Friday, September 25, 2009

Ode to the Flickstand



Back in my bike shop days, the fairly ancient times of the early '80s, spinning wrenches at Whippany Cycle - conveniently located in Whippany, New Jersey - many bikes still sported kickstands. Yup, kickstands - those goofy appendages that allegedly hold your bike upright at rest.

We'd have rows of bikes lined up outside, awaiting repairs, all happily leaning on their kickstands. Most new bikes were outfitted with one before they left the shop, just another way to add a bit of accessory dough to the sale. We sold a truckload of Greenfield stands back in the day.

For lower end bikes, kickstands - not a problem. At times however, people purchasing a higher end bike would request one as well. We'd internally cringe, while politely trying to talk the customer out of it. It adds weight, it just not done on a "nicer" bike - plus on some bikes, you couldn't even remove the rear wheel once it was fitted - since it took up space on the chainstays and blocked the rear wheel from being removed. Unbolting the kickstand, before removing the rear wheel, kills some of the "quick" in "release".

Even after the "kickstand talk", some people were not deterred. That's when we offered the "Flickstand" as a compromise. This little gizmo was made by Rhode Gear and clamped around the downtube. Once adjusted, it allowed a wire section to fold into the front tire - locking it and letting your bike rest against a wall, fence, or whatever - without rolling or having the front wheel flop around. It actually worked really well and we sold lots of 'em.

Still, I hated the way it blocked the downtube logo and thought the thing was a waste. Who cares though? If it made people happy and scored a few bucks for the shop - so what.

As far as I know, Rhode Gear is out of business, though Greenfield survives to this day - still manufacturing kickstands, right here in the good ol' USA. There's something to celebrate about that fact.

In this modern era of bicycle retailing, how many bikes go out the door with kickstands? I'm guessing not many, since most road bikes are race oriented. I can still see a use for them on cargo bikes and recreation rigs though.

With the increased interest in basic transportation bikes - maybe a Flickstand come back? If so, I'll gladly show you how to mount one up - just for old time sake.

4 comments:

  1. I'm bringing my '86 Schwinn Tempo in for an overhaul tomorrow. I'm keeping the Flickstand.

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  2. Awesome. We'll get that '86 Schwinn running smooth - Flickstand included...

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  3. Oh how I remember those talks trying to convince someone that you don't put a kickstand on a $2500 Trek Carbon Fiber road bike... I sold a lot of flickstands back then, it didn't hurt that the were a local company so I could throw in that they were a local business so that you were supporting a home grown company as well.

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  4. I liked my flickstand a lot! I wonder if I had one now if I would put, blocking part of my Surly logo. I wonder if I rooted around in my parent's shed if I could find my old Raleigh 10 speed and retrieve my flickstand... :^)

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