This is such a simple game changer I thought I’d write it up for any other ‘bird owners still struggling with bike lifts and the like.
The Thunderbird is a big girl – about 340kg in comparison with, say, a Bonneville of 230kg. There’s no centre stand, probably because you’d need power assist to get her up onto one! That makes simple maintenance tasks problematic. My previous bike used an Abba Stand (still for sale), but though I asked, they never built anything for the Thunderbird. I bought a hydraulic bike lift (now also for sale), but the minimal ground clearance under the Thunderbird meant having to ride her up onto blocks before slipping that beneath. Once up on the bike lift she wasn’t entirely stable either.
I saw this advertised on a local biker Facebook group, and immediately clicked buy. It arrived the day my brother in law and I took our bikes up to Scotland, so yesterday was the first chance I had to try it out. The bike was dirty from the 1420 mile round trip and having her upright to clean was an opportunity not to miss. There follows, therefore, a few grimy pictures, and one clean one!
The kit comes complete, direct from Germany. Unpacked there’s the stand, two mounting plates, some replacement (and slightly longer) bolts and the extending wheel wrench.
There’s also some instructions in German. And a socket that comes with the wheel wrench which is redundant.
Fitting the plates is a matter of removing the rear footpeg assembly (two bolts per side), and inserting each black mounting plate between the footpeg assembly and the main frame. On the left side, the side with the side stand, there seemed insufficient space for the plate to fit – the exhaust was in the way. A little judicious loosening was required before the plate could be inserted and tightened. The plate is therefore tight up against the exhaust on that side, but since there is apparently no movement between them I don’t expect this to be a problem. Probably.
The raising mechanism is a two-piece unit which slides to extend in order to take the lugs out and over the mounting brackets. You slide the mechanism together again and lock the two pieces with a securing screw. That’s unaccountably on the wrong face to my mind, but it’s not hard to get at.
I’m not alone in having panniers on my ‘bird, and it’s fair to say the wrench is only just clear of the bag. It’s simpler to lift from the side stand side, and even with the wrench extended it’s still a hard push down with the foot to get her up on the stand. There’s an initial moment of anxiety too, on the first couple of goes, because (let’s face it) it’s going to be a bugger if it goes wrong… but it doesn’t.
Once up she is perfectly stable. The front wheel sits on the ground, the back wheel is lifted. I’m sure a bit of weight on the rear would lift the front is needed. The wheels are not steerable, but would follow the front one if you needed to move the bike around – I don’t and block paving isn’t my favourite surface on which to try).
Dropping her down, again from the side stand side, is simple and she just drops down and over to the side stand. Loosen the securing screw and pull apart the two-piece mechanism and you’re done. This is a pro bono and independent review and I paid for my stand. It was £107.06 including shipping (€99 plus delivery, and exchange rates change).
the Abba Stand fits a 2010 675cc Triumph Street Triple, £50 plus £10 UK delivery
(other bikes can be lifted with minor part purchase)
the bike lift is also available, which lifts the Thunderbird, £50, collect S.Glos, UK.