Abba Stands - simply the best

The Principle

My GSX-R1000 happily lifted on the Abba Superbike stand., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

My GSX-R1000 happily lifted on the Abba Superbike stand.

My girlfriends GSX-R600 on the Abba Superbike stand. Stable as a rock., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

My girlfriends GSX-R600 on the Abba Superbike stand. Stable as a rock.

Abba Superbike stand used on a ZXR400 whilst working on the bike., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

The Abba stand in it's true ace position. Use it when working on your bike. The stand is so stable that you can safely work on the bike without any problems.

It's actually quite simple. You lift the whole bike in the pivot point of the rear suspension. Most bikes has got a big bolt/nut here, so this is obviously a strong enough and visible enough point to lift the bike up from. If one would be really picky the best point would be to lift the bike from the frame somewhere somehow - but given the diversity of bike designs, the swing arm pivot point is such a good compromise that it's hardly worth bickering about this. The pivot point brings on another very good bonus; since most bikes have it, there's very little modifications required to move the Abba Superbike stand between different bikes. Their idea is that you keep the stand, but when you change your bike, you get a different fitting kit. These fitting kits are about £14.50 each. To prove the point of this, I've used my Abba Superbike stand with my GSX-R1000 K1 and my girlfriend has used it with her ZXR400 and her GSX-R600. Sadly BMW has to be different and as such you require a completely different stand for the BMW K1200-series.

The Practice

Lifting your bike using the Abba stand is a true doddle. One person secure action. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
This is how it goes. You slide the stand's two legs apart. You put the one with the handle on, on the left side of the bike (gear lever side). You slide the stand under the bike, and position the "end" in the swing arm pivot point. You then walk over to the other side. Slide the other leg onto the bottom part, tighten the bottom screw up. Then position the other "end" onto the other side's swing arm pivot point. then you tighten the screw to put a bit of tension onto the whole thing.
At this point you've got a "massive" centre stand, that pivots on the swing arm pivot point.
At this point you go back to the left side, pull out the lever-handle, and simply lever the bike upwards and it'll simply pop up onto the Abba stand.
Stable as a rock!
If you want, at this point, you can stick a trolley jack under the exhausts and jack the front up, or as I've done used a bunch of bricks. If you want to go the purchase way, Abba manufactures a Front Lift.
Like I said, easy peasy!

But the BMW is different

Sadly, as usual the BMW K1200R and K1200S are different. You see, a normal bike has got the pivot point much higher than the BMWs new K-series. The K-series has got a shaft drive, and thus none of the original Abba stands fit.
Luckily the guys at Abba are manufacturing a special stand built for the K1200R and K1200S (and maybe the K1200GT..?). Sadly this stand is even more expensive than the "normal" stand; £119.95 for the BMW one versus a more humane £89.95 for the generic one.. Once again, BMW owners gets short straw (and the shorter stand).
But, let's look at how to lift the bike with the Abba BMW K1200 stand.

The BMW is special, as always. You get a very special fitting kit with the BMW K1200 series Abba Superbike stand., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

The BMW is special, as always. You get a very special fitting kit with the BMW K1200 series Abba Superbike stand. To the right is the "socket" that goes into the right hand side of the bike. To the left is the thingiemajig that screws onto the left hand side. Annoyingly the screw that you remove from the bike is a Torx head one, and the supplied one is an allen head one. This means you'll need two tools, to do a very simple task. Shame on you Abba!

To lift the BMW with the stand, you have to affix the pivot point cylinder to the pivot point of the BMW. You unscrew the centre torx head screw, then screw in the supplied allen key screw., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

To lift the BMW with the stand, you have to affix the pivot point cylinder to the pivot point of the BMW. You unscrew the centre torx head screw, then screw in the supplied allen key screw.

Here it is - the left hand side fitted. , Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Here it is - the left hand side fitted.

The right hand side is completely "standard". Just insert the thingiemebob into the pivot point and, that's it., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

The right hand side is completely "standard". Just insert the thingiemebob into the pivot point and, that's it.

There it is - the BMW K1200R lifted up on the dedicated Abba Superbike Stand., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

There it is - the BMW K1200R lifted up on the dedicated Abba Superbike Stand. Note that this is not the standard Abba stand with a BMW fitting kit. It's a completely different stand.

Is the BMW stand justified?

I'm not a guy who's got £120 lying around, especially when I've already paid for a perfectly good Abba stand. Naturally I had to find out for myself if the completely different stand was warranted. Said and done, I borrowed a BMW stand (Thanks PR!) and used my own standard stand and combined the bits. The fitting kit from the BMW stand onto my own standard height and width stand.
Just for the record, the BMW stand lower and wider.
The short version of this is that the BMW stand is not strictly needed. However, to make a professional product, it is needed.
Let me expand on that a bit; You can use the BMW fitting kit on the standard stand, and you will get the bike off the ground. Your bike will be higher (not necessary a bad thing), it'll be wobblier and tougher to lift. There's also a slight conflict about the left hand side foot peg - but that can be over come by simply folding the foot peg. This is the reason why I understand that Abba has created a completely different stand. The purpose built one is more stable, and it doesn't have any problems when lifting the bike. But £30 more expensive than the standard kit.... Makes me wonder..!

Standard Abba Superbike stand compared to the BMW Specific Abba Superbike stand., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Here's a standard Abba stand next to the BMW one - can you spot the £30 difference between them..? I can't! The BMW one is the lower one.

Abba stands - one BMW, one standard...., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Here you can see the difference in the fitting kit. Admittedly the BMW one is more complicated, but £30 more complicated..?!

Using a standard Abba Superbike stand to lift a BMW K1200R., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Here's the BMW fitting kit on a standard Abba Superbike stand. Sure, the stand is a bit too long, but it does seem to work... Note that the width of the stand is just sufficient. It's definitely not too narrow.

There you have it; The BMW K1200R is lifted using a standard Abba Superbike Stand using the BMW Stand's fitting kit., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

There you have it; The BMW K1200R is lifted using a standard Abba Superbike Stand using the BMW Stand's fitting kit. It does work, but not perfectly.

Where does this leave us..?

I'm a bit torn about all this. The standard Abba Superbike Stand is an absolutely wonderful product. If you have a bike I urge you to get one for your bike. Washing the bike, working on it, and so forth is a dream. The bike is so stable, and the stand is unobtrusive. It's simply great! And at £90 it's actually not too badly priced either considering that you can get a normal wobbly low-quality one for about £30.
Sadly I'm torn about the BMW stand. To me, paying £120 for a new stand, whilst already owning the standard stand is not a good idea.
What really annoys me is that I can't buy the BMW Fitting kit for my own stand; my own stand clearly works with it; albeit not perfectly, but it still works. £15 for the fitting kit would be a no-brainer (I'm sure they were cheaper in the past!).
Ideally I'd like the "proper" stand, but £120 is just not going to happen.
So, for now, Abba is without both my £120 for the stand and the £15 for a fitting kit... And I'm without a stand for my bike. A lose-lose situation. Sadly.