Building or repairing a bicycle without a stand is very, very difficult if you have to do anything that requires two hands or you have to spin the wheels or pedals. As you might already know, I am a tall person (195 cm, something like 6’4″) and I don’t know anyone who likes to work hunched over to the floor. Most workshop stands I have seen are from the school of using clamps to secure the bike in position, usually from the seat post. Sure, this allows more mobility as you can clamp the bike nine ways from Sunday as long as the clamp goes around the frame. But I’ve noticed these kinds of stands require you to take the bike off and turn it if you want to work on the other side, and personally I feel they are clumsy.
The X-Tools Workshop prep stand has a different approach: You place the bike on the bottom bracket on a rubber support and tighten a plastic covered clamp on the down tube to secure the bike in position. This allows full access all around the bike, and our crew of three today were all convinced that this is the way to go. This method also puts the bike higher than usual stands, allowing better ergonomics in your repair/building efforts.
Although X-Tools is not a “premium brand” like Park Tools, the quality was superb: Sturdy metal construction, proper lugs and nuts to secure it and it was very quick to set up using a 10mm spanner. The prep stand also had a few nice details, like plastic or rubber on all contact points and small risers to allow brake and gear cables to roam free and remain functional. The stand also has a removable tray for tools and other bits and pieces, and using it was very natural. The stand also has two metal slabs, which you can see on the top half of the picture in the top and their function is to hold the front wheel in place while you do your maintenance activities. Snazzy!
Our only gripe with the stand was the lack of a picture or a very, very short manual to figure out how to put bikes on the stand. As soon as we understood it, it was as logical as the ending in the movie 6th sense, but before I have to say we tried some embarrassing things with our bikes.
We tried a hybrid, a cyclocross and a mountain bike on the stand and they all seemed to settle perfectly on the stand, offering the same support. The only thing we had to take the bike off the stand was to remove some Shimano XT pedals that had cold welded themselves to the cranks and needed a bit more love me tender, hammers and a few hundred pounds of manliness.
The design of the workshop prep stand from X-Tools is something we applauded, it folds away in small spaces (about the same size as an ironing board) and is not too heavy, while still being solid. The workshop prep stand pro from X-Tools has the basic y-shaped clamp for double the price, I think we’re happier with this one.
The best thing? It’s cheap, currently selling for €53.26 in Chain Reaction Cycles (MRSP around 75 euros) – it comes highly recommended and I think we sold one today already to our happy summer bike campers.
Update: Seems like the stand has been discontinued, such wrongness!