Repairing Common Bicycle Problems: Fixing A Kickstand

Types of stands and where to mount on the bike. How to use the kickstand built into your bike.

Kickstands need little care if attached to the bike properly. Almost all problems with a kickstand are related to how the kickstand is secured. Take an old inner tube, one that you aren't going to patch any longer. You will need a section of this inner tube to place a barrier between the clamp of the kickstand and the metal of your bike. There are important reasons for this. What happens is, the metals become brittle over time. The other reason is rust, if your bike's tubing is cro-molly, any opening to the bare metal will allow moisture to corrode and rust will occur. Measure the size of the clamp mechanism of your kickstand and cut a piece of inner tube accordingly. Place the pieces of rubber on the pressing ends of the clamp. Now you have a barrier between your bike and the kickstand, keeping the metals separate and avoiding possible scratches and rust occurring where they join.

The kickstand is always mounted on the left side. That's the side opposite of your bicycle chain and gears. There are two types of kickstands. The most common kickstand fastens similar to the clamp that holds your bike seat in place. This type works by clamping at the base of the bike, just behind the bottom bracket, attaching to the rear chainstays. The chainstays are the part of the frame that come from your bottom bracket, that's where the cranks and pedals come through the frame, and end where your rear tire mounts to the frame of the bike. Position the stand so that clamp grabs both chainstays as best as you can, right behind the bottom bracket. Once in place, tighten the bolt until secure. Make sure you do not over tighten and crimp the metal of your bike frame and that the rubber barrier is correctly in place. If you apply grease, not oil, to the threads of the bolt in the clamping mechanism, it will keep the bolt from backing off the screw and from weather corroding the threads.

Another type of kickstand has a clamp that will mount only on the left chainstay coming from your bottom bracket. Have the bike in an up-right position. You want to place your kickstand as close to the bottom bracket has possible. This is the optimal position for standing the bike. Position the kickstand so that when the leg of the stand is down, the bike is slightly tilted to the same side as the kickstand. Too much tilt and the bike will not stand well, not enough tilt and the bike will fall the other way. Once you feel the position is correct, tighten the bolt or bolts on the clamp. Make sure you don't over tighten, causing the metal tubing of your bike to crimp. Now try it out. It sometimes helps to turn the front wheel to one side or the other depending on which way the ground tilts the bike. If your bike is still unstable, loosen the bolt and move the position of the clamp up or down on the chainstay and try again. Once you have the correct position, the clamp will need no further adjustment and should last a long time.

Always make sure the leg of the kickstand is up when riding the bike. If the leg of the kickstand is down and you're making a tight left turn, it could cause you to fall or break the leg of the stand. Never park your bike in an area that will block traffic. Never lean on the bike, thinking the leg of the kickstand will support you and the bike. Apply a very small amount of oil on the joint periodically, where the leg action of the kickstand is located.

Did you know that your bike comes with a built in kickstand? It's the pedal and crank arm on your bicycle. If you are stopping, where there is a ledge, such as a curb or some type of solid support that is higher then the lowest position of the pedal, you can balance the bike using the crankarm and pedal as a kickstand. Place the bike parallel to the support. Back pedal the crank that is next to the support so that the pedal rests on its ledge. Turn the front wheel in, towards the support and your bike will now stand on its own. This works well if you are not carrying packs on your bike, as in touring and if the ledge doesn't have too great a slant. A little practice and you can stand your bike in almost any location.

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