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By Janet Lafleur

About this blog: My love affair with the bicycle began with a crush on my first red tricycle that I pedaled in circles on the driveway. The crush grew into full-blown passion when my dad threw Stingray handlebars and a banana seat on my older sist...  (More)

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Standing Tall with Kickstands

Uploaded: Mar 28, 2014
The lowly kickstand is the Rodney Dangerfield of bike parts. It doesn't get no respect. "A kickstand? Why would you want a kickstand?" I've heard that more times that I care to recall from bike shop workers, bike manufacturers and self-proclaimed avid cyclists. Prejudice against kickstands is a rare thing that roadies and mountain bikers agree on.

The anti-kickstand sentiment is not completely unfounded. On bikes designed for performance, not carrying gear, a kickstand's benefits are outweighed by the cost of carrying the extra weight or the risk of frame damage by clamping a kickstand on bike frames made with lightweight tubing.

But kickstands are useful, even necessary, for certain bikes and certain situations. My rule of thumb is that for any bike with a basket or a rack for carrying a load, a kickstand is highly desirable, if not required. And for any "around town" errand bike where you'll be stopping, locking up wherever you can, and then heading off to another stop, a kickstand is a very useful. The shorter the trip and the more you carry, the more a kickstand comes in handy and the less the weight matters.

I have kickstands on all my bikes that have racks and I can't imagine how awkward loading and unloading groceries and other purchases would be without them. Since only one of my bikes was purchased with a kickstand, I had to research and decide on which kickstand was right for each bike. They're not all the same.

Standard Single Leg Kickstand

This classic design represents probably 90% of the kickstands in use worldwide. It attaches to the frame between the chain stays just behind the bottom bracket and flips up by simply straightening the bike and kicking it back. I originally had one my errand bike, until I wore it out from overloading my bike with too many groceries.

* Available almost anywhere for less than $10.
* Some models have an adjustable length shaft so you don't have to cut it to fit your bike.

* Does not fit some bikes, especially performance road bikes, that don't have space between the bottom bracket and the wheel for the mounting bracket.
* Obstructs the pedals when down, which isn't an issue until you roll your bike backwards, say in the garage or parking area.

Chainstay Single Leg Kickstand

Instead of mounting behind the bottom bracket, this kickstand mounts near the rear axle. I originally got this kickstand for my old steel road bike since it doesn't have space for a standard kickstand's mounting bracket. We also installed them on our touring bikes to handle a heavy load on the rear rack.


* Works on bikes that don't have room behind the bottom bracket for the mounting bracket.
* Does not obstruct pedals in down position.
* Costs about $20. More than the standard kickstand, but still pretty cheap.

* Harder to find, and only available in black.
* A heavier load in the rear of the bike can make the front end swing around.
* The way it sticks out in the up position is not subtle.

Double Leg Centerstand

More commonly found on motorcycles, this kickstand leans the bike fore and aft vs. leaning to one side. The two legs fold neatly to one side when not supporting the bike like the standard kickstand. I installed a centerstand on my Dutch bike due to its portly size. I liked it so much I installed another one on my errand bike after I wore out her original kickstand by carrying too many heavy groceries.

* Supports heavier bikes and heavier loads.
* The bike remains upright, which makes it easier to load.
* Even your friends that would never own a bike with a kickstand will think it's cool.

* More expensive. About $50 for the Pletscher ESGE model shown here.
* Load must be evenly distributed left to right or it will tip over.
* With more weight in the back, the front wheel flops into the frame unless you have a wheel stabilizer.

The UpStand

When it's holding up the bike, the UpStand looks similar to a chainstay mounted kickstand. But instead of kicking it away to start rolling, you remove the carbon-fiber stand from its tiny attachment tab installed on the rear wheel's skewer, gently tugging to release the tiny magnet that holds it in place. The stand is shock-corded like a backpacking tent pole, so you can fold it and put it in a pocket or bag for the ride.

* Extremely lightweight at 40 grams total (15 grams for the attachment tab, 25 grams for the stand)
* The stand removes completely when not in use, leaving the attachment tab nearly invisible.
* Surprisingly stable, as long as you align the attachment tab at the proper 90 degrees.

* It's not particularly cheap (about $1 a gram). But nothing carbon on a road bike is cheap, is it?
* The stand folds up to half its length, but you still have to stow it somewhere.
* Some of the kickstand convenience is lost when you have to dig the stand out of your pocket or seat bag.

Do you have kickstands on any of your bikes? If yes, which type works for you? If not, when would you consider installing a kickstand?

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Posted by Warner, a resident of Shoreline West,
on Mar 28, 2014 at 2:58 pm

The UpStand looks like a pretty cool solution for my rain road bike. I often ride it downtown to meet friends for lunch or a beer and its lightweight is bearable. However, what I really find lacking is bike racks in downtown MV.A kickstand isn't enough, I really need to lock my bike to something. I

Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor,
on Mar 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Warner I hear you about the availability of bike racks downtown. Even on rainy nights I've had trouble finding one near where I was shopping/eating. But a little bird told me that new racks are going in very very soon.

Posted by Samantha, a resident of another community,
on Mar 28, 2014 at 4:49 pm

I have a Dutch bike and am a big fan of the double-kickstand. I've never seen one like yours that folds to one side, but that's a cool idea idea.

I have had either M-Wave brand or Hebie double-legged kickstands. I'm gone through a couple not because of poor quality, but because I'm hard on my bike and put it up on the stand under heavy load. I will say that with these stands I can pull off one pannier and not worry about it tipping over unless the other pannier is super heavy. I think that may be more a function of my bike though, as we have a big Yuba Mundo cargo bike with a motorcycle-grade double-kickstand, and we have to hold onto the bike as we unload (though loads are often 100+ pounds).

I do have some photos of this kickstand when I had to replace it, if you are interested (it's a blog post i wrote a couple of years ago). Web Link

Posted by Jenn B, a resident of Whisman Station,
on Mar 28, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I have always had a kickstand on my bikes, starting with my childhood ones. My favorite is the monster double on my Madsen cargo bike. It's so stable that my kids can climb in without me holding the bike. I'm considering a single-girl city bike for times when I don't need the great huge minivan bike. I can guarantee you that it will have a solid kickstand for days when I go into MV for a haircut and come home with groceries and library books.

Posted by Lean on me, a resident of Bailey Park,
on Mar 29, 2014 at 6:24 am

My kickstand is my rear tire. I'm always amazed at how many people try to lean their bikes against something by resting the frame, seat or handlebars against the object. Most of the time it involves the bike rolling or falling since the wheels are still free to roll. Next time you want to lean your bike up and you don't have a kick-stand, lean the side of the rear tire against the object as the primary contact point
You'll be amazed at how stable your bike is as it stays in one place and doesn't try to roll/fall because the wheel is not free to roll.

Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor,
on Mar 29, 2014 at 8:06 am

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Jenn B & Samantha I had never seen a double legged stand until a couple of years ago and I'm a big fan. More stable than the leaning ones and it's easier to load a bike that's perfectly upright.

@Lean on me Resting the tire vs the bikes frame is a good tip. I've done it with my road and mountain bikes that don't have kickstands. I'm not particularly sensitive to scratches on my errand bikes, but my husband is. It's one thing that made him very happy after he added a basic kickstand to his singlespeed bike: no scratches.

Posted by Zeaphod, a resident of Monta Loma,
on Mar 29, 2014 at 3:57 pm

I stuff my UpStand strut between the water bottle cage and frame. Keeps it handy.

Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor,
on Mar 30, 2014 at 9:40 am

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@zeaphod How do you keep the UpStand leg from falling off when you stuff it? Do you wrap its velcro around the water bottle cage?

Posted by Garrett83, a resident of another community,
on Mar 31, 2014 at 11:55 am

Garrett83 is a registered user.

I like the idea of the double kick stand.

Posted by Elaine, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm

I miss kickstands. They're so useful! Had to give them up with my first road bike because 'no one has a kickstand'. :-(

Posted by Aussiehendo, a resident of another community,
on Jun 15, 2016 at 10:53 am

The Upstand now comes in a non foldable, single piece, and a clip holder that lives behind water bottle...brilliant! Always and easily available and barely noticeable on my road bike. I've been asked by an observant passing roadie "whats that?". "My whip", I replied "when I want to go faster!" When in use the stand fits to a to a pin which is put on the QR skewer so unfortunately does not fit to a MTB with the thick axle & no QR skewer. So I'm looking for something as effective & "cool" for the MTB. Such is prejudice against such a practical item!

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