Join Date: May 2003
Location: Huntington, WV, USA
I know there have been countless posts about using the center-stand, but I'll throw in my testimonial on the importance of proper technique. Like many, I had a lot of trouble getting the bike on the stand at first, and it could get spooky when it would almost make it and then come back down with me standing there in an awkward position.
The first major breakthrough for me was when I learned to put a little weight on the stand lever and then push the bike upright so that its weight was on both legs of the stand. With smaller bikes, I don't have to consciously do this, it's just naturally incorporated into the process, but with the weight of these bigger bikes you might have to make this a separate step. This (for me) made an enormous difference. I still used a good bit of arm to "pull" it up, but it was no longer intimidating.
Then, after reading somebody's post on this site, I started practicing a slight rocking motion on the lever. I already have some weight on the lever from the step above so a little of the load has been removed from the suspension and the bike is sitting just a touch higher than it would be without me. By taking some weight off the lever, the bike lowers as the shocks compress slightly. I then stand on the lever as the shocks "rebound" and she comes right up, no pulling required if all is timed correctly. This is all done in one nice smooth motion and is over in maybe a second.
The key for me was timing the weight transfer and getting the balance just right. Now it's second nature. I can get the bike up easily and I've learned when to ease off as the bike reaches that "breakover" point so she settles onto the stand as gently as possible. Once in a while I get sloppy and need to pull on the grab-bar a little, but it's never a strain.
I always put her on the center-stand when I park in the garage, so I get a lot of practice. My father was impressed with how easy I make it look when I ride home for a visit. He wanted me to give him some pointers as he had a difficult time with his Gold Wing. I was wearing sneakers and had walked through some damp grass just before the demonstration (you know what's coming...).
Of course, the GW has a totally difference balance and lever geometry, so when I attempted the whole thing the way I would with the LT, my balance was wrong and my wet sneaker slipped off the lever.
She laid over nice and slow, like a sinking ship. Whoops!