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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
(REVIEW) Ultimate Pro Elite Repair Stand

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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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
bike_freak said:
Yet again Nate - AN AWESOME review!!! Very nicely written and great pictures.

I am also an ultimate fan.. i have the Pro workstand, the wheel trueing stand and the tool tray, I LOVE mine!:)
Thank you, gentlemen.

I should add that, regarding the Ultimate tool tray, it is wildly convenient that before I embark on an especially violent or messy task, I can quickly whisk it out of harms way.

Great examples would be smacking out a headset cup, or drilling a cable stop, two tasks which would alternately bounce half my allen wrenches on to the floor or coat them with tiny aluminum chips.

A guilty pleasure is their useful-yet-geeky handlebar holder.

Of course, neither of these is specific to any of the Ultimate workstands, and could just as easily be used with other brands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
TrekFan said:
EDIT: sweet jesus! $250?!?!

that's a great stand, but at that price its probably overkill for a consumer level stand...
As I mentioned in my closing thoughts, the price is something each person will have to justify. Ultimate's BRS-70 Consumer, at around $100 on sale, is in my opinion the best bang-for-the-buck workstand available today.

Most mechanics -- home garage or Pro -- look at their tools as a lifetime investment, and we all know that quality costs. Sure, there's always a compromise as to what is "good enough" in order to save a few bucks: that's the reason I have Craftsman sockets instead of Mac or Snap-On, a Ryobi cordless drill instead of a Makita or DeWalt, and why I initially bought a Ultimate Consumer workstand vs. their Pro model.

In this instance, I feel the extra durability of the Pro heavy-gauge tripod tubing, and the neat bells-and-whistles of the Pro-Elite head, justify the extra expense.
 

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so how would you compare the brs-80 (the "pro" stand, i believe) to the two mentioned here. obviously from this review we know that the pro elite is amazing, and there are a great many glowing reviews of the consumer brs-70 as well. i don't hear much mention of the middle model, the brs-80 though. any experience with it?
 

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TrekFan said:
so how would you compare the brs-80 (the "pro" stand, i believe) to the two mentioned here. obviously from this review we know that the pro elite is amazing, and there are a great many glowing reviews of the consumer brs-70 as well. i don't hear much mention of the middle model, the brs-80 though. any experience with it?
I think the tripods are identical but the head unit is another story. The non-elite Pro model is easy to close and clamp onto a frame and operates identical to the Elite model but the real difference is in the release. If you have the bike level the front is usually heavier so when you are opening the clamp it will tilt forward and apply pressure to the front of the jaws not allowing the "quick" release slide to operate and you are twisting the knob till the seatpost is nearly clear before the "quick" release releases. With the Elite Pro you just push the red button and the bike falls free, no struggling trying to hold the bike at the right angle no twisting of the knob, just push the red button.

The REI Outlet blow out of black BRS-80 was too hard for me to pass on though.
 

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Has anyone used the Ultimate trueing stand attachment and how well does it work? I have the Ultimate pro elite and just wondering if the trueing stand is worth getting. If it works well it will pay for itself in a few uses, I can also get it at dealer cost so its almost a no brainer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, but although is can be used as an attachment to the Pro tripods, don't think of it as such -- it comes with a heavy weighted base and does great as a stand-alone unit.

I've been using mine for two years, and while not a full-blown review, a year ago I posted my thoughts in the following thread:
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=113641

Lots of other stuff written about it on these forum that'll pop up using the search function.
 

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Too bad! I've already got my Topeak Prepstand Elite... Bummers! Shouldav seen this one before! LoL!!!

Anyone up for grabs for a month old Elite? So, I could buy this one!!! It's way cooler! NO brainer!
 

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Is the head of the Ultimate Pro Elite Repair Stand the same as the Pro Elite Commercial Clamp? I'd like to be able to us the clamp in a Park's commercial stand when I'm wrenching at home and in Ultimate's tripod stand when I'm on the road.
 

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Yes, other than the fact it has a male end to go into the Park Commercial stands.

Same functions as the Pro Elite Tripod stands.

Regards,

Brett @ Ultimate
 

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2melow said:
...other than the fact it has a male end to go into the Park Commercial stands...
Brett, I understand that they operate the same. My specific question is, sorry I wasn't clearer, can I take the head that comes with the Elite Tripod Workstand and use it in Park Commercial Workstand and vice versa. From your response I gather that because it doesn't have the "male end" the answer would be "no" unless that part is something that can easily be taken on and off depending on which stand I'm using it in. Can you clarify this? Thanks, Crash.
 

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I see - not without having to swap the rear end which would be a major PITA and requiring you to drive the roll pin of the portable out and swapping the rear of the commercial each time.

It can be done though...shoot me an email and I might be able to help you out.
[email protected]
 

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This thread is linked from the Ultimate website, so I'll just add to it. They've got fantastic customer service. I received a new wheel truing stand today but a small part had been damanged in transit. Rather than go to the effort of returning the whole stand to the vendor I called Ultimate and they're shipping the replacement part out to me today :thumbsup:
 
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