How to Use Front and Rear Motorcycle Stands

Many motorcycles are equipped with side stands (or kick stands) that support the motorcycle when parked. This type of stand is familiar to anyone that's ever owned a bicycle. Some motorcycles may also be equipped with a center stand, which extends from under the center of the bike and lifts up the rear wheel, supporting the motorcycle. This type of stand makes it a bit easier to perform maintenance on the rear wheel, but it is not quite as stable as when using the side stand. Sportbikes are generally not equipped with center stands due to weight and ground clearance issues. As an alternative to the side stand and center stand, external (not connected to the motorcycle) stands may be used. Motorcycle stands are made by a variety of vendors and come in several styles. Essentially, they all accomplish the same objective... to lift and support the motorcycle. These are often used with sportbikes or track/race bikes (that lack a centerstand and/or side stand). Not only do these stands support the bike, but they make wheel (and fork) removal easier, and allow for the installation of tire warmers (since the wheel is elevated).

Things You'll Need

  • Motorcycle
  • Rear stand
  • Front stand (optional)

Instructions

    • 1

      When using motorcycle stands, you must always begin by installing the rear stand. The front stands should generally not be used without the rear stand already in place (else the bike may fall over).

    • 2

      Rear stands lift the bike from the swingarm using a variety of styles. The most popular style lifts the bike using small spools that are mounted to each side of the swingarm. Many sportbikes already have taps in the swingarm for the installation of spools.

    • 3

      If spools are not installed, a standard (or swingarm) stand will simply lift from the under side of the swingarm. Other styles are also available, but less common (MotoGP style, etc.).

    • 4

      To use the rear stand, simply support the motorcycle in a vertical position, then position the stand to the rear of the bike and position the clips of the stand at the spools (or just under the swingarm if using a swingarm stand).

    • 5

      Once the stand is securely in place and ready to lift, simply press down on the handle and slowly lift the bike.

    • 6

      The handle should be pressed/lowered to the ground, and the bike will be elevated and supported. The bike is now secure, and we have easy access for wheel removal or the installation of tire warmers.

    • 7

      Be very careful moving the bike while on the stand. Depending on the style of stand (swingarm, spool, etc.), you may be able to push or pull the bike a bit without causing upset. However, to be safe, you should remove the stand before moving the bike.

    • 8
      Pit Bull front stand

      Once the motorcycle is secure on the rear stand, you may install the front stand. Front stands lift the bike using one of two methods: 1) by lifting from under the steering head, or 2) by lifting from the bottom of the forks. The advantage to lifting from the steering head is that you can remove the forks if needed, for maintenance. My Pit Bull brand front stand easily converts to either style (see picture)

    • 9

      First, let's look at lifting the front using a stand that is designed to support from under the steering head. First, you must position the pin of the stand under the steering head, and insert this pin fully. Until you get the feel of it, it will help to bend over and look or feel for the proper placement. Be sure the pin is fully inserted and secure before you begin to lift the bike.

    • 10

      Once the pin is in place, with the stand centered in front of the bike, simply press down on the handle to lift the front. This will require a bit more force than with the rear stand.

    • 11

      Once the motorcycle is fully lifted, you'll have easy access for wheel removal or for the installation of tire warmers. In addition, since the bike is supported from the steering head area, you may adjust or remove the forks if needed.

    • 12

      Now let's have a look at lifting the front using a stand that is designed to lift from under the forks. This type of stand is a bit easier to use, but of course we cannot remove the forks once it's lifted. But we still have easy access for wheel removal and the installation of tire warmers.

    • 13

      Begin by positioning the front stand in the center of the front wheel, and place the small (usually rubber coated) swivels under the forks.

    • 14
      Swivels Under CENTER of Fork

      IMPORTANT: You must ensure that the lower swivel is under the CENTER of each fork, and not on the edge. You want to be sure that the fork does not slip off to the front when you apply pressure to lift.

    • 15

      Once the swivels are centered under each fork, slowly and carefully press down the handle to lift the front.

    • 16

      As with the rear, the stand handle is lowered to the ground, and the motorcycle should be secure with the front wheel slightly off the ground, providing easy access for wheel removal or the installation of tire warmers.

    • 17

      Once both the rear and the front are lifted on stands, the motorcycle is very secure and both wheels are elevated. When removing the stands, remember to remove the front stand first (again, the rear stand is okay to use alone, but the front stand should never be used without the rear already in place).

Tips & Warnings

  • There are a wide variety of stand types, with various types of devices to lift the bike, handles in front vs. rear, etc. Shop around for a style that suits your taste and works well with your bike.
  • Front stands that lift the bike from under the steering head must have pins that are sized and angled specifically for your motorcycle. Be sure you purchase and use the proper steering pin for your bike.
  • Always secure the bike with the rear stand before you use the front stand. The motorcycle will not be stable with the front stand alone.
  • If you are just getting used to your stands or feeling a bit uneasy trying to position and lift the bike while supporting it, don't be shy about asking for a hand. In track paddocks, we all help each other all the time. You can manage it on your own, but it's easier (and safer) if you have a second set of hands.
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