Although bike stands can be expensive they are invaluable for when you want to carry out maintenance on your bike at home.
There are many jobs you simply cannot do when the bike is on the side stand and you cannot expect someone to stand there and hold the bike perfectly still whilst you work.
A good rear and front paddock bike stand will allow you to raise the bike up and secure it whilst you work on key areas such as the brakes, wheels and suspension.
Motorcycle ramps are essential if you need to transport your bike anywhere by van or trailer.
Motorbikes can be heavy and lifting them up into the back of a vehicle is not easy and could cause damage to the fairings, plastics, wheels and levers.
It is much easier to invest in a proper bike ramp so you can simply wheel the bike up into the back of the waiting trailer or van.
If you take your bike to track days or competitive events then you can get folding motorcycle ramps that store away easily for transport.
This will depend on your budget and also the weight of the bike you want to transport.
A standard factory sports bike can weight around 200kgs so you will need to choose an appropriate ramp that can hold the weight of the bike and also the person that is wheeling it up into the van or trailer.
You don't want bike ramps to collapse whilst you are using them as this could cause a lot of problems.
Basically spend as much money as you can afford and get a good quality ramp from a reliable manufacturer.
Folding motorcycle loading ramps are very useful as they store away compactly so that you can transport them with you on trips and pack them out of the way easily when not in use.
You do need to choose a quality product though as cheaper folding ramps can buckle under pressure and will not last very long.
Good quality folding motorcycle loading ramps will use very strong but lightweight materials and these will be much easier to manage and will mean less weight to carry around.
You do need to be careful when choosing a bike stand as not all products will suit all models of bike.
You need to check the manufacturer's guidelines thoroughly before you buy and make sure the stand will be compatible with your bike.
For example, a dirt bike stand will be very different from a paddock stand for a performance sports bike and you need to choose the right option so that your bike can be secured safely whilst you are working on it.
If you do intend to do a lot of work on your bike yourself then you will need both a rear and front stand and also a hydraulic bike lift if you can afford one.
This will enable you to put the bike where you need it to work on various aspects such as the exhaust system, engine, wheels, brakes and suspension.
This will depend on the type of bike you have but in some cases you should be able to adjust the chain just using the side stand.
However if you want to carry out more extensive work on the chain you will need a good rear and front bike stand to secure the bike in place.
This is much safer and easier and will help lift the bike up so that you don't have to work in cramped conditions on the floor.
When you are adjusting the chain make sure you check the owner's manual for the correct specifications.
In general though, when the chain tension is correctly adjusted you should have at least 1 inch worth of give at the loosest point.
Any more than this and the chain will be too loose and could jump off the sprockets.
If the chain is too tight this could inhibit performance and will cause the drive components (particularly the sprockets) to wear much more quickly.
When you read the instructions for rear paddock stands you will quickly realise that getting your bike properly in place is really a two-man job.
One person will need to hold onto the handlebars and steady the bike (with a hand on the brakes to prevent it rolling forward too far) whilst the other person lifts the rear bike stand into place. However you can do this on your own if you are very careful and one way to do this is to place a block of wood under the side stand to lift it slightly and make the bike sit more centrally.
Now steady the bike with your left hand and lift up the rear stand into place with your right.
Keep the side stand down so that when you take the bike out of the rear stand you can lean it straight over onto the side stand again without any messing around. This will not be as easy as with two people but it can be done if you are careful.
However if you have a big heavy bike you are really going to need another person to help you with this to ensure you avoid any accidents.
In competitive events the front paddock stand is used mainly for keeping the bike secure whilst it is not in use and also raising it up so that you can fit tyre warmers. Front paddock stands are typically made from heavy duty steel tubing with a zinc coating (to prevent corrosion).
The twin wheeled options offer additional security which is useful in busy areas such as pit zones where the bike could accidentally get knocked.
If you have a bike with a tubular frame or flat base then a lift jack will provide an easy way for you to raise the bike up for maintenance and repair jobs.
This is a good investment if you want to work on your bike yourself or you are thinking of restoring an old classic.
You must never turn the engine on and run the bike in gear whilst it is on a stand as if it slips and drives forward you could damage your bike and also seriously harm yourself. You can stick the bike in neutral and turn the wheels round manually whilst it is on a bike stand though which can help with a number of tasks.