As dominant as Park Tool are in bicycle shops and hand tools, consumer-level portable repair stands haven't always been their forte. However, their latest PRS-25 Team Issue Repair Stand goes a long way towards bringing 'big blue' up to the level of other top competition.
The biggest improvement lies in the new Micro-Adjust clamp design, which finally offers true one-handed operation, unlike the PRS-15's far more cumbersome Extreme Range head. In addition, the new Micro-Adjust design offers lockable and infinitely adjustable 360-degree rotation, and it's compatible with an enormous range of tube sizes, from 23-76mm in diameter (aero tubes included).
The 70mm-long jaws are small enough to fit into tight spaces yet broad enough to yield a secure grip. Other features include a simple-yet-effective cam-type quick-release mechanism, and fine clamp force control that's equally adept at gently clamping thin-walled carbon fiber or producing true kung-fu grip for tougher jobs.
For more vertically challenged – or gifted – users, the clamp adjusts in height from 115-170cm (45-67in) and as always with Park, the thick rubber liners are replaceable when worn. Park don't list a maximum bike weight for the PRS-25 but we had few problems tackling freeride bikes weighing upwards of 18kg (40lb) – more than three times heavier than the stand itself – with good overall stability and a tolerable amount of sway.
The stand's aluminum tubing isn't as stiff or stable as a steel-framed shop-quality stand so it's still not the best option for heavy-duty jobs like seized bottom brackets and the like but the large-diameter, hex-shaped tube profiles are reasonably stout and also prevent unwanted rotation (though they prevent wanted rotation, too).
We actually found the PRS-25 to be most likely to tip when working on lightweight road or 'cross bikes. The triangular footprint measures a fairly generous 115x75cm and the canted main mast keeps the total bike-plus-stand weight centered where the legs are at their widest but with so little total mass on tap, an even broader base would be welcome. In addition, the plastic feet at the base of the main mast and ends of the legs aren't terribly grippy so the stand tends to slide around on slick surfaces and the nearly-flush lower leg profile still needs a relatively flat surface on which to rest.
Setup and teardown are huge improvements over the overwrought and clunky PRS-15, though still a step behind the best of the competition. A single quick-release lever releases and locks the conjoined twin flip-out legs in place, another lever secures the telescoping single mast, and the clamp mechanism inserts into the top of the stand with but a few simple turns of a knob – voilá, you're ready to run.
Folding everything back down is nearly as quick but the PRS-25's detachable head isn't as convenient as the best of the competition, like the fold-down design of Feedback Sports' Pro-Elite. It does securely affix to the rest of the stand, though, so at least it's not a fully separate piece to lug around. Even so, the 119cm-long total package still has more girth than we'd prefer.
Mechanics who frequently travel with their repair stands (or riders who have a habit of cracking out a stand trailside before a ride) might eventually get irritated with the separate pieces but home users who are mostly going to just fold up the legs and tuck the stand into a corner will definitely find this to be Park Tool's best consumer stand yet.
If you're so inclined, there's a range of optional add-on accessories, including a basic truing stand, tool tray and paper towel holder but unfortunately, none is included in the already-expensive US$325 asking price.