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Bare Bones Bike Repair Stand


A dirt-cheap, one-afternoon project.

Apr 2009

(Disclaimer: Yes, I admit it is an extreme stretch to consider this a woodworking project. However, I found it be very quick and easy, and also very useful. And I think it's fair to assume that most woodworkers are also the type to tackle other DIY jobs around their home.)

My bike is our second "car". I cycle to work all year, in all kinds of weather. In short, my bike is well used. I tend to let my local bike store do any major work on my bike. However, I still tackle the small maintenance jobs such as cleaning and lubricating the chain or repairing a flat tire by myself. As my kids get bigger their bikes also need a bit of attention from time to time.

As such, I had been thinking about getting myself a bike repair stand. Anyone who was wrestled with holding their bike steady while removing or installing a wheel would understand. A good bike repair stand can easily cost a few hundred dollars. Being a frugal DIY'er, after checking prices on bike stands, I started searching for a DIY bike stand. (Google: "DIY bike repair stand")

I came across a few different ideas. But not many. (This is understandable, as the clamp used to hold bikes in professional stands is really quite a unique gizmo.) However, this black pipe stand caught my interest. And I set out to build my own version.

I am willing to bet that most woodworkers have one or two (at least) pipe clamps hanging around your shop. Furthermore, with the increasing availability of parallel clamps (such as the well known Bessey brand) I would also bet that many people have pipe clamps that don't see much use.

That is a perfect recipe for starting on a project like this. I already had a 4' pony pipe clamp (3/4" thick pipe) that I had not used in at least a year. To that pipe clamp I added a 90-degree elbow, a flange, and an 18" piece of 3/4" black pipe. All told I spent less than $10 on parts for this project.

I'm not going to get into a great deal of detail on the project construction, as I think the photos illustrate it better than I could explain. The pipe parts are just hand-tightened together.

Photo Gallery

(click photos for larger versions.)

A close-up of the clamp. Two chunks of 2x4 are fitted over the pipe to become the clamp jaws. Drill a hole in each piece of the pipe clamp head and screw the boards to them. This is needed to hold the wooden jaws stationary to the pipe clamp -- otherwise you need about 4 hands to get a bike into position. The "notch" in the jaws is lined with foam pipe insulation which is stapled into place. In hindsight, the notch is too large. For the next revision, I would redo that smaller.

And here is the clamp in use. It still can be a bit tricky getting the bike into position -- professional bike stands are designed such that the clamp can be operated with one hand. This stand isn't quite in that league. But it does hold the bike securely, which is all you really need. (note the screws which hold the wooden jaws to the pipe clamp head.)

And here is the stand ready for use, and with a bike clamped in position.

When you're finished your work, just spin the pipe out of the flange, and the bike stand is now reduced to a flat compact package for storage. The flange is securely fastened to the base with two bolts.

For the base you could use a scrap sheet of plywood - roughly twenty inches square. Or you could use two scrap 2x4 pieces, as I did. I used a lap joint at the corner. A 90-degree angle would be easiest, but after judging where the weight of the bike would be positioned, I made mine a bit narrower, roughly 80-degrees. Two small bits of scrap were fastened under the ends of the legs, to tip the entire stand back just a bit, to keep the weight centered. (I didn't measure, just picked some small pieces that seemed right. see the photos!)

The stand nicely stores flat in the garage, out of the way until the next time you need it.

And that is about all. This is a quick and easy project, easy to "build" in an hour or two. It holds a bike securely so that you can work on it with both hands free. I should adjust the wooden clamp jaws at some point, as I mentioned above. But other than that I don't know what else I would change.

Safe Biking!


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