A good bike work stand makes cleaning, maintaining, and repairing your bike exponentially easier. Commercial models start at about $150 and a really good one can be as much as $275. But what if you could build a decent stand for a fraction of that? I decided to see if it could be done, and I am pleased to report that I now have a functioning work stand that cost me $60 in materials and 2 hours to build.
Here is everything you will need to do the same.
Electric or cordless drill
Drill bits: 1/4″ 3/16″ 1/8″ and a 7/8″ spade bit
Hand saw or Skil saw
7/16″ wrench and 7/16″ socket with ratchet (or nut driver)
One 3/4″ Pony pipe clamp
One 3/4″ x 18″: pipe (threaded ends)
One 3/4″ x 60″ pipe (threaded ends)
One 3/4″ 90° elbow
One 3/4″ floor mount flange
One 24″ x 24″ x 3/4″ plywood square
Four 1/4″ x 1 1/2″ hex bolts
Four 1/4″ hex nuts
Four 1/4″ lock washers
Eight 1/4″ flat washers
Four #10 by 3/4″ sheet metal or wood screws (flat head)
Two wooden blocks, approximately 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ thick (cut from a 2×4)
Two pieces of scrap foam or other padding material
Gorilla tape (1″ wide)
One refreshing beverage per hour of labor
Step 1 – Position the flange near a corner of the plywood square, one inch from each edge. With a pencil, mark the four holes.
Step 2 – With the 1/4″ bit, drill two of the holes for the flange. Temporarily insert two of the bolts and the flange. This will allow you to accurately drill the other two holes.
Step 3 – Assemble the pipes and fittings. Join the short and long pipes with the elbow and attach the flange to the other end of the long pipe. Get them as tight as possible by hand.
Step 4 – Use the 7/8″ spade bit to countersink the underside of the holes you drilled in step 2. The countersink depth will need to be about 1/4″ and you can use the Sharpie to mark the depth right on the bit. When you have drilled all four, check them with a bolt and flat washer. If the bolt head protrudes at all, drill it a little deeper.
Step 5 – Install the four 1/4″ bolts with four of the flat washers up through the countersunk side of the holes. Carefully place the base on the floor so that the bolts don’t fall out and install the pipe assembly onto the top, over the protruding bolts. Install the hex nuts finger-tight and then use the leverage of the cross pipe and the anchor of the bolts to tighten the elbow and flange joints. Remove the hex nuts and reposition the pipe assembly as needed in order to have the cross pipe pointing at the opposite corner of the plywood. When it is tight and straight, install the remaining four flat washers, the four lock washers, and then the four hex nuts on the protruding bolts and over the flange. Use the wrench and socket to tighten them.
Step 6 – Install the Pony clamp according to the instructions on the package. The clutch piece slides on first and then the crank piece screws onto the threaded end of the pipe. There is a spring that can thread onto the pipe, but it isn’t necessary. Tighten it as much as you can, ending with the clamp jaws on the right side of the cross pipe when facing it head on. The cross pipe will probably tighten a little more during this step.
Step 7 – Adjust the clutch half of the clamp as needed so that the full reach of the clamp can be utilized. When it is adjusted properly, place the wooden blocks into the clamp jaws and tighten the clamp just enough to prevent them from falling out. Then use the 3/16″ bit to drill two holes through each half of the clamp and slightly into the block. Once through the metal, use the 1/8″ bit to drill a little deeper as a pilot hole for the #10 screws. Screw in all four of the #10 screws to hold the wooden blocks in place.
Step 8 – Trim the padding to roughly cover the face of each block and secure it with the Gorilla tape.
Step 9 – Clamp your bike in place by the seatpost and consume the remainder of your beverage while admiring your handiwork.
The stand will work okay as it is, but it’s not a bad idea to cut a vertical v-notch or circular impression into the face of each of the wooden blocks. This will help keep the seatpost from tilting while also not needing the clamp as tight. A v-notch can be cut with a miter saw, or a hole saw can be used to make a seatpost-sized vertical hole. Either way, you should still cover it with padding and Gorilla tape as described above.
Cut the bottom from a sturdy plastic jug and use a hose clamp to attach it to the vertical pipe for use as a small parts tray.
Everything I needed for this project was available at my local Home Depot for $59.85 with tax. I already had the foam, Gorilla tape and some wooden blocks, so figure a few dollars more if you need to purchase those. My materials list, with Home Depot stock numbers, is available here.
My bike weighs 27 lbs and it sits securely on the stand, but if I was planning to use it with a heavier bike, I would go with a 1″ vertical pipe and a 1″ to 3/4″ reducer elbow.
I used galvanized pipes and fittings, but black steel pipe will work just as well and is usually a few bucks cheaper.
I am very pleased with the outcome of my $60 investment and 2 hours of work. The stand is solid, the right height for working, and it’s light enough to move around easily. The one glaring disadvantage when compared to a commercial work stand like those from Park Tools is that you can’t rotate the bike around the axis of the support arm, but in light of the $200 I saved, I can live with that.
So get over to your local builders supply store, put your new stand together, and stop flipping your bike upside down on the ground to work on it!