Friday, January 1, 2010

DIY Portable Bike Repair Stand

I've been using my ceiling mounted bike lift to hold my bike when doing minor repairs or adjustments. I just lower the bike close to ground, it kinda works, but it's not portable and it's a little wobbly and not stable when you are cranking the wheels. After reading several post from a bike forum on how to built your own bike stand, I decided to make my own. I wanted it to be portable and able to adjust the angle of the clamp to accommodate different bike geometry and able to tilt the bike at a certain angle.

To make it portable, I decided to use a PA tripod speaker stand as a base. I found a good deal from Craiglist. New ones from Amazon will cost you around $20 to over hundred dollars for the fancy ones. My goal is to keep it all under $50....and Craiglist is a life saver. The tripod is the key part for this built; if your getting one make sure that the tripod top tube can accommodate a 1" diameter pipe. Also, the pipe wall thickness is crucial for the design to work, the 3/4" diameter pipe should be able to fit inside the 1" diameter pipe (if you look at the pictures below you'll see what I mean). I got black pipes from Home Depot and it is a perfect fit.

Things that you need:
PA tripod speaker stand (Similar to this : Tripod Speaker Stand)
3/4" Pipe clamp "pony clamp" (Amazon link: Sure-foot Pipe Clamp,  with pre-drilled holes to clamp head)
2= 1" diameter , 6" long black pipe. (threaded each end)
1= 3/4" diameter, 21 inch long black pipe (threaded on one end)
1=1" diameter Galvanized Tee fitting
Red permanent loctite
34.9 mm QR seatpost clamp
Paint (optional)
2x4 block of wood, 12 inches long
Old mouse pad with rubber padding
Contact Cement

Amazon Search Links:
Pipe Clamp: Click here.
Tripod Speaker Stand: Click here.

Tools you need:
Chop saw or hacksaw
Drill with drill bits
Pipe wrench and a table mounted vise comes handy
Rivet tool/revits or metal screws

*Click on pictures to enlarge.

1. Using a pipe wrench, thread one of the 1"diameter pipe to the 1" Galvanized Tee as pictured below, use red loctite to permanently secure it.

2. Using a chop saw or a hacksaw, saw-off the just threaded 1" pipe to make it flush with the Tee fitting (pictured below). Save the extra pipe, you'll need this later.

3. Use the pipe you saved from previous step to make the "tailpiece" (pictured below). This will be used to hold the pony clamp 3/4" pipe in place. Make 3 horizontal cuts along the 1" pipe shaft using a chop saw (these would be hard to replicate using a hacksaw). If you are stuck with a hacksaw, make 4 cuts instead (+ pattern) . Now, drill a small hole at the end of each cut to give it more flexibility.

4. Thread the above piece to the opposite end of the 1" Tee, use red loctite to permanently secure it.

5. Using two= 2"x4" wood blocks (each measures 6 inches long). Drill-through a clearance hole on the wood blocks to allow them to pass along the 3/4" pipe. I used a 1" bore for that. I then clamp the two 2"x4" sections together and bored through vertically to create the concave channels in each half of the wood block clamp pads.

6. I threaded another 1" diameter pipe about 6 inches long to the bottom of the 1" Galvanized Tee. I painted it black for aesthetic, then used 3 rivets to secure the clamp head assembly to the tripod (pictured below).

7. Now for the wood block clamp pads, I bolted it to the pony clamp and painted it blue (counter sink the head of the bolts). Once the paint dried, I glued (using contact cement) an old rubber mouse pad into the concave sections to act as a rubber padding.

8. Attach the 3/4" Pony Clamp to the 3/4" x 21" pipe.

9. Slide the Pony clamp 3/4" pipe to the Tee-piece, then use a 34.9mm QR seat post clamp to adjust the angle for clamping. Instead of QR seatpost clamp, I opted for a salvaged clamp from a razor kick scooter and a hand knob i was saving from an old office chair. I just replaced the original bolt to a smaller one to accommodate the clamp threads.
A small wing nut at the end of the 3/4" pipe is used for safety, this prevents the pony clamp assembly from accidentally sliding out.

With the hand knob set-up.

I painted the tripod legs it can be mistaken for a Park Tool Stand :).

This built cost me a little bit over of $40, of course it depends where you get your materials and availability of materials/tools at hand. If I had hunted around, I probably could have built this for less. Home Depot isn't the cheapest place to get parts. All in all it's a fun DIY project for me.

Tripod legs in fully extended position.

With tripod legs folded and clamp head dismounted.
If you noticed, the tripod top tube is kinda long, I can cut it short to be more compact, but I'm happy with it for now.

Here it is in action. Even with the tripod legs in mid-extended position, it is very stable and not tippy at all.


  1. Holy Cow, I've been thinking about how to do this for months!

    I made my own out of a saw horse, but not completely satisfied...

  2. P.S. could you give links or directions as to where you got the PA speaker tripod and what pony clamp you used?

  3. I got the pony clamp from Harbor Freight Tools, it should also be available at your local hardware store. I bought the PA tripod stand from Craiglist (used), not sure what brand it is though. New PA tripods can get expensive;If you can't find cheap/used tripod then this built might not be worthwhile as you can get a cheap bike repair stand nowadays. Hope that helps.:)

  4. Not completely finished, but finished enough to take a photo:

  5. Im soo gonna be building this at work next week. Cheers for the wicked build write up.

  6. @ wvcycling,
    Nicely done, great job. :)

  7. So is there another name for the "pony clamp" because I live in Germany, and to ask the local hardware store the direct translation for a "pony clamp" I am assuming is NOT going to work out to well for me. Thanks

  8. @ Scott,
    Sorry, but I'm not sure what it's called in Germany. Here is an idea, why dont you print a picture of a pony clamp and show it to your local hardware store. Goodluck.

  9. I believe Pony clamp refers to a brand name. It may be a common name for that TYPE of clamp. The more generic name would be a pipe clamp. The end with the crank screws onto the end of the pipe and the other end slides on the pipe.

    This is a great design for the bike repair stand!

  10. That is nice! Thanks for the pictures, good detail - I will use your clamp idea for sure.

  11. FYI: Pony clamp is a brand. It's "generic" name is a Pipe clamp fixture.

    As a reference:

  12. The 3/4" pipe I got doesn't fit in the 1" pipe. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    1. sand the 3/4" pipe a looooooot... :)
      and if you have the right tool, sand inside the 1" pipe for the imperfections...that should work...

  13. I bought a pair of PA stands on Ebay new (
    Got the pipe, Pony Clamp~$13, adhesive and Locktite at Home Depot. Will need a rivet gun and rivets, drill and cutoff wheel. I like the mouse pad thing...was thinking about maybe pipe insulation prefoam, will see

  14. Fantastic. You are obviously a talented designer / fabricator, as well as tutorial writer. I'm guessing you're an engineer.
    Regarding the seat post clamp to secure your 3/4' pipe (to adjust angle of bicycle clamp), I assume "34" would be 34.9 mm? I will try a smaller size to avoid needing a shim. Any idea which size? perhaps 25.4 mm since you're clamping a 1" pipe?

  15. BTW, For all that would like to try this great design, there are multiple "On-Stage Steel Tripod Speaker Stand-USED" on listed ebay "Buy-it-now" for $14.33 plus ~$11 shipping. Rated to support 200 lbs.
    I'm also using a PTO pin (also called lock pin or hitch pin) in place of the wing nut.

  16. First, thank you for your nice comment. No, I'm not an engineer, but I've always wanted to be one :).
    Yes your are correct (post corrected)it's a 34.9mm seatpost clamp not 34mm. I think the next smaller size is a 32 mm. I did try both, the 32mm won't fit the 1 inch pipe and 34.9mm is a little loose and needed a small shim for a tight hold. The hand knob version is a lot better, you can really tighten it to avoid slipping.

  17. Awesome build and has the creative juices flowing. Couple questions: is there any other way to secure that downtube other than with rivets? Maybe with another clamp of some sort...? Just don't want to have to buy a rivet gun if I build this up. Any thoughts?

  18. Drill pilot holes then use self tapping sheet metal screws instead.

  19. Great design! I tried to get the pipe parts at Home Depot, but couldn't find any pipes there that would allow the 3/4" pipe to fit inside the 1" pipe - they were all too tight. I could go up to 1 1/4" pipe and tee fitting, but the 3/4" pipe would be very sloppy inside that. Any suggestions?

  20. Have you tried their black pipes? the regular galvanized pipes have thicker wall, so it won't fit. Also try fitting a non-threaded 3/4 pipe instead, the threads makes the pipe surface uneven and will make it harder to fit inside a 1" pipe. A 1 1/4" pipe will be too big and will not work.

  21. I found that most pipes have a burr that surrounds the openings on the 1" pipes. The burr can be removed using a drill and a small grinding wheel. Most of The Home Depot (THD) pipe stock appears to have minimal burrs (which is why it works). The 1" pipes also have a cold weld seam that runs the length on the inside of the pipes. It seems to vary in size from barely noticeable to really pronounced. I used a drill with a Milwaukee brand 12" shank extension (THD) and a Milwaukee 1" hole saw (THD) to deburr the inside. Then smoothed it out with a drill and a brake cylinder honing tool (Harbor Freight). I used WD40 to aid in lubrication. While I was at THD I found a combination of pipes that almost worked. I then worked the inside of the 1" pipe stock with the hole saw and brake cylinder hone until i got a sliding fit. Another thing is to not tighten the 1" pipe too tight into the tee (use the Loctite). If it is too tight then the 1" pipe will deflect enough to keep the 3/4" pipe from sliding freely.

  22. the best diy stand i've seen so far

  23. Instead of 3/4 black pipe, I used the downrod (rod used for the ceiling fan, I think) and it fits perfectly.

    I don't have a chop saw, so I use the miter saw with the metal cutting blade. Cutting the 1" pipe is a challenge and safety is a concern.

    I also use the 1" flange on the wall. This is 'temporary' (backup solution) until I find the PA speaker stand.

    Very good instruction and impressive work for DIYers. Thanks

  24. @ post above,
    Be careful, using a metal cutting blade to a mitter saw sounds dangerous, i will not recommend to anyone doing it, metal cutting blades are not rated to be used for miter saw, they have a higher rpm motor unlike chop saw.

    It sounds like a nice build though, have fun and be safe. Thank you.

  25. afajarito,
    I took extreme care. I checked with HD and they said the same thing 'doable but very careful'. I cut about 30 seconds and let the blade cool down before going again. Chop saw is out of the question for me, I was thinking of hack saw (nearly impossible) and rotary tool (like Dremel) which may take quite a while.

    Thanks again for the instruction.

  26. I too was unable to get a 3/4" pipe to fit in a 1" pipe. Thanks to the poster who suggested the downrod - that fits perfectly. However, the ones at my local hardware stores are bronze. Will that be strong enough to suport heavier (35lb) DH type bikes?

    Thanks again for the best DIY stand plan evar!

  27. Wow, great build. I followed along and built a passable stand, but it certainly isn't as good-looking and stable as yours. I scrounged a much lighter tripod for the base, and so it strains when I put on a bike.

    Anyway, I work at and I think your build could make a great entry into the "Transform It!" challenge we're currently running. Entries must repurpose an item to give it an awesome new use -- I think your bike stand definitely fits the bill. Joby is sponsoring the contest by offering great prizes, including a Canon Rebel. You can get more info at:

    You've already documented your project, so the only task is to translate it into an Instructable format, which I can help with. Anyway, if you're interested or have any other questions, feel free to email me at

    Thanks so much and I hope to talk soon,

  28. Another option that I used for making all of the cuts: 4 1/2" metal cutoff disc and a mandrel that fits into a standard drill chuck.

  29. has anyone tried using locking pliers (like these: instead of the pony clamp?

  30. Love the park tool set now I'm saving my back from bending and stooping over and easy to repair gears, brakes and tires

  31. Locking Pliers definitely work with some configurations- a whole lot lighter than a huge clamp aswell.

  32. The worse thing about using a home-made contraption or worse no stand at all is that you will not have the stability needed to efficiently work on your bike. Keeping your bike stable and still is the most important aspect of doing any type of maintenance.

  33. This is really good pics of cycle stand. I am appericate for your blog.

    Steel Cycle Stands

  34. I decided to build a workstand inspired by your design and I found a solution to the 3/4" pipe fitting into the 1" pipe.

    As others have said, the 1" pipe has a weld seam down the inside of the pipe. I didn't have any type of honing tools so I looked around the garage and got creative.

    I took a wooden paint roller extension (about the same diameter as a broomstick) and clamped it into my bench vise. I then wrapped a piece of 100 grit sandpaper around the extension. Finally, while holding the sandpaper tight, I put the 1" pipe over the setup and moved it back and forth along the sandpaper. Rotate sandpaper and the pipe.

    I could have used 80 grit and finished faster, but 100 was the most course paper I had on hand. After about 15 minutes of sanding, the 1" pipe fits nicely over the 3/4" pipe.

    I'll post a link to photos when I finish the build. Thanks for the ideas!

    1. Here's the link that shows photos of how I sanded down the weld seam inside the 1" pipe:

      Also, another guy had a similar problem but it turned out there was a burr at the ends of the 1" pipe from the threading process. The assistant at the home store de-burred the pipe ends and the 3/4" pipe went right in without a problem.

  35. Great idea mate.
    I made and welded my stand But adapted your clamp.

  36. Wow, incredible weblog structure! How long have you been running a blog for? you made running a blog glance easy. The whole glance of your website is magnificent, as {smartly as} the content material!
    CSR Performance Products 6015 15' Zero Friction Push/Pull Cable

  37. Copper is the preferred material for interior pipes because it is lightweight, safe and durable, and does not rust. Because it is also flexible, meaning that plumbers can easily bend and form it within existing walls, it is ideal for repiping.

  38. Would it work with a little shorter pipe? I have the 1 inch T, and I got 3 inch pipes to fit it. Will those 3 in long pipes work? I imagine they will be able to be clamped down to hold the cross bar. My question is will a 3 inch pipe be long enough to put in the base?

  39. i couldn't get the 3/4" black pipe to even fit a little at the store but the galvinized pipe almost fit with a little force i probably would of got it in. are the 1" pipes galvanized pipes and just the 21" 3/4 pipe black? and do you need to have the 21" 3/4 pipe threaded on one end?

  40. Am in the middle of crafting my work stand. Had great success last night filing down the weld seam on the 1" pipe using what I had on hand:

    It's flat on one side and half-round on the other. Curvature is a little smaller than the interior of the pipe but it worked quickly, maybe 3-4 minutes of work. The sandpaper on dowel just wasn't working for me. It did help to sand the exterior of the 3/4" pipe too, as it had some irregularities.

  41. Something you may wanna wear is safety goggles, dust mask (because of the zinc in the metal), gloves, and long sleeve old shirt (metal flakes). WHEN YOU GET TO THE GRINDING WHEEL PLEASE PLEASE TAKE BIG CAUTION AS THE WHEEL CAN EASILY GET JAMMED!
    I am currently using the clamp piece and working on the PA stand part. Instead of using the PA stand my base is all 1" black pipe. It lacks the horizontal 360 degree part, but I am modding it using the same idea. Now I always hear of everyone having trouble with the "weld seam inside the 1" pipe! Here is what I did. Went ahead and bought galvanized 3/4" X 30" and 1" x 12" pieces. So I bought a stone drill bit for a 3/8 drill. This bit has a stone piece exactly 1" round, the galvanized pipes or black pipes are actually BIGGER than 1" (wink). BEFORE READING ON MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ALREADY CUT THE 12" PIECE IN HALF! ALSO DO NOT CUT THE THREE FLANGES YET!! So the shaft of the stone bit is the same as the screw driver bits that you use with drills power screw drivers, etc. I took an 3" extension put it in my drill then put the stone bit in that. While grinding use low speed and safety glasses. I grinded the seam down successfully. I worked half of the pipe (3" to the middle) then work the other half. Take a wire wheel to the outside of the 3/4" piece to assure the smoothness. Also I used the stone to grind off any burrs that were left after sawing the 12" x 1" pipe in half on the inside and out. Oh yes do not forget to clean the pipes off after all the grinding and cutting is done to eliminate rouge pieces that could keep the 3/4" piece from turning.

  42. Its kinda shitty that you disabled right clicks on this page. People now must navigate away from this page to look at your links instead of being able to open them in another window. NOt the best setup if people are using this as a reference, which is what this blog is all about right?!

    1. I do apologize for the inconvenience it made. Thank you though for bringing this to my attention. The disabled right click was part of the blog template I acquired from another blog, and just never thought of removing it. Right click disable is now removed. Thanks.

  43. My neighbor and I are going in on two of these. Total came out to about 155 with shipping and it's much better quality than the comparable bike stands by the pictures. Awesome writeup and thanks for thinking outside the box!!!

  44. I just finished making one of these. Took a good bit of work but I think it was worth it. It appears to be much better than the stands I was looking at from various retailers and for less money.

    The biggest issue that I ran across was that the 3/4" pipe would not come even close to fitting inside the 1" pipe. My solution was a piece of wood dowel with a sheet of 60 grit sand paper wrapped around it for a snug fit. Then I screwed a small lag bolt into the end of the dowel and used an electric drill to spin it while applying pressure all around.

    I also had to work on the outside of the 3/4" pipe since it had a small ridge running length wise. I used a flat file to smooth that out then sanded it all the way around for the full length.

    It took quite a bit of time and several sheets of sandpaper but they eventually went together with a nice smooth snug fit.

    I didn't have a chop saw so I used a reciprocating saw to make all the cuts on the pipe. I took my time and they came out pretty good.

    I used the above links for the tripod and clamp. Both worked great.

    I probably ended up with a little over a $100 in it not counting the sandpaper and paint.

    It seems very sturdy and will hold my bike in any position. I have already used the stand to hold my bike while I installed a rear rack on my bike. It was very nice to be able to work on it without trying to do it with the bike propped up and falling over.

    Thanks for the idea and details.

  45. I did this a few months ago, and got same problems the guys commented...fitting pipes...but after some work I got it working...and this is the final result

    I may want to grab your post and translate it to spanish, cause there are some of the terms that are not very common and should be very useful for some friends.... :) thanks for sharing!!

  46. It seems a little difficult to me. However, I decide to have a try. May I can DIY the same stand as yours. I think I can make it

  47. I just want to buy one. However, after reading your post, I decide to DIY one and I like your bike stand very much. Hope I can do it my self.

  48. what schedule did you use for the 3/4" pipe? my problem is the 3/4" pipe is wobbly inside the 1"

  49. Really nice site , i just wondered about the site. I am also working with bike . when i saw the site images ,i feel really exicted . I like this kind of real pics :)

  50. Really Nice Blog you made. I think this will help me to learn more about bicycle repair stands. As i am reading online to know more about bicylce repair stands

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. Thanks afajarito! Finally got mine built.

    1" Galv pipe was tricky to find. Eventually found some at an irrigation supplier.
    However, the pipe wall thickness really called for some thinning down. To accommodate the 3/4" pipe slotted inside the 1" pipe, i used my Dremel with a small grinding wheel that fit perfectly inside the 1" pipe.

    For the 1" pipe that connects the T piece to the tripod, I made up a DIY lathe using my grinder, drill and some bits of timber to remove about 1mm.

    Works very well, complements to you afajarito!