First impressions last….. That’s what they say, isn’t it? My first impression was the size of the package that arrived as I hadn’t anticipated quite such a large parcel.
Having opened the large package, I found both size and quality would be a constant theme in what laid inside. However, although size may not always be beneficial quality certainly is…
The MotoGP Front Head Stand is a paddock stand designed to complement a rear paddock stand, to allow service and repair of the front wheel/brakes/suspension assemblies – with no weight carried on your forks.
Unlike a ‘conventional’ front paddock stand – which lifts via the forks – a headstock stand like this lifts via the centre of the lower yoke, allowing both movement of the steering whilst lifted and greater access to service the front suspension.
Removing your forks needn’t be the game of trolley jacks, wood and luck it may have been in the past!
Photography: Jamie Morris
The MotoGP Headstock Paddock Stand arrived very well protected – every inch of the powder-coated tubular frame covered in delivery wrap. The slightly over-sized tubing used gave me early confidence that this equipment would be plenty sturdy enough to support my bikes for years to come.
Assembly of the stand was obvious enough – however, the thick powder-coating did make the bolts a little tricky to wind in for the first time, when fitting the height adjustment plates into the base. With some ‘two steps forwards – one step back’ threading they went in, but care must be taken.
The first use of the stand was to allow the removal of the forks from a Suzuki GSX-R1000 K2. Recently purchased at a bargain price, we had one job to do – fork seals that definitely no longer sealed!
With the GSX-R safely supported on a conventional rear paddock stand, we offered the MotoGP Front Head Stand into place – a hint here is to cover the top of your front mudguard with a protective cloth or sheet.
The gap between mudguard and lower yoke can be fairly tight, and in the midst of locating the lifting pin in the hole under the bottom of the yoke it would be easy to mark the mudguard.
The weight of the stand, a good sign of quality, didn’t make locating it any harder but did help with the actual lift of the bike. The stand rolls well on the colour-coded wheels and sits down nicely on stoppers fitted beneath the hand-hold.
These small details add to the confidence I felt in having the front of the bike dismantled and supported on nothing more than one pin. When you really think about it, this is what’s happening!
With the seal replacement done, removal of the stand was a tad more involved as the lifting pin had settled in to the yoke….. well, into the dirt inside the recess anyway.
This was nothing that a little jiggling didn’t resolve, but with the benefit of hindsight I would clean the recess under the lower yoke before lifting a bike again.
I found it easier to separate the two halves of the stand for removal, taking the lower section off via the quick-release R-clips made the top piece easier to jiggle out of the gap.
Depending on the style of bike you own, and how much clearance you have between yoke and mudguard, this may not be an issue, of course.
The MotoGP Front Head Stand has proven itself more than capable of keeping the GSX-R upright. The design works both cosmetically and practically.
With slightly tight bolt threads being the only real difficulty I experienced, this stand makes sense as a must-have if you want to get the front wheel up – albeit while stationary!
Ease of assembly
The stand became almost a victim of its own quality here. The powder-coating looks good and will protect your investment well. Unfortunately it had also found its way into the threads for the bolts that secure the height adjustment plates. On fitting the bolts for the first time, they took some persuasion to cut their way through the coated threads. Although this wasn’t difficult, it could cause some frustration and at the worst perhaps cause the heads of the bolts to become damaged during fitting. With awareness and care this is easily avoided, but the possibility is there, for sure.
Ease of use
With some practice I’m sure this type of stand would become as comfortable to use as I find the conventional paddock stands. The uses I have made of the stand so far have been slower and required more focus than I am used to, but this is always the case. Although the large diameter tube is strong, it can be very slightly restricting during fitting/removal, but not to a significant extent.
Once lifted, the only unexpected movement was of the lifting pin slowly seating fully in the yoke. This was approximately 5mm of movement and had I cleaned the yoke first, the pin would have been in fully from the start. This is more of an experience point than the fault of the product. The rear stand stayed put while I used the front – with no suggestion at any point that the bike could be dropped. It should go without saying of course, that the floor must be level and solid for all lifting.
The height adjusters, quick-release pins and five lifting pins (included) allow this stand to easily be adapted to numerous bikes. A small point of caution though: some bikes don’t lend themselves to being lifted by this type of stand. The BMW S1000RR of 2012 vintage is one example. BMW have chosen to route brake pipes across the lower yoke, which prevents the lifting pin from being fitted.
Confidence-inspiring weight, robust design with supports in all the logical places, welding far better than I can hope to achieve and an impressive finish too, although as I’ve mentioned, the powder-coating can make threading some bolts tricky. The wheels and stoppers also reflect the build quality and will offer protection to both the stand and the surface it is being used on.