Motorcycles are sometimes equipped with a centerstand in addition to the sidestand. The centerstand allows the motorcycle to rest on the front tire and both feet of the centerstand, making the motorcycle level with the ground it's resting on. The sidestand allows the motorcycle to rest on both tires and lean to one side onto the sidestand, which is less stable than resting on the centerstand. When on its sidestand, uneven ground and vibrations (if the cycle is running) can lead to your cycle laying on its side - a Bad Thing.

If one's motorcycle is so equipped, using the centerstand is often preferable to using the sidestand, unless you like dents in the gas tank, bent handlebars or footpegs. The disadvantage of using the centerstand, however is getting the cycle up on the damn thing. Since the rear wheel is completely off the ground, somehow or the other, you've got to lift up the back end of the cycle. Fear not, intrepid noader! With these instructions and some mechanical advantage, you'll have your motorcycle happily and safely on its centerstand in no time.

Big Damn Disclaimer: if you mess up yer cycle, that's all you, bud. If you're not comfortable with doing this, don't do it. Get some help from someone that can show you in person or just use the sidestand.

First, orient yourself on the motorcycle. Sit on the seat, facing forward. Get a good look at where everything is located. The centerstand and sidestand will be on your left side, behind and below the footpeg. Usually, there is some sort of luggage rack or grab bar behind the passenger seat, which will help in just a bit. It probably helps to wear shoes to do this, if you didn't figure it out already. However, if you're the kind of person what gets around a motorcycle without wearing sturdy shoes or boots, well, i guess you deserve what's coming to you.

Second, get off the cycle and face its left side, keeping the cycle balanced. Hold the left handgrip in your left hand and put your right hand on the grab bar or luggage rack. Be careful - it's very easy for the cycle to tip over at this point. Take it slow and get a feel for the balance of the cycle. Having someone help you with this the first few times is a good idea.

Now that you're facing the left side of the cycle, with your hands on the left handgrip and luggage rack or grab bar, step down on the centerstand peg so it contacts the ground. Here's where physics comes in - you're going to let gravity do most of the work for you. Three things need to happen simultaneously:

  • gently pull the motorcycle backwards with your left hand
  • stand up on the centerstand peg
  • gently pull up on the grab bar or luggage rack with your right hand

OK, so think about this for a second. You're going to stand up on the centerstand peg, forcing it down. The swingarm of the centerstand will then try to force the motorcycle backwards onto the centerstand and force the rear of the motorcycle upwards at the same time. By giving the front and rear of the cycle a bit of help in the directions they're going to move, you reduce the amount of effort you have to put on the centerstand.

If you've done all this stuff successfully, the motorcycle should raise up and settle gently onto the centerstand.

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