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Putting A Motorcycle Onto The Centre Stand

Guide Date - 11 April 2017

By Sharon Parker and Ren Withnell

For the experienced motorcyclist putting a motorcycle onto the centre stand is second nature, we barely think about it we just do it. However if you've never used a centre stand before it can be remarkably difficult until you get the knack.

The first mistake most folks make is not getting both feet of the stand on the floor. Typically they'll lean the bike towards themselves slightly which means only one foot is on the floor.

Take a moment - as Sharon does in the video - to rock the bike from side to side while pushing the centre stand down gently with your foot. You will feel when each foot touches the floor. If you're still not sure it's great if you can get a friend to look from below and tell you when both feet are touching the ground. It's worth spending a good few minutes practicing this if it's you're first time.

The next big tip is to not try and lift the bike up onto the stand. Even a small motorcycle like Sharon's 125 weighs over 100kg and only weightlifters and bodybuilders can manage this kind weight. The key, the real nub of doing this is to not lift the bike using the grab rail at the rear but to push all your weight down on the centre stand's foot lever. This will pivot the bike onto the stand.

Why does a Gold Wing have a massive long tube of metal with a footrest attached to the centre stand? Because it is a heavy motorcycle and that long lever gives plenty of leverage to push down on which will lift the heavy machine onto the stand. Smaller bikes tend to have smaller levers.

The centre stand from a gold wing showing the long lever to lift it onto the standBike bikes have big levers to push down on

Before Sharon shows us what to do in the video our final piece of advice is to practice. Having a friend nearby to help if you get a wobble on is reassuring. They can also help you get both stand feet on the ground. Before you know it you'll be popping the bike on and off the centre stand like a pro.

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Reader's Comments

Louisa said :-
Hi there,

Thank you so much for your brilliant guide Sharon and Ren. I've had my little bike for several weeks now, but still unable to put her onto her centre stand! I've tried just about everything and she still refuses to budge and it's beginning to bother me! :(
I'm now looking forward to having another go now as your video is so clear as to what to do. Fab work Sharon.
Love the cat too! xx

12/04/2017 07:28:37 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Remember - push down on the foot lever! You still getting out and putting a few miles in Louisa?
12/04/2017 09:37:26 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Great video illustrating something that us old timers take for granted I suppose.

I've found with some bikes, particularly if they are a bit tall (or you are a bit short!), that it's easier to use the pillion footrest to pull the bike back and up onto the centre stand rather than the grab rail. It can be quite a personal thing, depending on your height and physique, the dimensions of the bike and the position of the centre stand which are quite often very off centre!
12/04/2017 10:06:31 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
That's actually a very valid tip CrazyFrog. You'll note Sharon uses the lower grab rail rather than the fancy one by the seat as that is too high. Each individual is physically different and so are models of motorcycle. As such it would be impossible for us to say what will work for whom with which bike.

Experiment folks! Just because your mate uses this handle on that bike it doesn't mean you need to do the same on your machine. Do that which works best for you.

I reckon that applies to many other things in life too.
12/04/2017 11:44:51 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
It's also worth noting that most modern manufacturers have managed to avoid any difficulties experienced when trying to put their new motorcycle on the centre stand, by the simple expedient of not fitting one.

This also allows them to print a fuller description of 'Riding Mode 32 - for slightly sporty types in their mid forties on dry days when there's an R in the month' without breaching the 200 page mark in the owners manual.....
12/04/2017 12:23:48 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Ah, centre stands.....

I think there was a point around 1965 when British bike manufacturers finally understood that getting the bike on the stand shouldn't be a trial of strength. The worst I've had were a Matchless G80 500cc and a BSA A10 650. Both were nightmares. The Matchless compounded the difficulty by fitting a curious prop stand that flew back when the weight was taken off it. A bit like some BMWs.

In contrast, the 1974 850 Norton Commando was a doddle - just put my (considerable) weight on the lever and ease gently backwards on the lifting / grab handle / pannier rack and up it came. The same with all the "modern" bikes I've had. Even the mighty Tiger 955i popped onto the stand with little effort.

Thankfully my recently acquired Arrow is a lightweight and hopefully won't be too hard (although it has yet to arrive so I can test the theory). It does have what is called a "roll-on" stand.......
12/04/2017 14:56:41 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
The Arrow.......

12/04/2017 14:58:34 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Wow, that looks nice Ian, if it goes as well as it looks you'll have a good'un....
12/04/2017 15:02:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Yes Sharon's Kwakker has no centre stand hence no requirement to learn how to use it. However this now means Sharon is having to learn how to use a paddock stand. Paddock stands are even more fiddly but as you cynically point out CrazyFrog - paddock stands won't be in the user's manual so there's more room for details about playing space invaders on the LCD screen.

Ian - I'm afraid there's a problem with the Arrow. you going to restore?
12/04/2017 15:37:56 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Actually, wouldn't start so I got a bit knocked off. The seller was a decent bloke* who had a Velo as well as a Super Four like mine so I don't think there is a real problem. It has been standing for a while so I suspect either the petrol has evaporated off the oil in the carb or possibly a spark issue. But it'll give me something to tinker with - get rid of those stickers for a start....

It does look slightly better in the pic than in the flesh but I'm happy for £2,250.

I'll be happier still if only someone would buy the 'Beam. I have worked out I can fit 3 bikes in the garage but doesn't leave a lot of fettling room.

*Mind you he is in Blackburn which is in Ren & Sharon's neck of the woods and I think they're all a bit odd over there.
12/04/2017 15:40:58 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Ren - there will be plenty to do I'm sure, but at least the paintwork is in good shape as that's not my favourite occupation.

One thought is to upgrade it to Super Arrow spec which is basically just a carb change but would need an engine strip to gasflow the inlet port (which is also the engine mounting).

See, I told you I liked unusual.
12/04/2017 15:49:04 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Blackburn!! I hope you ran a HPI check against it Ian hehe.

So let me get this straight - you've spent over 2 grand on an ancient motorcycle that won't start? And a 2 stroke? For an extra £750 you could have had a Z250SL with more power, 2 years warranty and it won't need any work.

I'm teasing you.

Is there no action on the Sunbeam at all?
13/04/2017 09:19:09 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Had a couple of derisory offers on the 'Beam. It's currently on ebay as a classified ad with over 1200 views and 85 watchers although I suspect many of them have similar bikes they want to sell so are looking to see how much it might fetch.

Valuing these bikes is difficult. I pitched it at what I thought was reasonable given what it's cost me and what other bikes of the period go for. If necessary I'll keep it till the weather warms up........

I think you should buy it as an inflation-proof investment. Trust me, I'm not a financial adviser.
13/04/2017 09:33:49 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Louisa,

Really hope the video proves useful to you. It is my first video and as such not very polished and I was really nervous doing it. I much prefer being behind than infront of the camera. But like riding a bike only practice will make perfect. Cleo my cat looks much more relaxed than me. Do let me know if you manage to "push" your bike onto its centre stand.
13/04/2017 13:27:31 UTC
Louisa said :-

I'm now able to put my bike on its centre stand - mission accomplished!! Thank you! :)

I still think the video is good if a numpty like me can follow it! :)

14/04/2017 20:02:14 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
WOOHOO! Hey Sharon, we need to add an entry to our diary - "The day we actually did something useful".
15/04/2017 08:29:04 UTC
Nick S said :-
I have a Kawasaki ZZR1100 - a winter hack, but I really needed to lube the chain properly to keep me going, and I have *never* managed to get it on the centre stand before I came across this. I really was doing it all wrong, and I can't really believe how easy it is, now I've watched the video and thought about it. I was still a little sceptical, but as soon as I had her settled properly on the stand, and I focussed on pushing the lever down - by standing on it and doing a "1, 2, 3" bounce she went on easily.

Thanks, guys.
01/02/2018 14:28:58 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
It's heartwarming to hear that Nick S. Now you've got the hang of it with practice it'll all become a lot easier. Soon you'll be throwing it on and off the stand.

Cheers :)
01/02/2018 16:28:37 UTC
Caroline said :-
Thank you CrazyFrog & Sharon! I was driving myself crazy with not being able to put my Yamaha YBR 125 on the centre stand. After a few hours of trying I saw your tip of using the pillion footrest and up he went! Easy! So happy! I am a 5'4 female and was starting to doubt myself, but as everyone has been saying all along it's all just simple physics. I just need the right place to grip as I have short arms the pillion foot rest is perfect. Now I can go to my test with one less thing to worry about! Thank you.
03/02/2018 13:21:02 UTC
said :-

14/11/2018 21:36:46 UTC
Rosie said :-
I just brought my first scooter 125 and was thinking I made a mistake as I can't lift onto the stand but going to try your video first thing tomorrow Sharon and hopefully I can do it otherwise I might have to buy smaller scooter and love this one
I wanted to make sure I can do this before I do my cbt test as I really don't want other people thinking that I'm stupid
So thank you for doing the video for someone like me
And fingers crossed for tomorrow
14/01/2019 13:59:52 UTC
Upt'North said :-
It's only technique that is required not strength. Great help on here from Sharon but if you still struggle just ask at the CBT, that's why they're called instructors. And don't worry about looking daft, that'll happen more than once whilst learning to ride, it'll feel like a steep learning curve but it'll be well worth it. Good luck.
14/01/2019 14:23:02 UTC
Andy said :-
My kids CBT was terminated for ‘safety reasons’ before it had hardly started as they could nit get the scooter onto the centre stand. 250 quid down the drain.
31/07/2023 11:32:53 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Did you or anyone else ever work out how to get the scooter onto the stand Andy?
31/07/2023 18:17:03 UTC

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