I had this big idea the other day about raising the rear of my electric motorcycle, which does not have a center stand, instead of using a shop stand. I was able to lift the rear of the bike off of the ground using only two cheap car jack stands and I did not even need a floor jack. I first blocked the front wheel to make sure that the bike would not roll forward. I placed one stand under the right swing arm and just below it. I then placed the other jack stand next to the left swing arm and levered the bike upright from the left side, using my hip to push against the seat so as to tilt the bike vertically while holding on to the handlebars and using the stand on the right as a pivot. I then used my foot to move the left stand under the swing arm. This took relatively little effort. Placing the jack stands on their lowest position lifted the rear tire just enough to spin the rear wheel and made it easy to tilt the chassis upright. If you wanted to prevent scratches to the underside of the swing arm you could cover the support plate of the jack stands with a rubber pad.
Auto jack stands are a whole lot cheaper than a motorcycle rear wheel shop stand, which typically cost around $100, or more. They can be purchased from any automobile accessory store, such as Kragen or Sears. They are also lighter, more stable and you don't have to worry about tripping over the shop stand arm when walking around the motorcycle. I can't ever recall anyone else suggesting this idea before. I don’t know why this wouldn’t work on most other motorcycles without a center stand, as long as they have a two-sided swing arm, of course.
Attached are photos of my bike positioned on the jack stands.
Not saying the idea is not without some merit, just be cautious. Jack stands are not the most stable of devices in my experience. You have nothing tying the width or spread of the stands together like you would with a traditional motorcycle swing arm stand. The simple act of levering the bike up on the first stand could send the whole thing over if the jack stand were to slip slightly.
Side note, I have never paid more than $60 for a motorcycle rear stand. A few used including a name brand Pit Bull stand and one new Chinese knock off stand. All were perfectly stable and secure. I am still on a the hunt for a used or inexpensive single sided swing arm stand for my VFR though.
Side note number 2, While in the paddock at a race I saw a rear stand that had a removable handle. Much like a removable jack handle the stand had a sleeve in the center of the rear hoop or brace. You inserted the handle into it and levered the bike up or down. Once it was up you could pop the handle out and the frame of the stand itself did not stick out beyond the rear wheel edge.
Side note 3, If you do not have a fully faired bike or you have a solid flat area of frame under the bike near where a center stand would normally mount you can also use a vintage bike stand. Used by many a racer in the paddock and can be made from some cheap 1"x1" square tube and a MIG welder.
'98 Honda VFR 800 Interceptor (ICE)
'98 Honda Helix 250 (ICE)
'96 Suzuki GSF600 Donor or possible EV project
'72 Honda CB450 DOHC (ICE)
'72 Honda CB450 EV Project
'73 Honda CB350 (ICE)
My problem was that I couldn't find a pit rear wheel stand that was low enough to fit under the GPR-S. It just had a weird chassis design. In fact the entire chassis appeared to be assembled from square sheet-metal tubing, and from IMG_5636 (1).jpgIMG_5637 (1).jpgIMG_5639 (1).jpgparts and fasteners bought in a hardware store. The jack stands worked fine on that light bike and were quite stable, but that probably wouldn't be the case with most other motorcycles. So try it at your own risk. In any case, the GPR-S is long gone and I am now using a Drag Specialties frame jack to raise my Zero. Also not all that stable either, but it seems to work OK for me as the Zero is perfectly balanced on the jack.
Richard - Current bikes: 2014 14.2 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield 500, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.