I am having trouble putting my bike on its centerstand
Using the center stand on any motorcycle can be daunting if you don't know the correct procedure. Here is how to put your bike up on the center stand. Study the following illustrations, and note where the sidepanel handle and center stand lever are located.
You may wish to have a friend around to help catch the bike if anything goes wrong.
First, make sure you're on basically level ground. Never use the center stand on any kind of incline. It's better to leave your bike in gear and on the sidestand than use the centerstand on a slope.
Start out holding the bike up, so it's sitting straight up and down on its tires. Next, extend the sidestand, so you've got a backup in case anything goes wrong.
Now, standing on the left side of the bike, put your left hand on the left handlebar grip and your right hand on the seat, to steady the bike. With your right foot, push down on the centerstand's lever until it touches the ground.
With the stand's feet just touching the ground, gently move the bike side-to-side (ie... tilting towards and away from you) until you can feel that both feet of the centerstand are touching down. Keep your foot on the centerstand's lever, or it'll spring back up to the retracted position.
Now, holding the bike level with your left hand, move your right hand from the seat to under the sidepanel handle (directly above the passenger peg). Curl your right hand under that sidepanel handle, so you can lift there.
With your foot on the centerstand lever and your hand under the sidepanel handle, extend your back. That is, pull with your right hand, and push with your right foot. Do this pulling by straightening your back. It shouldn't take a lot of effort, but it definitely requires a solid lift. Don't pull with your left hand, it's just there to steady the bike.
If you feel you're not strong enough to get this to work, let the bike back down and try again. This time give a sharper upward jerk on the handle, to get some momentum behind it. As long as you're pulling straight up, you can pull as hard as you want without fear of hurting the bike.
If at any point this doesn't seem to be working, use your left hand to pull the bike towards you so that it can land safely on the sidestand.
Getting the bike off the centerstand
It is safest to take the bike off the centerstand while sitting on it. It's very easy for the bike to overbalance away from you (and crash to the ground) if you try to roll it off the stand while standing to the side. Always get on the bike first, then push forward. If you can't reach the ground easily from this position, it is safe (when done carefully) to put the bike in gear and use first gear to roll you off the stand. Use your common sense. If there's any question, the sidestand is always a safe choice.
Centerstand spring hint
Should your centerstand spring need replacing, here's how to get it back in place without trying to use a pair of pliers, having said pliers slip off, and having the spring sail through the wall of the garage or your foot. It involves using pennies (and you thought they weren't good for anything...)
Before removing the stand
If you wish to remove your centerstand, then later replace it (say, for a track day) you can stretch the spring with the center stand (down position) and stuff the open spaces with pennies. When you then move the stand to the riding (up) position, the spring will stay long and be easy to remove. Leave it stuffed with the pennies when you store it, and it'll be easy to install again.
If the stand is already removed
It's easier to do this while the spring is still on the bike, but if it's too late for that you can bend the spring sideways to open the coils, then stick pennies between them to keep them open. Sometimes you have to bend the spring back and forth, adding more than one penny to each slot. It takes some time and can be a little fiddly, but it's pretty easy to do. This will lengthen your spring, making it easier to put into place. Then, when you use the centerstand the first time, the spring will stretch longer and all the pennies will fall out.
If you happen to have some Taiwanese ones and fives lying around, these work nicely as well.
New type of spring
If you get a new spring from a dealer, it may look like this:
This is a double intertwined spring, and the penny trick won't work on it. Take a screwdriver and use the spring mounting point to leverage the spring on. Then, hit it with something (like a rubber mallet) from the side to push it onto the mount point.
No-force installation method
This way does not require stretching the centerstand spring.