The Best Bike Tools You’ve Never Heard Of: A Profile of Brett Flemming and Efficient Velo Tools

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Efficient Velo Tools’ Brett Flemming makes parts for his pro bike shop tools on a series of vintage machine tools, including this circa 1942 Rivett 1020 Toolroom Lathe. Photo by Bob Huff.

Watching Brett Flemming lift a 35-pound bike to eye level with one hand then spin it effortlessly into position calls to mind the way a beefy male cheerleader might toss and twirl his female counterpart during halftime at a college football game. Unlike pom-pom boy, however, Flemming’s arms fall more in the “I ride a bike, look at my legs” category. Rather than using upper body brawn to manage the heft, he relies on the mechanical advantage of E-Z Lift, a workstand from his aptly-named company, Efficient Velo Tools.

With minimal effort, the counterweight-assisted stand can raise a bike from the floor to seven feet in the air while dispensing with the awkward hoist-the-bike-with-one-hand-and-adjust-the clamp-with-the-other bit. Between the bike and stand is another EVT product–the Right Arm Repair Clamp–which rotates to any angle so mechanics can easily and comfortably get to every nook-and-cranny of a bike. Need to inspect the bottom bracket? No problem, just flick a lever, push the bike up, and walk under it. Can’t see where a disc rotor is rubbing against a pad? Lift the bike up a bit, rotate to eye-level and give the wheel a spin.

The Right Arm features a leather-padded jaw that firmly clamps a bike by its seatpost without the need for a rag as shim or finish protector. At just two inches tall, the clamping interface is small enough to grab most seatposts without needing to alter seat height–a common but less-than-ideal practice. It’s also designed to dissuade what Flemming says is a no-no–clamping on the frame itself which can mar the finish, or worse, crush delicate carbon and aluminum tubing.

Video: EVT Founder and Owner Brett Flemming demonstrates the E-Z Lift Work Stand and Right Arm Repair Clamp.

The arm’s offset design also allows the bike to rotate in a smaller circle than traditional on-axis designs, helping to keep the work area tight, and the work itself, well, efficient. It also parallels Flemming’s worldview.

“EVT tools are designed to make the mechanic’s life better and make the shop more efficient,” explains Flemming. “Even small improvements can have a big net effect on efficiency because mechanics tend to do many of the same tasks over and over.”

EVT’s $354 Right Arm Repair Clamp holds bikes firmly but gently and is compatible with both EVT and Park Tool PRS-series repair stands. Photo by Don Palermini.

Those improvements figure largely into Fleming’s design philosophy, as does their availability–or lack thereof–from other manufacturers. All the design features of the stand combo–the offset arm, the clamp jaws, the lift mechanism–represent something distinctly better, according to Flemming.

“Anything we decide to make at EVT needs to be a significant improvement over what’s currently on the market, or we don’t bother,” he says.

Continue reading for more with Brett Flemming and full photo gallery.

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About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born editorial director Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area and pedaling for Mtbr, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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