As a long-time cyclist, I cannot think back to a time I was not using kickstands on my bikes, and in this article, I will be offering my thoughts on the ESGE Double Kickstand, a Swiss-made heavy-duty twin kickstand that is great for touring bicycles loaded with racks and panniers and has been providing me stable support on my rides for about 4 years now.
Like any decent product review, this one begins with a quick backstory: Sometime in 2015, after having my bikepacking rig topple on its side several times, I came to the eventual conclusion that one-legged kickstands were not designed to handle the greater weight and higher center of gravity of a fully loaded touring bike.
After some long nights scouring the vast wasteland that is bicycle ecommerce websites, I came across the ESGE Double Kickstand, a two-legged Swiss offering that promised to solve all my kickstand needs by keeping the bike upright and balanced when deployed. The ESGE is made of aluminum and fits just behind the bottom bracket like any regular kickstand. The two legs rotate together as they move from the deployed position to the stowed position, and nest neatly right under the left chain stay of the bike in the same location as a standard kickstand.
I like this kickstand for a number of reasons:
First, I can park my bike when loaded with racks and panniers without it falling even when semi trailer trucks go by. The stability of the ESGE allows my bike to act as a kitchen cabinet/wardrobe of sorts, holding my gear and camping provisions thereby saving me much needed limb room in my Big Agnes tent. I always position the bike next to my tent and leave it propped with bags filled with weeks’ supplies of comic books and SpaghettiOs.
Without a kickstand, I would have been forced to leave my bike lying down and smuggle all my provisions into the tent with me but with the bike standing there, i have an outdoor storage unit at my camping site.
Even with this kickstand, you should always consider wind direction and ground surface slope when choosing where to park your bike. If parking in very strong winds, orient the bike into the wind instead of at a right angle, this way your bike is much less likely to be tipped over. This downwind positioning also prevents bears and other critters from sniffing out that slightly squished blueberry pie jammed in your panniers.
Second, the ESGE kickstand works great with single wheeled trailers such as Bob Trailers, Tandems(whether or not they are pulling trailers) and front-loaded bikes allowing smooth parking of your bike and trailer as well as simplifying the process of mounting or dismounting your trailer from your bicycle. In addition, the ESGE keeps two wheeled bike cargo and bike child trailers level and makes parking and loading or unloading much smoother.
Lastly, the ESGE doubles as an “on the go” repair stand. When deployed, the rear wheel of a bike remains on the ground while the front tire is raised almost three inches off the ground. You can pivot the bike forward, and hand pedal the rear wheel for minor fixes or chain cleaning without having to flip it over. This is especially useful for checking the drive train and making tire/tube changes on the trail when faced with the occasional mechanical mishap.
Now on to the challenges of using the ESGE Double Kickstand:
No product is perfect, and the ESGE has proven to have its fair share of shortcomings. Not only is it quite weighty, almost twice the weight of a single-legged kickstand, but I have also encountered various mounting issues over the years. Early on, it proved troublesome to get the ESGE properly fitted since it uses a single 10mm bolt to do up. When tightening down that bolt: you don’t need to cinch it down all that hard. The mounting clamps pinch the bike frame between them, and only need to be tight enough to keep the bike from wobbling in the clamp jaws. Torquing the bolt down too hard could bend an aluminum bike frame, so you need to be careful.
Surly recommends this two-legged kickstand for their Long Haul Truckers but warns that over or under tightening the kickstand clamp can crush a bike’s chainstays. All the years of bolt tightening have led me to the conclusion that this kickstand was made with heavy duty frames in mind. Mounting this kickstand will therefore be a delicate matter for bikes with carbon frames and those that lack a solid steel mounting plate welded flat behind the Bottom bracket to allow for fitting of the kickstand. The challenge is getting it tight enough not to twist while not causing damage to the chainstays. A good option for bikes with delicate frames or those that lack a mounting plate is the beloved Click-Stand, a kickstand substitute that is basically a modified tent pole with a cradle on the end that supports your bike at an angle.
Other issues that you may face while using the ESGE is that it often sinks on soft surfaces. You may need to cut the legs down a little so that your rear wheel isn’t more than a few centimetres from the ground and use the optional shoe at the end of the stand so as to make it more stable. It is also worth pointing out that the recommended weight limit for this kickstand is 25kg. If you must exceed this limit, consider the Ursus Jumbo 80 that offers an 100kg Capacity and is also a two-legged kickstand. Over the years, you will also notice the ESGE loosening, dangling and sometimes even hitting jagged rocks and roots. Fret not, all bike kickstands that I have used have loosened up over time; a little dab of Loctite will manage that just fine.
Sad to say, but we live in the age of planned obsolescence and therefore, while you can pick up a cheap bike kickstand almost anywhere, it probably won’t stand the test of time especially if you plan on using it while touring by bike. My experience with the ESGE Double Kickstand has been largely positive: pee breaks no longer have to wait until I can find a good tree/fence to lean my bike on and the process of loading gear to my bike when setting out and breaking camp is much easier. While many alternatives exist, the ESGE is in my opinion a solid and reliable kickstand for touring.