If you’re not into kickstands, or have a carbon bike, or just want a convenient bike stand/bike rack for your bike while you are washing/cleaning/lubing/working on it there are a lot of choices.
You can use anything from cheap bike stands (with mixed reviews), nicer raised-wheel stands with better reviews, real nice stands with good reviews, alternative style kickstands that won’t hurt a carbon frame and are not permanently attached like the Upstand or it’s cheaper clone by Rockbros, other rear-hub-mounted kickstands, pedal-mounted kickstands, mechanic’s repair stands, and any number of other kinds of bike stands and racks.
Or you can use your bike carrier (see my review of the Swagman XC 2 Bike Hitch-Mount Carrier) on your car as a quick and easy way to work on your bike or clean and lube it.
If you don’t have a carbon bike you can also read a couple of regular conventional-style kickstand reviews that I have written – Review – Greenfield SKS2-305B ‘Stabilizer’ Stay-Mount Bicycle Kickstand and Review – BV KA36 Adjustable Bicycle Kickstand for Bikes 24″-28″.
Or you can even make your own PVC bike rack, and you don’t even need to be much of a DIY handy-person as long as you can follow some simple plans. If you’re not interested in reading about my recycled wood bike rack skip further down.
Firstly though I will refer to a previous post where I explained a bit about making a multi-bike Recycled Wood Bike Stand/Rack (see photo below right), I don’t include exacting directions but more of a general overview of how I made mine.
I also made another single-bike recycled-wood kickstand as you can also see a bit below – original wood surface in the left pic, painted to the right. I used Krylon Fusion Plastic Paint – (as you can tell from the name) is more of a plastic paint but which works on other surfaces too. I used this paint because the wood was coated with a shiny plasticy (I assume to resist licking and chewing by the little ones) wood seal, this paint worked quite well on it.
This was originally the headboard of a baby bed – you might find it interesting that someone had chucked this out of their vehicle (or maybe lost it) and my wife found this headboard up the road from my home in near-perfect condition. The wood looked to be of good quality so I brought it home and disassembled it, and eventually built this bike rack. How’s that for recycling?
Probably here I should give you some measurements but unless you happen to have that particular baby bed headboard lying around it might not do you that much good.
It does show that you can use any spare wood you have lying around and with the help of just a few simple measurements of your own, and a little logic and do-it-yourself-ing you can produce a quick and stable bike rack, in this case a kind of unique design because of what I worked with – most notably the curved bottom stabilizer pieces.
Another one that I made which wasn’t quite as successful as the others is the one shown below – this is a good example of what not to do; make the upright pieces too short. I roughly followed some instructions I found online and while it seemed to work okay for the writer of the instructions it just didn’t for me.
Maybe this was due to using this for my mountain bike I suppose, as the bike is much heavier than a road bike and seems to need those upright supports. All is not lost though, all that I think that I will need to do is tack taller uprights onto the sides, splicing them onto the existing ones with braces.
Now on to the PVC bike rack build.
For quite sometime I have wanted to try this guy’s design – http://www.gwfweb.com/bicycles/stands2.html. Mr. Foreman’s plans are precise, easy, customizable and the result looks professional and stable. Plus it takes only PVC pipes, some PVC glue, and maybe some sand and hot glue and screws.
The total price is about the same as the very cheap bike stands that you can buy, the ones with iffy reviews – do you want to put your expensive bike on something that has iffy reviews? Probably not.
Usually when I build something from a plan I end up modifying whatever it is as I build it, but I vowed this time to stick to the plan as much as possible.
Building this was fairly quick, though I would recommend you take a little time to read over the plans and lay things out ahead of time, fitting them to make sure you understand where and how things should be positioned and go together, including getting proper angles and such. If you don’t get all the pieces lined up it will make your rack jiggly while on level ground and less stable.
As mentioned in the plan’s text the glue dries very fast. This is a biggy here if you’re never used PVC glue. So make sure that you re-position things and get an idea of how things need to align, making guide parks if needed, and when you glue and fit things together you IMMEDIATELY adjust anything that needs to be adjusted or you probably won’t be able to if you wait for more than a few minutes. You have a very small window to make adjustments, but you can do it, sometimes if the pieces are a very tight fit you may need to use a little muscle after even a very few moments of drying.
The only differences that I made in mine versus the original plans was I did not use screws (with the thought that if something came loose I could add them in the future) and I filled the entire bottom section with sand instead of just the four outriggers/legs. This required a little ‘detailed’ hot gluing to plug the vertical upright’s holes as I wanted to be able to take these uprights out (as mentioned as an option in the plan’s text) but I did not want any chance of the sand leaking out at any point.
Total price was just over $25 (as of Fall 2017) – it SEEMED a little pricey to someone cheapo like I, but again; if you look at bike stands and their prices, you’ll see that this is about on-point with the cheaper ones you can find, which likely aren’t going to be anywhere as stable or nice as this one. I got everything at Lowe’s but it should all be readily available at other hardware stores or even online, like on Amazon.
I believe that the plans could be modified to accommodate larger or smaller tires of course, height-wise as well as thickness-wise, for a heavy mountain bike you may want to consider making the legs wider or course, and maybe filling it with something like the nuggets that are used to make bullets or other pieces of lead or weights that might fit into the PVC pipe. For a heavier bike you might even want to consider heavier-duty PVC pipe like Schedule 80 PVC pipe instead of the 3/4″ thickness PVC pipe in the plans. There’s many variations that could be done on this plan.
It could also be modified for more than one bike, perhaps replace the two L’s on one side with downward-facing T’s and connect two units together. I think a dual version would still be pretty portable but adding more than two could mean more stress when carrying it, unless you make the outrigger connections detachable (making sure you seal in that sand or whatever you are using for the stabilizing weight on the bottom pieces).
Either the front tire or the back tire can be used on this bike rack. The back tire is slightly more stable usually, I think, but the front tire works just fine too.
I believe that this might be more of an issue on uneven ground, when you are physically working on the bike, or if you have modified it and are using a MTB in it or some other heavier cycle.
Despite previous experience with trying to paint (and keep paint on) pvc and other plastics I decided to paint this bike rack. The trick here is to get every bit of it at least slightly sanded, enough so that a good quality primer can have a good chance of staying on – yet not rough enough that the finish looks terrible.
For this I used a medium grit sandpaper; held in my hands so that I could get a feel for how I was covering every inch of the rack and every nook and cranny. I then cleaned the dust off with a damp rag, dried it, and started priming it with multiple layers. After a good drying period I continued with many layers of the finish paint.
One thing I forgot to do (or didn’t think I needed to do) was to tape off the bottoms of the uprights as well as the insides of the bottom horizontal pieces that these uprights slip into. If you made the whole thing permanently assembled/attached together you need not worry about this but if not a little taping off will help here. I had to sand off the paint around the bottom of the uprights a little and the insides of the bottoms that they slide into, but it’s probably no big deal as long as it is done and the pieces slide together properly and stay in place after painting (which mine did not until I sanded them down).
I opted to paint mine matte black, which matches my Kona Esatto (review here). If the paint seems to stay I may add some blue and green highlights to continue the bike’s paint theme onto it. Similar to Mr. Foster’s finished product ideas (see near the bottom).
So… So far so good. It’s a great design, somewhat similar to some others you will find on DIY websites but a quick, easy straight-forward and stable design with good instructions. And it seems very customizable.
I thank Mr. Gary Foreman for his design and plain easily followable instructions, and encourage anyone who wants to build their own to check our Mr. Foreman’s page – http://www.gwfweb.com/bicycles/stands2.html.
I’ll update this as I use the bike stand more, perhaps I’ll have some more thoughts on it and durability reports (especially on the paint 😉 as time goes on.