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Why is it that many people often recommend against using kickstands on mountain bikes? Does it have something to do with offroad riding (perhaps something could get caught there?), or are kickstands a problem with suspension frames, or what?

Most bikers riding MTB specifically do not have kickstands. They simply drop a bike on the ground, or lean it somewhere, when they need to park it.

Why is that? Is the added weight really that much of a trouble?

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Whoa, adults still use kickstands on their bikes? I thought they were for little kids who want to stand their first bike next to daddy's motorcycle. –  dotjoe Mar 25 '12 at 18:18
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@dotjoe - As a touring cyclist and former commuter who has kickstands on 2 of his 5 bikes, I want my mommy. –  Neil Fein Mar 25 '12 at 22:16
    
lol, so...what is it about those 2 bikes? Are they expensive works of art? I was also thinking something like a custom low-rider bike would probably have a kickstand. –  dotjoe Mar 26 '12 at 20:10
    
@dotjoe - They're both bikes that accept kickstands well - a flat bar folder and a cruiser. I don't have kickstands on the road-ish bike, the mountain bike, or the touring bike. (I do pack a click-stand for the touring bike, though.) –  Neil Fein Mar 26 '12 at 21:28
    
:(, I dont like my question getting merge :'( –  Starx Mar 27 '12 at 9:24

6 Answers 6

up vote 17 down vote accepted

If, by stands, you mean bike mounted kickstands, then the reason most mountain bikers don't use them is three fold:

  1. Safety. The kickstand is usually a relatively cheap piece of metal, bolted on wherever it will fit. Its shape and style lend themselves to ending up in your wheel or otherwise damaging the bike, if they are not secured to the frame so they can't accidentally deploy themselves while riding a rougher trail.
  2. Weight. If I pay a ridiculously large amount of money to buy a light weight, high performance machine, the last thing I want to do is pay extra to make it heavier. So that does play a part, but I wouldn't say it was the key factor.
  3. No need for it. As you mentioned, most riders are perfectly comfortable dropping their bike on the ground wherever they pause for a minute or two, and dealing with cleaning and fixing any damage that may cause when they get home.

I hope that helps.

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+1, I fully agree with the first point. –  Starx Mar 25 '12 at 9:52
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I completely agree, I used to ride with one on my not terribly light weight mtb and I gave up with them not because I hated them so, but simply because they proved to be unreliable and had a tendency to get in the way on rough trails. The convenience outside shops was outweighed by the problems with them working loose on the trails. –  Colin Newell Mar 25 '12 at 12:12
    
@ColinNewell, Exactly. Once on a trail, I almost fell down a tiny cliff, due to my kickstands getting caught up with roots or shoots of some plant on the turn. –  Starx Mar 25 '12 at 12:52
    
In the end, if the mountain-bike is used for what it was designed, in the case, trails full of obstacles, the kickstand (and so the bell, the basket, the rack and the fenders) are going rattle so much they'll eventually break... Not to say how annoying they will be before breaking... –  heltonbiker Mar 25 '12 at 20:03
    
I might add to 3 that it is also incredibly easy to rest a mtb by the back tire and its not unlikely to have a plethora of things to rest your bike on when mountain biking :] –  Carrie Kendall Aug 1 '13 at 18:49

Mountain bikes don't see kickstands for several reasons. One, they are durable. You can lay one down and it's no big deal, certainly not as big a deal as crashing one. Next, when you're out riding terrain, there's almost always something to lean your bike up against like a tree, fence, etc. Also, as you mention, things can get caught in the kickstand. Lastly, unlike a commuter or errand bike, you don't make a lot of stops on a mountain bike so a kickstand is not as essential.

If the mountain bike is being used for a purpose other than mountain biking, then installing a kickstand isn't really a big deal.

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"..you don't make a lot of stops on a mountain bike ..." - unless your as unfit as I am right now, but I get to the point I just don't care any more........ :) –  mattnz Dec 23 '12 at 20:25

They can catch on stuff. Ground/obstacle clearance is really important. My wheels are often whizzing past rocks with mm of clearance, or even brushing against them. And I'm often dropping down stepped terrain, which means the pedals cranks etc get close to the ground, you don't want anything else that could cause contact.

Faff. Offroad cycling is tough on bikes. When cycling with buddies, you don't want to be the one asking everybody to stop whilst you sort out some bike problem. There's enough going wrong with chains coming off or snapping, gears and brakes being knocked out of alignment, punctures, etc. Anything attached to your bike that doens't help with propulsion is a gimmicky waste of pedalling effort, and just counts as something unnecessary that can go wrong. If there's more than three or four of us going cycling, we split up into mini groups, just because if the whole group stops when anything goes wrong we'd never actually get back before dark. Kick stands can go wrong, and don't help with propulsion.. their extra mass actually slows you down!

Pointless You should expect to be falling off your bike from time to time anyway, so it's going to end up on the floor whether or not you had a kick stand attached. So, just put your bike on the ground if you're stopping for a wee in the bushes :)


I cycled up snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales) last weekend. I estimate that for a not over weight kickstand you'd be looking at 1lb or approx .5 kg. With a height gain of about 1000m, that would be about 5000 joules or 1250 calories extra energy I would have burnt. And that's just the total height gain and doesn't include bouncing up and down individual boulders.

I suppose if you're trying to lose weight then that's about the only reason for a kickstand on a mountain bike, but you might as well wear a rucksack with a rock in it so you don't reduce the ground clearance or reliability of your bike :)

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Probably 99 out of 100 that I see on the trails could lose 10 times the weight of a kick stand and still have more to loose. Have you ever arrived at the end of the ride with unconsumed food and water? Weight is over rated - more often it's "mines lighter and more expensive than yours"..... being phrased "Lighter is faster" –  mattnz Dec 23 '12 at 20:31
    
@mattnz - It's a fact that 90% of statistics are made up. –  Scott Langham Dec 26 '12 at 18:57

In general, you won't see kickstands on more expensive bikes. The primary reason is that a standard kickstand that mounts to the chain stays just behind the BB simply won't fit. Beyond that, the standard kickstand will often not reliably support a bike, and it's better to lay down a bike than have it fall down. There's also the problem that the standard kickstand often interferes with pedaling.

There are better-designed kickstands (2-3 different designs) that mount differently and which more reliably support the bike. You will occasionally see these on touring bikes. But they're quite hard to find (and of course would not work on fiber and probably AL bikes).

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Kickstands? To answer your question: I think that kickstands are an extra thing that basically gets in the way.

Anyway, there are so many "bike ""leanable"" objects in the man-made world and the natural world; that I feel no need to add a kickstand.

For example... in parking my commuter bike at the grocery...I have no idea as to which way my bike will need to lean at the bike racks...I guess I could have a 2-sided kickstand, but I think it would just get in the way and add weight...

I have nothing against kickstands and I'm sure the device works for some cyclists...they're quite charming...but, I personally don't see a need for kickstands.

Ooops! Kick me in the head I failed to notice that the question is about Mountain Bikes. Basically, I don't want to haul a kickstand up a nasty trail for no other reason than to park the bicycle.

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But assuming one is willing to haul the weight, is there a specific reason why kickstands and mountain bikes don't mix? –  Neil Fein Dec 24 '11 at 17:40
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@neil ground clearance is a bigger deal on mountain bikes because you're traversing rocks, stumps, uneven trails, etc. That's the main reason I would not want one. Plus, just another thing to add weight, get in the way, and mountain bikes don't need to be treated so gently with a kickstand, as the other answer noted. –  Jeff Atwood Dec 24 '11 at 23:20
    
@Jeff - I hadn't appreciated the ground clearance aspect of this. Wanna make than an answer? –  Neil Fein Dec 25 '11 at 3:26

Kickstands are to be used in bikes that will have to be nicely parked, like commuting bikes, touring bikes or stylish and decorative bikes.

A mountain bike, or a road bike or anything used for racing is a bike intended to spend ahem more time actually riding than parking, and the added weight, clutter and risks do not contribute in absolute to the rider/bike performance during a race. Well, not everybody is a racer, but remember that almost any bike designed for sporting is marketed after the racing performance of the machine.

For a definitive answer, any accessory you may want to fit to your bike, is to be analyzed in terms of cost-benefit, considering the specific combination of circumstances that you ride, and if you get a greater benefit than the cost (i.e. trouble) it causes to you, then make anybody else shut up.

As a side, anecdotal note: I remember the bike my grandfather used, a heavy but very comfortable 28" wheeled commuting bike. It had a double kickstand that held the bike completely upright and lifted the rear wheel, It was mounted near the rear axle and had a complete loop side to side around the tire. It was wonderful to go shopping to the local market, since the bike was completely upright while you loaded the rear rack with groceries. But my grandfather didn't use to go shopping and due to his style of mounting and dismounting, he got hurt many times with the kickstand's protruding, so, for him that was out of the question, he removed it. It was the first thing he did to any other bike he ever owned!

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+1 for the grandfather ;-) –  Benedikt Bauer Jun 18 '13 at 19:11

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