I want to do some maintenance on the rear derailleur of my bike and I want to have the rear wheel lifted off the ground to be able to rotate the pedals to switch gears while doing adjustments.

I'm looking for a hack, so I don't need to go somewhere to hang my bike or buy a work-stand like shown on the photo below.

In this case I have the gear shifter round the steer with he indicator facing upwards, see photo below. Putting the bike upside down makes it hard to shift gears and I cannot read the gear position from the indicator.

So, putting it upside down is not the answer for me.

To nail it down more: I want to lift the rear axis of my bike, block the wheels, keep it stable and be able to rotate the pedals.


11 Answers 11


When I mend a puncture or do maintenance work on the chain, I just put my bike upside down. I do have a rather broad saddle; a racing bike might be a bit too unstable to stand still on its own. Still, you should have some other (moderately heavy) items lying around to stabilize the bike, e.g. by preventing the frame to move to either side.

  • I was thinking the same thing, but would that still allow switching gears easily? Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 2:30
  • If you use levers to switch gears, it's just a matter of remembering/figuring out which ones do what (for some reason I can't remember the orientation). It might be more difficult if you need to rotate one of the steer handles.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 6:45
  • Another downside, some parts of the transmission will change their response if gravity were reversed. Subtle fine adjusts like gear alignment might work well upside down and then be subtly off when right-side up.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 18:46

Can't make a STAND? … Make a HANG.
(Forgive me. I can't help myself)

IF (big if) you have conveniently located doors, shelf units, or even a couple of hi-back chairs, you might be able to use these to support something stretched between them.

In a perfect world, you would tightly attach the bike top-tube to a pole, pipe, or 2X4 timber that would extend beyond the front and back enough to bridge the gap between the supports with the bike "hung" between them.

"C" clamps or duct/"Gorilla™" tape can be used to steady the "assembly" enough to get you through your project.

Good luck.


Turning it upside-down is by far the easiest and hackiest solution.

For reasons I can't recall now, I once needed to have the bike the right way up when working on it and I made a temporary stand out of some pieces of wood. I can't even remember which part of the bike i supported with the wood, but I assume it must have been the crank (under pedals).

Obviously, this is only a hack if you happen to have the tools and the skills to quickly do it - as I do, but if you cut a "V" from the end of a piece of wood and then screw it into the middle of a flat piece (the other end from the "V") the "V" will accomodate a range of sizes of a circular part.


I have a bike rack for carrying the bike on the car. Mine holds 3 or 4 bikes.

If I put the bike on this in the farthest out position it works to hold the bike off the ground and leaves room for the pedals to turn.

  • I have a (home made) work/storage stand and still sometimes use the rack on the back of my van - especially for the tandem which is too heavy and unbalanced for the stand
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 16:04

Assuming your bike is a road one like pictured:

  • Use the quick release to remove the front wheel

  • Unhook the rear brakes so that pressing the brake levers has no effect

  • Pick the bike up and rotate it 90 degrees so that it points downwards witht he handlebars near the floor

  • Place the handlebars and empty front forks on the floor, close to a wall

  • Lean the back end of the bike on the wall, or if you need to turn the pedal, pull the bike away from the wall (it should be close enough that it is nearly vertical to remain stable in a leaning position, but at this closeness the pedal will likely catch on the wall when rotated) with one hand and hold it steady while turning the pedals with another

  • You might be able to find something like an empty shelf where you can use a short bungee cord from the back of the shelf, around part of the frame near the back wheel and back to the rear of the shelf, which will assist in holding your bike vertical, still allow pedal rotation

  • You might also like to place something heavy on the handlebars to help keep them where they are

The fact that your bike isn't upside down means you can still read the gear indicators


If turning the bike upside down is not helpful, consider one / some of the following:

  • ask somebody to raise the rear wheel (tilting the bike) until you do the adjustments;

  • if you work inside (as opposed to working under the clear sky), "hang" the rear part of the bike using some rope, using a support high enough. Even a light fixture should do it, as long as you can attach the rope to it. You can attach the rope to the seat of the bike, or any element in the rear of the bike;

  • use one or two pieces of strong-enough rectangular boards; lay the rear-axle on the said boards. Hopefully, the wheel will still rotate. One of the boards might be replaced by the wall;

  • eventually, you can use a box on the left side (under the arm supporting the axle of the wheel), lean the right side of the bike against a wall / fence.

When I was a child I had a bicycle. Although I did not repair it in the common sense of the word, I needed to "things" to it occasionally. Special supports were obviously out-of-the-question. It was very easy to just turn in upside down, do whatever needed to be done, and put it back on the wheels at the end.

The most trouble was with the chain, which would slip and was occasionally difficult to lay it back properly.

The stability of the "turned" bike is given mostly by the width (length?) of the handles. The bigger, the better. They actually form a triangle with the seat. Ideally, the seat is not thin and rounded - in that case the stability might suffer.

My bike was the most simple one, with no gears and no breaks (I would press the pedals the opposite way for breaking). I had exactly the same issue, because re-laying the the chain required rotating the pedals, to rotate the wheels in the process.

enter image description here

  • This picture of turning a bike upside down is a great way to ruin your speedometer display, if the handlebar is a flat or drop bar. This kind of handlebar with ends raised obviously avoids the speedometer damage.
    – juhist
    Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 12:39
  • Not thinking what you are doing (and before doing) is even greater way to ruin everything. So what is your point?
    – virolino
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 6:48

Forgive the poor picture, however depending on your furniture layout and type, you may be able to use 2x "dinning room" chairs and a broom stick or similar to lift the rear of bike frame from the floor.

Set the 2 Chairs / other pieces of furniture, on either side of your bike, run a broom handle or similar through your bike frame and rest on both chairs.

BikeFrame Broomhandle

Apologies.. my answer mirrors another answer earlier who suggested a "Hang"


I had a need to fix bikes at local popup-fixup events. But to still be mobile, I carried all my tools on a bike trailer.

Not owning a stand was awkward, so instead of spending big money on a good one, or accepting a janky cheap stand, I made this:

Own work

Its a cheap kid's trailer, and a main beam that has two pipes underneath. Those pipes slotted into the handlebar's plastic brackets, so later I swapped those out for two steel seat posts I'd cut out of old steel frames.

The front wheel has to come off, and the front forks are held on to a length of threadded rod (allthread) with two nuts and a lot of washers, to allow forks of different styles and widths. Note this probably won't work well with front through-axles, but bolt-on and QR axles work fine. However tweaking front brakes has to be done off the stand.

The rear of the bike is cantilevered out the left-side of the trailer. This lets the drive train spin while its on the stand, necessary for fixing and tuning gears. An odd-shaped bike might not fit very well, and a heavy bike might cause some imbalance, so I leave my heavy spares boxes in the trailer. I also use a couple of buckets to take the weight off the tyres, and the drawbar is tied off to something immobile ideally.

Own work

  • 1
    As soon as I saw the photo I guessed whose this was!
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 16:05

Get a piece of rope about 1.5m long and tie an 'S' hook onto each end. Use the S-hooks to loop onto the bike's saddle and handlebars and suspend the bike from the rods on the rear of an up-and-over garage door (or something similar). Works a treat and places the bike at a comfortable height to work on it.


Depending on where you are in the world, your nearest city may have public fixup stations, like this:

enter image description here

These hold most bikes, and have a small selection of essential tools and an air pump.

Further information https://www.campfirecycling.com/blog/2012/04/15/the-fixit-public-bike-repair-stand-there-when-you-need-it-maybe

If you don't have anything like this, a jungle gym at the local park, or a convenient tree branch could be a substitute (though you'll need your own tools and pump)


That's easy.

Add a rear kickstand to your bike. These bolt to the chainstay, and you can find models that fit to bikes that don't even have dedicated kickstand mounts.

Then when you want to adjust your rear derailleur, tilt the bike slightly towards the kickstand. Then the kickstand makes the rear wheel rise from the ground, and all it takes is very minimal force to keep it that way. Then you can rotate the pedals with rear wheel off the ground and see if the performed adjustment to rear derailleur screw did the desired change.

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