Thursday, 4 July 2013

DIY's every triathlete should consider - Part 1: DIY bike work stand

Why buy it when you can make it?  In the world of super expensive triathlon gear, sometimes it is best to split from the pack, and make something yourself (especially when you're like me and don't like to give people your money).  Below, I will share with you the first of FIVE of my favourite DIY projects (patents pending...imaginary ones though) that can easily match similar store bought goods, and help you do triathlon on the cheap.  Just a quick word of caution (not the dangerous kind, but more the preparing you for failure kind), not all DIY projects turn out the way you intended, and you may not always find success with your creations (like my two aero bottle setups that broke mid-ride).  Hopefully these simple DIY will be as successful for you as they have been for me.

DIY bike work stand

If you're the kind of person who seriously considers any DIY options, then you will most likely also be the kind of person that does your own bike repairs (even if they are a bit on the hack side).  Although some repairs can be done with the bike leaning against a wall, it is usually a good idea to have the bike off the ground and supported so you can work on it easier.  However, as I found in my search for a good stand, most options will run you $150-$300 bucks (far too much for me to consider reasonable), and many involve clamping to hold the bike steady (do you really want to clamp that carbon frame....?).  My DIY work stand is a very reasonable option, that can be constructed for around $30, and involves no clamping at all.

Materials needed
-1 x 3/4" plywood sheet (3'x3'): if you pay money for this....
-1 x 4' tubing (1"thick): main support structure
-1 x 2' tubing (3/4" thick): beam on which the bike rests
-1 x 1"-3/4" elbow: to make the 90 degree angle and transition to the thinner tubing.
-1 x 1" compatible base mount: How you attach the main support to the plywood base
- Also a few other odds and ends that are optional, but recommended

Instructions (Real DIY'ers can skip this section)

Step 1: Attach the threaded mounting piece to the base of the stand.  I used some bolts I found in the basement to attach this piece, as screws are just not strong enough (they will end up screwing you in the long run...okay no more bad puns).  The heads of the bolts are on the bottom of the base and countersunk to lay flush.  I decided to add in another small wood piece here for reinforcement (also to allow me to use longer bolts).  Again if you pay for this piece of wood...

Just ignore the wheels, they don't really work how I had hoped 

Step 2: Now assemble the main tube with the shorter tube using the 90 degree elbow to complete the main part of the stand (if you can't do this step without issues, I suggest you reconsider this project).  Also note the pieces of foam I have attached to the tubing.  This will help to cushion where your bike will rest and will probably save you some grief (I found it on the side of the road, so don't pay for this either).

Assembled top portion

 Step 3: Now to put the whole thing together, just screw in the already assembled top piece to the base mount.  I would highly recommend greasing this junction, as, like a wetsuit stuck to skin without body glide, it can become very difficult to separate the two after a while.

Yes it really is quite simple

Final notes:  Now hang your bike on the horizontal tube by the seat (like in transition), and enjoy your new stand.  I have used this stand for repairing all of my bikes, from my commuter bike to Franchesca.  I have never had problems with the bike falling off or moving around on me (the front wheel usually rests on the ground to help stabilize), and apart from some rust, this stand is still going strong.  To store the stand, simple disassemble the tubing from the plywood base and lean against a wall (it tends to take up very little space).  As with all DIY's however, there will be some critics (namely my dirt jumping, bike shop mechanic brother who always tells me how hack this stand is).  Funny though how his bike always seem to up there for some repair...

Hey, I though you said you didn't like my stand

Stay tuned for 4 more DIY instalments coming soon

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