Bicycle kickstands

Various information and considerations:


Various information and considerations:

Kickstand types and mounting plates for centre-mounted kickstands

There are several types of kickstands. The first type is for mounting on a plate that's welded on lots of bicycles, just behind the bottom bracket. Often these plates have a bit angled at 90 degrees with a hole (possibly threaded) to attached a rear fender.

These centre mounted kickstands come in 2 variants: 20mm mounting width and 30mm mounting width. 20mm is not used much, mostly used by Dutch bike maker Gazelle. My Koga test bike also has a 20mm mounting plate.

For bicycles that do not have a mounting plate, you can still use a centre mounted kickstand as there are wedges that go underneath attached to the kickstand, and on top. Some bicycles have only a small tube with hole for a fender in that position, in which case you can't use a wedge and thus a rear fork mounted kickstand is the only option.

Rear fork mounted kickstands are suitable for most bicycles, and I think for a touring bike the most useful type of kickstand.

Kickstands with a wide stance: More stable, or not?

Note first of all that for touring with heavy load all kickstands are problematical. Look for example at the Hebie 672 rear fork stand: It is not good enough, because it's not strong enough, it will deform. The 611 is better but it still deforms too easily. The Hebie 632 could be a good option but it's in no way perfect. The 630 is better because it's not so wide, even though they specifiy a lower weight limit for this kickstand. Rear fork kickstands are better in the case of heavy load at the back of the bike, but the newer ones I tried from Hebie are weak...

Manufacturers may say a wide kickstand means it's more stable, but this is only true if you have very little bagage on the bike...

The only reason to have a wide kickstand is to be able to lean the bike a bit more than with a narrow kickstand, but when you do this (with a centre mounted kickstand, not so much with a rear-fork kickstand), then with bagage the bicycle wants to rotate with the kickstand's foot as the pivot point in case you have heavy baggage, thus toppling the bike.

So for heavy loads the bike must stay positioned as near vertical as possible, with the kickstand screwed out as high as possible, but of course, then there is no advantage of a wide kickstand over a narrow kickstand in being more stable...! In both cases wind can then topple a bike over (in the direction opposite of where the kicstand is mounted). And sometimes you can't get the kickstand high enough (not sure about the 632, I'd have to check this again).

A narrow kickstand is fine for a touring bike with heavy load, in fact the aluminium Mruichi kickstand can be used just as well as any of the much heavier ones, if you place the bike correctly (which can be a nuisance on inclines/hills/non-flat ground), then it can be used easily with ca. 25 kg bagage, but it's a 1990s kickstand and it's not available any more...

I think the Hebie 630 is a better option than the 632 for loaded touring as it's not so wide and even though they say it's only meant for 30kg, but with lots of bagage (30-40kg), you usually have to park the bike against a wall or tree anyway or it won't be stable...

Summary: A wider stance is only useful so that the bike can lean more and thus it's more stable against toppling with no load or little load, but leaning more makes the bike less stable with heavy baggage! At least, with a centre mounted kickstand. With a rear-fork kickstand this is not so much an issue but as I found with the Mruichi (which is almost straight), a wide stance simply isn't needed and only means more stress on the material which tends to deform. So with centre mounted kickstands there is a choice to make: Using a kickstand with a wide stance then you can let the bike lean more, but this only works with little load on the rear rack. If you don't let the bike lean much, then you might as well use a normal kickstand (there is a slight difference in favour of a wide kickstand against toppling, but only if you let the bike not lean more than with the narrow kickstand). Result: Wide kickstands are only useful in some cases.

Rear-fork/stay mounted kickstands vs. centre mounted kickstands

When you look at what happens with the forces, you can see why a centre mounted kickstand is not as good as a rear-fork mounted kickstand for heavy loads: With the rear-fork kickstand, the kickstand is pushed into the ground by the load. This acts against toppling over. Of course the load is never exactly above the point where the kickstand is on the ground, but the effect as seen with centre mounted kickstands is far smaller.

For a centre mounted kickstand, the point where the kickstand touches the ground is far away, and what now happens is that the kickstand cannot counter any weight from the load, no, the countering comes from the weight of the bicycle itself: When the bike topples over, the mass on the rack, times distance to the line of the rear wheel and point where the kickstand touches the ground, is bigger than the mass of the rest of the bike times distances at which these masses are from that line. This is why with centre mounted kickstands, the width is not much help to counter rotation. It gives a bit more counter weight to the mass on the rear than with a narrow centre mounted kickstand, but, not enough.

Summary: Rear-fork/stay mounted kickstands are better for heavy loads than centre mounted (bracket) kickstands. I've seen dual kickstands (with one on the front lowrider) used for loaded touring which I haven't tried yet, but this should work for the front kickstand similar to the rear fork kickstand.

Kickstands that may be interesting to review

Reviews of kickstands

Pletscher/Esge: Standard & Optima

Specifications from the manufacturer: Optima: Mass (305mm long): 254g, Standard: Mass (305mm long): 223g. Maximal load: 25 kg for both.

The "Standard" and "Optima" are very similar. I've used the "Standard" stand long ago (when the name of the manufacturer was still Esge), and they used to be put on just about all city bikes in the Netherlands. They are rock solid, not too heavy, with only 1 thing that could be improved on: To adjust the length of the kickstand (for 26/28 inch wheels) you need to saw off a bit of the kickstand... (though these days they come ready made in lengths for 26/28 inch). It works well and these kickstands can last decades. Mounting plate width 31mm for the Optima, 31 and 20 mm for the Standard.

Conclusion: Good.

Pletscher/Esge: Zoom

Specifications from the manufacturer: Mass 240 g, measured including bolt: 280 g. Maximal load: 18 kg.

Experiences: See further.

Conclusion: See further....

Pletscher/Esge: Multi (rear-fork kickstand)

Specifications from the manufacturer: Mass: 433g (specifications), ca. 440 g (measured), max. load: 25kg

Pictures to come.

I've got one, but I've got no plans yet to use it....

Essentially it's a multi zoom without the adjustable height. You simply saw (or file for small adjustments) to length. This is the way it used to be done with Pletscher kickstands for city bikes here in NL in the 1980s and earlier (just about all such bikes came with Pletscher standard kickstands), and it just works, when being careful not to saw off too much of course. This is not so bad, or so much work, as it sounds. But I think that the adjustable version being not much more expensive, is the better option (although: it is rated with lower maximal load).

The stand itself has a small foot-area and with heavy load this will sink into any surface that's not rock hard. I will do a test to see how much the foot with larger surface area of the Pletscher Zoom and Flex help with this issue compared to this kickstand...

Pletscher: Multi zoom (rear-fork kickstand)

Tested: From 9 Feb. 2014

Specifications from the manufacturer: Mass: 340g (must be a typo, I think they meant 440g, see further), max. load 18kg

Measured: Mass: 442g with all mounting hardware.

You can mount this for forks of various sizes but I think the method chosen is a bit cumbersome. A front and rear plate with impression of a tube will work with any size tubing. At first I had mounted it such that the kickstand was quite far forward and I could even hit it with my heel if not pedalling exactly straight. So I changed it such that the arm to the rear fork is shorter and the kickstand is thus farther to the rear. Much better but still, why do these kickstands extend so much to the side (with the arm to the rear)? The 611 also has this but I will make some measurements to find out exactly with all rear fork kickstands (though I deformed my 672 and 611, so not sure what they were originally).

I like the positive action of this kickstand, I still need to test it with heavy load.

Update 2014-7-13: I've used this kickstand for 5 months, including heavy loads, and it is excellent. Far better than the rubbish rear fork kickstands by Hebie.

Changing the height must be done by unbolting the plastic end of the kickstand (which is fastened with inner-hex bolts), and then moving it to the required height. This works, but I'd like to have seen a rotating system as e.g. on the Simson kickstand, which makes easy and quick adjustments for different situations possible (e.g. with light load and if wind is strong, you might want to let the bike angle a bit more).

Conclusion: Excellent rear fork kickstand.

Pletscher: Zoom (bracket mounted adjustable kickstand)

Tested: From 17 Jul. 2016

Specifications from the manufacturer: Mass: ?, max. load 18 kg

Measured: Mass: ??g with all mounting hardware.

Pictures to come.

The weight limit is not really a limit in my view, definitely not for keeping the bike steady with lots of stuff in rear-bags, as the bike is unstable anyway in that case with a bracket mounted kickstand. Use a rear fork kickstand instead).

The plastic foot has a surface area which is perhaps a little small, for travelling when you want to put the bike besides the road it may dig into the ground (with the standard version, not adjustable in length, it is worse). But in these cases you usually need to lean the bike against something (tree, fence, building) anyway, so I would say it is not a big issue.

It suffers from instability of the bike, with even moderate loads in the rear bags, and this is inherent in all bracket kickstands. For normal use I really like it, but as I use the bike a lot to transport stuff (often heavy), for me it's not so good.

Another excellent kickstand from Pletscher, and I like the look of the Zoom/multi zoom, but I prefer rear-fork kickstands...

Pletscher: Comp flex (rear fork 18mm mount kickstand)

Tested: From 22 Jul. 2016

Specifications from the manufacturer: Mass: Not mentioned! Max. load: 50kg

Measured: Mass: 352g with all mounting hardware.

Pictures to come.

This was released not long after I tested the Multi Zoom, but I was happy with the Multi Zoom so no need for testing at that time. After using the Pletscher Zoom on my 2nd testbike which has a 18mm rear fork-mount for the kickstand, I decided to mount a Pletscher Comp flex on it. There is also a version for 40mm rear fork mount. The Comp flex has a higher allowed load than the Comp Zoom, and the foot has a bigger surface area which may help it stand (and not sink) on softer ground. It's adjustable in height, but again you need a inner hex key. Pletscher doesn't mention the weight which means it's heavier I suppose than the Comp Zoom, and ditto for Flex vs. Zoom? Well, it weighs 352 g. Not bad.

The height can be set with a small inner hex screw at the base. The foot has a reasonable surface area, better than the Multi, but is it enough to prevent sinking into grass with heavy load? I will do a test...

There is an issue with the mounting method. Perhaps the 'standard' has been changed, but it doesn't fit on the Cannondale Vintage without modifying (removing a ridge) first. It looks like to be meant for round forks whereas the cannondale rear fork is flat in the area of the mount for the kickstand.

More to come after this modification...

Spanninga: Libra

Tested from: Autumn 2010.

Mass: 415g with mounting bolt. The kickstand extends about 30cm from the bike when extended near the maximum.

I thought at first this was a good kickstand, and its length can be adjusted. However, there are some problems. This first is that if you ride with kickstand out backwards with bike on your hand the crank can drive the kickstand out of its socket. This also happens fairly easily if you kick the kickstand too hard when extending the kickstand, to park your bike. This has happened several times with me and my sister. It takes some (annoying) work to get the arm back in its socket again. Another problem is that it's a very wide kickstand. This may sound good, but I actually found out that with a wide kickstand and a heavy bag on the rear rack, the bike is more likely to topple over than with a more narrow kickstand (because with a wide kickstand you want to use that width and make the bike more stable when it hasn't got a load, which is mainly so when you let it lean more, see the section at the start that explains this). Then I had another problem on the bike shown: The kickstand hits the brake disc unless I very carefully retract it. This is because it keeps fairly high, it's fairly long, and the socket for the arm is from plastic, and flexible...

Conclusion: Poor, not recommended.

Hebie: 630

Tested: Since spring 2010

Mass: 393 g with mounting bolt.

Length is adjustable, the kickstand extends about 19 cm from the bike. This kickstand works well.

Conclusion: Good.

Hebie: 632

Tested from: End of July 2011.

Mass: 391g with mounting bolt. The kickstand extends about 28cm from the bike.

Also a wide kickstand, which thus suffers from the same problem of instability as the Spanninga Libra although it's slightly better. Beside that it has none of the other problems of the Spanninga libra, it looks nice, works nicely.

Conclusion: Reasonable.

Hebie: 672 rear fork kickstand

Tested: July 2013 - August 2014.

Mass: 420 g with all mounting hardware.

This kickstand sucks. Its mount on the fork is from plastic with a steel u-beam added for strenth. The plastic deforms way too much when you have some stuff on the rear rack or in the rear bags, not that much weight, just 5 kg or so and the problems start. And no, the steel u-beam like thingy doesn't prevent bending, it gets bent... The threads on the metal part used to fix the stand at the bottom tube were not correctly angled which made it very hard to get the bolts in.

Conclusion: Poor, not recommended.

Hebie: 611 (Fox s) rear fork kickstand

Tested: August 2013 - Feb. 2014.

Mass: ca. 503 g with all mounting hardware.

This has a steel base instead of plastic + steel in the 672. I used it on a long bike trip with heavy load, about 35 kg total in the front and rear bags, and it's not suitable for this. Hebie mentions the weight limit of 25 kg but of course that depends on how much you let the bike lean... See the section about wide-stance kickstands at the start of this page. And despite going over the weight limit, the way it bends which the Mruichi doesn't is pathetic. Manufacturers should look at what has been done in the past. What Hebie achieves with their rear-fork kickstands is quite poor, especially looking at how heavy they are.

Conclusion: Only reasonable, partly because of the high price. Not stiff enough despite being quite heavy. With heavy load it can bend more than I would want. Still way better than the 672.

Mruichi 700-S rear fork kickstand

Tested from: Spring 2007 (still in use as of Summer 2011).

Mass: 280 g.

This is a sample from 1992 and works pretty well but about after a year of intensive use during 2009 the steel gliding parts were worn away. However, I used the kickstand really intensively taht year, on lots of long trips with almost countless stops. I think that year I used the kickstand so much that it would be equal to at least 10 years of normal use. I used it with heavy loads up to ca. 30kg in the rear panniers that year, which it could withstand because it's pretty well designed. It's strong where it should be, and does that with little weight, and that's possible as the stand stays almost vertically, which means little bending stress on the metal.

Conclusion: Excellent (but not available any more).

Simson rear fork kickstand

Tested: August 2013

Mass: 237 g. So very light weight.

Comparable to the Mruichi, but of lesser quality (no stainless steel protection as a slide-bearing against wear from the movement of the foot, for example). Works very well so far, height can be set perfectly, the bicycle is very stable on this stand. It does flex a bit much when putting several kilogram in the rear panniers. It's supposed to be a MTB kickstand and not meant for travel bikes. Wth a bit more solid construction it could be as strong as the Mruichi (which I've used for years wtih up to ca. 30 kg loads in the rear panniers) and this would not be an issue!

Conclusion: Good for MTB or other bike that you won't transport heavy stuff or groceries with, too weak for other purposes. This kickstand could have been made far better, see the much stronger and hardly heavier Mruichi 700-S

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