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Derailleurless
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a little over 6 months of use on my Ultimate Pro Elite repair stand, and am presenting this "proper review" for all the info & pics I can't (or shouldn't) fit into the review section.



On my way to a friend's house to watch Superbowl XXXV I recall making a 90 mile detour to Cambria Bike to buy my first "real" stand - an Ultimate BRS-70 Consumer model. In the MTBR review I posted, I stated, "I've been working on bikes for (years) - upside-down bikes, bikes hanging on ropes rigged to the ceiling, bikes supported by milk crates, bikes leaning up against the wall, and bikes laying on the lawn. But - for the life of me - I don't know how I got along so long without a workstand."

I've been 100% satisfied with my Consumer model over the years - it has all the height adjustment, max bike weight and rotational capability of the Pro model - but this winter I came across a deal I couldn't pass up on what is essentially a Pro Elite. Specifically, the BRS-80 Pro tripod retrofitted with a Pro-Elite head.



The red-anodized Pro Elite tripod is similar to Ultimate's BRS-80 Pro model (in black or red), with the addition of a larger collar where the "adjustable height extension tube" (for lack of a better term) sticks out. Both improve on my trusty Consumer tripod, using heavy-guage 6063 cylindrical legs, quick release levers for height adjustment and leg extension, and have larger base diameters for greater stability. (The Consumer uses a combination of standard-guage 6063 aluminum and steel, and manages to be about four pounds lighter - 10.2 lbs. vs. 14.0 lbs. by my scale.)

Tip: Mount a bike in the stand, then use a wide, flat-blade screwdriver to adjust the quick release clamp tension so the stand *just holds* the bike without slipping... plus another quarter turn or so. This will ensure the quick release lever is easy to operate, and that the height adjustment works smoothly. Very much worth your time if you're trying to raise the workstand's height with a bike already mounted!



The geometric axiom any three points define a plane has been around longer than bicycle workstands, but Ultimate seems to be the first to have taken full advantage of it. No wonder the likes of Topeak, Pedro's and Park Tool are all copying it! I get the warm 'n fuzzies whenever I go to a concert and see an Ultimate stand supporting a 100 pound speaker, or attend a city council session and see an Ultimate microphone stand prominently in front of the dais.



The fact of it is, Ultimate's tripod design isn't just good on the garage floor - it's great on the uneven surfaces of the unimproved basement where I sometimes work, it's great at the campsite, it's great at the trail head, and it's great on the backyard lawn come bike wash day. As long as the surface is reasonably level, it does its job holding the bike stable without any back and forth rocking or instability.

Tip: Approximately align the workstand head with one of the three tripod legs. This provides maximum stability when a bike is mounted. The stand will lose some stability when the head is aligned between two legs.

Of course, the real reason behind this write-up is the Pro Elite head. This design is a marvel, and was the "hook" behind what drove me to finally upgrade from my Consumer.



Ultimate has taken "quick" to a whole new level, and, well... let's let the animation do the talking!!!



I was never wooed with Ultimate's Slide Lock head on their Pro stand (preferring the nicely weighted, quick-spinning 'T' handle of the Consumer). The Elite head, as you can see, is an entirely different story.

Press the clamp closed with light finger pressure (remember, you're holding a 30-40+ pound bike in your other hand!), and the clamp's luscious red lips gingerly close on the frame. A twist or two of the well-designed spinner knob seals the deal, and the bike is held firmly in place. These jaws will delicately handle tubing as large at 2.5" in diameter.

It didn't escape me that the jaws have been reduced to 3" in height - a touch more than one-half inch shorter than previous models - making it convenient to work on bikes with little exposed seatpost (Thudbuster users take note!).



When work is finished, release is a breeze. With one hand, supporting the weight of the bike just enough to unload the clamp, a firm press of the Pro Elite's release trigger sends the clamp flying open with gusto. Ziinnnngggg and presto, a quarter second later the bike is free! No unscrewing of the spinner knob is required. Talking to the Ultimate rep about it at Sea Otter in '05, I was informed the clamp had been through 75,000 cycles before the tester either got bored or lost count or found something more interesting to do - roughly equating it to 8 years of daily use in a bike shop.

The stand is stout enough to withstand the forces of bottom bracket and headset cup removal, and in fact the increased tripod base diameter is noticeable in greater stability. As with the Consumer model, the Pro Elite head is capable of holding some pretty odd angles through 360° of rotation. This is great for getting the ass-end of the frame up in the air for some disc brake work, or getting the business end of the head tube facing full-forward for a steering damper installation.

The "clutch" that allows this is a simple roller bearing sandwich. This allows easy rotation to occur without the clutch tightening (or loosening) on itself, and when the "screws are turned" - so to speak - the bike is held securely at whatever weird angle one desires. In fact, the stand is rated at 85 pounds, is tandem rated, and I've heard a story of a fella working on his Vespa scooter clamped in a Pro model stand. My heaviest bike is 35 pounds, but I've seen this standing handling 45+ DH rigs with ease in the race pits.

Tip: a couple drops of Tri-Flow do wonders for the health of these clutches! Especially if it is slipping!



Probably not a big deal, but I was pleased to see the head "mounting plate" has been redesigned. I'm not sure I can adequately describe the interface between the head and the tripod, but the version on the Consumer and Pro (right) had interlocking edges which I treated delicately, for fear of spalling, when folding down or erecting the stand. The new Elite mount plate / interface (silver, left) replaces the interlocking parts with a flat surface, and has the appearance of being less of a concern. Note that I never had an actual problem with this interface on the Consumer stand, but I did always treat it with care!



The stand folds down rather compactly. In the past I've compared these beasts to camera tripods on steroids, and I'm not far off the mark. Here are the Pro and Consumer tripods side-by-side (note the shorter legs of the Consumer). Very easy to stash out of the way at home, or in the trunk of the car if necessary.



Of course, a work stand calls for tools, and it bears mentioning that Ultimate has a nifty tool tray which I've had the pleasure of using for a while. Nifty? For one, it's fairly deep, and does a good job of holding miscellaneous small parts, even if knocked around a bit. Further, it's quickly detachable, meaning it's there when needed and out of the way when the stand needs to be folded down or moved. It's even got separate compartments, one with a drain plug for parts washing, and another with a cutout for a coffee mug (or a bottle of Rogue Dead Guy Ale, as the case may be). Like I said, Nifty!



I've got two criticisms of the Pro tripod, neither of which were problems with my Consumer version. Most noteworthy is the tripod legs can be a bit "sticky" to extend when fully folded. I've resorted to turning the stand upside-down, and pulling two legs apart like a chicken's wishbone. If I store the stand with the legs slightly askew, this doesn't tend to be a problem, as I can easily press down on the sliding collar where the three legs meet. Secondly, I'm a little disappointed that the screws which fasten the tripod leg braces to the bottom of the stand quickly developed surface oxidation. A integral part of any home repair stand is bike washes, and these fasteners, unfortunately, didn't meet the challenge. Much like the heads of brake & shift levers that develop a slight coating of rust, I expect this is cosmetic only and doesn't affect the integrity of the assembly.

Enough words -- I'm tapped! Either stand, a solid choice. While I'll continue to recommend the BRS-70 Consumer as a excellent value stand that really doesn't lack any meaningful "frills", the spendier Pro-Elite has that "gee whiz" appeal backed by a worthy functional aspect to take advantage of every time a bike is mounted. It truly is a matter of spending priorities. The only cautionary advice I offer is that, in theory, the heavier-guage tubing of the Pro models should withstand a touch more abuse. But again, I've had no issues with the lighter-guage, lighter-weight Consumer to speak of. Wrench your heart out!
 

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Great write up, very informative. Where did you buy yours and for how much if you don't mind me asking? I've been considering an upgrade in the workstand department. Hmmm, now where did I put that credit card............
 

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The Uber Carnivore
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I just got one...it's awesome!

The Ultimate stand I bought about a dozen years ago finally broke after innumberable races and road trips, and 194,547 bike washes.

I replaced it with the red anodized model from REI. I can't believe all the upgrades in the new version. The old one was a five star product, and the new one is even better.
 

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Gotta agree

I bought an Ultimate Pro Elite for my birthday last year and I am extremely pleased. I have no regrets about spending the extra bling for this stand. If your willing to pay $150 or more for a repair stand, don't go half way and be dissapointed. Get the Ultimate.
 

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Derailleurless
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
HJB said:
Where did you buy yours and for how much if you don't mind me asking?
I don't want to set any unrealistic expectations nor divert business from your normal bike-related resources, but let's just say that an REI 20% coupon in-hand, plus a bit of patience and/or luck waiting for the right sale price to come along, nets all kinds of great prices. :D
 

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Great review. I have the BRS-50R Recreational Repair Stand and have been very happy with it. Granted, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the Pro Elite, but for about $70 it was a steal. The head is the same as the consumer model, just no height adjustment. Ultimate definitely makes great products.
 

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Hey, thanks for the great write-up. Complete with animation, no less!!! This should *finally* be the year I can pick up a stand and I've been eyeing the Ultimates already. You just helped confirm my choice.
 

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Bikeoholic
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Well you conviced me to get the pro elite over the ultra lite with a difference in price of $40.00 its worth it for the ease of clamping. So the pro elite stand with a pro truing stand and maybe a tool tray are the top things on my X-mas list this year.

-P
 

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Sweep the leg!
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I've had my Ultimate, "Wrench Force" branded, for 9 years now and have never been unhappy with it. If I had the tool tray like you've shown I would install an insulated beer holder. It would keep the sweat of the bottle off the tools as well as keeping the beer cool.
 

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MTB Rider
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Speedhub Nate said:
The geometric axiom any three points define a plane has been around longer than bicycle workstands, but Ultimate seems to be the first to have taken full advantage of it. No wonder the likes of Topeak, Pedro's and Park Tool are all copying it! I get the warm 'n fuzzies whenever I go to a concert and see an Ultimate stand supporting a 100 pound speaker, or attend a city council session and see an Ultimate microphone stand prominently in front of the dais.


A nitpick, 3 lines only define a unique plane of they are not collinear. In that case, they define and uncountably infinite number of planes.

I agree, the tripod design of stand is clearly superior as the stability can be described as the effective area of base. The triangle gives you the most bang for your buck in this department. I'm using the Performance branded Topeak stand (thought it's doubtful Topeak manufactures this) and I'm very happy with it.

 

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Derailleurless
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Since this review thread (and its companion thread, in the Tooltime forum) have been resurrected, I'll add the following comments:

It's been 18 months since I posted this review, and my Ultimate Pro Elite has been going strong, no problems whatsoever.

Today was the first day I wrenched on our newly acquired tandem bike, a 45-pound behemoth. Not a flich of protest from the workstand, even with alternately the front, then rear, wheel removed.

Sure would be nice if Ultimate could build in a hydraulic, pneumatic or jack-screw type lifting device for some heavyweight assist (at no additional charge, of course :) ), but the bike is amazingly balanced hanging from the captain's seat post.

I'm still thrilled to own such a great work stand!

 

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I will ring in and say that i have been using the same stand for over 6 years now. It is the one with the knob for adjusting the clamps not the handle like the newer ones. I have used it at races, rides and wrenching. It has been stored outside in the AZ desert since I bought it. It has never had a broken part nor has it dropped a bike. It has held thin tubed road bikes and 38lbs freeride bikes as I have worked on them. It is a great platform for fork rebuilding and disc bleeding including having aforementioned FR bike vertical as I bled the rear caliper multiple times without a hitch.

2 big thumbs up from me on this one.
 

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I need a new name
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I have the BRS-70 workstand and have been very pleased with it. I agree that it is a great bang for your buck stand. I did have one problem with it when the height adjustment clamp broke. A quick email to Ultimate and they were shipping the parts to me free of charge. When the part arrived it wasn't just the clamp, it was the entire workstand minus the clamp head. In a time where it seems everyone is complaining about customer service, Ultimate really did a great job at it.
 

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Speedub.Nate said:
I'm still thrilled to own such a great work stand!
Hi Nate,

Nice to see this thread resurface. You write some of the best reviews on here. But you forgot to mention the other uses Ultimate Stands have. For instance, I used two during a block party this summer to hold up a tarp over our food on a 102 degree day. Also, I used a stand to help brine my turkey for thanksgiving (turkey had to be submerged in Brine water for 24 hours) and the stand held the brine bag by a bungee and worked perfectly. Then there is the camp lantern holder, clothes dryer, etc etc etc...

I have some pretty cool stands I made over the years I worked there I should take pics of and post for you guys. If you notice the one towards the back in the pic below is a dual-headed stand which telescopes to over 8 feet.

Brett
 

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Derailleurless
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
2melow said:
...you forgot to mention the other uses Ultimate Stands have. For instance, I used two during a block party this summer to hold up a tarp over our food on a 102 degree day. Also, I used a stand to hold brine my turkey for thanksgiving ...
Ah, yes, Brett! How could I have forgotten such an important point.

(1) light stand for eBay photos

(2) adjustable height leash holder for dog grooming (and rotating the head takes up slack in the leash)

(3) emergency patio umbrella holder

What am I forgetting?
 

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govt kontrakt projkt mgr
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It holds a lantern nicely at overnight racing events

Speedub.Nate said:
Ah, yes, Brett! How could I have forgotten such an important point.

(1) light stand for eBay photos

(2) adjustable height leash holder for dog grooming (and rotating the head takes up slack in the leash)

(3) emergency patio umbrella holder

What am I forgetting?
 

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Speedub.Nate said:
What am I forgetting?
Soft Box lighting holder.

Here is my "Rasta" Pro Elite stand - only 25 were made. Those reading and like the idea should ask Ultimate to bring it back. It was never sold and run for promotion only.

Next is a custom "Red, White (silver) and Blue stand. This is my son's favorite stand. The Tooltray is so money - you can fill up the was basin and fill it with warm soapy water for cleaning. When my hose is frozen solid I put a shot of soap in it - driven to the coin-op car wash and set the stand up in the car wash bay. Pull the drain plug and the water flows out the bottom. Fill with simple gren and you have a wash basin and easy way to re-use the cleaner if it isn't too dirty by putting the container back under the drain plug.

It also holds a 6-pack of beer with ice for those 24 hour events.

The stand holding the soft box is a totally custom polished stand, with a gold anodized "pro classic" head and solid 6065 machined end. Basically it's the head Ultimate use to make to go into the commercial Park stands. It's solid. I've got another one just like it bolted to the ceiling 3 feet away from my workbench.
 

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