Custom LHT Kickstand Plate

Custom Kickstand Plate
Custom Kickstand Plate

A friend of mine, the clever fellow that he is, was dissatisfied with the way his Pletscher Double kickstand interfaced with his Long Haul Trucker frame, so he took it upon himself to design a custom kickstand plate and have it machined out of bar stock by a machinist friend. As you can see in the photos, the result is nothing short of fantastic. The plate is form-fitted and precisely mates with the underside of the frame while providing a level platform for the kickstand. The issue is that it’s a one-off piece that would cost you or I approximately $300 to replicate because of the labor involved in machining the piece. It would sure be nice if Surly would just follow the lead of their competitors like Civia, Rivendell, Soma, and Raleigh and add a kickstand plate to their touring and utility frames. Personally, I’ll never buy another frame that doesn’t include an integrated kickstand plate.

23 Responses to “Custom LHT Kickstand Plate”

  • Thorsten Hohage says:

    Interestingly I just read today the surly-blog about kickstands and why they don’t think it is a good idea to use one.

  • Dan Swick says:

    This is brilliant! I’ve had a Pletscher on a couple different plate-less bikes. It works fine most of the time, but the clamp does slide around every once in a while. Something like this would be great and might even alleviate some risk of deforming your chain stays by over-torquing the kickstand bolt.

  • Alan Barnard says:

    Hi Thorsten,

    Can you provide a link to the article?


  • Pat McGee says:

    Not sure if this is the article referred to, but it does give Surly’s take on the issue:

  • Alan Barnard says:

    Thanks, Pat. I’ve seen that post before. These quotes sum up my frustration with Surly’s position on this:

    “If they had asked us before they installed it we would have led off with the self evident advice that a bike which is lying down can’t fall over. More often than not there is a tree or a building or something that you can lean your bike against if you don’t want to lay it down.”

    To suggest a bike be laid down or leaned against a wall as a parking solution disregards that it might be used for things such as grocery shopping.

    “Why don’t we just add one of those kickstand mounting plates under the stays? Because those plates introduce more weld heat to an already sensitive area, meaning we’d likely have to go to thicker walled stays, and we’re back to the design-intent and ride quality issue. And anyway they’re fugly.”

    I don’t buy the first part. As mentioned above, Surly’s competitors are using welded-on plates with zero issues. In fact, many of these bikes are made at the same factory in Taiwan, so it doesn’t appear to be a manufacturing challenge. My guess is that it’s the second part that’s the real issue (they’re “fugly”).


  • Pete Pesce says:

    Hmm. Very clever. I was thinking of a similar thing a while back when I suggested that Pletscher make a deluxe bottom plate to match its top plate…
    Of course the custom-machined option is much better looking!

  • Matthew Hopkins says:

    I am a bike mechanic with over 15 years experience. I have seen a few frame stays cracked due to overtightening of the mounting bolt.
    Like Surly say in the above linked article, if the frames were meant to have a mount there, then the manufacturer would have fitted one. Or beefed up the stays.
    I personally dont have a problem with kickstands – on the right type of bike.
    But having seen them fitted to several lightweight alloy frames and advised against one customer wanting one fitted to a carbon frame. (!!!) I would just say think carefully. Consult the frame manufacturer regards fitting AND warranty.
    The cost of convenience versus the cost of a new frame?

  • Rithy Khut says:

    The whole Surly post is kind of blah…but at least they said this at the end.
    \We recommend the use of two leg kickstands such as the Pletscher.\

    \Such a design helps reduce the potential for chainstay flex compared to that which a loaded bike leaning on a kickstand single leg can impose. And because of the extra leg and the placement, they tend to be the most stable in our experience.\

  • Alan Barnard says:

    Hi Matthew,

    For me and many people I know, kickstands are not for convenience, but instead are important tools that significantly increase the functionality of bikes used for transportation and utility. I may need to load 60+ lbs. of groceries between my front rack and a pair of rear panniers – this is very difficult to do without a center stand. I totally agree that aftermarket kickstands are inappropriate on lightweight bikes that are not designed to accept them, but I’d love to see factory-installed kickstand plates on more bikes, particularly those like the LHT that make such good utility workhorses.


  • Dr. Grateful G. Godsman says:

    I absolutely agree with you, Alan. I’ll never buy another utility bike that doesn’t already have a kickstand plate manufactured onto it. Some bikes shouldn’t have a kickstand, but a utility bike NEEDS one.

    I also would not buy a Surly LHT, for any reason. I know they work for some folks but I have a eye and passion for QUALITY and Surly doesn’t meet those standards for me. They’re good for the price point though, and and seem to serve some Tourists very well. They’re heavy because they’re made of lesser steel than I’m comfortable with. In my experience; “Quality is remembered LONG after the Price is forgotten”.

    Also, the guy (at Surly) who wrote that rant has a foul mouth and makes disparaging remarks to the readers about their Moms. Uncalled for. I realize it’s considered nuevo-chic in some circles to be trash mouthed but what ever happened to decorum? That really makes us want to go spend our hard earned money with them, doesn’t it ??? NOT!!!

  • Bettina Schaden says:

    Agree, agree, agree. Transpo bikes need a kickstand. I do without one right now, but there are so many moments when I wish I had one on my bike. I wonder if some company like Velo Orange would pick up on this idea and make some adapters like that for after-market kickstands, keeping the cost down by mass producing. (By the way, does anyone know if Linus bikes come with a stand or a mounting plate? I’m eying the Dutchi 8 and would like to know…)

  • Dobie Gray says:

    Gotta have a kickstand!

    Curious position, this Surly point of view.

  • alan gibble says:

    Nice, wish my Soma ES had a kickstand plate. Until then, I just can’t see risking chainstay damage underneath, even with the deluxe top plate of a Pletscher double legger.
    What I would like to see is a photo of this custom bottom mount from the crank side, in order to see how he got around interference with the rear derailler cable.

  • Nico Forte says:

    Hi there all. I thought I might address some comments here that people took note of. This kick stand plate did take a lot of work, both in the design, but mostly from my friend that hand cut it on a milling machine. To answer Alan Gibble’s question, the side with the crank is cut a bit shorter so as not to interfere with the rear derailleur cable as you noted. Even the top rubber bushing part that I ordered with my Pletscher Double Kickstand was cut a bit on that side. As I told Alan, it’s not a perfect fit, but probably 90% which still seems to be very strong. The lower part of the plate also has a groove where the kickstand sits. I also researched and added a special washer on this. It’s a two-piece washer that is designed to withstand greater vibrations and not loosen. It’s supposed to hold up much better than split and tooth washers. These minor tweaks were put in there so the kickstand will not loosen over time.

    Quite honestly, as much as I like my LHT, I believe that Surly needs to address this issue. The LHT is a workhorse, be it as a traveler, a cargo handler or daily commuter Not having a kickstand plate on a bike like this because it’s “fugly” is short-sighted on the product managers part, I believe. It’s not a technical issue as so many other bikes have kickstand plates. And touring bikes at that.

    Surly, if you’re reading this, make it about the functionality of this bike and not about your opinion of kickstands on bikes in general. You make a great product. But in this case, it could be even better.

  • Micheal Blue says:

    Trekking bikes need a kickstand, too. Many times when I bike outside the city there is nothing to lean the bike against. I also wouldn’t buy a bike that cannot have a kickstand.

  • John Lloyd says:

    Nico, I couldn’t agree more. I absolutely love my LHT, but the one complaint I have is that it doesn’t have a kickstand plate. For a bike built as a bomb-proof hauler, as the LHT is, to add a few extra ounces of steel to the chainstays would not matter that much. Surly, if you’re listening, your loyal customers are speaking . . . .

  • vik banerjee says:

    I’ve toured on my LHT with a ESGE double legged kickstand with no issues. I haven’t used the deluxe to plate and still my stand worked fine without needing attention. It was on my bike for several years.

    I’ve since removed the stand as my bike is mostly used in town and I haven’t had a need for a stand lately. If I was headed out a big tour I’d reinstall the stand and use it happily.

    Installation requires a few minutes and some readily available items like friction tape or an old bike inner tube…I use the tape/inner tube to pad the chain stays to prevent scratching and to provide friction so the stand doesn’t rotate. With a bit of friction there is no need to crank down on the stand’s mounting bolt and damage anything.

    So if you want a ESGE on your LHT it doesn’t require a $300 DIY part.

    I use my LHT regularly in town and I can’t recall having ever laid it down at a stop or having any problem loading it because there was nothing to lean it against. Generally when I stop my LHT I lock it to something and this something holds it up until I get back and also holds it up when I load it.

    I use kickstands when I find them useful, but I don’t need one on every bike and I have never had a problem putting a kickstand on a bike despite having only a couple bikes with kickstand plates.

  • alan gibble says:

    First, thanks Nic for your response to my question about the right side of you mounting plate.
    Second, thanks Vic for your input on your use of one w/o a plate. Your take seems much like the one at Rivendell.
    Third, I wonder if Alan Barnard could give some input about his use of the stand on his LHT, namely, did the stand ever crimp or mark the underside of your chainstays, or damage them in any way?
    And last, what does anyone think of the idea of making mild grooves or troughs in the top of the kickstand where it mounts to the underside of the chainstays to both keep it from turning and keep those raised perpindicular areas of the stand from digging into the stays?
    Thanks all. After reading Vic’s post and looking at one of these things in a store, I’m actually reconsidering putting one on my Soma ES.

  • Alan Barnard says:

    Hi Alan,

    I’ve had good luck with the Pletscher on my LHT, but I’ve known people who have damaged their frames with clamp-on kickstands (not on LHTs), and I’ve heard horror stories from my mechanic friends. There are too many variables involved to say definitively whether a clamp-on kickstand will or won’t damage a particular frame. The variables include: the fit; the frame design; the amount of weight on the bike; and the amount of torque applied to the mounting bolt. The last one is particularly tricky; over torque the bolt and it’s possible to dent or even crush a tube, under torque the bolt and run the risk of the k-stand twisting and damaging the frame that way. It’s certainly possible to make a clamp-on kickstand work, but I prefer frames with integrated kickstand plates.


    PS – Here’s damage from an under-torqued Pletscher:

    Under-torqued Damage

    …and an over-torqued Pletscher:

    Over-torqued Damage

  • vik banerjee says:

    Alan G – forgot to mention that you should use some thread locking compound on the mounting bolt when you install the stand.

    If you use tape or inner tube over your chainstays you won’t damage them because your stand will be less likely to rotate and the tape/tube will protect the tube.

    Crushing the chainstays takes a heck of a lot of force. It won’t happen by accident on a sturdy bike like a LHT. By using some tape or inner tube around your chainstays means you don’t need to crank the mounting bolt down like mad since there is far more friction than the metal against paint.

  • Rory says:

    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for sharing this. Do you think your friend has a crude drawing of this that he might be willing to share? I’m curious about seeing if they could be CNC’d for less cost.


  • Alan says:

    Hi Rory,

    If I remember correctly, he took a mold directly from the frame, so a drawing may not exist. I’ll look into it and let you know.


  • zach says:

    Dudes Bottom Bracket cup is cracked

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