The kickstand is one of these little things that are rarely given too much thought. However, sooner or later, one cannot help but wonder how strong these kickstands actually are and how much weight they can hold.
How much weight can a motorcycle kickstand hold? Motorcycle kickstands can hold between 50 to upwards of 450 pounds of extra weight. On average, motorcycle kickstands should be able to hold up to 200 pounds of extra weight, allowing the rider to sit on the motorcycle without breaking the kickstand.
Motorcycle kickstands are very strong and reliable. After all, they are made from durable metal that is not known for breaking easily. But as it is with anything in life, there are some caveats here, and they have to be addressed.
How Much Weight Is Distributed to the Kickstand?
It is a simple question of physics, gravity, and subsequent weight distribution.
The weight that is distributed to the kickstand depends on the angle of the lean. The lean angle is different on the different motorcycles, and it can vary even between two identical models.
Usually, the kickstand does not carry all the weight or even 1/3 of the weight of the motorcycle due to the lean, which distributes the majority of the weight across the two wheels of the motorcycle.
The more upright the motorcycle is, the less weight is distributed to the kickstand—in other words, significantly less than 1/3 of the motorcycle’s weight is distributed to the kickstand.
The more the bike leans, the more pressure is distributed to the kickstand.
If the motorcycle is parked on a slope with the kickstand facing the downhill, it will distribute more weight to it, and it may get closer to holding about 1/3 of the bike’s weight.
Many people also kickstand spin their bikes to maneuver and park in tight spaces and areas without their kickstands ever breaking. We are talking about motorcycles weighing about 400 pounds on average if not more—so kickstands can definitely hold their own.
How Much Weight Can a Side Kickstand Hold?
The actual weight a motorcycle’s kickstand can hold will vary a lot depending on the type of the motorcycle.
Harleys, Guzzies, and other heavier motorcycles like baggers, and touring motorcycles will usually have stronger kickstands that can hold a lot of weight. The kickstands Harleys have, for example, can hold upwards of 200 pounds, without that damaging the kickstand in any way. A lot of people even sleep on their Harleys without that causing any damage to the kickstand.
Sportbikes usually will have kickstands that are not able to withstand a lot of weight and should never be forced to hold more weight than the total weight of the motorcycle. Generally speaking, this should mean that the kickstand should be able to hold the rider’s weight as well since the kickstand will be holding about no more than a third of the motorcycle’s weight.
The thing with sportbikes is that frequently their kickstands stay closer to the body of the bike and thus are more vertical, while on some sport cruisers, for example, the kickstand may be extending way out, making it more unstable and likely to break under heavier weights.
On the other hand, some sport touring motorcycle kickstands may easily hold around 450 pounds or more of extra weight.
Lighter motorcycles like the dual sporters and dirt bikes may have very weak and flimsy kickstands, which may not even be able to hold the weight of the rider.
With that being said, certain bikes have the kickstand attached to the engine, which poses a new whole set of different problems, and thus extra cautions should be exercised. If your motorcycle has its kickstand attached to the engine, you should not subject it to any extra weight. The kickstand will likely not break, but there is a risk of damaging the engine.
On another point, these rules are not set in stone, and the general consensus is that “it depends”. And it really does. Even some sport touring bikes have very weak and flimsy kickstands
How Much Weight Can a Center Stand Hold?
Center stands (if your motorcycle has one) are known as being more dependable, durable, and better at providing balance.
This means that the Center stands will be able to hold a lot more weight than side kickstands.
Some people even sleep while their motorcycle is lifted on the center stand.
The center stand is designed to hold a lot more weight and can usually hold up to and in excess of 200 pounds without that being a problem.
How Much Weight Is the Kickstand Designed to Hold?
Generally speaking, the kickstand is designed to hold the motorcycle while it is parked. After all, the kickstand is designed for parking the motorcycle and not for carrying extra weight.
Some motorcycles may have lighter and thinner kickstands, while others will have very thick kickstands that will easily hold a lot more weight than the motorcycle.
With that being said, the weight that is distributed on to the kickstand by the motorcycle is never going to push the kickstand to its limit.
This is why it is usually considered reasonably safe for the rider to even sit on the motorcycle granted they are sitting upright and not doing anything that will place unnatural amounts of pressure on to the kickstand.
Keep in mind that although your motorcycle’s kickstand may hold a lot of weight, it can be compromised in certain ways.
For example, during the summer, the kickstand can sink into the asphalt. This will cause the motorcycle to lean a lot and, in certain cases, even tip over. (And this can happen even if there is no additional weight placed on the motorcycle.)
Will Sitting on the Motorcycle Damage the Kickstand?
You can sit on your motorcycle without breaking the kickstand. As long as the kickstand has not experienced any prior damage and is well-maintained, it should not break if you are sitting on your motorcycle.
With that being said, it is not recommended to do it on all motorcycles as not all of them may be able to hold the weight of the rider.
However, certain motorcycles (Ducati Monster, for example) may have their kickstand mounted directly to the engine, which could be dangerous if you put it under too much pressure.
It all depends on the type and quality of the kickstand you have. For example, I wouldn’t trust the kickstand of certain motorcycles to hold the rider’s weight in addition to the motorcycle’s weight. This also applies to dirt bikes in many cases.
In comparison, many Harleys have extremely strong kickstands, and sitting on the motorcycle is highly unlikely to damage the kickstand. (No wonder why people sit on them with their legs on the pegs.)
Most sportbike kickstands are also able to hold the bike’s weight and the weight of the rider.
You shouldn’t experience any adverse effects from sitting on your bike as long as your feet are on the ground, and you are sitting straight.
Another point worth mentioning is that while you are sitting on the motorcycle especially if you are in neutral, the bike might roll forward after which the stand will retract and the motorcycle may fall
Will Leaning on the Motorcycle Damage the Kickstand?
Even leaning on your motorcycle may put too much weight on your kickstand in some instances.
Depending on how you lean on your motorcycle, this may even put more pressure on the kickstand than simply sitting on the motorcycle.
Will Kickstand Spinning a Motorcycle Damage the Kickstand?
Some riders may say that the kickstand is designed to be used for spinning the motorcycle around. But that is hardly the case.
Using the kickstand as a pivot to turn the motorcycle around is something that is usually never recommended in any the manuals. And just because many people do it does not mean it is safe or even a remotely good idea.
There is a good reason why spinning a motorcycle on the kickstand is not recommended.
Although many motorcycles have kickstands that are strong enough to hold the whole weight of the motorcycle, spinning it may start gradually wearing the kickstand out.
The kickstand may start to bend or become loose, and it may break after several years. Not to mention that while spinning the motorcycle on the kickstand, if not done properly, the kickstand may retract and cause the motorcycle to drop, which is dangerous not just for you but for the motorcycle as well.
How likely is it for the kickstand to break?
The amount of weight that will be needed to break the kickstand will be so high that more likely other parts of the motorcycle will break or get crushed before the kickstand breaks.
In other words, it is extremely rare for a kickstand to break due to too much weight. For a kickstand to break, it needs to have been damaged or extremely overloaded. It is more likely for the whole kickstand or part of the mounting frame to be bent or get ripped out.
With that being said, aftermarket kickstands may not be able to hold as much weight as the original one.
A kickstand can fail if it rusted out, but even that is highly unlikely, especially nowadays. In almost all cases, kickstands are made of high-quality aluminum alloy, which is not only highly durable but also wear and corrosion-resistant.
One part of the kickstand which may break under too much weight is the kickstand’s spring. The spring can get scraped by the ground, when the motorcycle leans over on the left side, and gradually wear out. As the spring wears out more and more, it will eventually break.