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While looking for a rear kickstand, I came across one which says "designed for steel frames".

Besides carbon frame which I am pretty sure cannot be "squeezed", is there a real difference among steel frames and aluminium frames that can account for different stands, or is it more a commercial thing?

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It's easy to design a rear kickstand for a standard steel bicycle since all you need is a strong clamp on one of the chainstays.

For carbon, the clamping mechanism has to be designed carefully because it can neither compress the stays too much (carbon is fragile in compression) nor can it scratch the carbon too deeply (if the fibers fray, the whole structure weakens).

Aluminium is in between. The main concern with alu is that the stand can crimp or bend the chain stays if the bolts are clamped on too tight, or if there's too much of a load on the bike (full panniers) and all that stress and force is concentrated in one area.

If your bike is both expensive and made of either alu/carbon fiber, I'd either forgo using a rear kickstand, use track stands, or use center-stands that use the bridge between the rear chainstays and bottom bracket for support.

  • Is there a downside to a centre-mounted kickstand (assuming it fits)? They're all I've ever used, in single and double versions. – Chris H May 18 '17 at 18:34
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    They tend to be heavier (especially double-kick stands), I think that's about it. But most importantly - not all bikes can take center-stands because they lack the bridge or the cranks will hit. – RoboKaren May 18 '17 at 18:35
  • My double is certainly heavy, but as it's there because of a toddler seat it's not such a big deal. – Chris H May 18 '17 at 18:45
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I contacted the dealer, asking the same question: what is so special about steel frames, and can it be used on aluminium frame?

The answer I got was: since steel frames are normally heavier than aluminium, the label means that the kickstand has been designed for those heavy loads. Therefore it can be used also on aluminium frames.

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    Steel frames are only a few kilos (if that much) heavier than alu ones. My guess is that you didn't really reach the manufacturer but the reseller, who came up with a plausible sounding answer to make you happy. – RoboKaren May 19 '17 at 7:42
  • @RoboKaren that is also possible – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica May 19 '17 at 7:53
  • @RoboKaren is right -- I've been looking at tourer weights recently – Chris H May 19 '17 at 10:27
  • Are you sure the dealer wasn't saying that steel frames are more heavily built? – Daniel R Hicks May 19 '17 at 11:18
  • The person I spoke to talked about "weight" – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica May 19 '17 at 11:27
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Actually I just found out the reason, when I went to go purchase a kickstand for my steel framed Breezer. It has to do with the width of the chain stay. As steel bikes are stronger then aluminium, they tend to have smaller tubes, in particular the chain-stay. As most rear mounted kickstands are designed for the thicker aluminum frames, they do not hold tight on the narrow steel framed bikes, causing them to be unstable. I found this out the hard way.

  • I'm not shooting the messenger but, if this is the reason, it's a poor one. Different bikes have different sized tubes and it would be much better for the manufacturer to state the range of tube diameters their stand is designed for, rather than hoping that "steel" means "narrow" and "aluminium" means "wide". – David Richerby Jul 25 '18 at 6:39
  • Hi, welcome CScott, it’s a fair suggestion and a well presented answer. It might not hold true in all cases, time will tell if people agree and upvote – Swifty Jul 25 '18 at 9:03
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I'm not sure there is a real reason to make a kickstand just for steel frames, except what you mentioned about carbon. The only thing I can think of is maybe the one "for steel frames" has a steel plate where it interfaces with the frame, and they are trying to keep galvanic corrosion away...

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    Galvanic corrosion wouldn't be any issue unless there was a current path through the paint. Then you'd have to worry about simple rust with or without a kickstand – Chris H May 18 '17 at 15:26
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    @ChrisH -- If there isn't a current path through the paint then the clamp probably isn't on tight enough. – Daniel R Hicks May 19 '17 at 11:19
  • @DanielRHicks paint is a pretty good insulator and modern paints are tough. If you clamp it so tight it damages the paint, the frame may suffer. And it will certainly allow rust to set in even if you merely crack the paint right through to bare metal. – Chris H May 19 '17 at 12:19
  • @ChrisH - Sometime examine closely how a kickstand "bites" onto the frame. And consider the forces on the kickstand arm. – Daniel R Hicks May 19 '17 at 14:58
  • @DanielRHicks I have fitted several, but all of the type that join both chainstays between the BB and the back wheel. None of those has broken the paint, in fact they usually have a grippy pad of some sort. There's no way I'd fit one that's designed to chew through the paint, even though I'm probably buying a steel tourer. So I probbly won't have the chance to examine one – Chris H May 19 '17 at 15:32

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