Friday 26 July 2013

CBR Side-Stand Plate

Side-stands. You kind of take them for granted...

You casually pull up outside Spar, kick out the side-stand, lean the bike onto it, and go and buy a smoothie. You never really think about your side-stand. Day in, day out, kick-lean, kick-lean until the day comes when you have to park on wet grass...

Or worse, you park up on dry grass and then it rains and you return to find your motorcycle lying on it's left hand side in a pool of petrol, looking all forlorn.

Side-stand Mod
Big Honda parked in a hedge at the Skerries 100 Road Race a few weeks ago. Aside from the difficulty of maneuvering the fat fucker backward into the hedge, it soon became apparent that the side stand wouldn't work on the wet, soft soil. You can't see it in the picture, but there's a disgruntled Soviet's copy of Dostoyevsky under the side-stand, keeping the bike upright. This was pure luck - I mean who the fuck brings Dostoyevsky to a motorcycle race?

There are solutions available. If you're an adventure-bike type, there are dozens of companies dying to sell you overpriced bits of billet-aluminum to bolt on to your side stand. Some of them are even shaped like a camel's hoof-print for stealthy parking in the desert (This is a true fact and not just something I made up).

Non adventure-bike types have to make do with something like this...

Side-stand Mod
This is going to look rockin' under your flat-black Hipster '76 CB750 with the pipe-wrap and the vintage Firestones. Get one here

Furry animals are all well and good, but like a good Dostoyevsky novel, they're never around when you need one. So generally, I prefer to just weld on a larger foot made out of whatever bits of steel I can find lying around - No messing around with Muppets, expensive billet-aluminium farkles or Russian existentialists, thanks. All my dirt bikes have had this modification and my courier CX too.

It's not my idea, people have been doing this for decades. When Ted Simon went to pick up his 'desert ready' Triumph T100  for his 1973 'Round The World epic Jupiter's Travels, the only modification Triumph had made was to weld a plate onto the side-stand. 

Side-stand Mod

So the side-stand issue arose again on the camping trip to Kerry to. On the second night in Dingle, the pitch was too soft to park on so I left the bike on the road. I think the campsite owner would have preferred if we had parked on the pitch, and I'd rather have slept closer to the bike.

If I was using the CBR as a sportbike, I wouldn't bother with this. But Big Honda has been optimised for touring and stopping at the side of the road to take in the view and parking on campsites are part of it's mission. So it's worth making the modification.

I didn't have a camera in the workshop the day I did this so I don't have any pictures of the process but it went something like this.

  1. Faffing around with bits of cardboard until I was happy with the shape. It's important that the foot 'tucks in' when the stand is up - I don't want it dragging on the road on left-hand bends!
  2. Cutting the shape out of a piece of 5mm steel plate.
  3. Tack welding it in situ with the stand still on the bike*
  4. Removing the stand from the bike to finish the weld.
  5. Painting it with black smooth Hammerite.
  6. Refitting it and checking that the side-stand interlock switch still works as intended. 

Side-stand Mod
Big Honda - Less turquoise every day...

Side-stand Mod
The plate is designed to tuck in under the rider's foot-peg, without reducing ground clearance too much.


Whenever I weld on a motorcycle, I always disconnect the battery. I don't know if this is true, but when I was a courier it was widely believed that electric welding would destroy alternators. I do know that if the battery is left connected it's possible to accidentally weld the points closed on older bikes. I also know that in the 'Long Way Round', one of the BMWs was arc welded in Mongolia and this killed the servo assisted brakes, disabling the bike.

So, to be sure, I disconnect the battery.

It's also worth noting that, most motorcycle batteries vent hydrogen gas and hydrogen gas is explosive. I've exploded two batteries by being careless - this is messy and dangerous because the batteries are full of acid. So if you need to weld anywhere near the battery, remove the battery entirely and put it somewhere safe.  

#SideStandMod #CBR1000F #Mercenary #MercenaryGarage

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