Park PCS-9 Portable Mechanic Stand – a Quick Review

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I needed a portable work stand that I could both stow in my shop as an extra stand, and take with me on the road.  As far as portable stands go, I had only previously used the Feedback Sports Pro-Elite Stand at another shop, and while I was impressed with the ease of use of its unique clamp and its light weight, I kept tripping over its tripod base, so I knew I wanted a stand with legs sitting flat on the floor.

I turned to the Park PCS-9 stand, not only attracted by its low price, but because it offered reasonable portability, and well, it’s a Park product so I assumed it would be a high quality item given their stellar reputation.

The company’s product description for the PCS-9 indicates that the stand can hold up to 80 lbs. and its adjustable clamp allows you to clamp all kinds of tubing sizes – up to 3 inches in diameter and down to 7/8 inches.  With its simple 4 metal tubes it folds down to 41 inches in length.

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It took no time at all to assemble the stand.  In use, the low price point became obvious right away.   While it’s very nice to have the fully adjustable clamp, the sleeve in which it rotates consists of a fluted tube, with a molded plastic insert on the clamp side.  To rotate the clamp, you release the tension at the back on the top tube, turn the clamp and then tighten everything back down.

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That’s all fine and good, but if you need to work on even a normal weight bike, the force necessary to keep the clamp from moving under gravity will cause the molded plastic insert to embed itself into the fluted portion of the tube, and then the clamp cannot be moved at all, even with brute force.  This part of the mechanism really needs some kind of bushing or sleeve, to allow the clamp to rotate freely.  So, after tapping out the molded plastic piece several times, which required disassembly of the clamp, I lubricated the pieces with some chain oil, which has helped for now.

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The height adjustment sleeve has no quick release mechanism, so it is necessary to grab a hand tool every time you want to change the height.

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Portability is achieved by these freely swinging base legs, combined with the collapsible vertical tubes which allow for the stand to be quickly folded.  When folded for transport, the legs flop around unless you secure them.  As it turns out, a pant leg strap works perfectly for this task.

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Whoopsie!

However, if the stand is sitting empty, or with something light like a bike frame, it is very easy to bump the stand over, as the horizontal legs are held in place only by gravity.  Really, Park should have engineered some pins to keep these legs in place while the stand is in use.  I can remedy the problem by drilling some holes and inserting pins myself, which eventually I will probably do.  I will also rig up a quick release for the height adjustment clamp, and contemplate further what to do about the non-freely rotating clamp.

For it’s price point – about $140 – you might say that you get what you pay for.  On the other hand, I think it would be easy to address these problems during manufacturing, which would probably add at most only $25 to the price.  That would still make it highly price competitive with other similar products.  In its current state, I would hate to recommend it to anyone but an experienced mechanic who can work around its shortcomings.

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