Experienced and seasoned bike riders know that mountain and street bikes used to have kickstands. However, why don't bikes come with a kickstand anymore?
Today, bikes no longer come with a kickstand due to the excess weight that they bring to the bike. What's more, a kickstand comes with certain safety issues, making it likely that a mountain bike will catch on to something mid-ride. Lastly, kickstands aren't all that stable anyway.
Although kickstands have been used for many decades for mountain and street bikes, today's bikes typically do not come with kickstands. As bikes have transformed into modern-day models, we see many changes to their design, the removal of the kickstand is one of them. However, what exactly is it about the kickstand that made seasoned bikers advocate against them?
As experienced bikers and enthusiasts of the history and development of modern bikes, we are here to bring you the best information about kickstands out there.
What is a Kickstand?
A kickstand is a single metal stick or rod on the bottom of a bike that allows the bike to stand upright when parked. If your bike has a kickstand, this means that you don't have to lean it against another object when you aren't using it.
Therefore, a kickstand is a piece of metal rod that lies horizontally when the bike is being ridden and can be shifted into a vertical position when the bike is stationary. When a kickstand is kicked into the vertical position, the end of the metal rod makes contact with the ground, thereby keeping the bike upright.
Why Don't Bikes Come with a Kickstand?
While bikes used to come with kickstands pretty universally, today, kickstands are rarely found on bikes. Notably, there is not just one reason why bikes don't come with kickstands anymore.
Below are several reasons why bikes don't come with kickstands.
Road bikers need their bikes to be as light as possible. They usually strip off unnecessary accessories from their bikes to make them lighter and even dress in skin-tight clothes to minimize air resistance.
Notably, a kickstand can weigh between 0.5 and 1.5 lbs, which might generally be considered to have very little weight. However, road bikers must consider every pound, especially in a competition where other bikers are likely doing the same thing.
The excess weight of the kickstand can contribute to increased air resistance, which is something road cyclists want to avoid. Therefore, since road bikers don't want kickstands on their bikes anymore, road bike manufacturers don't add them to the design.
While mountain bikers don't care about weight and air resistance as much as road cyclists, you still won't see kickstands on many mountain bikes anymore. This is because a kickstand can snag onto vegetation or catch some brush while riding down a mountain trail.
If your kickstand happens to snag something while you are riding a trail, this could cause your bike to topple over, especially if the snagged piece of brush, twig, or branch gets caught in between the wheel spokes.
Therefore, if you don't want to experience a nasty crash on a mountain bike while riding a dangerous trail, you should get rid of that kickstand. While it will cause a bit of inconvenience when not riding your mountain bike, most seasoned mountain bikers agree that it's just not worth the risk.
However, this is not the only reason why a kickstand poses some safety risks for the rider. Mountain bikers with kickstands need to be extra careful during crashes since the metal rod could very easily impale them.
Although the likelihood of this happening is low, it has been known to happen to even the most experienced mountain bikers. Therefore, mountain bikers have pretty much universally concluded that kickstands are not a good fit for mountain bikes.
While a kickstand's exclusive function is to allow your bike to stand upright when not in use, these metal rods do not provide your bike with much stability. Therefore, a big risk of having a kickstand on your bike is that it can quite easily topple over if someone bumps into it, or even with a gust of wind, for that matter.
Due to the location of a kickstand towards the rear of the bike, kickstands do not give bikes the much-needed stability when they are standing stationary. Therefore, most bikers prefer not to take the risk of having their bike topple over, which could damage the bike depending on the severity of the fall.
Although all the above reasons are the most important reasons for bikers to not want kickstands on their bikes, there is also a manufacturing point of view that must be considered. Sure, kickstands do not cost much at all, and what's a $3 kickstand on a $500 mountain bike anyway?
Nevertheless, for many bike manufacturers, eliminating kickstands from most of their bikes' designs helps them save money, an opportunity any company is not likely to forgo.
How to Support Your Bike Without a Kickstand
So, now that we have understood why bikes don't come with kickstands anymore, the next obvious question is: how do I support my bike without a kickstand? Well, there are two ways to do so, both outlined below.
Lean Your Bike
When taking a break from riding, either on the road or through a mountain trail, if your bike doesn't have a kickstand, you can lean it against a pole, fence, or tree. There is no shortage of things to lean your bike against when you aren't using it.
However, make sure you do not lay your bike flat on the ground, as this could scratch and damage the bike frame.
Buy a Bike Rack
This option only works if you need to support your stationary bike at home or your office for long periods. A bike rack, or bike parking rack, cannot be transported from one place to another, and so they are exclusively used for parking your bike in a specific location.
A bike rack is a great way to keep your bike supported and safe when not in use. While you won't be able to take it with you on your rides, every seasoned biker needs a place to park their bike safely at the end of the day.
Are Double Leg Kickstands Better for Stability?
Yes, double leg kickstands are generally considered to be better for your bike's stability. A double leg kickstand provides your bike with extra support on both sides, decreasing the chances of your bike toppling over when not in use.
However, it is worth noting that double leg kickstands are ideal for lighter bikes. Meanwhile, heavier bikes aren't usually well supported by a double leg kickstand. Therefore, depending on the size and weight of your bike, as well as the extent of your daily commute, a double leg kickstand can be a very good investment.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson