DIY Bicycle Repair Stand

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Introduction: DIY Bicycle Repair Stand

This instructable details how to make an simple, durable, and functional bicycle repair stand for little money!

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

The materials and tools necessary to build this repair stand are readily available, easy to work with, and best of all, pretty inexpensive. Every component can be found at your average home improvement store, with no modifications needed to make them work together.

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)

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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.
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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

We begin by grabbing the tee fitting and two (2) of the ten (10) inch lengths of pipe.

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

That's it! There's your completed stand!

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

It's time to put the base components together.

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

What's that extra port on the tee, you ask?

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!

We will now add the arm that will hold the clamp that will hold the bike.

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

Grab your two hose clamps and the spring clamp. Slide the two hose clamps onto the 10" piece up top and slap the spring clamp on the top "side" of the horizontal pipe. Don't let go. The clamp will fall. Gravity works.

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!

That's it. If you are certain all joints that have rotational stress on them are tight (this would include the lower tee and two elbows), throw your bike up in the clamp. Hopefully you are strong enough to lift the bike with one hand and open the clamp with the other. Shove some cross member into the clamp and step back to admire your handiwork.


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

As with any project, this is version 1.0.

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!

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    80 Comments

    2 ideas off the top of my head. I would add 2 unions on the vertical bar with shorter sections (still adding up to 60") with this you can rise and lower the vertical post if you alternate the orientation of the unions.
    The second thing would take a bit of sourcing but it would be nice if you could set up a clamp that somehow threads into the top bar and has a lock nut that would allow you to change the orientation of the bike as needed.

    Thanks so much, mr. Bologna. By the way, gorgeous bike!

    Does anyone know the make and model of the bike in the photos...??

    1 reply

    K2 proflex 3000 circa 1997-1998.

    Really informative post. Your pics are awesome. I hope to visit again. Thanks

    bicycle repair.jpg
    1 reply

    I am running a facebook page to tell about bicycle repair stand , i hope this will help everyone to know about bicycle repair stand.

    https://www.facebook.com/bicyclerepairstand

    I am building mine but instead of using galvanized piping i am to make it out of PVC, If it works i will let everybody know right away.

    2 replies

    I just finished building my stand made out of PVC Pipe and i gotta tell you it looks great, I tested the hold with my sons bicycle which is heavy and no problems whatsoever.

    M 006.jpgM 003.jpgM 004.jpgM 005.jpg

    What did you use to clamp the bike?

    This was great, I did use a slightly modified version of this stand, and just built it last night (August 2012).

    I do have to say that I spent a little over $85 for everything I needed, including a Pony Clamp. It's still cheaper than most stands out there, but I had to really think about whether I wanted to just spring for the extra bucks to get an actual stand, but wound up sticking with mine. It was a breeze to put together, super fast.
    My modification to this was pretty simple, but very useful, imo.

    I used 1/2" black pipe for everything, however instead of using a 90 degree elbow on the long vertical pipe, I used a 3/4" Tee that just slips over the pipe.
    I did this so that it can slide up and down and adjust the height for working on your bike.
    I then just used a rubber band as an "O ring" The weight of the clamp will actually keep the Tee from sliding down, but the rubber band helps.

    That and the clamp really help out with making small adjustments in the position of the bike.

    So good luck to all those out there who are thinking about doing this,
    Happy cycling!

    Mr. B, thanks for a simple, cheap instructable. I made one last week, and at today's (June 2012) prices it came to $41.59 for the pipe @ Home Depot, and $5.19 for the Pony Clamp @ Harbor Freight. I used 1/2" black pipe, and the only caution is this stuff comes covered with an oily residue from manufacturing. Your hands will get nasty if you don't clean it with a degreaser of some sort. I used tee connectors on the legs instead of corners, in case I found it needed support to the rear, but haven't found it necessary to add any. I also didn't put end caps on the feet, just left the plastic caps on the threaded ends, it's on my concrete garage floor anyway. I drilled a 2X4 for the seat post and attached it to the pony clamp, but haven't welded or drilled anything into a fixed position yet. I have to say this stand has made a world of difference in making my repairs easier. I was either working on my bikes turned upside down on their handlebars and seat, or just standing with the kickstand. This is so much better for derailleur adjustments, re-cabling, etc.
    Thanks, and patch to you, my friend.

    Good job on instructions: clear but with enough flexibility to be modified.

    I made one ($75 @ an Alaskan Home Depot) with 3/4" pipe, with an H-frame base, 48" height, and a two-pipe support for the bike with some pipe insulation for padding. My bike easily sits right on the two support pipes, doesn't slide around, and is protected with the insulation over the pipes.

    Still beats the $190 version from REI as far as price goes, and mine is deconstructable to a series of pipes for when I move in the future.

    I'll post a picture of it soon.

    Thanks for the inspiration & proof of concept!

    3 replies

    Haha, cool! I live in Anchorage.

    I made another version a while ago for Make Magazine: http://makeprojects.com/Project/Bike-Repair-Stand/902/1

    Little different, little more stable. Thanks for the comment. Looking forward to seeing the pics of yours.

    I'm in anchorage too... how did you make this for $30?

    I built it 5 years ago...

    Hi

    I used your design as well with just a couple mods including the pony clamp. I also added a couple 45s at the base to a 2" flange with a magnetic hardware tray. Works pretty well and stays out of the way. I also welded the connection points at the base so the stand will never roll forward which I experienced early on. Warning: welding galvanized pipe creates a toxic fume so do it out doors and wear a respirator. Works like a charm now.

    bikestand.JPG

    love it! going to start building one this afternoon!!!

    you can get non, galvanized pipe and get it welded or weld it at home

    Just did this exactly as described and it turned out great! This is sturdy enough for doing adjustments, cleaning, etc. I wanted to make a 48" high one so I could work on a bike sitting in a chair, but all they had was a 60". It is actually easier do work on one while standing anyways.

    This is ideal for me because a) I live in an apartment and don't really have power tools and b) it was cheap!

    Note however that now in 2011, these parts cost a bit more. I was sticker shocked at the local hardware stores (for example, $2.50 for just one 1/2" cap), but Home Depot was the savior here, and all of the parts cost me $45 total, not including the screwdriver. Still a hell of a lot better than $150 for the cheapest bike repair stand I saw at the local bike shop.