29 January, 2018

The Case For Kickstands

By Scott

Kickstands are something near and dear to the hearts of many city riders. The dirty looks you get from shop keepers when you lean your bike against a window or wall can be tough to take in a world where proper bike parking can be taxing to find.

A swath of properly kickstanded bikes in Zug, Switzerland
A solution to the dirty looks is a kickstand. Two VO frames, the Campeur and the upcoming Polyvalent, have kickstand plates welded in place to make installation a snap.

Just use the small allen head bolt that comes with our kickstands, instead of the long bolt. Remove the top part (put it in a safe place in case you want to use the kickstand later on a bike without a plate). Line up the kickstand with the underside of the kickstand plate, put the allen head bolt into the hole in the plate, and tighten up (it takes an 8 mm allen wrench FYI).

If your favorite urban roving bike does not have a kickstand plate, don't anguish. You can still install a kickstand on it. Both of our kickstand models come with a top plate and a longer bolt (a 14 mm wrench fits this nut) so you can put it on any steel bike. Note: Do not install a clamp-on kickstand on an aluminium or carbon fibre frame. You'll break the frame.

You want to install it between the bottom bracket and the chain stay bridge area. Put some tape or a cut up inner tube on the frame to protect the paint. Position the bottom part of the kickstand (the part with the legs attached) on the underside of the chain stays. Put the top clamp on the top of the chain stays. Insert the bolt through the top clamp and thread it into the bottom piece. Tighten the bolt until good and snug. There is no magic torque spec for this. It's a bit of a Goldilocks amount of pressure - not too loose and not too tight. You want it just right. Remember to check the tightness over time to ensure it does not loosen up at an inappropriate time/space/place.

The Copenhagen kickstand is the best if you have a rear cassette/freewheel. This kickstand has the legs both flip to the left (non drive) side, so the legs won't touch the chain.  The Porteur kickstand's legs flip up to be on either side of the tire and can clip the chain of a derailleur equipped bike. So it is better suited to IG/singlespeed hubs. Not much difference weight wise between the two - the Copenhagen weighs 1 lb 6 oz, the Porteur, 1 lb, 8 oz. For comparison, a fully filled VO water bottle weighs 1 lb 8 oz.

Are you a kickstand lover or hater? Let us know your deliberations on the issue of using a kickstand in the comments below.


Andy said...

I had a Pletscher two-leg on my previous bike, which was great for stabilizing it when I had the trailer on it. That bike had straight bars. My current main bike has drop bars, which I find much easier to lean on a wall (haven't noticed any dirty looks) in a stable manner, so no kickstand. I rarely wish I had one.

Of all my bikes, only my folding bike currently has one, since it came with one, and it has straight bars so is harder to lean on a wall.

anniebikes said...

Kickstand lover! I have kickstands on all 6 of my bicycles, from a folder, older 12 speed skinny-tired Peugeot to 80s mountain bikes to a Riv Clementine. Kickstand plates make installing kickstands so much easier. Bravo.

Neil Hodges said...

I love kickstands, even on drop-bar bikes.

I remember one ride many years ago on a Soma Saga Disc where the kickstand broke shortly after I left home—the weld had been slowly cracking for a long time at that point. After using a strap to hold the kickstand on the chainstay, I kept going. Boy, was stopping for photos or snacks out in the middle of nowhere a chore. The roads all had deep ditches on both sides, so there were no trees I could use for miles and miles. Also, picking the bike back up with its three heavy bags on it was very difficult with a lot of stumbling.

I don't fight with anyone about kickstands, but both my girlfriend and I love the ones on our bikes.

mike w. said...

i have seen far too many bikes with crushed chainstays from over-tightened kickstands. If the frame has a plate, fine, but i'd discourage customers from installing one on a regular frame.
The two-legged stands are okay for utility & town bikes -i've got the old Trygg bipod stands on my three speeds- but i'll never install a stand on any of my other bikes.
Also, a lot of damage is done to bikes that only have one-legged stands- they have an annoying tendency to fall over.

Anonymous said...

If you can't find something to lean the bike against - keep riding!

Kendra said...

I love two-legged kickstands. They make loading the bike so much easier. It’s also nice that the lift one wheel off the ground by just a bit. Being able to rotate the wheel to check for stuff stuck in the tire tread is nice. My current bikes don’t have this style kick stand, but I hope to have a bike that does again one day.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the top plate which came with the kickstand had to clamp across the top of frame - this is the first time I've read anything saying don't do this on an aluminium frame! Yikes.

Mark Holm said...

M wife and I both have kickstands on our bikes. Both bikes have kickstand plates. My bike is a 2009 Rivendell Samuel Hilllbourne, with a Copenhagen twin leg stand from VO. M wife’s bike is an upgraded 1986 Diamondback Fleet Streak, with the original, cheap but sturdy, steel single leg kickstand. I used to have a single leg Pletscher on the Sam. It was too flimsy and the bike fell over a lot. When I put on fatter tires, I needed a longer kickstand,, and got the Copenhagen as an experiment. The Copenhagen is fine, but would be even finer if the extended legs would spread a bit wider.

We ride on trails a lot. Pausing points are often unpaved. Sometimes, on soft ground, particularly with the single leg stand, the stand leg settles into soft ground, causing the bike to fall A rigid disc, about 3 inches diameter, with a depression for the leg to fit into, would be a useful accessory. Maybe I should make one.

Anonymous said...

A bike that's laying down can't fall down. Kickstands are a false sense of security unless they're way over built like you'd find on a cargo bike.

JP Frey said...

I am definitely getting a two-leg stand for my next bike. Although I've never had one, I just really like the idea, for all the positive reasons mentioned in the article and previous comments. Choose two, one, or none, and get out and ride!

Jean-Francois Caron said...

I have an ironic categorical aversion to kickstands. Really they are the only bicycle accessory that encourages you to NOT ride your bike!

Winston said...

I almost always lock my bike to things, doing away with the usefulness of a Kickstand.

Billy said...

I have dropped my bike too many times due to turning my back on it while it's on the kickstand.

I use a pannier, which unbalances the bike such that even a double-leg kickstand won't keep it upright. If I used a porteur rack, a double-leg kickstand would probably work better.

I suspect the kickstands that mount to the rear wheel are more secure than ones mounted near the bottom bracket, and might even work with a pannier, but don't have any practical experience with one.