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Why Don’t Bikes Come With a Kickstand?

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In the world of biking, there’s one accessory that seems conspicuously absent on most bicycles – the kickstand.

Have you ever wondered why many bikes don’t come equipped with kickstand?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the world of bikes, kickstands, and the intriguing reasons behind their absence. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a novice rider, this article is your go-to source for understanding the curious case of bikes and their kickstands.

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Understanding Kickstands

Kickstands, those nifty little contraptions attached to the frame of some bicycles, serve a seemingly simple yet crucial purpose. They allow you to park your bike upright without the need to lean it against a wall, tree, or any other support. While it may sound like a no-brainer accessory, not all bikes come equipped with them. Why is that?

Why Some Bikes Skip Kickstands

  1. Lightweight Performance Bikes: Performance-oriented bikes, such as road bikes and high-end mountain bikes, prioritize weight reduction above all else. Every extra ounce on these bikes can affect speed and agility. Hence, kickstands are often omitted to keep these bikes as light as possible.
  2. BMX and Trick Bikes: Bikes designed for stunts, tricks, and extreme maneuvers, like BMX bikes, don’t have kickstands. These bikes are built for maximum agility and minimal interference with the rider’s movements. A kickstand would get in the way of their acrobatics.
  3. Cost-Effective Models: Inexpensive or budget-friendly bikes are produced with affordability in mind. Manufacturers often exclude kickstands to keep production costs down. In these cases, the focus is on providing basic functionality at a lower price point.

Kickstand Types

Not all kickstands are created equal. There are various types designed to suit different bike styles and needs:

Center-Mounted Kickstands

These are the most common type and attach to the bike frame near the bottom bracket. They fold up neatly under the bike when not in use. Center-mounted kickstands offer a good balance of stability and convenience, making them a popular choice for commuter and hybrid bikes.

Rear-Mounted Kickstands

As the name suggests, these kickstands attach near the rear wheel. They provide stability for bikes with rear-mounted accessories, such as cargo bikes. Rear-mounted kickstands are favored for their extra support when loading and unloading cargo.

Double Leg Kickstands

Double leg kickstands offer unparalleled stability and are often found on heavier touring or cargo bikes. They fold out to both sides, providing a solid base for the bike. This type of kickstand is ideal for those who regularly carry heavy loads on their bikes.

Kickstands with Adjustable Length

These versatile kickstands can be adjusted to fit various bike sizes, making them a popular choice for hybrid and commuter bikes. You can fine-tune the length to ensure your bike remains level on uneven surfaces.

Advantages of Having a Kickstand

  • Convenience: The primary advantage of a kickstand is the convenience it offers. Parking your bike anywhere becomes a breeze. No need to hunt for a suitable support, and you won’t risk damaging your bike by leaning it against a wall.
  • Damage Prevention: A kickstand helps prevent damage to your bike’s frame and components. Without one, your bike may accidentally tip over, leading to scratches, dents, or even more significant damage.
  • Maintenance Ease: Kickstands provide easier access for cleaning, repairs, and maintenance. With your bike elevated, it’s simpler to work on the drivetrain, tires, and other components.

Cons of Having a Kickstand

  • Added Weight: While the weight of a kickstand is relatively small, performance-oriented cyclists take every extra ounce seriously. On high-end road and mountain bikes, where speed and agility are paramount, even a small increase in weight can be a drawback.
  • Interference: On some bikes, particularly those with low-slung frames, a kickstand might interfere with the pedal stroke. This can be annoying and uncomfortable for the rider.
  • Aesthetics: Some cyclists prioritize the sleek and minimalist appearance of a kickstand-free bike. A kickstand can alter the aesthetics of the bike and might not align with their style preferences.

Aftermarket Solutions: Adding a Kickstand

If your bike didn’t come with a kickstand but you find the idea of having one appealing, there’s good news. Many aftermarket kickstands are available that can be easily attached to your bike. These kickstands come in various styles and are compatible with different bike frames, so you can choose one that suits your needs perfectly. Adding an aftermarket kickstand can provide the convenience of a kickstand without having to purchase a new bike.

DIY Kickstand: Crafting Your Own

For the adventurous DIY enthusiasts and tinkerers, crafting your own kickstand can be a rewarding project. With some basic tools, creativity, and a little bit of engineering, you can design a custom kickstand tailored to your bike’s specifications. Just be sure to research and plan carefully before embarking on this endeavor. While it can be a fun project, it’s essential to ensure that your homemade kickstand is both functional and safe.

The Kickstand Conundrum in Cycling Communities

The presence or absence of kickstands is a topic of debate in the cycling world. Some cyclists swear by them, touting their practicality and convenience. Others scoff at their inclusion, arguing that a well-placed tree or wall can serve the same purpose without adding weight or altering the bike’s aesthetics. It’s not uncommon to see lively discussions on online cycling forums about the pros and cons of kickstands. The choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and the type of riding you do.

Safety First: Kickstands and Bike Accidents

While kickstands are generally safe when used correctly, they can pose a potential hazard if not properly engaged or if used inappropriately. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Ensure Proper Engagement: Make sure your kickstand is fully extended and securely in place before leaving your bike unattended. An improperly engaged kickstand can lead to your bike falling over.
  • Choose Stable Ground: When parking your bike with a kickstand, select a level and stable surface. Avoid uneven or sloped surfaces that could cause your bike to tip over.
  • Check for Interference: On bikes with kickstands mounted near the pedals, ensure that the kickstand doesn’t interfere with your pedaling motion. A misaligned kickstand can lead to accidents while riding.
  • Regular Maintenance: Periodically check your kickstand for wear and tear. Look for signs of damage, such as cracks or bent legs, and replace the kickstand if necessary. Lubricate moving parts to ensure smooth folding and unfolding.

Maintenance Matters: Caring for Your Kickstand

Just like any other bike component, kickstands require regular maintenance to function optimally and extend their lifespan. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Keep It Clean: Regularly clean your kickstand to prevent dirt and debris from affecting its operation. Use a brush or compressed air to remove any accumulated grime.
  • Lubricate Moving Parts: Apply lubricant to hinges and other moving parts to ensure smooth folding and unfolding. This will prevent stiffness and squeaking.
  • Check for Loose Bolts: Inspect the kickstand for loose bolts or fasteners. Tighten them as needed to maintain stability.
  • Inspect for Damage: Routinely inspect your kickstand for signs of damage, such as cracks, bent legs, or broken hinges. If you notice any issues, replace the kickstand promptly to avoid accidents.

Conclusion

In the world of biking, the presence or absence of a kickstand is a matter of personal preference and bike type. While some bikes are designed without them for practical reasons, kickstands remain a valuable accessory for many cyclists. Ultimately, whether or not you choose to have a kickstand on your bike depends on your individual needs, riding style, and the type of biking you enjoy.

Do all bikes have kickstand mounts?

No, not all bikes come with kickstand mounts. As mentioned earlier, performance-oriented bikes and budget-friendly models often lack kickstand provisions. If your bike doesn’t have a kickstand mount, you can explore aftermarket options or consider crafting your own DIY kickstand.

Can I add a kickstand to any bike?

In many cases, yes, you can add a kickstand to a bike that doesn’t come with one. Aftermarket kickstands are designed to be compatible with a wide range of bike frames. However, it’s essential to ensure that the kickstand you choose matches your bike’s frame type and size for proper installation.

Are there alternatives to kickstands?

Yes, there are alternatives to traditional kickstands. Some cyclists use wall-mounted bike racks or specialized floor stands to support their bikes when not in use. These alternatives can be particularly useful if you have limited space or if you prefer not to add weight to your bike.

Do professional cyclists use kickstands?

Professional cyclists who compete in events like the Tour de France typically do not use kickstands. Their bikes are finely tuned for performance, and any unnecessary weight or accessories are omitted. However, kickstands are commonly used by recreational cyclists, commuters, and touring cyclists.

What are the best kickstand brands?

The choice of the best kickstand brand depends on your specific needs and the type of bike you own. Some popular kickstand brands known for quality and durability include Greenfield, Pletscher, BV, and Ursus. It’s advisable to read reviews and consider your bike’s requirements when selecting a kickstand brand and model.

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