Review – BV KA36 Adjustable Bicycle Kickstand for Bikes 24″-28″

 

This is a review of the BV KA36 Adjustable Bicycle Kickstand for Bikes 24″-28″ after about two years of use and while being mounted on a moderately used road bike.  On with the review…

Like most nicer model bikes nowadays my road bike did not come with a kickstand.

The bike is not carbon (except for the fork) so there was no reason not to put a kickstand on – well, no reason except that there are those bike-weight weenies who might make fun of a bike actually having a kickstand – and for those people I’ll just utter a slight virtual grumble a la BikeSnobNYC and get on with my review.   (I want to make note here – you can certainly put a kickstand on a carbon bike if you want to without damaging it, check out the UpStand and other things like it).

Not long after I got the bike I found myself getting very sick of propping my nice new bike up against nearby buildings, fences, posts, or other things, or just holding onto it.  Though it was Fall I didn’t get that much of a chance to actually ride the bike before one of our terrible Jefferson County Winters set in, but the times that I did certainly convinced me I couldn’t live without a kickstand.  So I selected the BV KA36 adjustable kickstand on Amazon for my Xmas list, and Santa (i.e. my wife) put it under the tree for me.

It was a nice kickstand, with some good reviews.  It was quite light-weight, sold by a company called BV (it says “Massload” on the side of the kickstand – the manufacturer?) with a rubber shoe at the end and a locking system to extend or retract the kickstand depending on the bike size.  In the default size it was the perfect length but I did play around with the little red button on the side, the shaft extended and retracted just fine and then locked into place perfectly when the button was released.  The locking of the end onto the rest of the shaft at the desired length is via a U-shaped pin that, when retracted as the button is released, locks the shaft in place by sliding into slots in the side of the shaft.  The clamp onto the bike itself is pretty standard, clamping on behind the bottom bracket where it would be technically called a chainstay bridge – in other words the place where kickstands traditionally always go.

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Close-up of locking part and foot

The part of the kickstand shaft that is not covered by the rubber foot and locking mechanism is shiny chrome-like aluminum alloy, that slides down into the rubber part.  There is a black version also.  About past the halfway length of the shaft is the black plastic part that covers the locking mechanism with a red button on the side in a small raised cover (so you don’t press it by accident) and at the bottom is the flared somewhat soft rubber foot.  The top clamping bracket itself isn’t as shiny any more and over time has discolored a bit, I’m not sure but I believe that this part is not aluminum alloy nor is the bolt, of course.  You can’t necessarily see the discoloration well and that location certainly gets some of the worse of any road crap that is thrown up from the rear wheel.  Not a big deal visual-wise.  For those with thicker chainstay tubes you may need to get a longer bolt for the clamp, but the one that came with mine worked just fine.

The springiness of deploying the kickstand still is fine after using it for a few years, snapping down and up securely as needed.  And most importantly staying up while riding over anything, including through some bad construction areas.  I have kept it well-lubed along with the rest of the bike so there doesn’t seem to be any appreciable wear in the up/down action.  The rubber foot is just wide enough to give the bike stability on most any surface without being too large; no matter what I have propped the bike up on it has stayed in place – unless I knocked it over by accident myself.

Putting the kickstand on was a snap.  I used some foam padded tape as a cushion between the clamp and the bike under the top clamp as well as above the clamping part of the kickstand base itself, thinking this would protect the finish.

You can adjust the angle of it somewhat by how you situate the kickstand under the chainstay bridge, rotating it forward or back around the bolt, for the angle you need.  The kickstand itself is pretty beefy, not hollow aluminum but solid.  I believe that the weight is around just under 10 ounces or 280 grams or so.  As I mentioned about the extendable shaft part – it adjusts for a multitude of bicycle sized from 24 inches to over twenty-eight inches.

So as I said above I used some foam padded tape and I believe that was my stupid mistake – one I should have realized was the cause of never being able to get the kickstand tight on the bike.  It would work very very slightly loose after a time, maddeningly over and over.  This of course meant that occasionally I would have to re-adjust and tighten it, though fortunately it always worked its way outward instead of inward toward the spokes.  I believe that this had to do with the kickstand action – popping the shaft out with my foot to put it down moved it out.  I could never get it tight enough, also fearing that I would scratch the paint or strip the bolt if I put too much pressure on it to tighten it.  Or do worse damage to the bike.

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Bracket/clamp, frame padded with double layers of electrical tape

So it was good that it didn’t work its way into the spokes, but working its way outward meant that my heel would occasionally touch it.  The flaring pad at the end was the worse part, but the small round protector around the push button also protruded enough for my foot to occasionally touch when the kickstand had moved out too far.  Sometimes I’d stop and adjust it, sometimes I’d just give it a little push inward with my foot while I was riding (which was dangerous, as my foot could have slipped and went into the spokes!).

Otherwise it was a good kickstand.  I don’t believe it ever fell over except for a few times when I stupidly leaned against the bike while I was working on it.  I used it on large and small gravel, dirt and sand, and even on hills and on wet ground.  Yep, outside of the loosening problem it worked great.

This is, until this Summer (2015) as I was just beginning the biking section of a team triathlon at the Lyme Triathlon.  I had barely left the transition area when I heard something fall onto the road and clink and skitter away.  I glanced down and took stock of the bike, continuing to pedal, and noticed that the extendable section of the kickstand had popped off.  I continued on, not wanting to mess with my time and with the thought that the kickstand was broken anyway.  But the next day I took a quick look at the video from my Garmin Virb action camera (see my review of the Virb here) and pinpointed exactly where it had fallen off, and rode back out and found it.

The locking parts were long gone but the rubber shaft with the foot at the end was fine, seemingly not even having gotten run over by any cars.  I stuck it in my bike bag and rode back (after a bit more of a ride – why waste a good ride, huh?).

At home I found that it still fit snugly onto the aluminum shaft at it’s default length, which was the length I needed for my bike.  I mixed up a little Loctite Epoxy Quick Set (good stuff) and poured it down the inside of the rubber part, pushed the aluminum shaft on and let it sit to dry.  After a suitable drying period I took hold of the rubber end and gave it a good pull – it was tight and secure on there once again.  A couple of rides under my belt and all seemed well with that part of it, but the kickstand of course was still working loose.

At this point I should have given it a bit of thought and tried to re-attach the kickstand better.  Instead I decided to give the Greenfield SKS2-305B ‘Stabilizer’ Stay-Mount Bicycle Kickstand (which I review here) a shot, as my wife really liked the one she got for her bike.

The Greenfield kickstand attached well but after a partial spin of my feet on the pedals I saw that my heel would squarely hit it at every stroke, there was no way to adjust this kickstand’s position so it was definitely out, and returned to the company.

So it was back to my original kickstand, at least for the time being.  So I got to thinking – since I had the old kickstand off anyway; maybe I should peel off that foam padding I put on years ago and, well, maybe that’s what was keeping it from tightening onto the bike.  Hmmm, that was kind of a ‘duh’ moment.  I put a couple of layers of thick 3M electrical tape (get the real stuff) under the upper clamp where it would be touching the bicycle as well as on top of the clamp-section of lower kickstand section to protect the finish.  This seemed to be more secure right away I could tell, just holding the clamp and kickstand on.  This time there wasn’t any relatively thick foam surface to cushion the clamp too much and subsequently give it a chance to move around when I tightened it.

I also re-situated the kickstand on the chainstay bridge a bit so that the kickstand was more fully under the chainstay bar, yet still far from the spokes and tire of course.

After a little thought I also carefully shaved off the protective plastic ring around where the (now errant) red lock button originally was, and then just as carefully hand-sanded the edges of where I had cut it off with a utility knife.  The thought here was that this piece protruded a bit also and I didn’t need it any longer anyhow.  This whole shaving of the plastic ring part probably was not necessary though; I think my foot would have easily cleared the whole thing without having to do this.

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Up position – kickstand modified.

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Down position – kickstand modified.

After testing and putting some regular miles on the bike the kickstand seems to be completely secure now, hasn’t worked its way loose once, and my foot doesn’t graze it.  I’m pretty happy with it at this point.

But can I recommend this kickstand?

While I am very satisfied with it now, and the problem with the movement of the clamp seemed to be my fault – the issue I had with the rubber end and locking mechanism coming off precludes me from giving it a full recommendation.  Yet perhaps having to occasionally tap it back into place with my foot while riding had damaged the locking button so that the whole thing eventually popped out.

So I’m on the fence a bit.  I think I would buy another if I needed one, but keeping everything in mind.  If you want a suggestion for another kickstand check out the Greenfield SKS2-305B ‘Stabilizer’ Stay-Mount Bicycle Kickstand (which I review here); though be aware of how it is going to mount on your bike.

The BV KA36 Adjustable Bicycle Kickstand for Bikes 24″-28″ seemed to be built extremely well otherwise.  In a sea of kickstands this is probably going to be as good as the next one, perhaps better in some aspects but you should also be aware of the possibility that the locking mechanism could be a slightly weak point – but easily fixable.  The BV KA36 sells for around $10.