Putting Your Bike on its Centerstand

Putting your bike on its centerstand.
Putting your bike on its centerstand.

Try as I might, I have a very difficult time putting my motorcycle on its centerstand to lube the drive chain or check rear tire pressure. Can you guys give us some tips to make it easier?
Joan Herron, Via Email

Placing a motorcycle on its centerstand is all about body position and leverage, not necessarily strength:

  • With the motorcycle on the sidestand, position yourself on the left side with your left hand on the left handlebar grip, right hand on a solid grab handle of some sort below the left side of the passenger seat, or perhaps a guard bar in front of the left saddlebag.
  • Adjust your stance so that your right foot is comfortably positioned over the centerstand tang and your body is facing the motorcycle.
    Make sure the front wheel and handlebars are centered, with the front wheel in alignment with the rear wheel.
  • Push the stand down so that the left leg of the stand is touching the pavement, then stand the motorcycle up until both centerstand feet are touching the pavement.
  • These three steps must be done simultaneously: Step down with right foot, pull back on the handlebar with your left hand, and pull up with your right hand on the grab handle or crash bar.

Step down hard on the stand using your body weight while pulling and lifting with your hands and arms. Once you learn the leverage points, the bike will generally rock itself onto the stand.

Expect learning this to take several practice tries to find your optimum body position and grab points, along with getting the timing down on the simultaneous three steps noted above. You will know when you have it nailed, as there will be very little physical strength involved.

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TIPS:

  • A flat pavement surface that is not too slippery helps (epoxy garage floors and polished cement are not your friend during the learning process).
  • Put the transmission in neutral so the rear wheel can roll as the bike goes onto the stand.
  • Have a spotter stand on the opposite side of the bike during the learning process. Make sure they don’t pull on the bike, only spot you, assisting if your control is lost.
  • Raising your rear shock preload to the max will often make a motorcycle easier to put on its centerstand because the bike will sit higher.
    Putting your bike on its centerstand.
    Putting your bike on its centerstand.

    Taking the motorcycle off the centerstand is all about control and safety:

  • Stand on the left side of the motorcycle with your hands on the grips, two fingers on the front brake lever, body facing directly forward and close to the bars.
  • Make sure the front wheel and handlebars are centered and aligned with the rear wheel, and the transmission
    is in neutral.
  • Using your upper body and shoulders, push the handlebars and motorcycle forward. Be prepared to step forward as the motorcycle rolls off the stand.
  • As soon as the motorcycle is off the stand use the front brake to control momentum and stop the motorcycle.
  • Deploy the sidestand and place the motorcycle on it prior to releasing the front brake, then put the transmission in first gear if needed to keep the bike from rolling forward off  the sidestand.

TIPS:

  • Be prepared to step forward as the motorcycle comes off the stand; this is when you are most likely to lose control and drop it while it rolls forward. Turning the bars slightly to the right will insure the bike tips toward you as it comes off the stand.
  • If your legs are long enough, this can be done from the saddle while straddling the motorcycle. Be careful—if the motorcycle should get away from you during the learning process you could get trapped under it.
  • As before, have an assistant spot you while learning.
  • Make sure there is no sand, oil, debris, etc. that could cause you to lose your footing.

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