There was a time not long ago when if you wanted a stand to work on your bike your only real option was a high quality and high priced piece of hardware from Park Tool USA. While Park Tool is still the choice of many shop mechanics around the world, other companies are starting to stand up and give Big Blue a run for its money with well designed, well built, and well-priced products for consumers and pro shop use.
One of these companies is Ultimate Support, a Colorado-based company that has been growing in popularity over the past 10 years. I have used a few of their stands over the years, and if there was one complaint I had of Ultimate’s equipment, it was that they just weren’t built as well as the Park stands.
However, over that past couple of years that reputation has been changing in a big way. Last year I had great success using the BRS-70B Consumer Repair stand, and then with the 2005 unveiling of the Pro Elite Bicycle Repair Stand Ultimate Support seems poised to take a big piece of Park Tool’s pie.
Before you even look at the Pro Elite stand you realize this is not your average low-end consumer stand. The box the stand comes in is big and heavy and as you pull it out the first thing you notice is how well-constructed the main tubes are. The red-anodized aluminum tubes are strong and stiff allowing for a stand that will hold up to 85 pounds of weight. The tri-fold legs stretch out far enough that the stand stays stable even on uneven surfaces. The stand’s best feature, however, is the Pro Elite Secure-Lock Clamp, which is also available as a standalone product for use in other high-end bike stands. To tighten the clamp’s grip on your seat post, you simply push the outside part of the clamp in and it ratchets closed. There’s also a handle you can spin to get it completely tight. Then, when you’re finished, you simply hit a release button and a spring slides the whole outside half of the clamp out, freeing your bike. The other nice thing about the stand is there are a number of add-on accessories available, ranging from a truing stand to a heavy-duty tool tray to a must-have tote bag.
The cost of using a big beefy work stand is that it’s a big, beefy size. At 13 pounds the Pro Elite is still fairly light considering its size, but it may not be the best option if you just need a light-duty stand for a pre-race checkup. Of course, that’s also not what this stand was designed for. One thing I have noticed so far is you have to be careful not to accidentally hit the quick release button on the clamp. Doing this will open the clamp and drop your bike onto the seat rails (or worse).
In the few weeks I have had the Ultimate Support Pro Elite Repair Stand I have been thoroughly impressed. Because it’s winter in my part of the world (Ontario, Canada), I haven’t been able to put the stand to the test outdoors or in a 24-hour race situation (which seems to bring out the best and worst in stands), but performance has been very good so far during typical winter bike maintenance and rebuilds. The $249.99 US MSRP (price includes the tote bag) is certainly worth it considering what you’re getting.
Manufacturer’s website: www.ultimatesupport.com