If you’re a serious rider, learning to do basic maintenance on your bike is must. 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— all basic maintenance on a bike that have to be addressed on a regular basis. And unless you happen to work in a bike shop, you’re going to want to have a repair stand at home. You can certainly flip your bike upside down, but if you are serious about your riding, you should get serious about taking care of your equipment. If you are in the market for a repair stand, I would recommend looking at the Pro Elite repair stand from Feedback Sports.
Having a repair stand makes the experience of working on your bike at home significantly better. Short of buying a shop quality stand, and installing it and a permanent work station in a garage, this stand cranks that experience up to 11.
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.
The minimal clamp height and ratcheting adjustment make mounting your bike in the stand a cinch. I didn’t even have to raise my seat; bonus!
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.
We’re apartment dwellers, which makes working on bikes a serious pain in the ass. Storing bike stuff 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 deets (via Feedback Sports)
- ANODIZED RED ALUMINUM
- WEIGHT 12.6 LBS . ( 5.7 KG)
- CLAMP HEIGHT 42″ – 71″ (1067 MM – 1803 MM)
- CLAMP OPENING ACCOMMODATES TUBES UP TO 2.6″ (66 MM)
- BASE DIAMETER 54″ (1372 MM)
- JAW WIDTH 3.25″ (82.5 MM)
- FOLDED SIZE 5″ X 8″ X 45″ (127 X 203 X 1161 MM) LOAD CAPACITY 85 LBS. (38.6 KG)
- 3-YEAR WARRANTY
ACCESSORIES: TOTE BAG, TRUING STATION, FLOP STOP, TOOL TRAY
Feedback Sports Pro Elite Bicycle Repair Stand with Tote Bag at REI.com
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. That said, when the Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand showed up at my door, I was beyond stoked. 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.