“A kickstand? Why would you want a kickstand?” That was the response from the guy promoting Chris King‘s new line of Beloved Cycles at Mellow Johnny’s in Austin, when we were there last February for the Handmade Bike Show. Take a look at these two lovely bikes. Nice lines, beautiful colors, a delightful retro appeal. Perfect for trips to the coffee shop, to the drugstore, to visit friends except for one thing: no kickstands.
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard prejudice against kickstands. It’s a rare thing that roadies and mountain bikers agree on. But kickstands are useful, even necessary, for certain bikes and certain situations. Here’s my take:
- Road bike for racing or day rides: NO kickstand.
- Mountain bike racing or trail rides: NO kickstand.
- Any bike with a basket or rack for carrying stuff: Kickstand REQUIRED.
- Any bike for errands around town, locking up for quick stops: Kickstand DESIRABLE.
I have kickstands on my bikes with racks and I love them. Since only one actually came 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. Dick installed one from Greenfield on the singlespeed he rides on our bike dates. I originally had one on Zella Mae, my errand bike, until I wore it out from putting too much load on it.
- Available almost anywhere for less than $10.
- Some models have an adjustable length so you don’t have to cut the leg 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 Greenfield kickstand for Lily, my old steel road bike, since she 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.
- 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.
- Looks a bit dorky, doesn’t it?
Double Leg Centerstand
Most 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. I installed this Pletscher ESGE on Juliett, my Dutch bike due to her portly size. I liked it so much I installed another one on Zella Mae 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.
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?