industry when I started becoming serious about my riding and with that early learning curve, my bike (only had one back then) took a serious beating. Loose spokes, bent derailleur hangers, sticky (or frozen with mud in the NW) derailleur cables — were all ongoing maintenance I learned to address on a regular basis. And unless you happen to have access to a bike shop after hours, you’re going to want to have a repair stand hold your bike while working on it. You can certainly flip your bike upside down, but if you’re regularly working on bicycles, having a repair stand is an investment worth making.
For years I’ve been using the Park Tools PRS-5 Repair stand. At the time I acquired it, it was the stand to have- the highlight of the stand was the adjustable linkage clamp found on shop quality repair stands in bike shops all over. However, if you’ve ever tried to work on a DH bike and tried to invert it, the limitations of the two-leg design becomes apparent very quickly. (watch your head, that thing is going down) The popular adjustable linkage clamp has begun to lose favor in shops as well, as the length of the jaws require raising the seat to mount a bike.
Unboxing the Pro-Elite
Out of the box, it’s clear this is a well constructed unit. The weight is listed at 12.6 lbs., and while the stand is relatively light, it feels solid. Set up takes seconds- simply release two quick release clamps: one to extend the legs, and one to set the height. (For a photographer, it’s just like a light stand, which the design is based on) Think light stand, but with way more meat. Spin the knob to extend the arm, and you’re ready for wrenching. It is that easy. I don’t have a dedicated space to leave my stuff, so every time I need to work on my bikes, I have to haul everything to the garage– bikes, tools, cleaning supplies, parts, and the stand. Fortunately, the optional tote bag makes transporting the stand convenient.
When we first saw it, the stand looked familiar, even though the name was not. They were initially sold under the Ultimate Support brand, a company known for making stands for everything from guitar, keyboard, mic and lighting stands. In 2008 Feedback Sports bought the bike division of Ultimate to focus on cycling related products and accessories.
The Pro-Elite is the flagship model of the Feedback Sports series of repair stands. At $240 or so, over double of many entry level consumer stands, it comes in at upper price range of bicycle repair stands. For discerning riders that service their rides regularly, this product is worth the premium price.
The three-leg tripod design holds bikes well, even heavier downhill bikes. The 360º rotation of the clamp head allows you to easily swivel your bike to a vertical position, making things like bleeding brakes much easier. Orienting the legs correctly is key with DH and Freeride bikes. According to Doug Hudson of Feedback Sports, the best orientation is with the clamp head and bike pointing in the 6 O’clock position, with one leg in the 4 or 5 O’clock position. Try loosening a tight bottom bracket with a bike mounted in a two-legged stand, and then with this stand. Big difference.
Feedback Sports makes variations of the stand at different price points; the biggest difference between the models being the clamp head. The Pro-Elite clamp is head and shoulders nicer than their other clamps in ease of adjustment and release. (not to mention the other stands on the market) The ratchet action makes closing the stand simple and fast. This is especially appreciated when you’re lifting a heavy bike up into the stand. (Remember, you’re doing this one handed while orienting your frame correctly- easy is good) The tri-knob makes adding pressure simple, and the knob has a good feel to it. Like everything else on the stand, it feels solid. Taking the bike off that stand goes just as fast; push the quick release button, and the clamp extends, releasing the bike.
As apartment dwellers, we have minimal space for working on bikes. Storing bike gear is even more of a challenge. Fortunately, the stand folds to a compact size, and with the optional tote bag, the stand takes up a minimal amount of space, and takes less space than the Park stand it is stacked next to.
The stand is compatible with a range of accessories as well. My favorite is the optional tool tray. (see review here)
As a major bike geek, I own almost every tool I need to service my quiver of rides. Years spent wrenching at bike shops include a two year stint as a service manager training newbies, so it’s safe to say I know my way around the tool box. These days however, I do most of my wrenching at home; whenever I find myself needing a tool, I take it as an excuse to buy a new one. The bottom line is I love me my tools, and always appreciate adding a quality piece to my collection. If you have a crappy stand, or are in the need of one, you can’t go wrong with one of the offerings from Feedback Sports. However, based on how long these things last, I’d recommend you ante up to the initial investment and go with the Pro-Elite. The quality of the clamp is huge, and definitely worth the extra cash. Coming from the Park shop standard, I don’t think I’d want to deal with anything less— I like my one handed clamp operation. Having to turn a knob to tighten the clamp while holding a bike in place is just be a pain.
Many major race teams use this stand, and it’s common to see bike shops keep one for outcalls, or for when they need an additional work stand. We really like having the optional tote bag as well as it makes transporting the stand simple, and will keep the stand from getting beat up prematurely. We’ve seen what these stands look like after teams and demo programs have used them, and while they were beat up and well used, they still do the job.
Special thanks to Feedback Sports for supplying us with a stand for this product review. Note: this review was originally published on 2/24/11.
Support the site by shopping for repair stands at retail partner REI.com
Update – Summer 2020
The Pro-Elite Stand managed 10 years of service before the plastic shims that hold it into place cracked. The stand is unable to stay extended, rendering it unusable. I’m currently looking into options for replacing the shims, but the current models have changed and I have been unable to find serviceable parts. Still, 10 years of use is remarkable.
March, 2022 Update: the “pro collar bushing” is now available as a replacement part. Will update this post if I’m able to refurbish the stand.