For BMW Airhead Motorcycles...but good information
for many others
© Copyright, 2013, R. Fleischer
Reference, 79B, http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/picking-up-a-downed-motorcycle.htm Which contains additional information on side-stands and center-stands, as well as using the side-stand for picking up the motorcycle, ETC.
WARNING: If you leave your non-automatic-retracting side-stand down when you take off from a stop;
you have a single
side-stand spring model with a failed spring so
is down; or, for
whatever reason it is down;... you can get into an
when turning left.
BMW, as well as other makes, have made
changes, probably after
being sued. One maker of aftermarket items was forced
out of business:
I am ONLY REPORTING in this article on various side-stands & center stands that are available or that I know about, on installation & usage problems, as best I know about such. You are on your own for ANY modifications. It is usually SAFER to use the factory setup. I make no specific recommendations for or against. YOU must use YOUR best judgment.
Some Airheads have side-stands that come up automatically when there is no weight on them. Some bikes have switches on the side-stands or a cable mechanism & you cannot even start the engine, or put it into gear, with the side-stand down. These are SAFETY items. Defeating such features can be hazardous to your health, & that of anyone around you if you have an accident.
Some Airheads have a sidestand mount anchor plate for the spring that can be rotated, & thus the side-stand can be the stock automatic retracting type; or, one you must manually raise. Be aware of what you have; be careful & cautious, stock or otherwise. Consider what could happen if you defeat the factory safety feature.....as someday you will forget it is down.
BMW SIDE-stands are not all the same, don't have the same lengths, angles, fitments, etc.
For many riders they work fine. Riders with longer inseam measurements have the LEAST
trouble. For some with long or short inseams there are problems or
various sorts. Some people dislike not being able to see the
deployed or deploying side-stand. There can be a definite problem with those with short inseams and automatic retracting side-stands. The problem is not during straightening up the bike to vertical and having the side-stand retract. The problem is when stopping and wanting to put the bike on the side-stand. You may need to slide rather far off the seat (especially if the seat has a relatively wide front section, and/or is tall) in order to push the sidestand far enough to have it at or close to its forward limits....and, at same time, lean the bike onto the sidestand to keep it from retracting. You may have to lean quite a bit....and even then, perhaps rock the bike backwards a bit to ensure the stand is fully forward. This is THE problem most complained about, and is why the Brown sidestand was so popular (with many other makes being available in recent past and present).
Sometimes there is a worn side-stand, or a bent one. If worn, they can be bushed & BMW has bushings for those that have replaceable ones; plus, some early models had pins that had an oversize available. Otherwise, you can also have a bushing machined, ETC.
For some, just modifying the existing side-stand with a tang, so your boot tip can grab it, is all that is needed. Some do not like the small footprint of their side-stands & that is not difficult to fix, although some just carry a little plate of some sort. For those with short-inseams just reaching some of the BMW side-stand models, even with a fair sized tang, is a real problem. Narrowed front area of the seats helps, lower seats help, etc. Your author, Snowbum, has a 29" inseam, but happens to like the comfort of the Russel Day-Long Saddle. Snowbum finds it very difficult to extend the side-stand far enough so the bike weight will ensure the side-stand is fully-down and locked in place (usually by rocking the bike backwards slightly to be sure the side-stand is fully in place. Snowbum has tried many types of side-stands.
Quite a few riders are afraid their bikes will fall if they dismount without already having the side-stand in the fully-out position. Many try to deploy the side-stand from the seated position. Some will actually drop the bike....perhaps they can't 'see' the side-stand & can't tell whether or not it is fully deployed. I am not much or always in favor of the method of extending the side-stand from the seated position, but I certainly understand it could be necessary at times. An example might be such as with a load on the passenger seat, hard to move one's legs, especially short legs, over a large package on the rear seat. I particularly do not like to see it done when the rider THEN dismounts, after having put not only the bike, but his WEIGHT on the side-stand by having his foot & weight on the left footrest. Sitting on your bike at any time with the side-stand deployed is NOT a good idea. Whatever method you use, & whether or not it is a stock stand, be careful, develop your own method/routine, and be sure the side-stand will not collapse or break.
Before getting into the photos & comments, note that none of the aftermarket
stands, nor the
stock stands, are perfect. On of the best side-stands Snowbum ever used on an Airhead was one he modified for an RT.
It was a Brown
type that was modified
so the horizontal metal piece bolted to BOTH the
front & rear motor mounts ...the
studs were changed to longer ones. STILL, you had to
REMEMBER & properly use that side-stand.
No clamp was over the exhaust header pipe
as the Brown originally was designed-for. A clamp can be slightly modified to fit over the frame member, and works very well.
See photos well below for variances on Brown type side-stands. For safety purposes, I did one with a pair of added pegs that allowed an additional spring to be used (not that I ever heard of a Brown spring failing). The stand was heated red-hot; reshaped slightly; a plate for a foot added. Unfortunately I never took a photo. There are photos of this sort of clamping modification later in this article; just not exactly the same as the one I did. It is possible that the Flying Tpot stand will do quite well, but are not available for all models, see later in this article.
BELOW are two photos taken 06/05/2016, of an idea Snowbum had for his 1995 R100RT. The modifications are shown here in the brown primer paint, before final black painting. The sleeve was made on a lathe, with one end threaded for the hardware store item, a threaded adjustable length (threaded) furniture glide. These come in at least 2 'pedal' sizes, the one shown here is the larger version. Dream-up your own conversion. This entire side-stand extension cost Snowbum about $3 in parts:
Migsel, for GS bikes:
http://www.migsel.com/store/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=99&review=read I have not yet had any experience with this item, so research carefully if you think you want one! It auto-retracts, or not (selectable) and length is also selectable.
While the original mounting can work OK, see below photos, be sure the engine stud is torqued to 55 ftlbs, and that the clamp is not actually pressuring the pipe when the stand is deployed...and I HIGHLY suggest you do NOT sit on the bike with the side-stand in use. Modification of the Brown stand mounting so that it is NOT clamped to the exhaust pipe at the Brown's forward end is a bit further down this article.
Here is a photo of George Turski's Brown Side-stand as on his 1982 R100RT; George has a heat shield on his muffler.
Below are FIVE photos of a 1984 R100RT which Snowbum used to own/ride, which has BOTH a Reynolds center-stand & the Brown side-stand installed. See caution note under the photo!
DO NOT use the side-stand as shown above!
If the Reynolds center-stand is put-up first, the Brown will be held outward, as shown; the Brown can contact the ground on very sharp turns. Avoid using the stands like this!
It is possible to modify the Reynolds tang. See much later photos further down this page, for a Farley side-stand with a modified Reynolds center-stand.
One way to modify the setup, if one has both the Brown
& the Reynolds, is to use an oxy-acetylene torch & heat
the left foot-tip area, so it will fit UNDER the Brown. The
result will be that the Brown will not stick downwards,
when UP. The ABOVE photo shows the NON-modified
for the Reynolds.
In this photo, the small red caption says that the Brown is NOT touching the muffler, anyplace. A closeup of that is located several photos further down.
Close-up of the Brown side-stand folded up-to, but NOT TOUCHING, the muffler. In some installations the end may be sticking out too far, if so, you can modify the mechanical limit area where the hinged stand fits. Note what I said about modifying the Reynolds LEFT TIP, well above...that will allow the Brown to fit as if the Reynolds was not even there. You still have to remember which stand to put up first!
Below is a different type of installation. In this installation, no exhaust pipe clamp is used, & using a few standard BMW parts, a very secure mounting can be made. This can be a decent modification; for twin low pipes, & some other piped models, etc., where no exhaust pipe clamping is possible for the Brown side-stand.......and, of course, where you do not like the original exhaust clamp mounting! The clamp may have to be reworked some; & on some bikes will not fit. This modification is well worthwhile! The modification to the clamp parts is minor, to enable what you see in the photograph.
While the original mounting can work OK, see well-above photos...be sure the engine stud is torqued to 55 ftlbs & that the clamp is not pressuring the pipe when the stand is deployed. I HIGHLY suggest you do NOT sit on the bike with the side-stand in use.
Farley Side-stand. Farley's 616-896-8469. Robert VanFarowe; 2792 24th Ave.; Hudsonville, Michigan 49426 They come with longer rear engine bolt. Probably better than Brown's?? Reportedly fit better at the shift area, due to milled area.
This photo, which I have enhanced as best I can, shows the
Farley side-stand mounted
on a 1983 R100RS. In order for
the Farley to fit better when folded up
(the bike has a Reynolds
Ride-Off center-stand), 3/4" was sawn off the foot tang of the
Reynolds. Very difficult to see, but in this particular
installation, Farley supplied a black
crash-bar clamp, etc.,
which supports the front bolt area of the Farley side-stand,
BMW frame point for the center-stand. This was
done to avoid the problem of the Brown side-stand &
potentially the Farley side-stand, from putting pressure
on the exhaust header (if a clamp was used around the
exhaust header, & fastened to the forward side-stand bolt). However, as you can see from photos well above, the exhaust pipe clamping problem with the Brown is easily solvable by adding a clamp of BMW parts, and possibly slightly modifying the clamp.
These are normally quite well welded to the footpeg, which either is supplied or exchanged. The below photos are not all the same stand & installation.
The following was reported in early 2012, & I have not personally inspected
the side-stand nor installation. If true, & the Surefoot design has been modified
since my above information was prepared; be advised! I have edited this rather substantially for clarity; adding my own comments too.
The Surefoot side-stand (reported as for a 81R100RT) is creating a few problems. The upper arm of the U-shaped bracket that grips the frame was bearing against the gearbox casing & preventing complete fastening of the engine mounting nut. The owner trimmed the bracket to fix that. The hole for the engine mounting bolt was so close to the welding on the angled flange, that he could not fit a standard flat washer under the nut. He replaced it with a thick spring washer. I then found that the upper pin for the coil spring was bearing against the exhaust pipe. A trip of less than a mile heated the pin to the extent that the hook on the coil spring softened & straightened, causing the spring to fall away. Fortunately this happened in his driveway so he had the coil spring & could clearly see what happened. The Surefoot appears to have been modified several times by the maker & one change is that coil springs used to be on top of the leg (as seen in the pictures above (and also see article 79B for commentary) have now been replaced with a single coil spring under the leg. And that is where the problem arises. The owner was I not sure if the problem is the Surefoot or his exhaust headers, the origin of which is unknown to him. Snowbum says: I have NO further information....yet.....but if you are considering purchasing a Surefoot, ask questions! In March, 2016, I received information on some issues. Check your stand; and, be aware of these things. These are in MY words, not his. He had a problem that the SINGLE underside spring needed lubrication to the upper hook, as it moves around the pin as the stand is deployed. Note that this is common to many springs on the Airheads, including the stock sidestand and stock center-stand...the spring hooks area needs lubrication now and then. I have always recommended a MOLY grease.
More troubling to him...and me....is that the main tube of the the stand came loose of the forked mount. The leg spun around and was held on the bike by just the spring and nothing else. He saw that it didn't seem to have been welded at all. It looked like it was just held on by paint. He welded it back on and had no problems since.
On 04/07/2013 when I first edited this section, they made side-stands for the GS models
& the ST.
On 09/04/2013, I received a message from Carl Santora of this company, who informed me that they not only make side-stands for the Monolever G/S, GS, ST, and Paralever GS; but, that they make them for other BMW twins, for years of 1955-1995, although they are not listed on the website.
Carl also said that, in his words, "Only the paralever GS sidestand is required to be deployed/retracted in sequence with the use of the centerstand."
Well, I may have to take issue with that sentence of Carl's...so, read on....
The website page is: http://www.flyingtpot.com/sidestands.htm. Be sure to scan all the way down that linked page, as some models are NOT listed at the top!
This side-stand fastens using the rear engine bolt. The rear of the mount fastens to the foot-peg bracket. The longer bolt for the foot-peg comes with the side-stand. Your heel will operate it; the lean angle for the bike is good; you can SEE the stand! Like many aftermarket side-stands, it interferes with use of the center-stand, but I do not see this as a problem, just use it properly. See Carl's quote, above, however. Semantics???
Seems to be well-designed & constructed....if massive. While not available for all BMW
the idea is sound; you might be able to use this on other models than the
one's the manufacturer says it fits.
It has been reported more than once that, at least on the R100GS, that you have to have the stand EXTENDED, to be able to fully RETRACT the CENTER-STAND. One person reported that one should be a bit cautious, as you could bump the stand into your leg, when placing the R100GS on its center-stand.
Here are a few photos grabbed from their site:
FlyingTpot does a lot more than side-stands. The URL to their main website is: http://www.flyingtpot.com/main.htm
Click in the middle (on the eye). They have saddlebags (Panniers) & mounts, do exhaust port repairs, ETC.
Robert Van Farowe makes custom side-stands. 2792 24th Avenue; Hudsonville, Michigan, 49426; (616) 896-8469.
He may be making engine mounting studs too, but, see next section.
Engine studs come in more than one length, see http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/hardware.htm
as you might need a longer stud if installing an aftermarket stand.
Here is abbreviated information:
46-71-1-230-762, engine mount stud, 306 mm long.
46-71-2-311-725, engine mount stud, 315 mm long.
46-71-1-230-475, engine mount stud, 327 mm long.
There is an article on this website that covers a bit more on side-stands, & whose primary purpose is to tell you easy & safe ways to get your motorcycle up, if it falls over: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/picking-up-a-downed-motorcycle.htm.
The article contains some commentary on side-stands, from me.
Stock BMW Sidestand (/5) & its pin:
The /5 side-stand fits on a pin that is pressed into the frame. BMW supplies the replacement
as oversize, &
you must ream the existing hole for a good interference fit. The part
number is 46-51-1-231-233. Remove the hyphens if using on-line fiche.
Later Airheads, stock sidestands, Service Information Bulletins:
Kits were available, 46-53-2-302-026 (maybe was actually -062, which became 46-53-2-302-003, which became 46-53-1-454-750). For the R65 and R65LS the kit was 46-53-2-302-061 which later became 46-53-2-302-001, and that became 46-53-1-454-751.
Some of this confusion came about because a later bulletin, 46-029-90 (2419) applied to the 1981-1984 model year. Again, kits were offered. These included a mess of parts including two shouldered bushings that had to be installed squarely (a bolt and washers will do it just fine), and the thicker shoulder bushing goes AT THE BOTTOM. The kit was 46-53-1-454-750; and 46-53-1-454-751 for the R65.
NOTE: The 83+ models used a bushing 46-53-2-302-000
Install the side-stand before the left front spacer. If you want to work on the side-stand, off
the bike, remove
the left side front motor mount stud, and knock it through to at least flush
with the engine.
BMW has available replacement bushings, etc., for the side-stands. Side-stand angle will become more & more to the left if the sidestand parts bend or are worn.
Some bikes have retracting mechanisms, which may or may not be mechanically connected
to the clutch lever.
IMproper adjustment causes stand problems.
***Quite a few models of BMW Airheads can be 'adjusted' to be self-retracting, or NOT self-retracting. The adjustment is the spring perch that is between the frame and motor, it can be rotated easily on those models. Think carefully before doing such a modification....the automatic return feature, so much hated by many folks, is a big safety feature. Think about Schneider's modification kit, and what happened to Schneider.
BMW center-stands vary by year and model.
46-52-2-301-593 was the center-stand upgrade itself.
Some books say that these are for upgrading 1979 through 1984.
The kit for the R65 was 47-52-9-056-257
and, for the others, it was -256.
Both used 10 x 30 size, grade 12.9 bolts.
The kits fit 1979-1984.
The kits are NLA.
Best kit usage is 1981-1982, as Center-stands were pretty bad those two years. 46-52-2-301-593
The stock center-stands WEAR. The stops wear, the bolt fastener areas wear, and the
bottom of the feet wear.
ALL are fixable, without replacing the stand.
Bushings, bolts, stops,
all rather easily fixed/repaired/replaced, as one's year/model/situation requires.
of the feet ...that is...the area the stand rests on...is also easy to fix, & if you modify that
area with some welding-up (such as adding a metal piece on both L and R sides), & then
make it look nice and smoothly blended-in, it works just fine.
That is a fairly good
fix, too, for when someone uses a stock stand & then puts a one-step-larger tire
because then, without that fix, or whatever, the front tire will also be on the tarmac, not just
when on the center-stand.
ABUSE: (1) using as a ride-off; (2) putting bike on center-stand when seated on the bike.
MANY center-stand problems are from wear in the bolt/bushing/stops areas....and can be repaired with new parts or a bit of welding and grinding, etc. However, the early eighties center-stands are notorious for being difficult to use. A nice fix for a worn pivot area is to drill the hole out & install a custom-made (or; commercially made....seen these available in Stainless Steel...) shoulder spacer. I've made my own on my lathe. Make these things of some sort of steel.
If your center-stand has problems with wear, at the lugs, at the mating parts, etc., often these can be repaired by welding or making bushings, or both, all sorts of various things are easily possible.
Wear includes the stops for the center-stand. The springs also wear, get weak, can break, and I HIGHLY recommend new side-stand & center-stand springs.
BMW did NOT mount the center-stands in the same way for all models & years. Some have a shoulder bolt, threading into a welded-on frame lug; some use a tapered allen headed bolt & a Nylon insert type of nut; with a shoulder top hat type spacer, etc. Before doing taking any of my suggestions, be sure what type you are dealing with.
There are numerous ways to repair badly worn center-stand lug threads. One can make an insert on a lathe, for instance. I believe you can now purchase SS inserts, can't remember who is selling them. I can not recommend the weld, drill, and tap method, but it has worked for some.
Here is one way to go about it that works well:
Get a 10 mm x 1.5 mm Helicoil repair kit. It will require a 13/32" drill to be used to drill out (do it very squarely, if you have a drill bushing guide, that is best) the threads, and then using the Helicoil tap, to tap the threads for the Helicoil. You will have to shorten the Helicoil to about 6 turns, snipping off the rest, do not bend the Helicoil. Clean-up the cut area so is smooth.
Install the Helicoil, then reach into the recess; remove the insertion tang with a needle-nosed pliers. Be SURE that the Helicoil does not stick out of the lug from either side! Install new stock bushings & bolts. BMW probably will have already put red Loctite on the bolts, if not, YOU do that. The Helicoil threads you installed MUST be clean & dry before installing the centerstand & Loctited bolts. Use a moly grease on the bushings & holes in the stand during assembly. 22 ftlbs, & check these at your normal nuts & bolts inspection time.
There is a LOT to know about the center-stand & side-stand changes over the years.
It can be complicated.
You may refer to on-line fiche for your particular bike, but that
fiche might be wrong, or very misleading.
I have thought about doing photos of the
various types of hardware, springs, etc....used on these, &
decided to hold off for
awhile on doing it.
Why the confusion? Bikes had different depths (height) of oil pans. Crossover's on the center-stands varied in position because of the pans. Other reasons too. BMW probably still sells the stand # 46-52-1-234-757. This stand will retrofit to 1980 & earlier. Does not fit R65. If you are thinking of purchasing a used stand, be SURE it will really fit. For instance, stands for 1977-1980 all fit each other (not R65). BMW's replacement fits all the way back to 1970. A /5 or /6 stock original type of stand will NOT FIT a 1977-1980 bike. The stand crossbar will interfere with the pan, no matter what the fiche or 'books' seem to say.
1970-1980 original type center-stands, had a welded-in plug on the right leg. The -757 replacement stand comes with a CAP, that cap is part number 46-52-1-236-522. Yes, you can use it for others.
One thing that may confuse you is that there were several lengths of springs used
(vastly different, so see the fiche) and that BUSHES were available in stock & oversize.
The stock bushes used from the /7 were used with a 10 x 1.5 flat head bolt; this was up to
September of 1980.
The bush is 46-52-1-236-528.
The oversize bush is 13.5 mm and
is 46-52-2-301-704. Some books erroneously change a digit in that
number.....what is in red.....
to -1-. The bolt used is M12 x 30.
There is an article on this website dealing with ONLY the Reynolds' products. This includes the Ride-Off center stands; luggage racks, rear racks, etc. http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/reynolds.htm
04/01/2008: Add photo of the Farley as installed, with notes on the forward clamp, etc.
04/19/2009: rename, and add the Surefoot stand
07/23/2009: Add photo of George Turski's Brown installation
07/26/2009: Add 5 photos of my 84RT, add captions, etc.
04/21/2010: Add another view of the Surefoot (the tall photo), as it is not mounted normally.
03/29/2011: Add information on sidestands and centerstands and repairs to threads, bushings, etc.
02/14/2012: Add note on possible problems with later Surefoot stands.
05/17/2012: clarify center-stand bush and bolts numbers and usage.
06/22/2012: Add Preface section (edited from something I put this date on the Airheads LIST. Clean up article a bit in so much as presentation is concerned, add note.
08/08/2012: Add Flying Tpot items
08/31/2012: Update article so it has its sections of various models and items differentiated. Add more information on Tpot, and minor on other stands. Add LANGUAGE button and change google code.
01/31/2013: Add more information on eliminating exhaust pipe clamp on the Brown.
04/07/2013: Clarify some details
09/04/2013: Update information on FlyingTpot
11/04/2013: Add information on adjusting the retraction feature, add hyperlink to article on raising a downed bike, minor other changes.
11/17/2013: Expand information on stock CENTER-stands. Add hidden code for spacing under head, html.
12/19/2013: Add note and link to my new Reynolds article.
06/19/2015: Re-arrange for clarity and slightly smaller monitor screens.
12/17/2015: Add Migsel link; clean up article some. Fix meta-codes.
02/20/2016: Update metacodes. Increase fonts size, shorten and left justify horizontal lines, minor fixes to photos layouts, and commentary.
03/07/2016: Updated notes on the Surefoot.
03/13/2016: Add link at top to 79B, and description.
04/27/2016: Update layout, metacodes, minor commentary changes.
06/05/2016: Add photos, description, Snowbum's experimental sidestand pedal/extender; slight article position changes.
06/20/2016: Update the entire article, including scripts, layout, H.L., clarity improvements especially notable.
© Copyright, 2013, R. Fleischer
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Last check/edit: Monday, June 20, 2016