From mobile mechanics to race mechanics, the portable bicycle work stand has changed the game for wrenching on the go. Over time, the offerings have gotten lighter, more stable, and easier to use. We are now spoiled to have multiple good choices - but what stand is BEST?
There are lots of internet claims made, but most do not put up any comparative numbers and typically allow the stands to simply “stand” alone (eh?). I’ll start with the big claim:
The Best Portable Bicycle Work Stand on the market right now is the Park Tool PRS-25
Now, before things get too spicy in here - I am going to run through the numbers and compare the stand to its fiercest competitor, the Feedback Sports Pro Elite Stand. The Feedback gets the majority of coverage and claims of it being the best are blanketing the internet, but here are some data points:
When comparing the stands using these metrics, the PRS-25 shines. It has a higher weight capacity, wider jaw opening, and smaller clamping thickness to avoid having to remove as much from a seatpost before clamping. It is slightly heavier than the Feedback (carrying an extra 0.4 lb) and costs around $80 more. If we leave it there, the PRS-25 edges out the Feedback stand. Outside of just these numbers, the PRS-25:
Quickly deploys in nearly any setting with a very small footprint.
Can be set up closely against a wall.
Has diagonal leg spacing to avoid obstructing your standing area.
Uses the 100-25D Clamp to maximize ease of install and removal of a bike.
Utilizes a triangle design with an angled boom for stability, harnessing the fulcrum of the repair clamp to keep pressure on the feet.
Every review also seems to list how long the author has had their stand - so for the sake of continuity: I have used (and abused) a PRS-25 for 9 years. In that time, I have also used multiple other versions of Park Tool stands, Feedback stands, and a handful of others. The PRS-25 was my sole full-time bike stand for 4 of those years running a mobile bicycle business, and I had no problem removing and installing bottom brackets (among other high-torque repairs). It offered me flexibility to work outside of my Sprinter, but had a small enough footprint that I was able to set it up inside as well.
Over the course of those years of use, a few small criticisms could be found. In time, the small bolts holding the legs together have a tendency to loosen up - if not caught they will get lost. We keep a handful of these on hand (bike sizes) to replace when needed. The stand is also a little bit difficult to use on a steep incline, though it is still possible and handles that situation better than any other stand I have used. Some leveling articulation in the clamp or legs might be a nice addition for those working on unpredictable surfaces.
The clamp jaw covers do get chewed up and worn over time. Park Tool and Feedback offer replacements for their respective stands - but if you want to get REALLY cool, Elevation Wheel Company offers 3D printed clamp covers for the PRS-25 clamp in color!
They allow you to differentiate your stand and also have a slightly higher hardness for longevity. Check them out here: https://elevationwheelcompany.com/product/park-tool-100-3d-repair-stand-jaw-covers/
At this level of work stand, it would be wrong to label any as "bad". In this comparison, both stands are at a high level that exceeds all of their competition - neither would be a terrible choice and both function well respectively.
As with any comparison here at Neutral Support, we try to keep it closely tied to the numbers. So here’s the scoop:
The Park Tool Stand really shines where it counts, offering a quickly accessible stand with a small footprint - capable of holding virtually any bike on the market.
Mic dropped. 🎤