Where to clamp your bike on a repair stand

It's always better to clamp a bike by the seat post into a bicycle repair stand instead of by the top tube or other part of a bike frame. This is because clamping a bicycle by the frame may cause damage, particularly on carbon bikes.

Thorn Nomad touring bicycle on a bike repair stand clamped using the seatpost

Using A Bike Stand For Bicycle Maintenance And Repair

A bike repair stand is a must-have tool for any cyclist keen on doing their own bike maintenance and repairs. It allows you to easily and securely fix your bike in a standing position, so you can work on it more efficiently.

If you're thinking of getting a work stand for your bike, you might be asking yourself is it better to clamp the bike by the seat tube or by the frame. It seems at first that the frame makes more sense, but let me stop you right there!

Most experienced mechanics, and bike stand retailers, will tell you that it's always better to clamp a bike by the seat post into a bicycle repair stand.

Why clamping by the seatpost is better

You can clamp safely using your seat post, as it is the best place on your bike for the clamping forces to be exerted.

By using the bike clamp on the seat tube, you will not risk damaging structural parts of the bike, but even better, your bike will naturally angle itself downwards.

This means it's easier to get at the drive chain and rear wheel for gear maintenance, especially for taller people!

Related: Why a bike chain falls off

You'll need to make sure your seat post is securely tightened of course, but as long as it is, you are good to go. Even carbon seat posts are designed to take forces in many directions as opposed to the frame's tubes.

If you are concerned that clamping your bike to the repair stand with the seatpost might leave marks on the seat post, you can always put a clean rag between the clamp and post to protect it.

A bicycle clamped to a bike repair workstand by the seatpost

Related: Best Bike Tool Kit For Home Bicycle Maintenance And Repair

Why clamping the frame tubes is bad

Put simply, the frames of bicycles are just not designed to take those kinds of forces! The tubes on your bike frame are there to hold everything together, and they're not meant to be used as a clamping point,

In addition, the top tube on bikes vary in shape, which means if you have an oval shaped bicycle top tube as opposed to a round one, the potential damage could be even worse.

This is especially true for carbon bikes, which can be easily damaged by over-tightening no matter what the shape of the tube.

Related: Top Tube Bags

Clamping to a dropper post

If you have a dropper seatpost on your mountain bike, you can still use a repair stand by clamping around the seatpost just below the saddle.

You'll need to make sure that the dropper post is fully extended, and that you are not clamping on the collar.

Bottom Bracket Mounts

If you are not totally sold on the idea of clamping your seat post, and don't want to run the risk of applying too much clamping force to your bike's frame, there is an alternative.

A bottom bracket mounted repair stand ensures that there no clamping is needed. The only drawback though, is that if you are working on the bike, you'll be crouching a lot when compared with a standard bicycle repair workstand.

A Thorn Nomad Expedition Bicycle attached to a bike repair stand using the clamping mechanism on the seatpost

Related: How to pack a laptop when bike touring

FAQ About Bicycle Repair Stands

Some frequently asked questions the best way to use a bike repair stand include:

Where should you clamp your bike?

The best place to clamp your bike when using a bike repair stand is by the seat post as opposed to anywhere on the frame.

Where do you put a bike on a bike stand?

On most repair stands, there is a top clamp which you wrap around the seatpost. This is quite often spring loaded but will also have an additional tightening mechanism.

How do you stand a bike up for repair?

If you need to work on the gears on your bike, it's best to work with the rear wheel off of the ground. A bike repair stand is the best solution, but I've also seen people hang bikes from a rope on a tree when cycling through Africa.

Can you leave a bike on a repair stand?

I wouldn't recommend leaving you bike clamped in unattended, just in case the stand gets bumped into and the bike falls down. Accidents can always happen!

Can I use a repair stand with my carbon frame bike?

Yes, you can use bicycle repair stands with carbon frame bikes as long as you remember to clamp the seat post and not the frame.

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