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Well this is a niche product if there ever was one, but if you fit in that niche, it’s a product you likely didn’t even realize you were waiting for.
The ShadowStand is essentially a triangular-shaped piece of clear acrylic that’s used to prop up your bike for photos. A small semicircular cutout at the top is designed to cradle your bike, while the serrated base is intended to provide somewhat more stable footing to keep the whole thing from rolling away.
Two models are available. The standard ShadowStand is meant to support the bike by a pedal and is intentionally small enough to fit in a jersey pocket (although I’m unsure of the wisdom of carrying a relatively sharp and stout chunk of acrylic right next to your body), while the Photographer’s Stand is substantially larger and supports the bike at the bottom bracket so that you can leave your crankarms level for a more aesthetically pleasing image.
The company even offers customization with your name or company logo, for example, which is kind of ironic given that this isn’t really supposed to show up in your pictures at all. ShadowStand is also using Green Cast 100% recycled acrylic for both models, and the simple packaging is made of recycled card stock, too.
Nevertheless, if all of this sounds a little silly, that’s because it kind of is — unless, of course, you’re really into the idea of getting a clean image or are actually in the business of doing so (like me). Perhaps more importantly, both versions work as advertised. While getting the bikes set up can be a little tricky depending on the bike and setting, the ShadowStand and Photographer’s Stand almost completely disappear in the final photo, leaving nothing but your lovely machine to catch your eye instead of some random stick you found in the surrounding underbrush.
As is always the case though, there’s room for improvement.
I’d prefer that the company used a V-notch up top instead of a semi-circular cutout since that would better accommodate a wider variety of pedal spindles and cranksets. I’d also like to see just a little more length added to the Photographer’s Stand. Most road and gravel bikes I tried worked well enough, but mountain bikes were pretty much out of the question, and that tiny bit of extra triangulation would make for a more stable setup across the board.
Lastly, it’s hard not to notice that this feels rather expensive for a chunk of fancy plastic. Retail price for the standard version is €17, while the Photographer’s Stand is €25.
Does that sound like too much? Maybe it is. But ask yourself this: what price would you put on that elusive, perfect photo?
Weight: Get real; no one cares.
Price: €17 (standard ShadowStand); €25 (Photographer’s Stand)
More information: www.shadowstand.com
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