A bike stand simplifies routine maintenance like chain lubing and adjustments to the drivetrain. But not every cyclist wants a costly full-sized shop stand that takes up a lot of floor room. Is there any other option? Sure there is, and it will cost less than topping up your car’s gas tank.
by Tamia Nelson | March 5, 2018
A bike stand is a handy addition to any cyclist’s home tool kit, even if the most involved task you perform on your bicycle is to clean it and lube the drivetrain after sloppy rides. More ambitious home mechanics will find a stand handy for brake and derailleur adjustments, bottom bracket work, or any other task where it helps to have the rear wheel off the ground. And while a full-sized shop stand makes many jobs a lot easier, not everyone can devote floor space to a large stand, or pay what it costs for a competent model. There is an alternative, though. It’s small, capable, and cheap. I bought one back in 2008, and amazingly, it’s still available. It’s the Nashbar Stand By Me, and it costs less than USD20. Here it is:
Basic in design and appearance, even crude, the Nashbar Stand By Me is built of tubular steel, rests on an asymmetrical X-shaped base, and is adjustable to accommodate bikes with a variety of wheel sizes. The bike’s rear wheel is suspended off the ground by hanging the frame’s rear triangle—the seat- and chainstays—on large padded steel hooks bolted into the vertical shaft.
These hooks can be rotated and moved up or down the shaft to customize the fit. Lifting the rear wheel off the ground speeds up cleaning, lubing, and adjusting the drivetrain. It also makes it easier to inspect the rear tire.
Using the Stand By Me
The Stand By Me is handy to use, and once you decide on the hooks’ placement, it shouldn’t take long to position them on your bike frame’s off-side triangle. Because of its compact size, you will have to get down low to work on the drivetrain when using the Stand By Me. This is a small price to pay for its low cost and low profile. Store it in a corner where it’s out of the way, but quickly retrieve it when needed. After the initial fitting, there’s no set-up time. Place the stand at your work area, lift the bike wheel off the ground, set the frame members onto the hooks, and you’re good to go. If your knees complain when you kneel or if your back balks when bending over, sit on a step stool to bring you closer to your work.
A couple caveats using the Stand By Me. First, brace the front wheel so it won’t rotate when balanced in the stand. Should the front wheel rotate, this could make the bike unstable so it is prone to toppling. Also, some owners have had to modify the hooks’ shape to accommodate their bikes’ frames, but this hasn’t been necessary to fit my steel-framed Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike, vintage Schwinn Traveler road bike, or my alloy-framed Schwinn Sierra mountain bike.
How Does the Stand By Me Hold Up?
When new, the hooks are covered with a textured rubber sleeve, and the Stand’s structural members are painted black. My 2008 model has had hard use, and while it’s still going strong, there is some rust on the base and bolts securing the shaft. Less critically, the rubber sleeve on one hook cracked and fell away. The rust is my fault. I should have been more diligent in cleaning off salty slush after using the Stand to wash bikes after winter rides. A bit of elbow grease with Flitz along with a few dabs of touch-up paint will take care of that, and the bare hook is now padded with a length of aquarium tubing. One last modification I made was to cover the bare metal hook-ends with plastic caps recycled from eye-drop medicine bottles. This helps prevent gouges in bike frames.
The bottom line? While my Nashbar Stand By Me shows its age and is marked by blemishes, it’s still solid and capable after more than a decade of heavy use. It’s easy to store, easy to retrieve, and not too fussy to set up. Despite our owning three other stands—two of them full-sized shop stands—this is the one that gets chosen most often. I’d buy one again. And because Nashbar is stocking the Stand By Me once more, you can buy one, too.
Concerned about my objectivity? Don’t. I’ve not been paid by Nashbar to write this article. Read our Product Evaluations Policy here.
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