Thursday, May 2, 2013

A good use for the Vespa GTS side stand

I am painfully aware of the pitiful reputation of the infamous GTS side stand.

My new-to-me GTS 300 (that I love, love, love, by the way) came with the OEM side stand.

I like the Vespa on the side stand from a purely esthetic point of view, but I DO NOT TRUST IT!!!

In fact, it betrayed the previous owner who wasn't aware of its treacherous ways; he left the bike on the side stand whilst opening his garage door.  His bike came off the stand in the minute or so it took him to lift the door.  Evidently his driveway was not yet paved, judging from the scratches on the left cowl that only gravel could cause.

With all those caveats out of the way, I have found a good use for the side stand.

I had installed a GTS-style bag hook on the leg shield of my LX 150. On the LX, with my overstuffed computer bag on the legshield hook, I could still mount the Vespa by squeezing my leg through what was left of the space between the saddle and the leg shield.

Not so with the GTS. The gap is tighter.

Getting on the bike is easy. I can most comfortably mount by putting my left foot on the floorboard and swinging my right leg over the saddle. I then rock the bike off the centre stand. Easy.

When I am not carrying anything bulky on the bag hook, I take the bike off the centre stand before mounting in the normal way, passing my right leg through the space between the leg shield and the saddle. When I take the bike off the centre stand in this way, I always apply the rear brake to ensure that the bike comes off the stand and stays firmly put.

Dismounting is another story. That's where the side stand is not only useful, I think I'd be facing quite a struggle without it.

I extend the side stand, make sure that the stand is fully extended, that the bike is resting firmly against it, and then I can easily dismount by swinging my right leg off the bike. The lean of the Vespa on the side stand is just enough to allow me to dismount comfortably that way without my boot scuffing the seat or the backrest on the top case.

Once off the bike, I waste little time getting it up on the centre stand.

6 comments:

  1. I have been using the side stand for the better part of my scooter life so I do not have to think about it. I love it but when in doubt of a firm ground I still rather put my trust in the center stand.

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    Replies
    1. Sonja, it's not just soft ground. I carry a flattened beer can to prevent sinking in soft ground. The issue with the Vespa is not enough weight, the geometry of the stand is not good, and it self retracts. If any lightens the weight on the stand it snaps up and the bike topples.

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  2. David:

    Actually, your side stand is more secure than the centre stand. It forms a larger triangle on the ground.

    Look at the contact patch that your centre stand uses. The width of your centre stand where it touches the ground, with the front wheel as the 3rd point.

    Now look at the triangle using your side stand. The two wheels, plus where the side stand touches.

    When you travel on BC Ferries you are specifically told not to use your centre stand for the voyage.

    The only problem you have with the scooter is that you cannot put it in gear, or lock a parking brake, so it can roll off your side stand if the engine is running, as with a centrifugal clutch you cannot disengage the engine from the CVT. On a motorcycle, or other manual machine, you can put it into neutral, or with the engine off, you can put it "into gear".

    If you used that handbrake lock, that would lock the front wheel and stop it from rolling off the side stand. It would be more secure, in this case to use the side stand, level ground or not.

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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    Replies
    1. David, I don't have a centre stand just the side stand and have had no problems so far (with the bike in gear.) I also use a 'magnetic' kickstand pad (helps keep the sidestand from sinking into hot pavement or mushy campground earth.)

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    2. Bob, Karen, putting the grip lock on will certainly prevent the bike from rolling off the stand, but doesn't address the stupid design. It's bad enough that Piaggio stopped selling Vespas with side stands as standard equipment.

      The answer is simple: address the geometry and add an ignition interlock, and remove the self retraction ability.

      When carrying gear in the footwell, the side stand is about the only way to dismount safely.

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  3. My vino didn't have a side stand, only centre, I got pretty good at kicking down and rocking off of it. My bike has both side and centre stand, and I only use the side stand, unfortunately the weight of Scarlet 480 pounds wet makes it too hard and unmanageable for me to safely get it onto the centre stand. Now if my hubby knew this and wanted to get house work done on my days off he would put it up on the centre stand and then I would be stranded - but we won't tell him that will we?! ;)

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