Park Tool PCS 4-1 workstand review
It holds your bike up.
Working on a bicycle while having it leaning against something else can be less than ideal. First of all you want the bicycle to be higher so that you don't have to bend down so far that you will have a sore back the day after. Secondly you want the wheels to be able to turn without the bicycle moving all over the place.
Some people work on their bicycle with it hanging on the wall or ceiling, but then you still cannot reach around the other side, and it is usually not very stable when you are trying to undo a tight bolt, or have to tighten something.
The solution for this is a dedicated bicycle workstand. Many different models are for sale, with prices starting at less then € 100, going up over € 500 for a professional one.
Choosing a workstand
I want to be able to do all my bicycle maintenance myself, which means I was out to buy a workstand that would last the rest of my life. Although I don't have one right now, I can't rule out that I might work on an electrically assisted bicycle at one point. These bicycles are quite a bit heavier than regular bicycles. Many work stands are meant for lightweight bicycles and could be eliminated from my selection.
- Park Tool
- PCS 4-1
- Bicycle repair stand
- Steel powder coated tubing, composite horizontal tube
- 11.8 kg
- Max. capacity
- 45 kg
- 140 - 183 cm
Park Tool PCS 4-1
After researching different workstands I found the Park Tool PCS 4-1 for a very good price on Amazon. This workstand can hold bicycles up to 45 kilos, which will allow me to work on practically any kind of bicycle (as long as it fits in the clamp).
The clamp, and many of the other parts are replaceable, and can be ordered separately, which is another good aspect for something that is supposed to last a lifetime.
The PCS 4-1 deluxe home mechanic repair stand comes with the 100-5C clamp. This clamp has a lever which you can use to open and close it, which is faster than some of the other clamps allow you to rotate a crank to tighten and release the bicycle. It is especially convenient when lifting up a heavy bicycle, you can quickly secure it. The clamp is adjustable for different tube diameters, this requires turning a long metal nut by hand, but only after clamping down will you see if it is enough.
Assembly is very straightforward. The workstand is held together with some bolts that go through holes in the steel tubes. The only tool required is a and requires a wrench.
Unlike some other stands the PCS-4 does not fold up, entirely. You can push the legs against each other, but the feet will still stick out. There is also no way to keep the legs folded in. This workstand is definitely not meant to be moved around much. If you do need to move it, disassembly might be a good idea. However, hanging it along a wall might be a good way to keep it out of the way, this will keep the legs pointing straight down and make the work stand pretty narrow.
Since it doesn't fold up much, Setting up the workstand is very quick and easy. Just Lift it up, and set it down while spreading the legs and you are ready to go.
Adjust the clamp diameter to fit the the tube you want it to hold. It is often recommended to clamp around the seatpost only to prevent damaging the frame, but that is slightly more difficult as it requires you to hold up the bicycle and close the clamp at the same time. I usually clamp it around the top tube of my bicycles with steel frames, as I can just lift the bicycle into the clamp and then close it to secure it without needing to hold the bicycle.
As the front wheel tends to move all over the place I use a handlebar stabilizer which I find indispensable. Park Tool sells one, but I got a cheaper one that works just as well.
The clamp can be rotated to move the front or back up and down, depending on where you need to work on. This is relatively easy as you can loosen and tighten the clamp angle adjustment while pushing the bicycle into the right position with the other hand.
It is also possible to raise the entire bicycle by sliding out the tube. It is secured with a quick release. This can be kind of difficult to use, as you need to support the weight of the bicycle to raise or lower it. Alternatively you could take out the bicycle, put it down on the floor, then change the height, and lift it back in, but that is even more of a hassle.
After using the stand for over a year for maintaining, modifying and cleaning five different bicycles I am quite happy with it, the stand definitely saved me some back pains. Apart from some paint rubbing off at specific spots there are no other signs of wear, which make sme confident that this stand will last for many years to come.
- Quick and easy to set up.
- While it does not fold, it can still be stored easily requiring very little space.
- Replacement parts and accessories available form manufacturer.
- Can hold heavy bicycles.
- Built to last.
- Extending the tube to raise the clamp with a bicycle in it requires you to support the entire weight of the bicycle.
- Adjusting clamp diameter involves some trial and error.
- The legs are not secured and dangle around when moving/lifting the stand.
- Manufacturer page for Park Tool PCS-1 Deluxe Home Mechanic Repair Stand
- Park Tool PCS-4-1 on Amazon.com
Park Tool PCS 4-2
The PCS 4-2 is the same stand as the PCS-4-1, but comes with the 100-5D clamp. This clamp allows for micro adjustments, which should be nice when working with carbon frames which often do not tolerate clamping forces very well.
Park Tool PCS 10
The Park Tool PCS 10 seems to be the popular choice for home mechanics. It is foldable for easy storage, and has a weight limit of 45 kilos. However since it only has three contact points, care must be taken to keep heavier bikes centered between the legs.