How to use a motorcycle lift


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WingAdmin
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How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:41 pm



A motorcycle lift makes a lot of maintenance and repair work on your motorcycle much easier to perform. Instead of balancing your bike on an automotive jack, cement blocks or wood, a motorcycle lift allows you to quickly and easily lift your bike so that both wheels are off the ground.

I purchased a simple and inexpensive motorcycle lift from Harbor Freight. This lift is commonly available on sale for under $50, and has a 1500 lb capacity, more than enough to lift any Goldwing:

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I start by having the motorcycle on the center stand. I put the forward pad so that it is supporting the frame of the motorcycle. It also contacts the bottom of the engine.

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The rear pad lifts just forward of the center stand, on the exhaust pipes. I (and many others) have been lifting the Goldwing this way for many years with no problems.

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It is of critical importance that the motorcycle be strapped to the lift. When the motorcycle is on the ground, it is supported by at least three things: two tires and a side stand, or one tire and both legs of the center stand. On the lift, it is supported in only two places, so it is not as stable as it is on the ground. Having an 800 pound motorcycle tip over on top of you from 2 feet in the air will really ruin your day. Strap the bike down!

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The lift has four strap-down rings, two on each side. I use them to strap the bike down by its crash bars, which are solidly mounted to the frame. Once the straps are tightened up, you can feel the bike is very solid, and won't be going anywhere. That is - unless you decide to move it. The lift has castering wheels, which allow you to push the motorcycle around your garage while it's on the lift. Not something I have done, but the ability is there.

It should be noted that the lift has a ratchet mechanism that locks the lift up in place. This takes the pressure off the hydraulic jack, and ensures that it won't accidentally come down on you if something in the jack were to fail. Read the instructions for your lift to ensure you know how to operate it correctly.

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tfdeputydawg
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby tfdeputydawg » Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:49 pm

Trust you Wing to a $50 lift.
Please don't lay down under it to do any work!
I almost lost a Wide Glide off a HF piece of junk when one side of it colapsed. Only because I had just stood up and was beside the bike and was able to steady it did it not dump on it's side and it would have beed the side I was laying on!
The thin metal stampings that angle up to the bike platform from the base colapsed on one side while it was up as high as it would go. The ones in you pic are boxed, mine were only angled(2 sided)
Safety straps loosen up when the bike comes down!!!
Make sure you inspect it to see if it has grade 8 bolts in it also-mine didn't!

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WingAdmin
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:17 am

I have read where some people were having nuts loosen off, but no bolts sheared. This lift has a claimed capacity of 1500 lb, and being that I'm lifting just over half of that, I'm pretty sure I'm ok - it does really seem very stable and strong lifting. By far the weakest part of it is the hydraulic jack portion.

And you're right, the base frame and the lifting frame of this lift are all welded box steel, not angle.

jimm
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby jimm » Sun May 02, 2010 12:24 pm

Does this type of lift have four wheels on it so that it can be moved around with the bike on it?

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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby WingAdmin » Sun May 02, 2010 12:37 pm

Yes, it does - and I have moved it like this - carefully. I don't know if you would want to depend on it as the kind of device you'd use to move your bike around every day, though - the castering wheels are a little small for that.

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Timma04
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby Timma04 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:52 pm

:?: Would the position points be the same for a GL1800? I used my lift many times on my Harley but have not tried yet with the Wing.

Thanks

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SilverDave
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby SilverDave » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:46 pm

I have used a very sturdy shop made lift for years.. It has a wide footprint, and all the bells and whistles of a $200 lift....
but....
900 lbs is a lot to come crashing down on you, and I have read too many stories of bikes and cars suddenly descending on their owners.
and the primary use , for me is front and back tires re and re, and brakes... and on my bike, at least, you really have to wiggle and pull at the back wheel, to get it off.. which shakes it all around.

so...

For about $10, I purchased 6 bigger eyebolts from home depot ( breaking strength about 300 lbs), installed them on the 2x10's in my carport , , and using soft ties, and adjustable tie down ratchet straps from my utility trailer ( similar breaking strength ) I then hoist it up, on the jack , and lash it up to the eyebolts.

For absolute security, I then lower it a bit, so its swinging quietly on the straps,and eyebolts and shake the bike around around quite a bit.. ( Looks VERY weird , swinging there, about a foot off the ground )
I then jack it up again, and lock the jack. and NOW I feel quite secure , crawling under it , or wrestling with the back wheel.
The most it might drop is about an inch, even if the jack failed completely . .

Adding up all the holding power of the bolts, and straps, this very inexpensive security idea should hold at least 1800+ lbs, so I guess I could even sit on it, if I wanted to..
Wing,  Tireless, on  Jack  and   security  straps
Wing, Tireless, on Jack and security straps


SilverDave

PastorD
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby PastorD » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:09 am

Thank you so much, I have been very leary about using it as I was uncertain exactly how to do it. Again thanks, Padre

jking99
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby jking99 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:03 pm

This is the lift I built for my Bike, trike, atv, Lawn mower etc.

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Possum51
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby Possum51 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:37 am

my brother has that same HF yellow bike jack and we've used it on everything from a 74 HD shovelhead to my 84 goldwing with absolutely no problems. Using the tiedowns the bikes were very stable once lifted, once I even used it to lift the left front of my 98 ford taurus when the jack it was on broke while lifting the car.
Rick.....

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bohdan
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby bohdan » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:38 am

I have the exact same lift from Harbor Freight. I tried to lift the bike with the exhausts removed. Very wobbly. Said no way am I going to try this. With exhausts on, sturdy.

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BigBadBazz
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby BigBadBazz » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:01 am

Hi all,
J&S Jacks of Appleton, WI 54911 make a great range of ATV, motorcycle and other various jacks... a little expensive I guess to what you guys have been discussing... Had a Big Wheel Bike Lift with GL1800 adapter sent out to Australia after buying my wing and am very impressed (no tie-downs required) as the lifters themselves are quite wide compared with all others on the market... heavy and super study!! My dear wife reminded me that I spent so much on the bike..why skimp on the purchase of a lifter that my wing just may topple onto the deck from if it were not tied down!! .. She had a point don't you think?? So I forked out the additional $s and bought the Big Wheel Lift!! Check out the J&S Lift videos at http://www.jsjacks.com..
cheers,
BigBadBazz
Tumut NSW Australia
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a996506
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby a996506 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:37 pm

Timma04 wrote::?: Would the position points be the same for a GL1800? I used my lift many times on my Harley but have not tried yet with the Wing.


Thanks

I have a GL1800 and would like to know if the method workswith the 1800.

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WingT
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby WingT » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:26 pm

Lets not forget, one needs to be smarter that a hydraulic jack before attempting to use one.
I just bought the same HF lift and it looks fine, built well. It just needs a larger footprint. I plan to make an attachable
extension to adapt mine. Minimal cost+a little effort = peace of mind.
I will take pictures of the modification.

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Dakotaman
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby Dakotaman » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:01 am

When do you strap the bike? If you strap it before lifting, the straps would hinder the lifting. Do you strap it once you have it up to your desired height? I haven't tried mine out yet, so I want to make sure.

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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:17 pm

Dakotaman wrote:When do you strap the bike? If you strap it before lifting, the straps would hinder the lifting. Do you strap it once you have it up to your desired height? I haven't tried mine out yet, so I want to make sure.


I lift it up to the height I want, then I strap it into place.

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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby Dakotaman » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:29 pm

Thanks for answering my question Wingadman!!

CaptLen
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby CaptLen » Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:30 pm

I wanted more flexibility in maneuvering so I bought two castering wheels at HF and had a local welder weld on sturdy angle to mount the wheels. Now I have 4 castering wheels and easy maneuvering in any direction. I think he charged about $40 or so.

argosybob
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby argosybob » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:36 am

bohdan wrote:I have the exact same lift from Harbor Freight. I tried to lift the bike with the exhausts removed. Very wobbly. Said no way am I going to try this. With exhausts on, sturdy.


I was getting ready to post a question about just this issue in the forums - good thing I read before typing! :-)

My concern with lifting my '83 Interstate is putting all that weight on the exhaust pipes. I bought a used BlackJack lift recently, but haven't put the bike in the air yet due to concerns about messing up those pipes. Also, it looks like a lot of weight would be on the front of the engine. Is there some sort of frame adapters available?

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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby ftmoore992003 » Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:29 am

I have the same HF lift and it has worked fine on my wife's cruiser. The only concern I have is when you want to lower the bike gently, you don't press the lever down gently, you press down the lever as fast as you can for it to lower gently. Is everyone's lift the same way? :?:

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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:04 am

ftmoore992003 wrote:I have the same HF lift and it has worked fine on my wife's cruiser. The only concern I have is when you want to lower the bike gently, you don't press the lever down gently, you press down the lever as fast as you can for it to lower gently. Is everyone's lift the same way? :?:


Yes. I drilled a hole in the foot pedal of mine, and installed a small bolt. The end of the bolt contacts the frame of the lift, and I adjusted it so that the pedal can only be pressed where it just barely opens the lowering valve when the bolt hits the frame. So now I can just stamp on that pedal, and the bike lowers slowly and safely to the ground.

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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby gbearth » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:03 pm

Hi from sunny UK which was a week ago flooded. I have purchased a lift unit very similar to your one shown. My bike is a1500, I positioned the jack, as you described, when I started to lift the front came up first, then the back. This was done very slowly as it was my first lift. When the rear wheel was about 6 inches off the floor, the whole bike tilted to the rear and the back wheel on the ground. This was a bit of a shock, gently let the air out of the jack and it settled on the centre stand. I did not try again. Any suggestions,other than adding weight to the front

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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:10 pm

gbearth wrote:Hi from sunny UK which was a week ago flooded. I have purchased a lift unit very similar to your one shown. My bike is a1500, I positioned the jack, as you described, when I started to lift the front came up first, then the back. This was done very slowly as it was my first lift. When the rear wheel was about 6 inches off the floor, the whole bike tilted to the rear and the back wheel on the ground. This was a bit of a shock, gently let the air out of the jack and it settled on the centre stand. I did not try again. Any suggestions,other than adding weight to the front


You need to move the jack so that it is at the center of gravity of the bike. If the front comes up first, the jack is too far forward. Put it back down, move the jack towards the rear of the bike, and try again.

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gbearth
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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby gbearth » Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:16 am

I appreciate your comment, and fully understand how to make the bike balance, but to move it further back would mean the bike not being on the centre stand at the start of the lift, and one of the supports of the jack would be on the folded centre stand. With your experience would this method be ok to lift the bike. Thanks

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Re: How to use a motorcycle lift

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:26 am

gbearth wrote:I appreciate your comment, and fully understand how to make the bike balance, but to move it further back would mean the bike not being on the centre stand at the start of the lift, and one of the supports of the jack would be on the folded centre stand. With your experience would this method be ok to lift the bike. Thanks


I don't lift mine from being on the center stand. I have it on the side stand, the lift pulls the bike up vertical from the side stand as it begins to lift the bike up. Make sure the lift isn't lifting against anything delicate (i.e. exhaust crossover, etc). On my 1100, I used a couple pieces of wood as a shim to make sure the lift was lifting the bike by the frame.




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