The Mother of all Centerstands

monark-centerstand-workcycles-gr8 1

It’s ironic that some humble, dirty parts such as a parking stand actually have far more influence on your cycling experience than a beautiful frame or fancy, name-brand components. A stable, smooth working parking stand enables you (for example) to safely load up the kids and groceries, plop the bike onto the ground and cycle away uneventfully… just how you want it to be. But few people pay attention to such mundane things in the showroom so this is exactly where most manufacturers save a few bucks or euros. WorkCycles isn’t “most manufacturers” because we actually ride our bikes every day, carry our kids on/in them, move our stock between two shops on them… and listen to our customers who do the same.

Finding decent parking stands has been one of our most vexing challenges. During our quest for the perfect parking stand we’ve tried dozens. Most are so crappy that they don’t even deserve mention: All those Hebie copies from Taiwan and China fit poorly and then either bend under the weight of a loaded bike, quickly get scarily sloppy and break, or seize up from corrosion. The more sophisticated folding stands from Humpert and Spanninga (Sparta) have also failed our durability tests miserably. The cast aluminium Pletschers are light and pretty but not strong enough for bikes with child seats and heavy bags.

The older, galvanized version of the Hebie 2-leg centerstand

The older, galvanized version of the Hebie 2-leg centerstand

Once upon a time we complained bitterly to Hebie about their stands quickly seizing up and breaking at the riveted joints but they’ve listened and since fixed these problems. The joints have been reinforced and the stands are now powder-coated black instead of galvanized (silver) so they can live outdoors in salt-water-air environments. The Hebies stands are good but they still have limitations: They’re a single-pivot design so they can only be made so wide before interfering with cranks and possibly your heels. Wide equals stable.

workcycles Fr8 (9)

For the Fr8 we have a specially bent, wider Hebie stand. It’s 33cm instead of the normal 26cm. That makes it more stable and I haven’t heard of any customers complaining that they hit their heels on the stand (though it probably does happen sometimes). On the downside our special Hebies are more expensive.

workcycles Fr8 (10)

Of course the integrated stand of the Fr8’s Massive Rack doesn’t suffer any of these limitations because it’s at the front of the bike. The Massive Rack is 60cm wide, making it by far the widest and most stable stand available. But this huge carrier is just too much for most non-industrial users to ride around with. So the centerstand search has continued.

WorkCycles is also the Benelux importer for Monark transport bikes and a while back we received a couple new double-pivot stands they’ve made for their postal delivery bikes. This stand makes no compromises to be suitable for the “consumer market”; It’s pure, heavy, industrial steel. It’s not pretty nor is it designed to it anything other than Monark’s own matching frames. Thus today I put the grinder and drill to one and modified it to fit the WorkCycles Gr8 prototype I’ve been riding recently. I suppose it’d be more suitable on the heavier-duty Fr8 but this is the bike I’m riding right now and I still have more components to test before moving on to another bike.

monark-centerstand-workcycles-gr8 3

Fitting the Monark centerstand to the Gr8/Fr8 was a laborious task, also requiring cutting away a section of the chaincase. Fortunately it’s at the bottom of the case and now fairly well protected by the stand itself so it shouldn’t compromise the weatherproofness much. Removing the chaincase for service is really tight now, though.

monark-centerstand-workcycles-gr8 2

So how wide and stable is the Monark stand? It’s 45cm, thus nearly twice as wide as the normal Hebie 2-leg stands. The bike stands as stably as a house on it. Given it’s massive construction I’ve absolutely no doubts about it’s strength but now we’ll see how it endures the test of time and weather.

Below we see that the Monark stand is by far the widest one that fits underneath a (reasonably) normal bike:
Hebie normal 26cm
Hebie modified for Fr8 33cm
Monark double-pivot 45cm
Bakfiets.nl Stabilo (Cargobike) 54cm
WorkCycles Massive Rack 60cm

PS: Surely somebody will have to ask what the Monark stand weighs. Answer: I don’t know but it’s really heavy, about twice the weight of the Fr8 Hebie stand it replaced.

PS2: Perhaps you want to know why my bike is so rusty. Aren’t WorkCycles bikes supposed to be high-quality and corrosion resistant for their intended outdoor life? Yes they are but I’m deliberately riding and leaving an unpainted frame outdoors to see how badly it will rust. In fact it’s not nearly as bad as we figured it’d be; After about four months of Dutch autumn and winter rain, snow and road salt it’s mostly brownish on the surface. So far there’s nothing that couldn’t quickly be sanded away, nor does it get trousers dirty or anything.

52 Responses to “The Mother of all Centerstands”

  1. Frits Says:

    I like the naming of your bikes, especially when read with Dutch in mind. Fr8 = freight = fracht (Amsterdam pronunciation of vracht), Gr8 = great & gracht. Now thinking of Dr8, Kr8 and Z8 … Forget about Kl8.

  2. henry Says:

    Thanks. It’s funny but few people are both Dutch/English bilingual and have the sense of humor to get the multipurpose names. Even a couple dealers insist upon saying F. R. Eight, somehow missing the meaning and our constant nagging to get it right. There are some others too, such as our “GT” models; Most people assume it’s “Gran Turismo” or something so pretentious… when in fact it’s “Geen Troep” (no crap or BS).

    We’ll probably have to skip H, I and J (only works in Dutch and I’m not into hunting) but Kr8 is a natural: our new electric bakfiets. We’ll definitely avoid Kl8 and L8 too but I think we can find a good use for M8.

  3. Fred Blasdel Says:

    How narrow can it get when folded up? Could you sell ones modified to fit a normal kickstand plate?

    And where do you get those lovely cotterless steel cranks?

  4. henry Says:

    Fred,
    I didn’t measure it in the folded position. It’s not very narrow but it doesn’t come anywhere near my feet and clears the narrow cranks very easily.

    I modified it with a groove to fit a normal-ish kickstand plate. That is, the interface with the stand is normal but the parking stand mount of the Fr8/Gr8 has been reinforced with a box section between the chainstays. That’s visible in the photo of the folded Monark stand. Very few frames have such a construction… because it costs a little more.

    Installing such a strong, wide stand on any bike that relies on clamping the stand in place around the chainstays will just result in crushing the stays, ruining the frame.

    We can sell these stands in modified form but I’ll have to calculate a price. The stand must already be quite expensive and then 20 minutes of added labor doesn’t help.

    The cranks are standard issue on many WorkCycles bikes. They’re from Esjot in France. 44T with 170mm arms only. The quality is OK but not amazing. We’re working on our own crank of the same type but stronger/lighter/more durable: forged aluminium arms of similar shape, hard steel 1/8″ chainring and in multiple lengths. Don’t hold your breath; We’re not in a hurry.

  5. ten Says:

    wow, nice stand. I got a standard herbie with my yuba but it was a bit feeble so I took the plastic feet off and got a welder friend to add extra width feet, I now have a stand width of 32cm, better but it’s still hard to trust it when loaded. 45cm sounds like it’d do the job nicely.

  6. henry Says:

    Ten,
    Sure, on a longtail there’s plenty of space to mount a wide stand without the heel and crank clearance problems. You could just make that Hebie even wider if there are no other constrictions. Eventually the additional leverage will wear out the riveted pivots but then you can just drill them out and replace with larger bolts… and then do the same again the next time.

  7. Todd Edelman Says:

    It’s so incredibly reassuring to know that things are build to last (and last). This topic comes up frequently (not just with bikes) so it would be great to have a kind of estimated lifetime cost listed on various consumer items.

    It may be clear to many of us how little a bike costs in the long run, but this may not be as well known to private car buyers.

    To be fair and holistic about it, the posted rating would ideally be complemented/supplemented with a full set of numbers for a “estimated cost of private car-free life” taking into account intermodality (so the bike plus public transport including carshare, taxis, etc.).

    I think a lot of statistics and estimates are available already, e.g. cost of a car vs. taking a bus for a year, but wonder how difficult it would be get the rest organized.

    I work with a mobility consultant based in Sweden who is involved in a project for new international eco-labeling standards. I will mention this to him.

    By the way, anyone still using Flick-stands?

  8. henry Says:

    Todd,
    Such a rating is probably possible if kept very simple. Of course if our governments get control of it it’ll get distorted into a farce such as the class-based car efficiency rating systems that enable a two-ton SUV to get a higher rating than a hatchback half its size.

    I still have a Flickstand in a box somewhere! They were made by Rhode-Gear back in the 70’s.

  9. Frits Says:

    Pr8 for a De Luxe edition? Just rambling :-).

  10. Todd Edelman Says:

    Hey, how much is the Turbo version of the F-R-8?

  11. SeBas Says:

    “our moist vexing challenges”.
    Sounds sexy.

  12. henry Says:

    Maybe a freudian slip. Fixed in any case – thanks.

  13. Steven Vance Says:

    To Henry and Ten,

    The U.S. distributors of the Yuba Mundo also sell a wide kickstand.
    http://yubaride.com/yubashop/30-stand-alone-kickstand.html

    The page lacks many details, though, and I don’t know if someone like you has put it through rigorous testing.

  14. henry Says:

    Steve,
    I just looked at the Yuba site and their stand is the Spanninga (mentioned above) that Sparta uses here. Our customers with these complain bitterly about them. It’s not even strong enough for a regular bike, never mind a big load carrier like the Yuba. And their price is crazy!

  15. ten Says:

    I thought about going wider but in the folded position the herbie is still pretty low to the ground and I was worried about it catching on stuff as a I rode if the feet stuck out any further. But on reflection I could have gone a little wider. It’ll do the job for now but I’m keeping my eye out for a better option.

  16. Val Says:

    ten: For longtails like the Yuba, take a look at the Rolling Jackass stand: http://rollingjackass.com/

  17. Tim Eustis Says:

    Hey,

    I like FR8 center stand. My 4 year old climbs onto front seat on stand, but I take it off for the bigger 7 year old. I do hit my heels on it from time to time. I’m a 48/9 European, so perhaps that’s why… If you get that bigger one working, I’d use it when the hebie wears out. I do have to tighten it, but only a few times since bike arrived.

    thanks

  18. Abner Says:

    I lived in Japan for a while and many of the bikes there have a bar that swings down around the rear wheel. Mine was easily 50 to 60cm wide. The only downside was if you pushed forward while loading the front basket, the stand would flip up, but pretty easy to work around once you understand the limitations of those stands.

    Cheers.

  19. henry Says:

    Abner,
    I know those rear axle mounted stands and you can see a few of them in my recent post about Japan:
    http://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2009/11/20/japan-a-land-i-love-but-just-dont-understand/

    The Japanese ones are much wider and better than the ones on old Dutch Omafietsen (and new cheap ones) but I never saw one wider than perhaps 45-50cm wide. This one on a special laundry delivery bike is the best one I’ve seen: http://www.flickr.com/photos/henryinamsterdam/4112186328/in/set-72157622822254796/

    The main limitation of rear axle stands is that they’re not super stable with front child seats.

  20. James Says:

    @Steve

    The EU yuba shop shows a different kickstand option (http://yubaride.com/webstore/product.php?id_product=27). I’d be interested in any opinions on it

  21. henry Says:

    James,
    The “Yuba” stand in the EU site is the same as the Spanninga mentioned above. It’s weak and stiffens terribly making it very inconvenient to use. We often see them on Sparta Pickups and the customers dislike them.

  22. Steven Vance Says:

    It appears Yuba will be selling a new kickstand in March 2010.
    http://yubaride.com/yubashop/30-stand-alone-kickstand.html (as seen in the US store).

  23. Branko Collin Says:

    Two years ago I blogged about a 1908 bicycle stand (block quote and second photo). They would be lowered from the front of the bike, and also lock the front wheel into place. Probably not too useful for freight bikes, but an interesting idea nevertheless.

  24. Steven Vance Says:

    I’m coming back to this post to show everyone *another* centerstand. I bought and installed the center kickstand from Velo Orange, an American company that sells name brand parts and private label products.

    You can see it well in this photo:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/4506538398/in/photostream/

    I tried to build my own steering stabilizer spring, but that hasn’t yet worked out.

  25. Jon Says:

    Hi, I’ve only just recently discovered your blog and have been spending far too many otherwise productive hours reading about the wonderfulness that is bakfiets and WorkCycles. I’m afraid I’m getting more and more hooked on replacing the ill-fitting wreckage I’m riding at the moment.
    If your ever willing to part with the rusty GR8 prototype after you’re done testing it you have customer in me.
    I’ve always dream of a solidly built bike with a rusty frame to scare the bike thieves away. I really like the reddish brown rust color, and I’ve even been thinkng that it might be possible to clearcoat over the rust to preserve both the color and the frame.
    Anyways, your blog is a very enjoyable read and I hope to catch your new posts in the future.

  26. Dan in Toronto Says:

    The wide Hebie stand on my FR8 broke a few months ago, after less than a year. One of the rivets popped out. Also the paint had started peeling off.

    I haven’t tried to replace it, just managed without. I’m not even sure how I would get a replacement here in Toronto without spending $$$…

    Dan

  27. Samantha Says:

    Hey Dan – me too! The kickstand (Hebie?) on my 57cm Oma fell off after 1 year. First it bent – not the legs but the section where it connects to the frame of my bike. Then it came apart in pieces. I’ve replaced it with another.. hoping it holds up. I’ve heard too that those Pletschers don’t hold up to heavy cargo or kids well either.

  28. ten Says:

    that’s funny, my centerstand is also broken for the second time, the first was the attachment plate on the mundo frame broke (yuba reinbursed me for the weld it took to fix it), and the second time just recently the bolt attaching it to the frame snapped, haven’t gotten around to drilling it out to replace it yet, tho I am also thinking about alternatives.

  29. adam Says:

    Hi Henry. I am in Australia and own an electric Bakfiets long. We are considering getting a Fr8 as an alternative to the Bakfiets (being lighter, smaller but still having cargo carrying facility). Can you tell me when the Gr8 will be available (how much longer to w8?). If it will be soon we may wait a while, if not we may order a Fr8…

  30. henry Says:

    adam,
    The Gr8 is now available but keep in mind that it’s really a different animal than the Fr8. The two bikes share a basic look and modularity, adaptive seat tube geometry and many parts are interchangeable. But the Gr8 is a compact, tough city bike instead of a long wheelbase two-wheeled truck (the Fr8).

  31. adam Says:

    Where is it available, I can’t see it on the cycleworks website and not much coming up on google? And do you have more info on it? And when will we get it in Australia?

  32. henry Says:

    adam,
    We just began building Gr8’s and there are already a few in our shops. Since we’re better at designing and building bikes than taking photos and making websites it’s just not on the site yet.

    Anybody, including our dealers can order a Gr8. I recommend pressing Dutch Cargo Bike in Australia to order Gr8’s.

    It’s “Workcycles” by the way, not “cycleworks”.

  33. adam Says:

    Henry Sorry about the name thing. Can you give me some more detail on the Gr8, eg weight, length, gearing, load capacity, brakes and how these compare to the Fr8. Thanks.

  34. henry Says:

    adam,
    We’ll put it all up on the site soon. For now:
    – weight’s dependent on how it’s built. Figure 2-3 kg less than a comparably equipped Fr8
    – 171cm long
    – 38/17 is the standard gearing with either Shimano 3 or 8sp hub
    – Roller brakes, IM45 or IM80
    – Load capacity? Dunno but you won’t break it.

  35. adam Says:

    Henry, Can you tell me if it’s possible to put a GMG 911 child seat and Pannier (eg Clarijs) on a Fr8 at the same time? If not, how easy is it to remove the 911 to change back and forth?

  36. henry Says:

    adam, Yes there’s plenty of room behind a GMG 911 for big Clarijs or similar panniers and the GMG 911 clips in and out in a few seconds.

  37. adam Says:

    Great. When you say big, do you mean XL? These (Clarijs) are 40cm long, which by my reckoning would mean the rack would need to be around 65-70cm long to fit both the 911 and pannier. Does the pannier need to be customised in any way to accomodate this?

  38. henry Says:

    adam, You need the Clarijs XLU model or a similar pannier set from another manufacturer with cutouts or two straps above instead of a solid surface covering the rear carrier.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    I need one of these now for my new cargo bike. where and how much?

    will a visa gift card work??????

  40. henry Says:

    Hi.
    We have them in stock at Workcycles and as of 1-Oct-2012 they cost €90 each, including 19% VAT, ex Amsterdam (plus shipping thus). You’ll have to modify it as needed to fit your own bike.

    I have no idea what a Visa gift card is. You can pay us by visa, MC, paypal or bank transfer.

    Just contact us at Workcycles.com for more info.

  41. Prof.Prodromal Says:

    It looks like there may be a problem with long cage deraileurs and the return chain line?

    Will it fit around a 2 inch knoby tire?

  42. Henry Says:

    Yes, I imagine such a stand will not work with some derailleur setups. The tires shouldn’t be a problem. We fit up to 60mm tires with these.

  43. Dan Says:

    Are there distributers in the US of the Monark stand?

  44. Todd Edelman Says:

    My Hebie stand is not too bad, for sure it helps me ride, but often when I buy a lot, my bike ends up on its side.

  45. henry Says:

    Dan, No we just sell these from our shops in Amsterdam since they have to be properly modified to fit bikes other than the strange Monark Postal bikes they were originally designed for. We can ship though. Send a mail to info@workcycles.com.

  46. john Says:

    wish you could manufacture one like this, that folds down OVER the return chain line:
    http://www.haulincolin.com/stands.html

  47. Andreas Says:

    I wondered if there are any folding bikes which could be suitable for a GMG 911 child seat. I take it a 20 inch folder would be too small, but could it work on something like a Dahon Espresso?
    Many thanks for your ideas…
    Andreas

  48. henry Says:

    I wouldn’t say that it shouldn’t be done but there aren’t any folding bikes really suitable for carrying a passenger, especially not an older child. The challenges are manifold:

    1. Folding bikes tend to have flimsy rear carriers that usually don’t have the right fittings for mounting the GMG 911 seat. This seat is secured to the carrier so it has to be strong.

    2. Folding bikes usually have short chainstays and the carriers are low so there will be inadequate clearance between your heels and the child’s feet.

    3. Many folding bikes, most notoriously the popular Dahons, just aren’t very strong. They eventually break in half if used intensively.

    The only solid child carrying setup on a folding bike I’m aware of is a kit that can be mounted on a Brompton to fit a saddle and footrests behind the handlebar. I don’t recall it’s name but I know the folks at Clever Cycles had them.

  49. Yohans Says:

    How much wouold one of these stands cost in seattle wa?? and where can I get it?

  50. john Says:

    they said it costs 62 eurros plus 40 for shipping to seattle that’s about 130 dollers us. and no garrentees tha it will fir your bike.

  51. Bart Houben Says:

    Hi

    My Hebie bikestand on the Fr8 has worn out plastic stands. Now the stand is too short and the bike is not in balance anymore. Can I order this bikestand from Hebie or is this one not available on the market? Houw could I solve this?

    Kind regards,
    Bart

  52. henry Says:

    Bart, We have replacement plastic feet for the Hebie stands but usually the stand itself is worn at the hinges by the time the feet wear out. When intensively used the parking stand will last a couple years and then it’s replacement time. We have these stands (and others as well) at WorkCycles and they’re not expensive. Just visit or mail.

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