Maybe you don't have the need for a repair stand often enough to justify the $100+ expenditure. Perhaps you do a lot of bicycle repairs, but have resigned yourself to flipping the bike upside down on its seat and handlebars, straining your back and having to work upside down. Maybe you just prefer the satisfaction that comes with making your own tools.
Personally, I subscribe to all of the above. Though I have to admit, it was more the cash factor than any of the others. The cheapest repair stand I could find in town was 150 dollars! Yikes!
Read on for my first instructable on building your very own bicycle repair stand.
Step 1: Parts and Tools
What you'll need:
- (2) 1/2" by 18" length galvanized nipple (threaded about an inch on each end) - $2.73 each
- (3) 1/2" by 10" length galvanized nipple (same thread - about an inch) - $1.90 each
- (1) 1/2" by 60" length galvanized pipe (again, threaded) - $6.98
- (1) 1/2" galvanized tee fitting - $1.09
- (3) 1/2" galvanized 90 degree elbow - $0.91 each
- (2) 1/2" galvanized cap - $0.89 each
- (1) spring clamp - $3.42
- (2) hose clamps (these may vary in size depending on the size of the clamp handle - the ones I bought were for hose sizes 3/4" - 1 1/2") - $ 1.19 each
- (1) flat-head screwdriver (why do we even still use this kind of screwdriver?!) - Don't know the price..had one at home.
Total cost: $29.54 (if you don't have to buy a screwdriver for the hose clamps)
UPDATE: These prices were what it cost me when I built the stand - in 2007. I wrote a letter to the President, but he said he didn't really control plumbing part prices. I told him that I needed to keep the cost the same because I published a derpy how-to on the internet. He didn't buy it. The moral? Unless you live in five years ago, the mileage of your wallet's contents may vary here in 2012.
That's right. The stand is make almost entirely out of galvanized pipe. It's strong stuff and doesn't bend. Just march into the local home improvement store, shuffle over to the plumbing section, and grab all this stuff. You will have to go to the tool section to find the clamp.
And if you're super resourceful, you may not have to buy any of this stuff. Heck, if you don't mind not having water piped into your house, you might even scavenge it from your own walls...
Step 2: Building the Base - Step 1
Screw the lengths of pipe into each side of the tee so the pieces are in line either each other (as opposed to perpendicular to each other - relax, you have a 50 percent shot at getting this right...there's really only one way to do it). Sigh...just look at the picture.
It's important to understand that later on, these two connections will be under stress when a bike is loaded into the stand. Therefore, they must be extremely tight, but don't worry about that now. Just thread the two nipples in and hand tighten them. I chose not to buy a pipe wrench, figuring that I could use the geometry of the stand itself to get all the pieces tightened.
Step 3: Building the Base - Step 2
Just kidding. That'd be lame. That would also mean each piece cost about ten dollars. A bit of a ripoff if you ask me.
Grab the two (2) 18" lengths of pipe and two (2) 90 degree elbows. Thread and hand tighten an elbow onto the end of one of the lengths of pipe. Once joined, set that contraption to the side and do the same thing to the other elbow and pipe. These can now be used as sweet weapons. No, put them down. NO, don't hit the cat! Jeez.
Step 4: Build the Base - Step 3
Obtain the piece from Build the Base - Step 1. Onto one end, thread one of the pieces you made in BtB - Step 2. Now you should have what looks like an "L". Do the same with the other piece from Step 2, but do it on the other end. You should now have that looks like a "C", a "U", or a lowercase "N", depending on how you look at it. I saw a swan feeding a rabbit. What would Freud say?
Just as a bit of finishing, grab the two caps and put them on the free ends of the 18" lengths. The addition of the caps not only adds some finality to the look, but also keeps everything on the level - each fitting has a lip on it and if the caps were not put on, the front would be a hair lower than the back when the stand is built. Plus, small rodents can't get inside to create tiny, tiny rodent cities.
Oh, by the way, now that you have "cheater bars" on each end of the 10" pipes, it should be pretty easy to tighten the 10 inchers into the tee and two elbows. Just use the leverage provided ever so graciously by the 18" lengths to crank down and tighten things up. Don't worry about tightening the 18" pieces into the elbows. Those won't have rotational stress on them and will be as effective as ever with just a hand tightening.
Step 5: Up We Go! - Install the Vertical Pole
That's for the big 60" length of pipe. This guy is responsible for bringing your bike to eye level, provided you are somewhere between five and seven feet tall. But hey, if you're not, they make different lengths of pipe, so get the length that best suits your hight. Go for ten feet if you've got some weird ladder fetish...
Thread the 60" length into the unused port on the tee. This piece, when installed, should be oriented so that it is perpendicular to the plane of the base. That is, if you put the base on the floor, the 60" pipe should be sticking straight up towards the ceiling.
Bear in mind that when you were tightening up everything in the last step, chances are that you've rotated the tee such that its free port is not pointing perpendicular to the rest of the component. If that's the case, it's broken. Throw it away; it's ruined.
It's not ruined. It's perfectly fine. Just screw in the 60" piece and use the leverage you get from it to rotate the tee into the right position. Make sure to rotate it in a direction that tightens the connections. That'd be dumb to get the thing oriented correctly only to have it fall apart.
I know the picture makes it look crooked. It's the wall that is crooked. Or one of my legs. But that pipe is sticking straight up, for sure.
Step 6: Ummm...Add the Other Thing!
You should have, in terms of pipes and pipe fittings, one (1) 10" length of pipe and one (1) 90 degree elbow. Thread the pipe into the elbow. You should now have a 10" pipe with an elbow on it.
Thread the free port in the elbow onto the top of the 60" length, which should still be sticking straight up in the air, unless your house is hot enough to melt galvanized steel or you didn't tighten the fittings at all.
Now that there is a cheater bar on the end of the 60" piece, it's pretty easy to tighten everything up without the use of a single tool. Just spin that little piece up top around clockwise until it stops turning. Then turn it a little more so that it's pointing in the same direction as the two 18" pieces making up the base.
Step 7: Clamp the Clamp
Slide the two hose clamps over the lower handle of the spring clamp and tighten said hose clamps with all your might. This is where the flat-head screwdriver comes in. Either that or a nut driver that fits the hex nut / flat-head screw. You know what? Use whatever it takes to get the hose clamps tight on the handle of the spring clamp. These have to be tight. They, along with the clamp, are what will hold your bike on the stand. If hose clamps aren't tight enough, when you put a bike in the spring clamp, it will rotate around and may fall off the stand. That's a long way for bike to fall, especially if you're under it.
Step 8: Voila! Throw Your Bike Up There!
NOTE: If your bike has cables that run along the top cross member, obviously putting that part in the clamp means you will have trouble adjusting your cables if you need to. I didn't have that problem because my brake and shifter cables don't run along the top. They're wireless. It's brand new technology. Very cool. I'm a liar. They run along the bottom. The solution to this problem is to rotate your clamp prior to tightening it up such that you can clamp onto the seat post instead.
This is where you will find out if your connections are tight. Be sure to stand by in case something decides to rotate a bit more when the weight of the bike is introduced. If it does, take the bike off and tighten all areas around the tee and two lower elbows some more.
Step 9: Improvements
There are some improvements that could definitely do some good.
Two things that pop into my head are adding triangular support to the base to prevent rotation and adding a tray to throw tools and parts onto when you're not gripping them fiercely.
Feel free to comment on any improvements you might make to the repair stand.
Thanks for reading and happy repairing!
EDIT: Since building this stand, I've had several suggestions that perhaps a shorter vertical pole would improve stability. That is true and I do agree. But I have discovered that in addition to a repair stand, this functions as a storage stand. Big deal, huh? Can't a shorter stand be used as a storage stand too?
Yes, it can, but 60 inches is high enough that you can put a bike in the stand and store another bike underneath, thus saving space on the floor. Rockin!