One of the most common and universal methods of lifting a motorcycle is paddock stands, especially the rear, for that all-important chain maintenance.
They’re easy to use, quick to grab and relatively inexpensive to buy, but there are a few things you’ll want to consider when you set out to buy one – something we’ll be exploring over the coming segments.
Value, strength, ease of use
The Oxford Premium rear stand gives a huge amount of value for money. The build quality outpaces that of more expensive competitors; it’s easy to use and comes with pad and bobbin adapters.
As an overall package, it’s tough to beat, and for most users, this is going to be a wise investment giving many years of usage.
Value, clever design, strength
The MotoGP Front Stand gives an impressive level of build quality, design and finish.
Easy to use owing to its single-wheel design and comes assembled right out of the box. if you’re in the market for a front paddock stand, this is well worth considering.
Best Motorcycle Paddock Stands Reviewed
Oxford Premium (Rear)
Oxford’s premium rear paddock stand comes in at the mid-range pricing point. One thing which stands out is the rigidity – it uses thick heavy gauge tubing and doesn’t feel like it’ll give a lot of flex when you’re using it on heavier bikes.
The wheels are substantial and rounded, which should help them stand up to some abuse when using this a lot. It also comes with adapters to use as both a bobbin and a pad lift, providing greater flexibility than its rivals.
Given its slightly wider design, it might not fit on some narrower swingarms, which is something you’ll want to check before purchasing, but for most bikes, this shouldn’t be an issue.
This is an excellent choice for most bike owners, especially those with heavier machines.
- Great value for money
- Pad and bobbin compatibility
- Feels solid
- Quality wheels
- May not fit on narrower bikes (305-372mm range)
R&G Racing (Rear)
Heading into the upper end of the market is the R&G Racing rear paddock stand. Out of the box, the parts are all finished in a beautiful black powder coat and once assembled, it looks and feels like a well-made stand that’ll give you confidence in the lift.
However, for the premium price, there doesn’t appear to be a significantly higher level of build quality than that of lifts seen in the mid-range area of the market.
Further adding to this cost, it is a bobbin-only lift compatible with R&G bobbins and sliders, which you’ll also need to buy – no other adapters provided.
While it is a solid paddock stand, it’s hard to see what you get for the money compared to cheaper stands, other than a nice sleek design.
- Powder coated finish looks great and should last
- Solid wheels
- Nice design
- Bobbin only (R&G sliders – other bobbins may not work)
Oxford Big Black (Rear)
At the budget end of the lineup, the Oxford big black provides a simple and inexpensive no, thrills pad lift stand. It does lack some of the stability of more expensive stands and only comes with basic plastic wheels and without bobbin adapters.
It would be no bad choice for those on a budget, especially with smaller/ lighter bikes. However, if you intend on lifting your Harley Fatboy, this is probably best avoided in place of something more substantial to support the extra weight.
- Good price
- Fits dual swingarms 260-355mm
- Ideal for smaller bikes
- Not as sturdy, some points of flex, especially on heavier bikes
- No bobbin adapters
- Square profile plastic wheels are a point of weakness
R&G Racing Single Sided (Rear)
When it comes to paddock stands made specifically for single-sided swingarm bikes, the cost tends to rise due to the need to support the entire weight of the rear from a single piece of tubing and hold it steady – something which requires stronger materials and more careful engineering.
The R&G Racing paddock stand made for this configuration is up in the higher end of this pricing band. Further adding to this, no pins are included and must be purchased separately; something other stands of this kind have out of the box.
This pushes up costs, and while the lift appears well made with a nice powder-coated finish and substantial thick-walled tubing, it doesn’t seem to justify the additional expenditure compared with products at lower pricing points.
- Powder coated finish looks great and should last
- Feels well made
- Solid wheels
- No lifting pin is included in package
One of the things not seen in paddock stands very often, particularly at this price point, is a single tube construction without joints. This aids in rigidity and comes with the added bonus of having it assembled out of the box and ready to use.
The MotoGP front paddock stand is a great design and easy to use – the presence of a single wheel on each side (which appear to be well made enough to take the abuse) aids in reducing the drag when lifting the bike and makes its action in the lift very smooth.
Overall build quality and finish are fantastic, and for the money, you’d be hard-pushed to do better – this is an excellent choice for a mid-range front lift.
- Supplied assembled
- Excellent build quality and powder coat finish
- Solid wheels
- Could feel unstable on certain bikes depending on fork setup
Considerations before buying
What kind of lifting?
Deciding whether a paddock stand is the right kind of lifting method for you depends on three things:
- What you are aiming to lift the bike for
- What type of bike you have
- Do you want to do simple maintenance and cleaning or extensive overhauls
Paddock stands are a great go-to for general maintenance and cleaning purposes; what they don’t do is raise the bike any significant amount.
You won’t be able to work on suspension and steering components (except for the head lift in the case of fork removal) – this is where a proper motorcycle lift can have the edge.
Whether it’s a home setup or a professional bike workshop, the simplicity and ease of these stands mean no well-equipped garage would be without a good set of them.
Types of paddock stand
Front and rear paddock stands are available, and each can come in a few different configurations.
We will break down the benefits and drawbacks of each of these setups below.
Rear: Swingarm pad lift
Swingarm pad lifts use two rubberised pads to lift the swingarm from underneath, raising the rear wheel into the air. They’re a relatively universal fit for most kinds of motorcycle (some bikes have oddly thin or wide swingarms, so check the range of fitment).
They can be a bit fiddly and feel a little unstable, particularly on rounded profile swingarms. There’s also the risk of marking the swingarm as the pads will rest on the finish.
- Fairly universal fitment
- Tend to be cheapest by a small margin
- Can be fiddly to get into position
- Not as stable as hook in bobbins
- Rubber pads may mark your swingarm
Bobbin lifts hook into a set of “bobbins” you will have to install into your swingarm – whether these will be sold with the stand or sold separately depends on where you buy.
Bobbins may also be a specific size to that stand, so others may not fit.
This is a more secure system than the swingarm pad but costs a little more overall and requires a little more work.
Not all bikes will allow you to install bobbins in the swingarm, and you’ll need a set for every bike you intend to lift unless you wish to swap them round.
- Extremely stable
- Easy to use
- No chance of scratching or leaving marks
- Requires you to fit bobbins to all bikes you intend to use it on (could be pricey)
- More expensive than a pad lift when you factor in the bobbins
Rear: Single-sided swingarm
Relatively specialist but worth a mention; where a bike has a single-sided swingarm, one of the considerations you’ll need to make (other than accounting for the time spent looking and admiring it!) is a standard rear paddock stand won’t fit.
You’ll need to purchase one made specifically for single-sided swingarms; this has a long pin that you insert into the hub.
- Enable you to lift single-sided swingarm bikes
- Only work on bikes with a single-sided swingarm
- You may need a specific hub pin size for your bike
Front: Under Fork
Under fork paddock stands are true to their description, it uses a pronged rubberised cup to sit under the fork bottoms and allow you to lift the front wheel off the ground.
This is much like pad lift stands for the swingarm with a mostly universal fitment and tends to be the cheapest paddock stand used for lifting your front wheel.
However, because you’re lifting by the forks, you will be unable to remove them – it’s also worth bearing in mind you will need to be mindful of preventing the forks from bouncing as this could destabilise the bike and topple it off the stand.
- Mostly universal fitment
- Can be unstable
- May mark fork bottoms
- No method of fork removal with the stand-alone
Front: Head stand
Head stands lift from underneath the headstock; they use a pin to sit in the recess under the lower yoke and lift the front wheel off the ground. This pin must fit that recess correctly, so you should measure before purchasing.
These lifts are also pricier and slightly more challenging to use than an under-fork lift. But you have greater access around the front wheel, and you will be able to remove the forks for servicing.
As it is unaffected by suspension bounce, it’s also significantly more stable.
- Very Stable
- Good access to wheel
- Fork removal
- Pin may not fit multiple bikes
- Can be pricy compared to under fork
- Fiddly to use
Several unbranded paddock stands are available, providing cut-price but perfectly usable products. They may have more flex in the design reducing stability, and things like the wheels which allow the stand to pivot tend to be more prone to failure.
For occasional use, they are fine, but for peace of mind (and considering the price difference is often not that much), it’s usually better to buy from a brand.
That way, you’ll have some after-sales support even if you’re at the budget end of the market.
Budget to mid-range
In the budget to mid-range area of the market, you’ll see motorcycle accessory brands like Oxford, Black and MotoGP.
These companies provide a wide range of motorcycle accessories. Generally, they have a good name for delivering quality goods and good after-sales support in case of a failure or a question.
Brands like R&G and Renntec tend to run in the upper end of the market.
You’ll see better materials, well-thought-out design features, and excellent quality. You can buy cheaper stands which will do the job just as well, so whether you consider the extra expenditure worthwhile is down to your requirements.
If you do a lot of work on bikes, it’s worth considering a more high-end product.
How to use
We’ve explored the ins and outs of paddock stands during this piece, and hopefully, you now find yourself well equipped with the knowledge to shop with confidence.
It ultimately comes down to:
- Type of and Number of different bikes you’ll be lifting
- The reasons for you lifting (Maintenance, Cleaning, Storage etc.)
- Your Budget
- Your Frequency of use
Recommended Reading: Motorcycle Gear Hub