A guide for beginners using the motorcycle stands
One of the basic skills that every rider needs to know and be able to master is the proper use of the side stand and main stand.
These two stands are essential for parking and maintaining your motorcycle. The side stand is generally used for short stays and the main stand for long stays when parking in a garage.
Knowing how to use them correctly can help you avoid incidents and keep your bike in good condition when carrying out basic machine checks or doing maintenance.
Using the Side Stand
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use the side stand effectively
Locate the side stand on your motorcycle. It’s usually located on the left-hand side of the bike and is a small metal lever that swings down from the frame.
Onto the side stand
- Make sure the motorcycle is stationary before you think about using the side stand.
- Put the bike into neutral.
- Make sure the ground where you’re parking is firm and level.
- If the ground is soft or uneven, the bike may tip over or sink into the ground. You could use a puck to allow some weight distribution if there is nowhere else you can park.
- You should use the side stand if you’re parked on a camber or slope.
- If parking on a slope put the bike into gear to prevent it rolling off the stand.
- If stopping on a flat surface it’s best to use neutral, so that you can push the bike if necessary.
- While you are still on the bike, locate the lug on the side stand and push it fully down.
- Give the side stand a tap forward with the left foot to make sure it is fully forward.
- Slowly lean the motorcycle to the left until you feel the weight of the bike resting on the side stand.
- Turn the steering to the left to allow the weight to transfer to the side stand.
Stow away the side stand
It is easier to stow the side stand away when you are sitting on the motorcycle. Taking the bike off the stand and then trying to sit on the motorcycle may cause balance issues and you may drop the bike.
- To stow the side stand
- Sit on the motorcycle first and take control of the motorcycle
- Once sat on the bike, use the left foot and in a sweeping motion bring the side stand backwards
- As the side stands moves backwards it steps away against the swing arm
- Have a look down to ensure the side stand is stowed correctly
- If it isn’t, when you locate first gear the engine will stall (on modern motorcycles)
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Using the Main Stand
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use the main stand effectively
The main stand can be used at any time but the preference is to use it when parking up for longer periods, parking in a garage where there is not a lot of room, using the main stand for oiling the chain and also for maintenance.
Make sure the ground where you’re parking is firm and level. If the ground is soft or uneven, the bike may tip over or become unstable.
Putting the bike onto the main stand
- Locate the main stand on your motorcycle. It’s usually located underneath the centre of the bike and has a metal lug that you need to push down to engage.
- Make sure the bike is in neutral.
- Position yourself on the left-hand side of the bike and grasp the handlebars with both hands and front brake applied.
- Place your right foot on the main stand and push it down until it touches the ground.
- Once on the ground, release the front brake and hold the grab rail.
- Make sure both feet of the man stand are on the ground.
- Use your body weight through the right leg to push down on the lever. Keep your right heel off the ground.
- Push down firmly until the stand engages and the bike is lifted off the ground.
- At the same time pull up on the grab rail
- The bike should then sit securely on the main stand
Taking the bike off the main stand
- Place both hands on the handlebars
- Cover the front brake with the fingers on the right hand
- Cover the lug with the right foot (if necessary)
- Rock the bike forward off the main stand by push both hands forward
- Walk slightly forward with the bike as it pivots off the main stand
- Gently apply the front brake once the bike has come off the main stand
- This prevents the bike rolling forward and falling over
- Ensure the main stand is stowed away correctly
- Keep the bike leaning slightly towards you so that is doesn’t fall over the opposite way
A few extra points to be aware of
Here are a few additional points to keep in mind when using the stands on your motorcycle.
Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to use the side stand and main stand on your particular motorcycle. It may give you some extra information about where to hold your particular machine when using the stand, especially putting it onto the main stand.
Always look at the ground and surface area where you want to park your motorcycle. If the ground is soft, uneven, or sloped, it can cause your bike to tip over. This is because the ground will give under the weight of the bike.
Never try to man handle the bike when using the stands. Avoid sudden or jerky movements that could cause the bike to become unstable. This may also cause you some kind of injury if you use brute force to apply the stands. Technique is a far better option, learn by technique to make it easier.
Practise until you are proficient and comfortable with using the stands. It’s an important process to become comfortable with.
Periodically inspect the stands
It’s a good idea to periodically inspect your stands for any damage or wear and tear. This may affect their performance, especially if the jaws of the stands have opened up or the stand does not retract fully after stowing it away. Some side stand switches become faulty and this could prevent the bike from starting up.
Finally, remember that the stands are not designed to support the weight of the rider. So do not sit on your motorcycle whilst it is on the side stand, this will open the jaws of the side stand and the small bolt that secures the side stand to the bike may get a stress fracture or sheer.
If you need to store your bike for an extended period, use the motorcycle’s main stand or use a paddock stand.