Park Tool PRS-20 work stand review
After years of making do without the benefit of a cycle work stand I finally took the plunge and got one. And a pretty decent one it is too. The Park Tool PRS-20 Team Work Stand felt like a bit of an indulgence when I got it, but now I wish I'd bought one sooner.
There is a pricier, aluminium, version of this steel Euro-style portable work stand, but I didn't consider the extra expense necessary. The PRS-20 is reassuringly robust and with the quick-release collar fastened to the stand's height-adjustable column the whole upper part of the stand can be rotated through 360 degrees.
The top section is held in place by a quick-release pin that pops out to allow the stand to fold up and pivot around the bolt held in place by the black nut pictured below. That bolt has a pair of nylon washers, but they are the only ones that came in the box. I made some others from an anti-freeze container for the three bolts that loosely hold together each of the legs of the tripod base because I felt they were missing. (I'll probably get even nicer ones as soon as I find them in some hardware store.)
When the front forks are held in place the bike is not fully stable without the bottom bracket strap. I read somewhere that a Velcro-style fastener would be a better solution, but it seems to work well enough and holds the bike adequately.
The knurled knob tightens against a plastic sleeve that fits between the blue painted base of the stand and the chromed column. When this is slackened off and the quick-release collar is clamped in place the upper part of the stand can be rotated freely.
Fastening by using the rear drop outs requires a little more faffing about than fastening by the front drop outs, but is relatively simple with a bit of practise. Occasionally I have needed to move the front of the bike around whilst on the stand with the front wheel still in place (recabling, tweaking the front brake pads against the surface of the wheel rim etc.) and this is when I have clamped the back end on the stand. Or I might simply clean the bike with both wheels removed, although it is usually more straightforward to clamp at the front end.
I do feel that something is missing when the bike is fastened using the rear drop outs, though. Yes, the chain can rest on the metal tube that houses the rear wheel skewer – the so-called "sleeping hub" – but this feature feels as though it almost came about by accident rather than by careful design. Perhaps some sort of hardwearing plastic collar could slot over the metal housing and be held in place by the skewers when not being used with a bike.
On at least one of my bikes the four points of the cradle do not fully support the bottom bracket area of the bike when fastened using the rear drop outs. This is presumably because of the different angle made between the cradle and the drop outs depending on which way round the bike is mounted. I'm also a little squeamish about tying down the strap tightly in that area and forcing the cradle against the underside of my carbon-framed bike when fastened by the rear drop outs. See a YouTube video from 'Normal Bike Guy' – he has the PRS-20 although he believes it to be a PRS-21 – and his DIY job to cushion the frame against the cradle (I've set the link to start at the point he discusses the cradle).
It's handy being able to fasten the bike on to the work stand by the rear dropouts, but that's not the most useful feature. I find it just as easy to remove both wheels – especially for cleaning in general and clearing out any debris from the brake blocks – and if you prefer not to remove the chain to clean the bike then a dinky piece of kit I would recommend is the Morgan Blue chain keeper.
With rear wheel removed and the derailleur positioned as though on the third or fourth smallest sprocket the chain keeper is a helpful and relatively cheap accessory to have in the tool box. As well as being useful when cleaning the bike I sometimes use it if I am transporting the bike in the back of a car to avoid the chain rubbing against the chain stays. Just be careful when removing it as the chain can act as a catapult and hurl the gadget in to the bike's frame.
The Park Tool PRS-20 is not a cheap work stand, but I chose to get one after making do far too long with a broom handle slung between two garden chairs. Yes, I could also throw a rope over a beam in the garage and hang the bike by its saddle – although that wouldn't do when washing the bike down. Or buy a cheaper clamp-type stand. But I wanted this one because I didn't fancy clamping my carbon-framed bike, or the carbon seat post on my aluminium bike, or further ruining the transfers on my steel-framed bike like the chap in the bike shop did when I took my Raleigh Road Ace to have a bit of overdue TLC.
I was disappointed that when I took the stand out of its box the trademark blue paint was already scratched off in some places. I wonder if the industrial staples that poked through the necessarily thick cardboard packaging caused this. A further downside to getting the PRS-20 that I hadn't foreseen was that I would then be drawn every-so-slightly into a Park Tool world of accessorising the work stand with matching bits. So I now have:
The Park Tool tool tray 106
The Park Tool magnetic parts bowl
The Park Tool handlebar holder
Two Park Tool 3-way hexagonal wrenches
Rather like the work stand itself I could
probably manage without all this paraphernalia. But I rather like the justification put forward by another cyclist who has a some of the Park Tool kit. According to martinthegiant on a reviews page for the Park Tool handlebar holder:
You could use a coathanger, but we're no savages, are we?