"Should I get a kickstand on my kids bike?"
We get that question a lot here at Prevelo. Kickstands are pretty straightforward and inexpensive devices. Two wheeled vehicles like bicycles cannot stay upright on there own when at a standstill. A kickstand gives you an option for keeping your bike upright at a standstill. But they have both advantages and disadvantages. We'll break that all down.
What is a kickstand?
It's a rod that attaches to the bicycle. You can kick it into the vertical position and use the kickstand to hold the bike up. When you are ready to ride, you kick it back to the horizontal position.
Advantages: What are the benefits to a kickstand?
The main benefit to a kickstand is that it holds your bike upright on its own. When you park your bike upright:
- You don't have to bend down to pick it up when you are ready to ride.
- The bike will take up less ground space when parked.
- The bike will avoid scuffs and dirt from contact with the ground.
Disadvantages: What are the downsides to kickstands? Why don't mountain bikes, race bikes and other high end bikes have kickstands?
There are several downsides to kickstands:
- They add weight.
- They can get in the way. The tend to hang low to the ground where they can get caught on rocks and roots. And over rough terrain or jumps a kickstand can deploy while riding, which could be dangerous (this is the primary reason that no Prevelo trail bikes have kickstand plates or kickstands as options).
- Bikes held up with kickstands can be knocked over.
Does my bike need to be held upright? What are my options here?
Bikes do not need to be held upright when parked. The choice to use a kickstand so you can park your bike upright is a matter of personal preference. When you park your bike you have a few options:
- Lay the bike on the ground. A lot of people hesitate to lay a bike on the ground. But there is nothing wrong with laying a bike on the ground, and unless it's done in an abusive way, it won't damage your bike. Your bike can take it. Just keep a couple things in mind: (1) to protect your drivetrain, lay the bike on the ground with the drive train side (the right side) facing up and (2) be gentle.
- Lean the bike up against something. Just make sure it's steady so it won't fall over.
- Use a kickstand.
Whether or not you need a kickstand depends on which of the above options fits your personal preference and circumstance.
Some people think that laying a bike on the ground is bad, careless or sloppy. Others think that kickstands are unnecessary, get in the way while riding, and that laying a bike on the ground is just fine. There's no right answer. But, for what it's worth, in the cycling enthusiast community, in the crowds where people ride uber expensive carbon fiber bicycles, kickstands are virtually non-existent and it's totally normal to lay bikes on the ground.