RIDING DIFFERENT BIKES. RACING SOME
Why would you use a paddock stand when your motorcycle has a side stand (or so called ‘jiffy’)? Most bikes get a stock side stand. Only when you buy a factory track bike, you won’t find it on your bike. So if you are perfectly able to park your bike on the jiffy, then why would you use something else?
A simple answer; because a paddock stand is practical. Is it convenient that you have to drag the thing everywhere you go? No. But once your bike is on the those stands, the convenience kicks in. It serves a similar purpose to the jiffy. It lets your bike rest on a certain point. Or multiple points. Why paddock stands are much more convenient than a jiffy? Let us tell you more about them.
A paddock stand is a separate stand for your motorcycle. A ‘normal’ one lifts up one side of your bike. So the front and thus the front wheel or the back of the bike and thus the rear wheel. You can buy separate stands for both sides of the bike. If you are smart, you buy both at the same time and score a good deal.
Also in the Isle of Man TT races the Honda RC30 proved to be successful. This time in the hands of riders like Joey Dunlop, Freddy Spencer, Phillip McCallen, Carl Fogarty and Steve Hislop. The latter even achieved the first ever 120mph lap on the TT course with the Honda VFR750R RC30.
Beside the fact that your bike will rest very steadily on paddock stands, the biggest advantage is that the wheels are lifted from the ground. They are indispensable tools in the motorcycle racing world. It allows you to put tyre warmers on your bike. Those things keep your tyres warm for maximum grip on track.
But paddock stands aren’t just a racer’s friend. They are nifty tings for any motorcyclists, basically. Put your bike on the stand for the rear wheel, and the rear wheel comes off the ground. This ensures super easy cleaning of your chain. Or greasing it. Changing the tension on the chain also gets easier and more accurate when your bike is in an upright position on a paddock stand.
Getting your bike ready for the winter stop? Then put your bike on these stands as well. This way, the pressure on your tyres is released. When your bike rests on its jiffy, the weight of the bike creates an ongoing impact on one point in the tyres. This has a negative effect on your motorcycle tyres. Use paddock stands and avoid that issue. Want to do some maintenance on the brakes? That also gets easier, since the bike is standing upright.
The con of paddock stands? You always have to bring with you. The jiffy of your bike is mounted on your bike, so you can’t forget the thing. Since you have to bring them yourself, you can easily forget to do so. And you always have to store them somewhere. But that’s just about it.
There are multiple variations of paddock stands. We will tell you more about that later. They all work in similar ways. The difference is often in the way your bike rests on the stands. It works as a lever. By putting the adapters of the stand underneath the bobbins, swingarm or another point of contact, you can lift the rear of your motorcycle.
It doesn’t matter how your bike rests on the stands, the technique of lifting your bike stays somewhat the same. By using it as a lever, you can easily lift one side of your bike. And because the bike is in an upright position, it is surprisingly stable.
You have separate stands for the rear and front of your bike. Your front wheel is narrower than your rear wheel, so the width of the stands differs too. Like we’ve said earlier, you can lift your bike onto a paddock stand using bobbins.
Bobbins are a sort of pins or bolts that you mount onto the swing arm of your bike. This technique and the paddock stands that go with it are by far the most used. Bobbins are easy to mount and quick to replace in case one breaks off in a crash. You’ve got different sizes, so always check which size bobbins you need. Bobbins are only used to lift the rear of the bike with paddock stands.
But not every bike allows you to install bobbins onto the swingarm. Not able to do so? Then you could use paddock stands with L-shaped adaptors. These L-shaped thingies go underneath the swing arm or front forks. You can use this type of stands on basically every motorcycle. The only con; they are a little less stable.
The ones for your front wheel often use conic adaptors. They have little pins on them. These pins go underneath the front forks. They often have little notches at the bottom. The pins fit precisely in these notches. This allows your bike to rest on the paddock stand in a very stable way.
Another variant of paddock stands is the type that lifts your bike via the steering head. It requires some skill to lift your bike this way. They do are by far the most stable paddock stands you can find. Another big advantage is that the front suspension is lifted as well. When you use normal ones, this part of the bike rests on the stand, so they are not free to move. By using a stand that lifts via the steering head, you get the possibility to change your front suspension.
You also have paddock stands for bikes with a single sided swingarm. Those stands have a big pin that goes in the axle of your rear wheel. It differs per bike, brand and model, how big that pin has to be. So that makes this kind kind of stands less universal than others.
Last but not least, you also have ones that lift your whole bike. These stands lift your bike by putting the pin shaped adaptor in the axle of your bike. These so called ‘center paddock stands’ lift the total bike, so both the rear and front wheel come off the ground by using one single stand. These stands often come with wheels. This allows for easy maneuvering of your motorcycle. Do mind the load capacity.
It requires a bit of dexterity to put your bike on a paddock stand. Especially the rear stand. It can take a while before you get the hang of it. You have to put your bike upright and hold it that way with one hand on the back of the bike, so you can pop the stand underneath the bobbins. Once the stand is in the right position, it already keeps the bike a bit in balance. At that moment, you can put weight on the paddock stand and lift the rear of the bike. Once the stand rest on the ground, the bike rests steadily on it.
So it is a sort of lever. If you want to get your bike off the paddock stand, you gently lift the stand. This lowers the wheel back onto the ground. Place your hand on the back of the bike again to keep it stable and in balance. You can also let the bike rest against your leg for a bit. This might give you a bit more stability.
It is quite logical that it is a bit scary to lift your bike onto paddock stands at first. Practise with someone. Put the stand underneath the bobbins or swing arm while someone holds your bike for you. And hold your bike yourself while someone else puts the stand underneath your bike so you can feel how the bike gets lifted as well.
Then practise doing it all by yourself. Let your buddy stand in front of the bike to serve as a safety net. In case the bike threatens to topple over, your buddy can come to the rescue. Just practise. You will do it all by yourself before you know it.
Getting the front of your bike onto the paddock stand is way easier. You pop the thing underneath your front forks and lift the front wheel straight away.
We are big fans of paddock stands. Okay, not when you are on the road. Taking those big things with you simply isn’t an option when you are riding with your mates. But whenever you put the bike away at home or in the garage, they are your best friends. They provide you much more stability and freedom of movement than the jiffy does. There are even paddock stands on wheels, so you can put your bike away in the most impossible corners.
It requires some dexterity to get your bike on them but once you get used to it it is an easy thing to do. Whether you want to do some maintenance on your bike, go ride on track or want to clean your chain. Paddock stands offer you convenience. And at some point, you cannot imagine life without them.