Did you buy a new bike and realize that it doesn’t have a kickstand? It can be frustrating to stop mid-ride, and not be able to stand your bike upright while you’re not on it. If you’ve got your commuter bike loaded with groceries a kickstand can be helpful to keep the bike upright while you unload. I used to think bike companies chose to not have a kickstand on their bike because they were trying to save a dollar wherever they could. The real reason for not including a kickstand on a bicycle is actually based on other factors and not just on saving money.
So why do bikes not have kickstands? Kickstands aren’t on road and mountain bikes because they add weight and increase the chances of your bike snagging something. Road cyclists want bikes to be light. Mountain bikers are worried that a kickstand will catch vegetation while riding down trails.
Reason #1 – Kickstands add Weight
Road cyclists aim to be as light as possible. They wear skin tight clothing hoping to be less air resistant. They’ll carry as few accessories as possible in an attempt to shave weight wherever they can.
In regards to their bikes they want them to be durable so they won’t break while riding, but also as light as possible. This is why most road bikes don’t have a kickstand on them.
A kickstand can weigh between .5 lb to 1.5 lbs which really is a small amount of weight, but again road cyclists care about every pound.
There’s the extra weight of the kickstand, and it can also contribute to wind drag. Again – this is something road cyclists think and care about. Because many road cyclists don’t want kickstands on their bikes most companies who make road bikes won’t add them to their bicycles.
Reason #2 – They Can Snag Things
One of the main reasons you won’t see a kickstand on a mountain bike is that it can catch brush while riding on a trail. You don’t want to be flying down the mountainside only to crash, because your kickstand caught a branch on the descent.
While it may be convenient at rest stops to be able to use a kickstand it’s not worth the added risk of crashing while mountain biking.
Reason #3 – Kickstands Can Impale You
This is primarily for mountain bikers, but a real reason why you should be careful riding on a mountain bike with a kickstand. In a crash a kickstand can be dangerous, because it can impale you.
I had a friend who was in a nasty crash mountain bike crash and landed on his handlebars. The handlebar went right into his thigh. It was a nasty wound that had to get stitches.
Years later, it’s healed up but there is still a chunk of mass that’s gone from his thigh.
Kickstands are generally much narrower than handlebars and could go much deeper into a person if they landed on it. I don’t think I need to explain anymore. Kickstands on mountain bikes are not a good fit.
Reason #4 – They’re Not Always Stable
One of the risks of having a kickstand is having your bike topple over.
Kickstands aren’t always the most stable way of supporting your bike, and there are plenty of cyclists who put their trust in a stand only for their bike to get damaged when it fell over. Because of their location near the rear of the bike they don’t keep the bike perfectly balanced.
If the bike is bumped it can send it crashing down. Some people don’t want to take the risk of their bike falling over and damaging the frame, paint finish, or derailleur.
Reason #5 – Kickstands Add Another Cost
While not the case for every bicycle, there are some manufacturers who choose to not place a kickstand because it saves them money. What’s an additional $3 part on a $500+ bike?
It’s one way a company can pinch pennies to save in production costs.
How do you support your bicycle?
- Lean or lay your bike down. Find a fence, pole, tree or something to lean your bicycle against. I’ve been riding a road bike for years that doesn’t have a kickstand. Most of the time it is easy to find something to lean a bike against when it needs to be supported. You can also choose to lay your bike down on the ground. One word of caution – laying your bike on the ground could potentially scuff up the frame. If you’ve got a beautiful bike that you don’t want to get scratched than you’ll need to find another way to support your bike besides laying it on the ground.
- Add a traditional kickstand onto your bike. If you would love to have a kickstand on your bike, but it doesn’t have one than just add one to it. This kickstand on Amazon is cheap, easy to install, fits most bikes, and has great reviews. You can put it on your bike and you’ll never need to worry about supporting your bike again.
- Use a Bike Parking Rack. The other option which really only works if you’re wanting to support your bike at home or an office is getting a bike parking rack. A bike parking rack isn’t easy to transport around on a bike, and so you won’t be able to use it to support your bike while your out on a ride or pedaling around town doing errands. They’re great to have at your house or office if you need your bike to be supported and stable while you’re storing it. If you’re interested in a bike parking rack than check out BikeHand’s parking rack on Amazon.
Kickstands are Great for Bike Commuters
While kickstands can be too heavy for serious road cyclists and potentially dangerous for mountain bikers, they are incredibly helpful for regular bike commuters.
As a bike commuter I love to take my bike not only to work, but all over town. I bike to the grocery store, pedal around town doing errands, and ride to friend’s houses to hang out. During my excursions on the bike there are times when a kickstand can come in handy. There’s not always a wall or pole to support my bike, nor is there always a bike stand to keep my bike upright. These are the moments when a kickstand is easy.
Last week I went to the grocery store and loaded my panniers filled with our week’s groceries. When I arrived at home I was able to pull up to my front door, put down my kickstand and keep the bike upright while I brought the food inside.
It’s true that kickstands aren’t needed or desired on every bicycle, but for the avid bike commuter I would argue it’s a nice feature to have.
Are bike kickstands universal? No they are not. If you’re purchasing a kickstand to add to your bike you’ll want to make sure it fits your bike size. In addition, you’ll want to read how to install the kickstand as there are some kickstands that will only fit bikes with specific mounts.
Are double leg bike kickstands better for stability? They can be. Generally a double leg kickstand can give extra support decreasing the chance of your bike falling over. The issue I have read about many double-leg kickstands is that they can have have a difficult time supporting and keeping a heavier bike stable. If you’ve got a lighter bike that’s not carrying anything than a double leg bike stand can be beneficial. If you choose to ride a heavier bike or like to carry things on your bike than I would steer clear from installing a double leg kickstand on your bike.