Paddock stands are essential for the home mechanic or the track day junkie and race teams. Front and rear stands are the simplest way to get both wheels off the floor. Making wheel changes, fitting or removing tyre warmers, or other maintenance tasks easier.
What is a paddock stand?
Essentially a simple lifting device on a pivot, which either mounts under the front forks, the headstock or on the rear swingarm, allows the user to lift the bike off the floor. Once off the floor, they are secure and stable, perfect if your bike doesn’t have a centre stand. The advantage of paddock stands over centre stands is that a centre stand will always keep one wheel in contact with the floor, and it will keep rocking forward and backwards unless held down. Stands can be manufactured from metal tubes or more exotic materials like carbon fibre, with lifting hooks or bobbins that mate to the bike, allowing it to lift.
What do I need to use a paddock stand?
Most rear stands will either be hook style or bobbin style. Hook style stands have bobbins (cotton reels or lifters) which usually get inserted into the swingarm and allow the hooks to lift. The bobbin type has the bobbin on the stand and the hook on the swingarm. Both systems have merits.
Sometimes a bobbin on the swingarm can also act as a crash protector in the event of a drop. However, a bobbin can dig in if used on track and cause more damage like twisted swingarms and bent frames. This is why many racing bikes use minimalist profile lifting items.
How do I use a paddock stand?
Once built, the paddock stand will have a handle, a pair of wheels and a lifting point, usually hooks or an insert if the headstock type. These hooks or inserts will mount onto the bike, and the wheels act as a pivot point to the handle, allowing you to lift the bike over the pivot point and off the floor, keeping the bike stable. It is straightforward.
It is helpful to have a second person to help if you are new or unsure or if your bike doesn’t have a side stand like a track bike. Otherwise, you can use a piece of wood under the side stand to level the bike up more if you don’t have a second person. It is usually easier to get the bike’s rear up first and then the front paddock stand. If using a headstock type, you need to be careful not to hit the front mudguard or nosecone with the insert arm.
Why do I need a paddock stand?
Quite simply, it makes life easier. Simple jobs like cleaning and lubing the chain mean the bike stays stationary, and the wheel and chain is free to move. Like when washing the bike, you can rotate the wheels so you don’t have the dirty spot behind the mudguard. Fitting tyre warmers and removing wheels for tyre swaps becomes super simple. Servicing becomes easy as the bike is kept level, fluid levels will be honest, and easier to drain and refill. Plus you won’t have a centre or side stand right where the oil collector pan will be when draining!
What paddock stand do I need?
As stated earlier, a few different types of stands on the market from the front, rear, headstock, single-sided swingarm and even centre lift style. Most simple maintenance tasks on a motorcycle can be completed with front and rear stands. However, removal of forks or the shock absorber could require a centre lift stand instead.
Headstock paddock stands
Headstock paddocks stand slide directly into the headstock tube, directly on the frame. This means the lifting is away from the forks like a regular front wheel stand allowing the removal or adjustment of the fork tubes. However, clearance under the nosecone can be an issue, and you also need to check the steerer tube size for the right insert diameter!
Front wheel paddock stands
These can either use hooks, bobbins or padded pegs, which will lift via the bottom of the forks. The simplest of stands make adding tyre warmers and swapping front wheels easily. However, it’s a good idea to check pinch bolt clearance between the hooks and spindle before lifting the bike, some stands can make it hard to access fixings, but once you’ve done it once, you’ll know how to do it.
Rear paddock stands
Normally the rear is simple, a bobbin or hooks on either side of the swingarm, mates to the opposite on the paddock stand. Once over the pivot point, the rear will lift and be stable.
Single-sided swingarm stands
It gets trickier when the bike has a single-sided swingarm, as there is nothing on one side. Normally the stand will have a spindle that inserts through the hub of the rear wheel. As a result, single-sided swingarm paddock stands tend to be beefier than their regular counterparts.
Pegs stands will allow the removal of the swingarm and shock absorber by supporting the bike’s weight. Easy to install and normally height adjustable. Normally a rear stand will be used to insert the peg stands, or you might get enough height by leaning the bike over. They normally have wide feet to give stability. Peg stands will only work with fixed rear-set footpegs. If you have hinged pegs these will not work!
How much do paddock stands cost?
Much like everything, there are budget options, middle-ground options, and premium models made from exotic materials. Budget models can be bought for £45, but quality lacks, materials are cheap, and have some wobble. Others can be had from £70 for a MotoGP branded stand, £80 for R&G versions.
For increased strength and lightness, premium models are normally made from high-quality stainless steel or even lighter carbon fibre. Our friends at GDH Motorsport make a range of 304 stainless steel stands for the front, rear, headstock or single-sided, which are the ultimate in quality, and fold flat in seconds.
Folding flat allows easy transport and the ultimate in space-saving, making packing the van or stillage easy. Available for hooks or bobbins and they can even include a spindle holder. Quite the bargain at £187.
Even fancier than their stainless steel stands are their Carbon fibre stands. Used by the fastest riders in the world from Peter Hickman to Sylvain Guintoli, the American Racing Moto2 team they really are the crème de la crème of paddock stands. Weighing 1.6kg it’s the lightest paddock stand on the market, and just look pimp, there isn’t much change from £500 though, but surely carbon fibre is the best material, right?
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