As I have said before, I am a Jedi Master of Sloth. Laziness is one of the few things to which I can claim Gold Medal Caliber. As a result, I must develop strategies which will allow me to avoid the dirtiest word in the English language: work.
With a single-rail rack, you hook your panniers to the top rail and fasten your rack bag to the top of the rack. To remove the panniers, you must first remove the rack bag. Not only is this more work, but if you have a quick release system on your panniers — such as the QMR system on Vaude bags or the QL1 and QL2 systems on Ortlieb bags — a rack bag on a single-rail rear rack negates the primary advantage of that quick release system.
On a dual-rail rack, you fasten your rack bag to the top and your panniers to a second set of rails below; the quick release on your panniers works without interference and you can sneer into the sweaty face of work.
My backup commuter bicycle is a Giant Yukon mountain bike with a suspension front fork and less pressure in the tires. The tires are an inverted tread design for better traction in inclement weather; they also make for a ride which is comfortable and a nice change of pace. Most of the commuter accessories on this bike duplicate what is on my main commuter, and just recently I put the same model of dual-rail rear rack on it.
One problem: when I plopped my fully loaded Vaude Egger Commuter Pannier onto the left side of the Giant… it promptly tipped over.
Obviously, the standard equipment kickstand wasn’t designed to handle the greater weight and higher center of gravity of the re-purposed mountain bike.
I guess I could have started putting my Vaude pannier on the right side, and that would have worked as long as I didn’t put a bag on the left. But if I did put a bag on the left, I could never quick-release the pannier on the right, otherwise the bike would simply tip over once more.
This was rapidly turning out to be more work than simply getting a better kickstand.
My main commuter bike has a Greenfield Stabilizer Kickstand. The Greenfield works great on that bike. My bags do not threaten to put the bike on the ground, but probably this is because the bike is a recumbent with a lower center of gravity. I wasn’t sure the Greenfield would work on the Giant, for the same reason the original kickstand didn’t work.
I thought about getting the lightweight Upstand Kickstand, but that one is so lightweight I was pretty sure putting the stress of my heavy commuter bags on it would give me the same result as a 500 pound guy trying to pole vault!
One-legged kickstands like the original equipment on the Giant, the Greenfield and the Upstand allow the bike to lean, which is the reason the bike tips over.
Two-legged kickstands, like the one on my A2B Metro E-Bike, hold the bike upright and balanced.
The A2B kickstand is a beefy, two pronged heavy metal affair made by Ying Cheng of Taiwan. It has several coil springs for movement between the deployed and stowed positions, and has a rectangular metal foot welded to the end of each leg. It probably could be used on motorcycles, and while it supports the heavy A2B solidly it is overkill for a regular bicycle.
I visited my favorite local bike shop and asked them what they had in a light, two-legged kickstand. They brought out the ESGE Double Kickstand.
The ESGE is made of aluminum, and fits in the same area — just behind the bottom bracket — as the regular kickstand. The two legs rotate together as they move from the deployed position to the stowed position, and nest neatly right under the left chain stay of the bike in the same location as the standard kickstand.
I’ve heard that some people have a problem with mounting the ESGE because the bolt is too short for their particular bicycle. It was just the opposite with my bike: the bolt was so long that it bottomed out inside the lower part of the ESGE before the clamp had a firm grip on the bike frame. Luckily, ESGE uses a mounting bolt with the same size threads as regular kickstands; I used the shorter bolt which came with my original kickstand and the ESGE secured just fine.
One note about tightening down that bolt: you don’t really need to cinch it down all that hard. The mounting clamps pinch the bike frame between them, and only need to be tight enough to keep the bike from wobbling in the clamp jaws. Torquing the bolt down too hard could bend an aluminum bike frame, so don’t do it. (Tip: All bike kickstands that I have used have loosened up over time; a little dab of Loctite will keep that from happening.)
With the ESGE Double down, the front tire of my bike is raised almost three inches off the ground. While this may be objectionable to some, I don’t mind it. There are marks on the legs which allow for them to be cut shorter, but I’m not going to do it. My theory is that the longer the legs are, the wider the stance will be and the more stable the bike will be.
Naturally, when the front wheel is raised up, it will flop over to one side. I will push the wheel over to the side of the bike opposite the to the one on which I’m working. If I’m going to be putting a bag on the left side first, I’ll push the wheel over to the right. If I move over to put a bag on the right side I’ll shove the front wheel over to the left. Doing it this way, I think the weight is equalized better on the bike.
Even though the ESGE is pretty stable when using it with panniers and other bags, I’m not sure I’d recommend it as stable enough for use with a bike mounted kid’s seat like the Yepp Maxi Bike Child Seat. The higher center of gravity which is created when using those types of seats would make the bike far too tippy for the ESGE. If you’re going use a child seat on a regular bike like my mountain bike, I recommend looking into getting a genuine cargo bike kickstand.
Or, if you’re going to ride with little kids as active as my granddaughters, you might just use a two-wheeled bike trailer instead and avoid the hassle of explaining to the hospital staff, and Child Protective Services, why that little one has a concussion as a result of hitting the pavement while sitting in the back seat of your bicycle.
Can you imagine how much work that would be?!?
The ESGE Double Kickstand sells retail for $54.99 US
BluesCat is a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, who originally returned to bicycling in 2002 in order to help his son get the Boy Scout Cycling merit badge. His bikes sat idle until the summer of 2008 when gas prices spiked at over $4.00 per gallon. Since then, he has become active cycling, day-touring, commuting by bike, blogging (azbluescat.blogspot.com) and giving grief to the forum editors in the on-line cycling community.