Many, many years ago when I bought my adult bike for the first time, the staff at the bike shop congratulated me and told me that you are about to have an amazing experience exploring the world on two wheels.
But before I took off, I realized that my new bike doesn’t come with a kickstand. I went back to the shop asking why my bike doesn’t have a kickstand, did you guys forget to install it?
The staff then explained with a smirk on his face that bikes these days do not come with a kickstand. So, it begs the question, how can I park my bike without a kickstand?
How can I park my bike without a kickstand? As I have been told by the staff at the bike shop, a kickstand is not necessary on a bike, because you can lean your bike non-drive side against a tree, post, fence, wall or anything that looks like it can hold your bike upright. And if you’re riding with a friend, you can always keep the bike upright by leaning on each other’s bike. And obviously, you can lay the bike on the ground non-drive side with the pedals up to prevent the bike frame and the derailleur from ever touching the ground.
I’ve got to tell you, the guy was right. Over the years I’ve learned many techniques to properly park my bike without the use of a bike kickstand and without ever damaging or scratching the bike. I’ve also learned a way to stand the bike upright without the use of an object…well, sort of. If you want to learn how to do this yourself, then read on!
- What Is A Kickstand On A Bike?
- Why Does My Bike Not Have A Kickstand?
- Why Do My Road Bikes Not Have A Kickstand?
- Why Do My Mountain Bikes Not Have A Kickstand?
- Should I Get A Kickstand For My Bike?
- How To Properly Park Your Bike Without A Kickstand?
But before we talk about how to park the bikes without a kickstand, I want to share with you a few things that convinced me to not use one in the first place. Let’s start off with…
What Is A Kickstand On A Bike?
A bike kickstand is a device attached to the bike frame (usually the rear wheel stay or the chainstay) that allows the bike to be held upright when it is not supported by a person or leaned against an object. And as mentioned before, more and more bikes are being sold without this “essential”.
Fortunately, kickstands have become more of an add-on accessory that you can buy and install yourself without breaking a sweat or the bank. That is if you really think you still need one after reading this post, so keep reading to learn why you don’t need a kickstand.
Why Does My Bike Not Have A Kickstand?
It’s a common misconception that all bikes come with kickstands. The types of bikes that usually come with a bike kickstand are kids, hybrids, cruisers, and maybe even touring bikes.
Road bikes and mountain bikes are usually the ones manufactured without the kickstand, because they can cause problems for both the bike and the cyclist.
It may seem like such a trivial detail but it really does matter, especially if you are very serious about cycling. There are more reasons not to have a kickstand than having one though.
Many cyclists simply don’t feel they need one on their bikes because it’s an extra piece of equipment that would get in the way when cycling.
Why Do My Road Bikes Not Have A Kickstand?
Let’s start off with why road bikes don’t come with the kickstand. But before we begin, let’s remind ourselves why road bikes are the most specialized out of all the bike types.
Road bikes are made from either aluminum or carbon and are meant to be ridden on tarmac. The advantages of road bikes over the other types are its speed, lightweight frame, and its aerodynamic riding position. Thus, allowing you to ride longer comfortably but it also translates to a heftier price tag.
Now, there are several reasons for the lack of a kickstand on a road bike.
Reason #1: Weight and Aerodynamics
Road cyclists wants the lightest bike possible to handle the road conditions and hill climbing. In fact, many serious road cyclists would pay thousands of dollars just to shave off a few ounces off their bikes. Although a kickstand may only weigh 10 – 13 ounces, the added weight of a kickstand would just cause unnecessary aerodynamic drag.
Reason #2: Stability
Unlike mountain bikes, road bikes are incredibly lightweight thus allowing the rider to go faster and smoother. However, because it’s lightweight, using a kickstand to hold the bike upright makes them even more likely to get damaged if knocked over by the wind than laying the bike on the ground with the chain side up.
Reason #3: Damaging to the Chainstay and Frame
Most kickstands are bolted on to the chainstay, which are built with thin tubing. If you have a heavily loaded bike, the weight may exert enough load and pressure on the mounting point to cause bend and fracture to the chainstay over time. Also, the bolt needs to be tightened regularly and if it is tightened improperly, it can cause severe damages to your frame.
Reason #4: Clicking the Pedals
While riding, your pedals may also knock the kickstand causing a clicking sound. Obviously, this will disrupt your ride but the clicking sound can just be as annoying.
Reason #5: Cyclist Habit
You may also develop the habit of setting your kickstand before getting off the bike. As you can image, this will put significant weight and pressure on the kickstand and your frame.
Why Do My Mountain Bikes Not Have A Kickstand?
Mountain bikes are sometimes referred to as the SUVs of the bike world. Their wide, durable tires and an upright riding position make them well suited for a roller-coaster ride on the off-road terrains and cruising around town. Mountain bikes are usually built like tanks in order to withstand rough trails without breaking easily.
The lack of a kickstand in mountain bikes is usually attributed to the same reasons why road bikes don’t have it, but there are some specific reasons that apply to mountain bikes:
Reason #1: Weight
Mountain bikes are much, much heavier than road bikes. It needs to have wide knobby tires for absorbing obstacles on dirt trails. Thus, adding an additional kickstand can significantly add weight to the bike which is not ideal if you’re planning to climb and conquer mountains and hills. (I think we can all agree that we don’t need no more weight on our bikes.) Also, the extra wind drag may cause loss of momentum when going uphill.
Reason #2: Safety
Mountain trails are very unforgiving on your bike. Rocks and bumps on the trail can easily loosen the kickstand. When that happens, your kickstand can become a safety hazard while riding and the kickstand can catch vegetation along the way.
Should I Get A Kickstand For My Bike?
For the reasons I mentioned above, I would not recommend getting a kickstand. Besides kickstands are always installed on the left side of the bike, which means when your bike falls for whatever reason, it falls on the right side causing the derailleur hanger to bend, possibly even breaking the derailleur, damage the brake lever, warping the chainrings, and paint finish.
I know I complained about not having a kickstand when I bought my bike, but over time I was able to learn to stand my bike up like a pro without the use of a kickstand. In fact, many experienced cyclists can easily lay their bikes sideways as if it just magically fell on its side without scratches to the paint and damages to the components. Here’s how:
How To Properly Park Your Bike Without A Kickstand?
If you’re really concerned about parking your bike without a kickstand while stopping by the side of a road or trail, here are five techniques I learned over the years to park the bike without damaging or scratching it.
Technique #1 – Lean it against an object…the proper way
When leaning against the fence, wall, or even your car, try to lean the bike against the object with three contact points, the handlebar, saddle, and rear tire.
If you think the object can damage the saddle, then I’d suggest leaning the bike with the handlebar and rear tire in contact with the object.
But at a minimum, the rear wheel should always be in contact with the object your bike is leaning against so the bike will less likely fall over from any movement of the front wheel or handlebar.
Technique #2 – Lean on me
When riding with a friend, you can lean against each other’s bike. This is done by placing the bikes a foot or two apart, with one bike facing left and the other right, and slowly and carefully lean the bikes against each other.
Technique #3 – On the ground it goes
Laying the bike on the ground is probably the safest way to park the bike without damaging or scratching the bike.
The trick is to make sure the left pedal is up and always remember to lay it on the non-drive side with the derailleur facing up. If it is done properly, the only contact points to the ground are your front tire, rear tire, and the handlebar.
Technique #4 – Rely on nature
While at the woods, there are obviously plenty of trees to lean on. The best way is to just lean the bike non-drive side with only the handlebar touching the tree.
You may also choose to lean your rear wheel and saddle against the tree but that could scratch your saddle up a bit.
Technique #5 – Fetch a stick
What if you get to the top of the trail and you have no way to keep your bike upright? The obvious solution would be to lay it on the ground. Sure, you can absolutely do that!
But there is another way…you can stand your bike upright with a stick.
First, find a strong stick that is roughly 12 inches long then place it on the non-drive side in between your disk and the rear swingarm. I’d also prefer to place it behind the derailleur so that it covers or shades the stick from being seen in photos. Isn’t that cool?