Introduction: DIY Bicycle Repair Stand

Picture of 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

Picture of 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)

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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!


JT725 (author)2016-07-24

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

JT725 (author)2016-07-24

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

mr.bologna (author)JT7252016-07-24

K2 proflex 3000 circa 1997-1998.

alamin664422 (author)2014-11-21

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

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

papolo25pr (author)2012-02-17

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.

papolo25pr (author)papolo25pr2012-02-19

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.

LaBatWork (author)papolo25pr2014-11-14

What did you use to clamp the bike?

jventurini (author)2012-08-07

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!

danstax (author)2012-06-20

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.

ak_midori (author)2012-04-24

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!

mr.bologna (author)ak_midori2012-04-24

Haha, cool! I live in Anchorage.

I made another version a while ago for Make Magazine:

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

ak_midori (author)mr.bologna2012-05-14

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

mr.bologna (author)ak_midori2012-05-14

I built it 5 years ago...

dan222 (author)2012-04-26


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.

LostTheDog (author)2011-09-12

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

profpat (author)2011-08-17


mihailpp (author)2011-08-11

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

dodland (author)2011-05-21

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.

tyldev (author)2008-04-30

Hi Bologna, Your stand looks great but here in Scotland we can only get the pipe in 6.5 metre lengths and we'd have to thread it ourselves. Does anyone think this could be done in 15mm copper with compression fittings and then fill with sand to add rigidity?

rogeromc (author)tyldev2011-04-28

just go to a hardwere store and buy a Workforce Twin Head 1,000-Watt Halogen Telescoping Work Light and add the clamp. here in the USA it's just $31 and is portable and space saver. good luck, God bless.

nielsen.oscar (author)tyldev2011-04-18

What about a wooden dowel pushed in with some epoxy? That would certainly stiffen the copper.

2 stroke (author)tyldev2010-09-20

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

Zilduli (author)tyldev2008-05-04

Copper is a pretty soft metal and I wouldn't personally trust it to hold up my bike. I would suggest that you just make you stand a little shorter or purchase a coupler that would allow you to connect two lengths of pipe together. As for the threading, I would look around and see if there are any plumbing stores that might be willing to do it for you. If all else fails you can either thread your own pipe or recreate this in wood.

fromojoh (author)2011-01-24

Thanks for this instructable mr.bologna. I made my own over the weekend using many of the ideas here. I used 3/4 pipe all around.

fromojoh (author)fromojoh2011-01-24

forgot the pics

ducatisteve (author)2010-11-01

Mr. Bologna, Thanks so much for this instructable, I used it to create my own stand, with a couple changes. My home repair store was out of 1/2" pipe in the lengths I wanted, so I ended up using 3/4", but that was no big deal. 

A couple things I did notice. First, it could be difficult to hold the clamp open with one hand and hoist the bike up with the other, especially while trying to find the balance point. Sliding the bike back and forth would usually make the rag protecting the frame slip off and cause the clamp to scratch the paint.

My solution to this, use a 3/4" Pipe Clamp Fixture (they also sell this in 1/2"). This takes care of both issues as you can use both hands to balance the bike on the pipe, then tighten the clamp. I also haven't had one issue with the stand scratching the paint anymore!  Another benefit is that the clamping pressure comes from the sides, where there is rarely cables running.

ducatisteve (author)ducatisteve2010-11-01

Well, reading through the replies it seems that I am not even close to the first person to think of this!!

bziegler3 (author)2010-08-27

I used the pony clamp too. I made wood blocks with a "V" groove cut in them and then put 2 layers of old bike inner tube on with contact cement. I also used a 1 1/2" pipe base with adapter to the 1" X 48" post pipe to give it a larger flange at the bottom for stability. Works very well. It's even close to Park Tool blue!

Nightlash (author)2010-07-26

One thing that I did instead of using the spring clamp, is to add a 90 degree elbow to the end of the arm. Then add in a PVC plug, coupled with a PVC Tee joint. (I don't know the measurement exactly, but it is about the diameter of my road bike top tube.) I then took a hacksaw along the length of it so it was a semi-cylinder. I use that to rest the bike on. Then I use the hose clamps to clamp the bike into the fixture.

dazzlr (author)2009-07-27

like the idea but might modify it to use one of those heavy cast-iron bases you get with garden umbrellas? Also would like to find a stronger clamp than the spring clamp you are using, perhaps something that screws down. Great article tho' cheers!

JoelVA (author)dazzlr2010-07-09

I used a pony clamp, which worked really well. You just need to add some sort of cushion to keep the metal clamp from scratching your bike seat (if that's important to you).

Manus_Vir (author)2010-01-17

Another bike stand design idea from this site, check it out.

mr.bologna (author)Manus_Vir2010-01-17

I would consider this comment to be self-promoting spam that neither relates to the build on this Instructables page (other than that it's another bike stand) or provides any sort of useful feedback. It's just a link to someone else's (yours?) blog.

If you'd like, please feel free to create your own Instructable and post your content there, but please don't link spam someone else's projects.

Thanks for the understanding.

Manus_Vir (author)mr.bologna2010-01-17

It's not my blog, just found that site from a bike forum link. Others have posted their built here, so i thought sharing the link here might be a good idea for others to see, im mistaken. I do apologize...Can you just delete my previous comment? again i'm sorry. :) peace.

mr.bologna (author)Manus_Vir2010-01-18

 No problem. Thanks for the reply and the explanation.

langui88 (author)2010-01-13

I made one, as with a lot of other people, it cost me slightly more, by about 15 bucks.  I used a spring clamp on the side of the top pipe becuase i have a curved frame on my mountain bike, so I attach it on the stem that the seat goes into. It works, BUT I wish there was more support, it kind of slides down the pipe a little and puts my bike at an awkward angle.  I may upgrade it to pipe clamp, secure it to the top with the clamps hanging over the edge if my design limits what i can do.  Thank for the great idea, and it works great!

mr.bologna (author)langui882010-01-14

Glad to hear you made one of these. I did change the design a little for its publication in Make Magazine. I think it was Vol. 18. 

I did away with the spring clamp and instead attached a 1x2 to the top horizontal post and put a few of those screw in bike hooks to set the bike in. I also put in a few braces on the bottom to keep things steady and changed from a five foot vertical to a four foot like many people here did.

Got flamed pretty hard by the "why waste time making when you could buy a premade one" type any case, I'm not an engineer. I came up with a solution that worked for me and put it out there for you to change it to work for you. So I'm glad to see that you're considering making it better. Thanks for the feedback.

langui88 (author)mr.bologna2010-01-15

Using the center of gravity of the bike, I just moved the spring clamp around the pipe until it would sit on there at a reasonable angle.  Another modification I made since the pipe wasn't supporting the spring clamp as much as your original design did, was at a third hose clamp - Two on the handle, and one on the inside of the clamp part.  At a height of five feet i find it comfortable to move around and under, I feel like four feet would cramp me below it if was needed that perspective.

As far as "wasting time"... it took barely 10 minutes to put together, and the majority of that time was tightening the connections so it was a solid piece.

Thanks again for the design - less than half the price and just as versatile.

Goesto11 (author)2009-09-14

I made a version too. I love the pipe clamp idea that others have done here, but I made the base to be like the ParkTool PCS-9 stand - it has two legs coming 90 degrees from each other directly from the vertical rod. My version might not be quite as stable as some others but it uses fewer parts and it can be "folded" into 2-D by swinging one of the legs in it's tee fitting for easier storage (I live in a small apartment). I used 1/2 inch pipe, and I could only get a 60" length, which I feel is strong enough but I agree that 48" would be best.

scothinckley (author)2009-08-17

So I went out to the Home Depot and acquired all the necessary parts. It cost a little more, but my local store is a rip off. The good news is that the stand works brilliantly! The only changes I made were to use black pipe instead of galvanized, and I used a 48" pipe rather than the suggested 60". Thanks for the great solution!

order99 (author)2009-04-09

Wonderful Instructable-I can use this! Actually, i've downloaded about a hundred various Instructables so far (ALL quite wonderful) but this is one I can actually afford to try out...Recession, y'know. I'm only going to make one slight modification-a $4 tube of JB Cold Weld. It's a Godsend for those of us with no access to welding tools, and mine won't be leaving the barn.

mr.bologna (author)order992009-04-09

If you ever read Make Magazine (as you should be if you're a fan of building things...), you should definitely take a look at the issue they have coming out in May. I made a few stability modifications and the new version is going to be featured in that issue. The new build is a lot more stable than the one in this Instructable.

teicher (author)mr.bologna2009-06-09

Looks like the hooks in your Make version would work well--does the bike sway at all? I was wondering about that since the pipe is smooth and the plastic pipe hangers might not have a lot of grip.

nieves (author)2009-04-25

way cool idea about the house pipes but my wife said NO!! SO I`LL FOLLOW YOU OTHER STEPS.THANKS

hairtux (author)2009-03-14

I just built this thanks to your step by step. I'm very pleased with the results. Like many others, I used a 48" vertical instead of the 60", which is perfect for me because I'm short. I also clamped the spring clamp to the bottom of the 10" piece, such that the end slides "into" the handle of the spring clamp to avoid any potential scratching. Otherwise I made no other changes because I'm lazy and this build was awesomely simple. Thanks!

mr.bologna (author)2009-03-09

It's very cool to see the different solutions that have come out of this project. There are a ton of different variations, most of which I would gladly use over my own design. Thanks for all the input so far and I'm glad you've all taken the time to check out this project.

holycrikey (author)2008-12-15

Ok, so no one has commented on this for over a year. However, I used freshfish's idea with the clamp and the four feet for support. However, after using the clamp like freshfish did, I found that my bike might just be too heavy to be held securely (my bike has a burly frame at over 30 lbs). So, I just padded the clamp edges and let the top-tube rest on it. I used generous amounts of foam to protect the (already big-time scratched) frame. In this way, you can still use the clamp to get a more solid hold. Of course, just be a bit more careful as you are clamping the frame and you certainly do NOT want to overdo it! Taking it on and off is just as easy. I really can't see any negative side-effects to how I have it mounted. Any thoughts? Attached are pictures. Just mind the dirty and scratched bike. It's going through upgrades right now.

holycrikey (author)holycrikey2008-12-15


chrisnei (author)2008-06-30

Bologna, Thanks for the inspiration to build a bike repair stand. I took your idea and made a couple of changes that work well for me. I put a support at a 45 degree angle at the front to support the weight of the bike and reduce the chance the weight of the bike will unscrew the bottom links. I also bought a $7 bike rack that's designed to hang on a wall, drilled a couple holes in the upright pipe and attached it with a bolt and wingnut. The spring clamp was the part I liked the least about the original design so I was really excited when I came across the bike rack. I can use velcro strips to attach the bike if I want to tie it down to the stand.

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