1951 Bianchi Stelvio - Fabricating a center stand

Published on 25 August 2023 at 14:24
center stand for 1951 bianchi stelvio motorcycle
1951 bianchi stelvio 250 on center stand
close up of 1951 bianchi stelvio 250 center stand

the stand in the last 2 photos is version 2, much stronger than version 1, no twisting at all now. The bottom part of the stand used to be 3mm, it is now 9mm. 

I always knew it going to be a challenge, making something is great when you have technical drawings or something to copy but making something from a series of photographs where the object is not the focus is tricky. Things are further complicated when the part you are trying to recreate is 70 years old and you find different types in different photographs. This can be because of manufacturing changes or people replacing unobtainable parts with something else. I have a copy of the original service manual but not one image in there shows the original stand clearly. I found a number of photos of restored bikes on line and from a mix of angles from different bikes I managed to determine the overall shape and style, dimensioning was easy as there were enough reference points that I could take from the bike. 

The next challenge was deciding how to make it - I don't have the tooling to make the pressed sections that form the two legs of the stand that the original had. The choice of material was a simple one - steel, because it's easily welded, easily worked and strong, I'm certain that's what the original would have been made of. It's not light but then it's not a racing machine so it's all good. I decided that I wanted to make it look like it was pressed so I made embellishment pieces that gave the legs depth and form, just like the elegant looking original.


It was very hard to find any image that gave me the exact shape so I did my best and I think what I have come up with is pretty close. I think an expert on the marque may notice but unless a genuine one comes along, this one will have to do.

it's quite important to get the geometry right so that the bike is stable and so that the return spring holds the stand firmly in both the down and retracted positions, I'm glad to say mine worked out perfectly.

So, it's made up entirely from off cuts of 3mm steel sheet and some thick wall tubing I had lying about, I am rather pleased with the results, although it took a lot longer to make than I expected, I did get a lot of interruptions, I reckon total time was a good 8 hours. The next job is the rear brake shaft and levers, I expect some challenges with that but it's much easier and I have better photos of what I am trying to recreate. 

It's now the day after and I have fitted the stand and tried it. It looks great, just like the real thing and it is just right in terms of how it works, except for one thing. The first time I put the bike up on it, it bent. I clearly did not make the bit where the foot lever is strong enough and it twisted slightly. It still works but just does not look right now so it will have to come back off, have the paint stripped off it and be strengthened up so it doesn't do it again. Valuable lesson learnt here - don't paint anything until it's operation has been tested. Oh well, you can't win em all.


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