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If I get this commuter bike, should it have a kick-stand?

One LBS said "no": they explained that stands are difficult to attach, weigh a bit, don't stay on well, and/or scratch the frame.

I've never had a bike without a stand. A lot of my parking will be locking to a post-and-ring device like this.

If your bike doesn't have a kick-stand:

  • Why not?
  • How do you park it without one? Can you just lean your bike up against whatever you're locking it to? If so, doesn't it roll and fall over easily? Do you only/mostly park it in the kind of rack where you push a wheel into a vertical slot which holds it upright?
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Do you have a big bushy beard? Big bushy beards are mandatory if you are going to have a kickstand, otherwise the cosmos will inflict continual mechanical problems. –  whatsisname Feb 22 '11 at 22:26

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Whether a bike has a kickstand is really a personal decision, but what the frame is made of is important. If you're not concerned with scratching the frame, and the frame is reasonable sturdy, then get yourself a kickstand; it'll make the bike more usable, and that's what's important. (I wouldn't attach a kickstand to, say, a carbon frame or a bike with a nice paint job I wanted to keep intact, but most of my bikes have them.)

When your LBS told you that "kickstands don't stay on well", what that means to me is that they're either using bad kickstands, or they don't attach them well. However, there are some bikes that won't fit well with a kickstand (such as many folding bikes and racing bikes). However, a commuter bike that won't take a kickstand isn't nearly as useable as one that will.

I don't have kickstands on my touring bikes, because one is a folding bike and the other is a diamond-frame touring bike. The latter will take a kickstand, but I removed it because a bike with a full touring load won't really stay put with a kickstand. I ended up getting a gadget called a click-stand that's essentially a tentpole with a thing on the end that hooks onto the frame, and also comes with a pair of brake bands (they do just what you'd think). Unfortunately, it takes a minute to deploy and isn't suitable for everyday use, but it perfect for touring.

A bike without a kickstand can be parked by leaning it against a railing, or the end of a bike rack, or even lying it on its side on the ground if you're not locking it up. You can use cable locks combined with a sturdy lock such as a U-lock (or even a bungee cord combined with a lock) to keep the bike steady. My kickstand-less bikes have bungee cords that live on the rear racks for this purpose.

If you want a kickstand, do a little research and order one and attach it. If you're concerned about scratching the paint (you will), you can cut up an old tube and use it to protect the frame. Don't tighten it so much that you crush the frame, but check it every so often and make certain it's reasonably tight.

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"what the frame is made of is important" -- I don't know that: when I asked about it, nobody said anything about the frame. So, steel, or aluminium, I presume: not carbon. Your "bungee cord" is a fun suggestion. I worried that "leaning the bike" against something (instead of having a stand) would also scratch the frame, espcially if it slipped and fell. But maybe 'leaning' wouldn't be as rough/damaging as the more forcible 'clamping on' of a stand. –  ChrisW Feb 22 '11 at 15:18
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If you're concerned about the paint job, then I agree that leaning the bike against something would be a bad idea. Laying it down will present the same problems. Securing the bike to something with a bungee cord will also likely get the bike scratched up. You can, at this point, either decide to live with scratches, or find another way to protect the bike. At least you don't have to worry about rust! –  Neil Fein Feb 22 '11 at 21:22
    
@ChrisW: frame material is important in a few specific situations. Clamping a kick-stand on is one of them - carbon tends to shatter if point-loaded, and that's what a kickstand does. I'd also be cautious about clamping a kickstand to a lightweight aluminium frame. –  Мסž Feb 22 '11 at 21:27
    
@moz - Both of my aluminum bikes have kickstands, but these are situations where the chainstays have a plate welded to them specifically for a kickstand; I'm inclined to agree with you about aluminum. –  Neil Fein Feb 22 '11 at 21:34

I've never had a kickstand. My load bikes have decent two-legged stands but that's a different thing. I agree with your LBS about attaching them, but there are better stands that cost more and work slightly better. They still don't work very well, often even the best kickstand will let the bike fall over at one extreme of the steering.

I lock my bike to something like the post-and-ring things you have. Or a sign pole, or a railing, or whatever else is handy.

Since locking securely means either locking the frame to something solid, or locking a wheel to the frame, rolling around is not an issue. The only problem I see regularly is people who lock their bike to a pole without locking a wheel, which has two outcomes: the bike rolls round and falls over; the wheel(s) are stolen. Here we have a common pattern there a wheel is stolen, later that day the other wheel is stolen, that night the bike is stripped to the frame (sometimes the forks are taken too). Look at tips for locking your bike

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I don't have a kickstand on my "light" bike because I only ride it on roads (as opposed to trails) and I don't stop often, so it would be unnecessary.

I don't have one on one other bike I own because it refuses to cooperate with a cheap kickstand I have laying around-- it's just my "beater" bike, so I never bothered to get a properly-fitted one.

My third bike does have a kickstand, but I don't use it a whole lot for locking up. Usually if I'm using the kind of rack with vertical slots, as you described, the kickstand won't touch the ground anyway, so it's kind of pointless there. (If I swing the frame sideways a bit, the kickstand will touch the ground, but that blocks half the rack.) At other racks, I usually use the kickstand, but I don't think it's always necessary. I have on many an occasion done without the kickstand due to crowded racks, tight spots, etc., and never come back to a tipped bike.

Whether the bike will stay upright depends on what kind of lock you use, how you use it, and what kind of rack(s) you have access to. If you only lock the frame, as moz mentioned, you might come back to find it tipped over, especially if you use a cable lock with a lot of slack.

I would have to imagine a u-lock through the rear wheel and frame and around a solid object would be hard to tip over either accidentally by passerby or by forces of nature. A cable lock through both wheels and the frame will be reasonably tip-proof if there's not much slack left in the cable (which is already the point anyway if you use a cable lock).

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Some places to park only have a 'bike stand': i.e. semi-circular hoops near the ground, which you put your wheels in.

  • If you put the front wheel in, then with a U-lock you can lock the wheel to the stand but you can't lock any of the frame to the stand.
  • You may not be able to put the rear wheel in: if the rear wheel includes derailleur and disc brakes then the gear near the hub of the wheel may be too wide to fit in the stand.
  • And the stand isn't high enough to lean against.

If there were a kickstand, then you could stand the bike over or next to the rack and lock the frame to it.

[This kind of stand is what I have in my apartment building's bike room: inside, where there aren't other lamp-posts or whatever to lock it to.]

Doing without a stand is a little bit awkward when you want to change your gloves or something next to the road: lay the bike down, find something to lean it against, or do what you're doing while holdng the bike up.

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Ok, doesn't anyone use their bike for everyday transportation? When I leave work, and go to the grocery, come home with a basket full of food, without a kickstand I have to juggle the bike while I unload its contents so I can lay it down then pick up my stuff go and unlock my door, bring in groceries, go back out and get my bike that I have left laying in the front...... All the while, I am making myself a target for anyone who may have ill intentions. ( I had two guys try to mug me in front of my house before) I am not being paranoid, this is a usability issue for all practical purposes. I of course, do not have a kickstand on my road bike. But my "urban" bike, it is a necessity for me. I am currently having a bear of a time finding a new urban bike that is functional to my needs, AND that has a performance feel to it. I found a great one, Cannondale Quick 1, but now i find I cant get it because it has carbon fiber seat stays, and no mounting bracket at the base of the frame above where the cranks are (the normal place).

So I would think, as more and more people want to use bicycles as their primary mode of transportation (I do have a car, I just don't want to use it!) that bicycle companies would start working towards more function via lightweight easy to install kickstands.

Thanks happy winds to all Katrina ps while we are at it - how bout a step thru frame with great components too? so you don't have to use a front basket as the top tube causes you to have to lean bike over towards you to get your leg over a basket in the back.... contents on ground again.... lol

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When I lived in Cambridge I found that the stands at the grocery were too close to each other to load my bike, so used by kickstand then. Also useful for when you stop to talk to someone, or to use the post box. –  Ian Jun 11 '12 at 13:16

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