Get your kicks(tand)

Kickstands are cool. OK, I admit that in my racing days when I weighed everything, from body parts to bicycle components, I used to take them off any bike that came with one.  But I have grown in years and wisdom and have become a real lover of a good kickstand. In the same way kickstands still have no place on my racing bicycles, none of my commuter bicycles are without a good center kickstand. Regular single-leg kickstands are a preferable solution to leaning your bicycle, but they don’t offer enough support to keep a bike standing with a week’s load of groceries in the panniers and front rack. Try loading a bicycle without a kickstand with 50 lbs of groceries without it tipping over.  

Three center kickstands compared: Pletscher, Sunlite, Hebie (L to R).

I have tried three different types of center kickstands on four different bicycles.  The first center kickstand I purchased was a Swiss-made Pletscher double kickstand.  The Pletscher has a slick design so both legs fold up on the non-drive side of the bicycle.  The Pletscher costs about $49 and is most commonly found in uncoated aluminum, but can be ordered in black.  The Pletscher legs are designed to be cut down.  I trimmed mine to the point that the rear wheel is just barely off the ground.

The chainstay bridge is very close to the bottom bracket on my Schwinn Supersport. The only center kickstand that will fit is the Pletscher.

The Sunlite center kickstand is very well made and mounts easily to the Electra kickstand plate.

The Hebie fits well on my 1936 Raleigh. No kickstand plate though.

The second center kickstand I purchased was a Danish-made Hebie.  This is the standard kickstand on Workcycles fietsen.  Oma came with one and it is super sturdy and stable.  I loaded Oma up with more than 100 lbs of maps in the rear panniers and front rack, and the kickstand never complained.  The bike remains very stable as this stand has a wide footprint.  It is not listed in the products on their website, but you can order the Hebie stands from Vince at the Dutch Bicycle Co in Chicago.  He usually has them in stock.

The third stand I purchased was a less expensive Sunlite Double Kickstand from Amazon.  I’m not sure who manufactures this stand but it is pretty well made.  The only problem with the stand is that it has a very wide casting at the top and won’t fit on my Raleigh or my Schwinn.  It fits fine on our Electra Amsterdam though and is quite an improvement over the single leg kickstand that came standard on the bike.

Click on the image for a larger view of the Electra kickstand plate.

Funny that the cheapest bike in this review has the only kickstand plate.  These plates help keep the kickstand lined up perpendicular to the bicycle.  Without a plate, you have to clamp the stand to the chainstays near the bottom bracket.  This can chip paint, dent tubes and allows the stand to twist over time as you kick it. I wish all my commuter bikes had kickstand plates.

These center kickstands all vary a bit in hight as you can see by the top photo.  As mentioned earlier, the Pletscher is designed so you can cut the legs to length.  This was the first center stand I owned. At that time I liked the look of my bike more level, so I cut the legs as short as would allow the stand to keep one wheel just off the ground.

If don't trim the legs down on the Pletscher stand, it will hold the wheel higher off the ground like the other stands in this story.

Over time I have found that because many places I park are not on flat ground, the trimmed Pletcher will not always hold my bike steady.  Varying bumps in the grass or even unlevel sidewalk stones can cause my Schwinn to wobble a bit.  If I had it to do over again, I would leave the Pletscher legs longer.  I may purchase the optional rubber feet for this stand to raise the bike a bit and alleviate the problem.

The Hebie stand holds the Raleigh rear wheel well off the ground. It also has the widest feet of the three and hence is most stable when the bike is heavily loaded.

 Now that all our family commuter bikes have kickstands, frame locks, upright stems and handlebars, fenders and dynamo lighting, I have been thinking about starting a side business “Dutchifying” used bicycles.  I would have to get a wholesale license to make it profitable, but it seems like it could be a nice little eBay or Craigslist powered money maker.

A tale of three kickstands in one act.

The stately English Raleigh holds firm in the State Street bike lane with the help of the Hebie stand.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

3 thoughts on “Get your kicks(tand)

  1. i am currently building up my very first touring bike to take me from milwaukee, wi to austin, tx and a kickstand has now become a must have. thanks for the reviews dave. much appreciated.

    • Cool, sounds like an awesome ride. Going solo? I did not mention it, but double kickstands are also ideal for loaded touring bikes. Velo Orange also makes some nice ones if looks are a factor. They are in the same price range and fold up to one side like the Pletscher.

  2. As someone who is in the process of “Dutchifying” a bicycle right now (or trying to) I think your side business is a great idea. You could even do consulting for people like me who know little about bicycles and even less about what it takes to “Dutchify” one, but would rather have someone meet with them to identify features/products they need than to have someone build it for them.

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