Despite the sense that bikes are getting more complex all the time, they are actually incredibly simple. The most important thing you need, in most situations, is a willingness to take your time and carefully follow the directions. Each time you tackle a job you’ll be one step closer to being self-supporting and you’ll have expanded your knowledge base. Part of the whole process is going to be adding the right tools for the job.
Everybody has to start the process somewhere. One product you’ll need very early on is one of the best bike repair stands. As with most good quality shop tools, this is probably going to be a once-off purchase so it’s worth taking your time and getting a quality piece. We’ve been using the Park Tool PRS-25 Team Issue repair stand for the last six months or so and are ready to share all the details with you.
If you are considering a new bike repair stand, keep reading to see if this is going to be the right choice for you.
Design and aesthetics
Right away you might notice a couple of design details that make the Park Tool PRS-25 Team Issue repair stand what it is – such as the fact that it doesn’t use a tripod style base. This isn’t the only repair stand on the market to use this style, the Unior BikeGator is a case in point, but it’s definitely not the most popular system. When opened up, the legs form a 92cm x 92cm x 115cm triangle. The large base means that in combination with a few other details the maximum supported weight comes in at 100lbs (45kg) and eclipses most other home repair stands.
Another obvious, albeit less so, supporting design feature is the shape of the tubing. Park Tool refers to it by the name “Hexatude” which apparently even carries a trademark. There’s nothing overly ground breaking here though, the tubes are hexagonal which allows them to be lighter and stronger than a round tube would be. In particular, the main support of the PRS-25 is a single piece of aluminium tubing that runs from the floor up to a quick release for the extension.
Also unusual and helping to support that max weight is the design of the aluminium leg straps. These are what form a virtual gusset plate and add strength when the system unfolds. Park Tool has made them longer than usual and they come all the way out to about the centre of the support legs. They are also tucked under the support legs so that despite the long length, they don’t reduce work space or get in the way of the wheels.
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At the end of each support is a plastic end cap. At the far end, where the legs are nearly parallel to the floor there’s the addition of a small rounded plastic ball that is the actual floor contact point. No need to worry about a scratched floor from this design.
The guide that connects the support legs to the vertical support is metal with gusseting everywhere. The metal, the gusseting, and the hexagonal shape to the tubing keeps there from being any hint of flex as you fold and unfold and at the back you’ll find a standard quick release. You can lock the legs in their outstretched position if you so desire but the cantilevered design means it’s not all that necessary.
At the other end of the vertical support is another plastic cap. This time the point is not to protect the floor, but rather to support a smooth slide if you decide to pull the extension out. The extension will go far enough to put the clamp at a height of 152cm but, if left alone, the minimum height will be roughly 114cm. Integrated into the plastic cap is another quick release mechanism as well an attachment point for accessories such as a paper towel holder or tool tray.
Sitting at the top of the extension is where the clamp head mechanism sits. Actually, what’s first is the “Top Tube Assembly” part number 1935a and like every other piece of the PRS-25 it’s removable and replaceable. It’s inside of the Top Tube Assembly that the clamp head actually sits. There’s a handle at the back of the assembly that allows unthreading of the crown jewel of this repair stand, the 100-25D Professional Micro-Adjust Clamp.
The 100-25D Professional Micro-Adjust Clamp is the same as the 100-3D which is the shop clamp that fits into the floor mounted shop repair stand. The only difference between the two is the way in which they attach to the stand. In both cases you get a clamp that’s designed to accommodate all kinds of seatposts. It’s 7cm wide with a set of replaceable jaw covers that won’t scratch the finish but will hold tight. There’s a cam system, to quickly open and close it but the clamping force adjusts with an infinitely adjustable screw system. Rotate the whole head 90-degrees from vertical and you’ll find a plastic cover to protect saddle rails if you are only hanging a bike by the saddle.
The “Saddle Cover” is one of just a few spots of the trademark Park Tool blue that you’ll find. Most of the PRS-25 is black and it’s only the saddle cover and the leg strap that are blue. There’s also a few stickers and an emblem where it makes an appearance.
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In the past I’ve always stuck to the kind of repair stand that supports a bike under the bottom bracket and attaches to the fork. It’s what you’ll likely see at WorldTour races but for me, it became a hassle. I found myself not using it because I didn’t want to bother removing the front wheel. The main reason I’d made the choice to use that style was that I prefer riding aero bikes that inevitably have deep aero seatposts. The PRS-25 solves this problem though.
As mentioned, the PRS-25 repair stand uses the 100-3D clamp. This clamp has gained my favour first because it’s specifically designed for aero seatposts. In the centre of the jaws is a round space that makes room for a standard round seatpost. In the centre of that void though, there’s another smaller notch. Put an aero seatpost in there and the leading-edge fits into that notch while the wider squared off trailing edge of a modern virtual kammtail shape fits where a round seatpost would.
The other part of the design that feels perfect is the way that clamp tightens. Actually, this feature brings both good and bad features. The lever that actuates the quick clamp, or release, is way too short. It prevents you from having enough leverage, hopefully, to close the clamp and crack a delicate carbon tube. It also means the head is effectively not a quick release. With such a small lever I’m not strong enough to clamp or release the clamp with the quick release and I’ve stopped trying. Given how nervous I am about making a mistake, it’s actually a feature I prefer but there’s no point pretending it’s a quick release. Instead, put the post between the jaws and slowly rotate the closure until you’ve got enough clamping force to hold the bike.
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That little quirk isn’t the only one. The other is that it’s effectively impossible to rotate the bike in the clamp. You can loosen the clamp in the Top Tube Assembly and rotate the bike but if the weight isn’t centred in the support triangle there’s no stability. You could flip the bike completely upside down if you needed but if your goal is to make the bike vertical, you’d want to rethink that. Instead, take advantage of the height adjustability and move the whole bike up to keep it stable while providing the necessary access. It’s another one of those things that I haven’t found to be a problem in use but also requires a change compared to how you might think it will work.
Not all the quirks are bad though. When it’s time to set the stand up, the gusseting between the support legs create a perfect place to push against. Just lean the stand back, so the weight is against the vertical legs, and push down on the gusset between the other two legs. The pieces will slide smoothly and easily down the vertical support and you don’t even need to lean over. I tend to not bother locking that lower quick release. When it’s time to fold everything back up, just pull up on the same gusset.
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The Park Tool PRS-25 isn’t the cheapest model that Park Tool offers; there are options in the range that are half the price. That means you’ll have to think about your needs and requirements. The upgrade to the PRS-25 is somewhat subtle. You get an upgraded clamp head and tubing bringing a higher max weight and max height extension. You also get a little bit less weight for the system.
There are also very high-quality options from competitors. In general, they compare well but tend to suffer from the same constraints as the other Park Tool options. Max weight is a little lower, as is height extension and they are a little heavier. However, the Feedback Sports Pro Elite Bike repair stand is one notable outlier as it’s actually lighter. If you’ve got a high-end aero bike though, this is the product that makes the most sense. The 100-25D clamp does a better job with kammtail shapes and it’s otherwise a well-designed system.
The system isn’t perfect. It would be great if the head somehow folded for storage and the quick release on the head doesn’t really work. None of that affects the reason for buying it though. As far as the triangle support system goes, Park Tool offers a new alternative. The PRS-26 has similar features but switches the support to a tripod style. If that detail was holding you back, there’s now an alternative.
|Adjustability||Plenty of height and angle but you can’t rotate the bike.||8/10|
|Stability||You might need to adapt to the stand instead of the other way around.||5/10|
|Clamp design||Very solid and won’t damage the seat post but the quick release mechanism doesn’t work that well.||8/10|
|Weight||Spot on vs the spec and while not the lightest it holds more weight.||10/10|
- Price: $409.95 / £385 / €535
- Clampable Tubing size: 7/8 to 3in / 23–76mm, including aero tubes
- Clamp Rotation: 360-degree infinite clamp rotation
- Clamp Width: 2.75 inches / 7cm
- Folded Size: 46.25in
- Clamping Height: Up to 60in
- Base size: 36 x 36 x 45in / 92cm x 92cm x 115cm
- Weight: 13 lbs / 6kg
- Max Weight: 100 lbs / 45kg