Kickstands: Yes or no?

For me, the answer is definitely YES. My favorite is the Greenfield Stabilizer, which goes on near the rear hub:

I like this stand so much that when I was getting Co-Motion to make my Americano (and later, the 29er Divide) for me, I had them put on a custom kickstand plate so I could still use the Stabilizer even though I had disc brakes:

I am not so hot on the kickstands that go up behind the bottom bracket. First of all, on some bikes the clamp that you need to use (assuming the bike doesn't have a kickstand plate there, most touring bikes don't) can easily damage the chainstays. This is why Surly recommends against using those kickstands on their bikes. The metal in the chainstay is pretty thin at that point, not really good for clamping unless you're really careful.

Another thing about the kickstands that go up behind the bottom bracket is that they are just less stable than the rear mounted ones. When I tried a two legged stand, I found the bike harder to load because it was more prone to tilt over when I was putting panniers on. Also, the bike balancing on the stand was always wanting to have either the front or rear wheel off the ground, which was just unstable in general. Sure, you could raise the rear wheel and then work on the drivetrain and rotate the rear wheel, which was useful, but I could do pretty much the same thing with the Greenfield Stabilizer (just tilt the bike up with one hand on the stand to take the wheel off the ground). If you cut the two legged stand down so that both wheels can be on the ground, then I find the stance of the stand to be too narrow, and it's not stable.

I don't like the one-legged stands that go behind the BB, because they generally seem to stop the cranks from turning freely, which is a hassle when wheeling the bike backward or forward to adjust the position.

A lot of people like the Click-Stand, which is like a tent pole with a hook on one end that fits under your top tube. So you bring it out when you stop, unfold it, put it under the top tube, and put the other end on the ground. It's a cool idea, and it does work, but you also need to somehow lock the brakes to stop the bike from rolling. There are elastic bands for this purpose that go over the brake levers. I found this system to be much more fiddly, and I knew I would eventually forget and leave something behind on a rest stop. The Greenfield Stabilizer is always there on the bike, you just kick it down when you stop and kick it up when you leave. Nothing to forget, and with the tripod that it forms (with the two wheels and the stand), it's very stable once the bike has found its "neutral" position.

Some people dislike the added weight and looks of a kickstand, but for me it's essential. There is not always a place to lean your bike against, and I hate putting it over in the dirt. Laying the bike down increases wear and tear on the panniers, not to mention it's dirty and makes it harder to access stuff inside the bags. Also it looks like a road accident every time you stop.

It's a personal preference, of course, this is just my own opinion. Lots of people tour without kickstands and feel passionately about the topic. It's like fenders, helmets, lubricants, tires etc - there's 1001 opinions out there, each one different. And that's fine, there's always more than one way to do it.

/r/bicycletouring Thread