Mountain biking has exploded in popularity over the last decade, with more and more people taking to off-road trails on sturdy, versatile mountain bikes.
As you enjoy the freedom and excitement of mountain biking, there are also some important things to think about, like how to make sure your bike is safely parked when you take a break. This raises the question – do mountain bikes have kickstands?
The short answer is that most stock mountain bikes do not come equipped with kickstands. There are a few reasons for this:
- Weight: Kickstands add extra weight, which can affect performance on climbs. Mountain bikes aim to be as lightweight as possible.
- Ground Clearance: The suspension and wide tires of mountain bikes mean very little ground clearance. Kickstands can drag and get caught on terrain.
- Riding Style: Mountain biking involves leaning the bike at angles which could lead a kickstand to destabilize the bike when deployed.
However, aftermarket kickstands are available for those who wish to equip their mountain bike with one. The key factors to consider are weight, stability, and ground clearance.
Do All Mountain Bikes Come With Kickstands?
The vast majority of stock mountain bikes from brands like Trek, Specialized, Santa Cruz, Yeti, and more do not include integrated kickstands. This applies to both hardtail and full suspension mountain bike models across all price ranges from budget to high-end.
There are a few exceptions, such as some cheaper big box store mountain bikes that may include a kickstand standard. But in general, integrated kickstands are seen as unnecessary weight by mountain bike manufacturers.
The priorities in mountain bike design are keeping weight low, maximizing ground clearance, and ensuring stability at speed over rough terrain. Kickstands work against these priorities.
However, some bikepacking and touring-specific mountain bike models may come equipped with a kickstand option. And various kids’ mountain bikes include kickstands for parking convenience.
But the standard among most adult mountain bikes from reputable brands is no integrated kickstand. The bikes are instead designed for leaning against trees, rocks or walls when parked.
Why Don’t Mountain Bikes Have Kickstands?
There are a few core reasons why the vast majority of mountain bike models do not come equipped with kickstands:
Removing unnecessary weight from mountain bikes is a constant goal for designers. Mountain biking involves a lot of climbing. So shaving every possible gram makes a difference in easing the burden on the rider.
Even lightweight aluminum or plastic kickstands still add a few extra ounces. For hardcore weight-conscious riders, that is enough reason to leave kickstands off.
Suspension and Ground Clearance
Mountain bikes need generous ground clearance to roll over roots, rocks and other trail obstacles. The wide tires and suspension systems require even more clearance.
With the bikes already running so low to the ground, a kickstand would limit lean angle and end up dragging through turns. Rubbing and grinding can impair performance.
Stability at Speed
Mountain biking involves careening down hills and getting airborne off drops. A kickstand could destabilize the bike and change the center of gravity while riding.
Riders need the bike firmly planted beneath them when rattling down through curvy tracks. A seemingly minor change in stability from a kickstand could have disastrous consequences at a higher speed.
Aftermarket Kickstand Options for Mountain Bikes
For mountain bikers who still want the convenience of a kickstand, there are a number of aftermarket options available:
The most common type of lightweight kickstand that can be added to a mountain bike is a single-leg kickstand. These allow the rear wheel to remain stationary while lifting one bike leg off the ground.
Popular options like the Greenfield Stabilizer or ESGE Stabilizer attach to the seat and stay behind the rear wheel. They are crafted from aluminum or plastic and add minimal weight when folded up.
For maximum parking stability, some riders install sturdier double-leg kickstands on their mountain bikes. These lift both bike legs off the ground for a securely balanced park.
The Pletscher Double Kickstand is a popular heavy-duty chromed steel double stand weighing about 1 lb. Other options, like the Hebie Double Kickstand, offer similar stability in a lighter but pricier package.
Centre-mount kickstands like the ESGE Zweik attach to the bottom bracket axle area rather than the rear stays. This helps get the stand-up and out of the way of rear suspension movement.
The compromise is less parking stability than a rear kickstand. But center-mount stands to keep weight centered on the bike.
Wheel Hub Stands
Some unique mountain bike kickstands, like the Click-Stand, replace the front wheel quick release with an integrated folding stand. This removes the need to clamp anything to the frame.
The front hub kickstand folds out of the way while riding. When parked, it allows the bike to stand upright on its front wheel with the rear wheel lifted.
Crank-mounted kickstands like the Endure Fork Up Stand attach to the bottom bracket and rotate out on an arm to lift the rear wheel.
This avoids any frame contact that could interfere with suspension. But they have a large profile sticking out from the bottom bracket area.
Tips for Adding a Kickstand to Your Mountain Bike
If you want the convenience of parking your mountain bike upright, here are some tips for choosing and installing an aftermarket kickstand:
- Opt for a single-leg stand to save weight and minimize clearance issues. Double-leg types are best for heavy cargo bikes.
- Look for kickstands designed not to rub or scuff suspension elements or interfere with pedalling.
- Aluminum, plastic, and carbon fiber kickstands are lighter than steel. But less durable for heavy use.
- Consider security pins or epoxy to prevent kickstand theft if leaving your bike unattended.
- Test clearance with any kickstand fully deployed to ensure adequate lean angle and cornering.
- Always lift the kickstand before riding to prevent instability or dragging over terrain.
- Periodically check bolts and clamps for loosening, which could lead to the detaching of the kickstand.
Potential Downsides of Using a Mountain Bike Kickstand
Adding a kickstand to your mountain bike can certainly make parking and storing the bike more convenient. However, there are a few drawbacks to consider:
- Added Weight: Even light kickstands add a few extra ounces which may be noticeable when pedaling uphill.
- Suspension Interference: Improperly designed or placed kickstands can limit suspension travel and performance.
- Cornering Clearance: Kickstands reduce lean angle for cornering, which could lead to scraping and instability.
- Protruding Hazards: Kickstands sticking out from a bike pose a potential strike hazard on tightly packed race start lines.
- Forgotten Deployment: Forgetting to retract a kickstand before riding can lead to unstable control or drops when the stand drags.
- Bike Security: Having a kickstand slightly elevates the risk of bike theft if the bike is left unattended while parked.
For these reasons, many dedicated off-road riders still choose to do without kickstands on their mountain bikes. But casual trail riders may find the parking convenience worth the small trade-offs.
Are Integrated Kickstands Ever an Option on Mountain Bikes?
Some riders wish kickstands could simply be integrated into mountain bike frames rather than needing potentially kludgy aftermarket additions. But integrated kickstands on full suspension mountain bikes present some difficulties:
- Suspension designs often don’t leave room to cleanly integrate stands.
- The extra welds, tubes, and hinges add complexity and weight.
- They limit rear wheel removal making it harder to change a flat.
- Vulnerable additional parts have a high risk of damage from trail obstacles.
- Generous ground clearance needed for technical riding prevents low-profile integrated stands.
For these reasons, kickstands are not expected to become a standard integrated feature on full-suspension mountain bikes anytime soon. The aftermarket add-on options will remain the simplest choice.
How to Park a Mountain Bike Without a Kickstand
For mountain bikers choosing to forego installing a kickstand, here are some tips on the best technique for securely parking your bike:
- Use trees as effective kickstand substitutes. Rest the top tube gently on the tree trunk to keep the bike upright.
- Lean the bike with both tires on the ground against walls or large rocks for balanced stability.
- Lay the bike down carefully on its side on grass or soft ground to prevent scratches if necessary.
- Take care not to let the bike fall over onto the drivetrain to avoid damaging derailleurs or gears.
- For long-term storage, hanging vertical bike racks are an organized option to conserve floor space.
- Always ensure the bike is in a stable, safe position before walking away to prevent tipping over.
- Park away from high foot traffic areas to reduce the risk of accidental bumps and knock overs.
With practice, smoothly parking your kickstand-less mountain bike becomes second nature. With proper technique, it rarely poses an issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I install a kickstand on my mountain bike?
It’s a personal choice. For convenience, kickstands allow upright parking. But they add minimal weight, pose clearance issues, and can destabilize handling. Many dedicated riders opt to do without.
What’s the best lightweight kickstand for a mountain bike?
Minimal single-leg aluminium or plastic kickstands like the Greenfield Stabilizer add the least heft when folded up. Or hub-mounted stands like the Click-Stand offer good stability without weighing down the frame.
Can I put a kickstand on a full-suspension mountain bike?
Yes, single-leg kickstands can work on full suspension models by attaching to swing arms and seat stays. Just ensure they don’t limit travel or contact suspension pivots when deployed.
Should I remove the kickstand on a mountain bike before hitting trails?
Always fully retract any kickstand prior to riding. Dragging or deployed stands can make handling very unstable and potentially cause crashes.
Where is the best place to lean my mountain bike when parking without a kickstand?
Look for solid objects like trees, walls, rocks, or poles to gently rest the bike against when parked. Take care with the drivetrain, and don’t let the bike fall over.
While integrated kickstands remain a rarity on stock mountain bikes, aftermarket options can allow riders to equip bikes with kickstands for convenient parking.
Single-leg rear-mounted kickstands provide the best balance of stability and are lightweight. But those opting for maximum parking security may prefer sturdier double-leg stands.
Consider clearance, suspension interference, and the potential handling trade-offs before installing a kickstand. Always retract stands fully before hitting the trails. And be aware when parking your kickstand-less bike.
With the right choice of stable, lightweight kickstand for your riding style, plus sound parking technique, mountain bikers can enjoy the best of both worlds – picnics, tours, or commutes made easier through kickstand parking convenience.
Mahin Abrar is a passionate writer and outdoor enthusiast. As a regular contributor to Bikepics.net, Mahin shares his knowledge and experiences in the fields of biking, cycling, hiking, and camping. With a deep understanding of these activities and a keen eye for detail, he offers valuable insights and practical advice to help readers get the most out of their adventures. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, Mahin's writing is sure to inspire you and guide you on your journey.