The 10 Best Motorcycle Stands
Stand Up for Your Bike
The motorcycle stand is not a common element found in most garages or bike shops. Before we delve into what constitutes a stand, first let's clarify what it is not. Foremost, it is certainly not a kickstand. The kickstand, similar to one seen on a bicycle, supports the weight on one side of the frame allowing it to stand upright. They are usually located in the middle of the bike and spring out from the frame.
Every motorcycle will have a kickstand equipped. The motorcycle stand should not be confused with a motorcycle lift; which is larger and supports the entire bike as opposed to front or rear end only. The stand and lift may have similar uses but the stand is not adequate for heavy duty maintenance work that the lift encourages.
The motorcycle stand consists of a metal frame base that supports the weight of the motorcycle's rear or front wheel. The stand is typically made out of steel, although aluminum models are gaining popularity, The top arch is called the swingarm, and the base of the stand usually has wheels to slide underneath the bike. Also a handle will be included to manually lever the bike up and down.
The stand exists to lift the wheel, front or rear, of the motorcycle from the ground. The two primary reasons for using a motorcycle stand are for repairs and storage. If you intend to do neither with your bike, the stand may not suit you, and will collect dust in your garage.
Repairs and Storage
Considering the main function of the stand, you should decide whether you will need it primarily for storage or maintenance.
Motorcycle stands can be sold for the front wheel, rear wheel, or a dual pack; which includes both. If you are storing your bike, due to cold weather or any other reason, I highly suggest you get a dual front and rear wheel stand. That way, both tires are off the ground, preventing unnecessary stress on suspension and tire rot. Also, at the risk of damaging the bike, if you intend to store it for an extended period of time, I strongly advise you familiarize yourself with the proper storage procedures, including draining oil and gas from the tank. The average stand is lightweight, and takes up little room, however, it should be factored into the space you have provided in your garage for storage.
If you are performing your own maintenance on your motorcycle, the stand you purchase may differ from a simple storage stand. If you are concerned with oil changes and chain cleaning, you most certainly will need a rear wheel stand. For fork and front brake maintenance, obviously the front wheel stand is more adequate. Dual packs will be offered usually at a discounted rate, and they are intended for this purpose.
Regardless of the function of your stand, first you must make sure the stand is appropriate for your bike. Many hook unto your bike with spools. Spools, or a spool kit, can be purchased online and most local motorcycle shops. Of course you must check the spool size; not every spool will fit on every bike. They are inexpensive, and make working on your motorcycle with a stand safe and secure.
If spools are not compatible with you bike, you can also purchase a stand that will support the bike by the frame. Again, check with the manufacturer first; most will know first hand which stand is appropriate for you.
A Brief History of Motorcycle Stands
The modern motorcycle can trace its roots to the second half of the 19th century. A motorized bicycle sprang into existence at the same time in many parts of Europe. Germany and England dominated the market by the turn of the century and America excelled soon afterwards. Harley-Davidson became the gold standard for American riders (and to some extent it still is today). Motorcycle sport racing became popular as well, and the demand for innovations in the field were high; larger engines, aerodynamic frames, and safety features all improved drastically at this time.
The emergence of motorcycle maintenance at home is relatively new. Do not be fooled by the best selling book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which offers little intel on Zen Buddhism or motorcycle maintenance.
The history of the motorcycle stand itself is unclear; most likely it emerged in the 1980's when most riders began to do simple maintenance work in their own garages.
The stand cannot offer many innovations; it's a simple design with a simple purpose. The motorcycle stands fifty years from now will look nearly identical to today's models, I predict. A sturdy stand should last you a lifetime, provided it is properly care for. Good luck out there and congratulations on making a step forward towards a DIY warrior!