Afterthoughts – The Centre Stand Incident

The problem with afterthoughts is they are – by definition – Late!

Most of the times this means you can just go back, fix whatever it is you just remembered and keep doing whatever it is your were doing. The problem is: more often than not, you just end up with a half assed solution to a problem you didn’t realize you had in the first place!

Why this dissertation you ask? Well predictably enough it’s about an afterthought that Ducati had when (or should I say after) building the Multistrada:
– Fitting it with a centre stand!

Simple enough you would say! The Japanese and the Germans have been doing it for years, hell even the Chinese and the Koreans get it right! Just strap a two legged piece of metal to the lower part of the frame with some kind of pivoting mechanism and a spring to help it retract and it’s done!
Well, apparently not. A centre stand has to accomplish very little:
– Be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the bike plus luggage (and just to be safe, the passengers)
– Have enough leverage so you can actually lift the bike onto it
– Be stable enough for the bike to be stood on it on level ground (and possibly a ferryboat/train/truck).
– Be invisible, unobtrusive and totally forgettable when not in use.

The guys at Ducati got the first few requisites cleared out of their design sheets quite easily. But, being South Europeans (like myself) it was possibly a Friday, the sun was probably shining outside and so they closed the project, went for a few beers and forgot the last (and crucial) point.

The centre stand on the Ducati Multistrada 1200 has a (very) long leg that you step on to leverage the bike onto the stand, it even has a retractable handle (useless because the pillion handles are actually better placed for the task).
The problem is…this “leg” is so long that it stops you from riding on the balls of your feet! Unless you have the feet of a Japanese Geisha whenever you want to position yourself for more sporty riding you end up lowering the centre stand mid ride!
How this got past the road testing period of the prototypes I do not know. Unless…it was an afterthought! Something they just remembered to add soon before the bike was put into prodcution.

This would explain why you need to remove the centre stand to be able to remove the sump guard to change the oil! (Yes, just when you thought having a centre stand would be useful for maintenance duties…forget it, you either get a set of paddock stands or, like me, use the side stand).
It would also explain why – unlike any other bike I know – the chain slack adjustment is done on the side stand with the suspension compressed by the weight of the bike. “Kudos” to Ducati on this particular detail, it’s the easiest chain to adjust I’ve ever seen and the tool kit even includes a tool to measure chain slack.

But back to the afterthought thing. If you do remember something afterwards, think: Is it worth going back and fixing it? If so, make sure you do it right!

I’ve just removed the centre stand on my bike and I’m only getting it back on when I go on a big trip, the only use I have for it is when parking the bike on ferry crossings and oiling the chain on the side of the road. So next time Ducati, either do it right or don’t do it at all. I’ve had several bikes without a centre stand – it’s not a big deal and especially it’s not worth ruining the ergonomics of the bike and charging 200€ for!

Common mod made by riders to the OEM centre stand to make it less obtrusive (photo from MotorcycleInfo.co.uk)

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