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Motorcycle Front Stand

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by Bill C. for webBikeWorld

If I was Motorcycle King, I would decree that every motorcycle must have a center stand as original equipment.

Because my life as Motorcycle Serf is made so much more difficult without one.

I suppose that motorcycle owners who rely on the local shop to do all their maintenance don't notice it as much, but even the most mundane tasks like lubricating and adjusting the chain are made at least 5 times harder without a center stand.

So as far as I'm concerned, a motorcycle rear stand is a necessity.  We reviewed the Steel Horse rear stand about two years ago, and have been using it ever since in the garage.  It's held up well and it's become an indispensable tool around the shop.

We use it for oil changes, chain adjustments and lubrication, valve adjustments and for any time the motorcycle must be kept upright and steady during maintenance, repair and customization projects. 

A motorcycle that is correctly balanced on a center stand can usually be tilted towards the front or rear, which allows easy access to either the front or rear wheel for removal or other maintenance.  It's hard to replace the functionality and usefulness of a center stand, especially for front end work. 

But without a center stand, a simple job like removing the front wheel becomes a major hassle.  A  rear stand works great for a number of different jobs, but it doesn't help when it comes time to remove the front wheel, because it places all the weight of the bike on the front.

A motorcycle front and rear stand combination still won't replace a  good center stand, but it's definitely the easiest way to remove the front wheel and to keep the motorcycle steady for maintenance and repair work.  I can also use the front stand to lift the front end and then carefully lower the bike down on to my engine support when I need to remove the forks.

We've tried several different rear and front stands, but the Steel Horse Fabrications products seem to be built stronger than the others.  The Steel Horse stands use beefy tubing and hardware that just looks and feels more substantial than many other stands. 

Take a careful look at the design, hardware and construction of some of the different motorcycle stands that are available and I think you'll agree.  My feeling is that some of them look pretty wimpy, and I worry about their ability to lift or hold a 400-500+ pound motorcycle.

Ken Englert and Aaron Abreu, the co-owners of Steel Horse Fabrications, are also American Federation of Motorcyclists (AFM) club racers, and they've used that experience in perfecting their products.

The Steel Horse Model UFST01 front stand is made from 1" diameter steel tubing.  It also has a 1" diameter tube that serves as a horizontal cross-bracing and it has two diagonal braces for the vertical arms.   Again, compare this to other stands, many of which have no bracing at all, and you'll see the difference.

Motorcycle front stand wheels
 
Motorcycle front stand location on forks
 
Triumph Thunderbird Sport on motorcycle front stand

Steel Horse also uses dual wheels on their lifts, which definitely help to spread the load over a wider surface area, making it easier to lift the bike.  This is an important consideration, especially with a front stand, because it does take some muscle to lift a motorcycle up on to either a front or rear stand.

The front stand has the same high-quality black Pacific Powder Coating as the rear stand we reviewed.  Steel Horse now adds two rivets on the bottom of the horizontal cross brace, which help protect the finish from getting scratched during use.

The front stand is designed to fit into the holes in the bottom of most forks.  Check your bike first to see if the forks have these holes (see photo, left). 

Steel Horse has two different adapters for the stand's vertical arms, and one or the other will fit most bikes.  The round head bolt adapter works on the Thunderbird Sport, as shown in the photo.  I screwed in the round head bolts about 2/3 of the way into the threaded top section of the vertical arms to fit the Triumph. 

Steel Horse recommends that the motorcycle is first placed on the rear stand before lifting the front. 

To lift the bike, the locate the vertical arms of the stand under the forks so that the round head bolts will slip into the holes in the bottom of the forks as the bike is lifted. 

I had a friend hold the handlebars just in case the first couple of times I used the stand, because  it's a bit scary the first few times you lift the bike up on to either a front or rear stand until you get the hang of it.

It takes more force to lift the front than it does the rear, but after a few tries to get the feel, it's not bad.  It takes a good amount of initial push to overcome the mass of the bike, but once the dual wheels get rolling, the bike lifts right up. 

The forks are supported from underneath, so there's no interference with the axle or other parts, making front wheel removal a cinch.  The motorcycle feels very solid when both the rear and front stands are used, so this would be the best way to support the bike for engine work or any project that requires large amounts of torque that might upset the bike if it was supported any other way.

I definitely do not trust a motorcycle on a side stand, especially when it involves any type of wrenching where the bike could move back or forth as the bolts are being loosened or tightened.

The combination of the front and rear wheel stands are a big help; they still don't replace a good balanced center stand, but there's basically no other way to work on a motorcycle without auxiliary stands.  I'm very conservative when it comes to safety when working on a motorcycle, and the Steel Horse products give me a good sense of comfort.

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Product Review: Steel Horse Motorcycle Front Stand
Available From:  Steel Horse Fabrications Suggested Retail Price:  $89.00
Colors:  Black Made in:  U.S.A.
Product Comments:  "Professional grade" front stand.  Cross bracing and 1" steel tubing makes for a beefy product that seems stronger than the competition.  High quality powder coating.  Dual wheels spread out the weight and make the stand easier to use.
More:  Motorcycle Lifts, Stands and Wheel Chocks Page

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