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When people talk about bikes, they often forget about bike stands. You may have heard countless conversations about every aspect of bikes, but you'll have to rack your memory for the last time you heard two people discussing bike stands.

And yet, since no bike can do without these stands, they happen to be one of the most critical components. Although ignored by most people except the manufacturers, the bike stand has come a long way.

There is quite a variety of bike stands available. Conventional and side stands are the most commonly used. Most on-road conventional and utility bikes, including pedaled bikes, use the conventional stands. Side stands are generally used by bikes that are heavier than conventional ones. Conventional stands help the bike stand upright, as opposed to side stands. Side stands allow the bike to lean on them, thus supporting the entire weight of the bike.

Heavier bikes typically do not use conventional stands since lifting the weight of the bike on to the stand can call for the muscle requirements of a Hercules or an Arnold Schwarzenegger. Side stands are a lot easier to operate since all you have to do is pull the stand out from under the bike (this can be achieved quite easily using your feet) and let the bike lean on it.

However, when parking your bike using a side stand, make sure the surface is hard enough to support the bike. Park it on slushy mud and you can forget about getting it back upright on your own.

Manufacturers these days add a few simple features for extra value. One example is a small indicator on the instrument panel that glows when you have the side stand folded out from under the bike.

So the next time your conversation turns to bikes, talk about bike stands. You'll be sure to impress everyone around with how much you know about these humble, yet essential parts of a bike.

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Source by Jennifer Bailey