Gearhead News

June 2, 2021
Here's the Simple Hack for Turning Your Motorcycle in Tight Spaces

Not everyone has a Garage Mahal — you know, a 30,000-square-foot space of pristine, perfectly finished workspace that makes getting cars and motorcycles in and out easy-peasy lemon squeezy. Most of us plebes have two or fewer parking spots, making any sort of shuffling a massive pain in the rear. A car is a separate beast, but there is a positioning hack for motorcyclists. 

Riders have all done the forward, backward, forward, backward, 19-point turn tango required to flip a motorcycle from facing the rear of a garage to the garage door. Because of a motorcycle’s limited turning radius, it takes for-ev-er. It doesn’t have to, and you don’t even need any specialist tools. All you need is one foot and both of your manos.  

A man rotating a red Honda dirtbike on its kickstand inside a garage.

Alli Klein
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(Disclosure: When Guides & Gear wanted to do a big series on motorcycle parts, riding methods, payload carrying, and a few other stories for two-wheeled lovers, Honda came through and sent us a 2021 Honda Ridgeline and CRF450RX to play with. Look for more stories soon.)

There’s no real name for the technique, but I call it the lift and twist because, well, you lift the bike up and twist it around until you’ve achieved the switcheroo. And today, the Guides & Gear editors are going to show you exactly how to do it so you can save hours of pretending you’re Austin Powers. Let’s get on with it.

The Basics of Turning a Motorcycle Using its Kickstand

Estimated Time Needed: 30 seconds

Skill Level: Beginner

Vehicle System: Balancing

Motorcycle Safety

Working with your motorcycle can be dangerous. Things can go very wrong, and when working with a heavy motorcycle, there’s the real risk of a 300-pound bike falling on top of you. Be wary, and if you feel the motorcycle falling, let it go. It’s not worth you breaking your foot or leg to save your bike’s bodywork.

Everything You’ll Need To Turn a Motorcycle Using its Kickstand

We’re not psychic nor are we snooping through your toolbox or garage. Thankfully, aside from a good pair of shoes or motorcycle boots, you won’t need any tools. Just yourself. (You definitely don’t need a blowtorch for this job—Ed.)

You’ll also need a flat workspace, such as a garage floor, driveway, or street. You won’t be violating any ordinances, so the 5-0 shouldn’t give you grief. 

Here’s How To Turn a Motorcycle Using its Kickstand

This is probably going to be the easiest How-To that Guides & Gear ever publishes. We’re going to do this as if you’re spinning it to the right. To spin left, just switch your hands and feet. Are you ready?

The author's foot on the Honda CRF450RX.

Alli Klein
Foot on the peg!

Place Your Foot

Place your left foot on the motorcycle’s side stand with the back middle of your foot straddling the end of the peg. 

The author's hands on the handlebar and rear fender of the CRF450RX.

Alli Klein
Hands on!

Grab the Handlebar and Rear Fender

With your right hand, grab the handlebar furthest from you. With your left hand, grab the tail section or rear fender of the motorcycle. 

The author lifting and twisting the CRF450RX.

Alli Klein
Lift and twist!

Lift and Twist

Tilt the motorcycle just off the ground using the kickstand as a fulcrum and turn the entire motorcycle in the direction of travel. Repeat as necessary.

That’s it. It’s that easy. You’re done.


Here’s me actually turning a bike.

FAQs About Turning a Motorcycle Using its Kickstand

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: So the bike’s not going to tip and fall over?

A: If you pull it too far forward, it can, but if you balance the bike on the kickstand correctly, you’re golden.

Q: Can’t I just buy front and rear motorcycle stands?

A: You can, but they’re expensive. This only costs you 30 seconds of your time. 

Q: Will the motorcycle start with the kickstand down?

A: It probably will, but it will die if you try to put it into gear and head off. 

Q: Will this method work with a center stand?

A: You won’t need to use your foot to balance the bike if your motorcycle has a center stand.

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