If you’re familiar with the world of cycling, you might have noticed that not all bikes are designed the same. Certain features like chain guards, fenders, and even kickstands, which are common in regular or hybrid bikes, are often noticeably absent in road bikes. Among these, the absence of a kickstand might have caught your eye. The reasons behind this design choice might surprise you.
Road bikes do not come with kickstands due to the added weight, safety concerns, risks of accidents, and diminution of aesthetic appeal.
In other words, road bikes are designed for optimal performance and efficiency, and a kickstand is not necessary for this type of cycling.
The debate around kickstands on road bikes
Kickstands are a contentious topic amongst cyclists. Some see them as unnecessary while others consider them a must-have convenience.
Denying their utility in certain riding conditions like city commuting or bike touring would be unwise. In contrast, for cyclists going after speed, endurance, and efficiency, the absence of a kickstand is non-negotiable. It all boils down to the kind of riding one prefers and prioritizes.
This has led the cycling community to be divided into pro-kickstand and anti-kickstand camps.
But ultimately, the decision falls upon each individual cyclist’s requirements, priorities, and personal taste. Whether or not a road bike should have a kickstand is a question only its rider can answer.
Why do some road bikes not have kickstands?
In the realm of cycling, road bikes are all about optimizing performance and speed. Adding a kickstand could negatively impact these primary objectives for several reasons:
1. Weight and Performance Considerations
Road biking is all about speed and efficiency. Cyclists aim to keep their bikes as light as possible to ensure peak performance.
Road bikers often prioritize a light frame to go faster and break new records. Even a small kickstand could add unwanted weight, hindering the bike’s speed and maneuverability.
2. Risk of Damage to the Bike Frame
Kickstands can actually pose a risk to the bike’s frame. When improperly installed, they can potentially cause damage.
Additionally, a bike falling over when on its kickstand can result in potential harm, especially to the derailleur.
Kickstands can potentially cause accidents if they come loose during a ride. They can get caught in the bike components or even become a trip hazard.
4. Aerodynamic Impact
In road biking, aerodynamics play a vital role as every bit of wind resistance can slow a cyclist down. As insignificant as it might seem, a kickstand sticking out could technically affect the bike’s aerodynamics.
The presence of a kickstand could disrupt the streamlined design of a road bike.
5. Aesthetics and Clean Lines of the Bike
The clean lines and sleek design of road bikes hold an appeal for many cyclists. A kickstand can disrupt this look.
While kickstands can be convenient, their drawbacks often outweigh their benefits when it comes to road bikes. However, they may be more suitable and useful for other types of bikes such as touring or mountain bikes.
How You Can Attach a Kickstand to Your Road Bike?
Attaching a kickstand to a road bike is a simple process.
STEP 1- First, you need to select a kickstand that is compatible with your road bike. Consider factors such as ease of use, adjustability, and stability.
STEP 2- Once you have the kickstand, you will need a wrench to loosen and remove the bolts on the mounting pieces of the kickstand.
STEP 3- Then, line up the front mounting piece with the back triangle of the bike frame and the back mounting piece inside the back triangle. Tighten the bolts using the wrench, ensuring that the tension is evenly distributed.
STEP 4- Finally, adjust the kickstand to the desired height and test it to ensure it is secure and stable. With these steps, you can easily attach a kickstand to your road bike and enjoy the convenience it provides. 
Alternative methods for parking road bikes
Cyclists have developed alternative methods for parking their bikes when a kickstand is not available. Here are some prominent methods used by many cyclists:
1- Leaning against a wall or object
One of the simplest ways to park a road bike is to lean it against a wall or other sturdy object. This method requires no additional equipment and can be used in virtually any location.
When utilizing this method, ensure that the bike is leaning non-drive side to prevent damage to the bike’s gears.
2- Using bike racks
Bike racks are a popular choice for parking a road bike. They come in a variety of styles and sizes to accommodate different bike designs.
Bike racks provide a secure and stable platform to support your bike. They help in maintaining the bike vertically without the risk of it being knocked over.
3- Placing the bike on its side
In situations where there are no walls or bike racks, one can opt to place the road bike on its side. This may not be ideal due to potential dirt or damage to the frame.
However, it can be a viable option when there are limited parking alternatives. Be cautious to place it gently to avoid damaging the derailleur or other components.
Perspectives and Opinions on Kickstands for Road Bikes
Let’s dive into some perspectives and opinions on kickstands for road bikes.
Cycling Community Views and Preferences
The cycling community tends to have varying opinions on the use of kickstands. Cyclists involved in road racing or those who prefer lightweight, sleek designs, often shy away from kickstands due to two primary reasons:
- Weight Concerns: Road cyclists obsess over their bike’s weight, and every extra ounce can make a significant difference, especially in a competitive setting. Kickstands can add unnecessary weight to the bicycle, thus potentially affecting the overall performance.
- Stability Issues: Ironically, kickstands designed to keep the bike steady could sometimes cause instability. Lightweight road bikes could easily be toppled over by winds or accidental bumps, resulting in damage, particularly to the derailleur.
On the other hand, touring cyclists who carry heavy packs on their rides view kickstands as a useful accessory. Not only does it prevent them from laying down their bikes laden with gear, but it also allows them more options on where to park their bicycle.
The Association of Kickstands with Novice Cyclists
Kickstands are often associated with novice cyclists or those who use their bike casually. It’s seen as a tool of convenience allowing the rider to park their bike anywhere, whether there are bike racks available or not.
Having a kickstand concludes the need for finding a nearby wall or a rack for support, making it a practical option for casual riders or beginners.
However, those heavily involved in road biking might argue that a kickstand does not add any essential value to the overall cycling experience. Plus, the minor weight addition might not justify the need.
Kickstands on Touring and Bikepacking Road Bikes
Due to the nature of long distance cycling activities, kickstands can serve as a useful tool in certain situations.
Convenience: Instead of finding an ideal spot to lean your loaded bike against, a kickstand allows you to keep your bike upright virtually anywhere.
This can be incredibly beneficial when stopping in areas where natural supports like trees or walls are not readily available, especially if you’re camping in a flat, open area. In these cases, a kickstand becomes essential.
Protection: When a loaded bike falls over, there is the potential for damage to your bike and your packed items.
In some cases, the impact could even result in a broken derailleur, which would severely impact your ability to travel.
Products like the Click Stand: This unique ‘kickstand’ isn’t permanently attached to your bike, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a kickstand without risking any potential damage during your ride.
It pairs with a Velcro strap for your brakes, securing your bike effectively when it’s time to rest.
Although kickstands may not usually find a place on typical road bikes, they do offer significant benefits for touring and bikepacking road bikes. Their value becomes clear when considering the convenience they offer and the protection they provide to your prized commitment to the open road.