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My Name is Ken and I Can’t Kick My Kickstand Habit

My new Surly Long Haul Trucker didn’t come with a kickstand.

How do you get along without one?

I’ve been spoiled, I have to admit. I’ve been using a ESGE/Pletscher Double-legged kickstand on my Trek 1220 for years. I first heard about them on the touring list and gave Harris Cyclery in Boston a call to ask the legendary Sheldon Brown if they were all the were purported to be.

Sheldon wasn’t available, but the young guy who answered the phone said they weren’t cheap, but that they really were great for holding up your bike. When I started giving him my info for the order, he stopped short and said, “I know you. You post on the bicycling newsgroups all the time.”

That showed me how the Internet had changed the way we do business. Here I was, half a country away, placing an order from what used to be a small bike shop and having my name recognized by someone I had never met. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars in some local bike shops and don’t get that kind of name response.

It’s nice to think your bike is happy to see you

The two legs hold the bike up in the air. Depending on how your bike is loaded, either the front or back wheel will be up in the air. The first few times you see it, it looks strange, kinda like your bike is rearing up on its hand legs to greet you.

The side effect of that is that you can now use your kickstand as a portable work stand. Taking a wheel off to change a flat or making brake or shifting adjustments is a piece of cake.

When you’re ready to go, you give the stand a kick and it folds up neatly out of the way.

It’s not perfect

The long legs WILL dig into soft blacktop and cause the bike to spill over. A strong wind, particularly if your front wheel isn’t pointed straight ahead will cause it to crash. Having said that, though, I can’t think of any time that my bike has fallen over that it wouldn’t have fallen over easier and earlier with a conventional kickstand.

What else is out there?

I ran across something called the Click-Stand, which was described as a tent pole turned kickstand. Tom, the maker, has been infinitely patient in answering my questions. He’s going to send me one to try out, so I’ll post pictures and my impressions when it arrives. Follow that link for a full review. It’s a cool thing.

Even if it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, I’ll probably still keep the two-legged kickstand on the bike for those days when I need a portable work stand. Or need the feeling that someone is glad to see me.

Still, it’d be good to have something that won’t occasionally dump my bike over.

11 comments to My Name is Ken and I Can’t Kick My Kickstand Habit

  • skippy69

    umm dude not to be harsh but Sheldon is dead..

  • kls

    Skippy69,

    Dude, he wasn’t dead when I called. I said in the posting that I had been using the kickstand for years.

    Apology accepted. (At least you knew who Sheldon was.)

    For folks who don’t know, Sheldon Brown was one of the first bike enthusiasts to recognize the reach of the Internet. He wrote with a great wit and vast knowledge about cycling, bike repairs and life in general.

    You can see some of his stuff at http://sheldonbrown.com/eagle.html

    When he died in 2008, many of us who had never met him felt like we had lost a friend.

  • skippy69

    umm I didn’t apologize, you posted on 1/ 13/09
    I’m guessing he couldn’t come to the phone because he was well rather dead.

  • clw

    Dude

    umm “I’ve been using a ESGE/Pletscher Double-legged kickstand on my Trek 1220 for years.”

    Why wait until 2009 to check with Harris Cyclery if you’ve used the kickstand for years? He must have called years ago. You know, when Sheldon Brown was around.

  • I just got one of these and I’m having all kinds of problems when it’s asymmetrically loaded on the rear.
    I thought that the whole idea was for the two legs to be equal, creating a pyramid, but I’m wondering if I should trim the leg on the opposite side from the side I carry my everyday pannier on, but I’m worried that then it will be unbalanced when I put a double load on the back. Since your photos showed an asymmetric load, I was wondering what you did when you installed it?

    • Cycler,

      Mine is the same length as the day I got it. The only problems I’ve had are when I’ve parked it on soft blacktop and had it dig in and fall over or when the wind has blown the bike over.

      I use the two-legged stand for most quick-and-dirty stuff, like opening the door, but for longer parking, particularly when it’s windy, I use my Click-Stand.

  • Thanks, I guess before I take a hacksaw to it, I’ll take it to Harris Cyclery (which is actually where I bought it- it’s my LBS) and see if they have any suggestions.

  • Cycler,

    There’s your answer, for sure. Harris is where I got mine, except I did mine mail order.

    I’d be really hinky about starting to cut one side or the other off.

    I did that once to level out a table and ended up with a great footstool.

    Let me know what they say.

  • David

    I’ve read the current lot of Pletscher double leg stands have gradients marked in the metal for shortening the height.
    Ideally you want a height that will just clear the ground for one wheel when weight biased to front or rear.
    If you check out scooters or motorcycles with centre stands, they don’t raise the wheels excessively like your bike is going to jump up and slobber all over you :)

  • MrBear

    Can you not get rubber feet for the bottom of them to prevent them digging in?

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