Behind every care-free rider who cruises the roads endlessly is a serious bike owner who spends as much time in the garage keeping the motorcycle in top condition.
For those who nod in agreement, they know how important tools, equipment and the best motorcycle lifts are.
It spares you needless hours of squatting and other back-breaking positions just to get to the bottom of things, literally.
These motorcycle lift stands come in two types: one that comes across like a floor jack, except that it has two extended platforms; and the other which is like a sturdy table lift, with full platforms that provide more legroom and allow even a person to sit astride the bike while it’s on the lift.
The mark of a good lift is determined by its construction with a mind for safety, durability, stability, and reliability.
Another factor to reflect on is the lift’s holding capacity, which must not be less than 1,000 pounds otherwise you’re courting danger.
Naturally, managing a table lift requires a large garage with a lot of elbow room which, needless to say, many of us don’t have.
Top 10 things to consider when buying the best motorcycle lift
Safety is one of the most important things to consider when buying a new motorcycle lift. Check to be sure that the lift is steady and secure as it elevates your bike. Otherwise the bike could fall on you.
Also check the locking mechanism. The lock is a safety feature that allows the hydraulic pressure to be released without lowering the bike. If the locking mechanism is faulty, the lift will not support the weight of the bike during a long period of storage, such as during the winter months.
You are going to want your new lift to last a long time. Consider the durability of the construction materials. Most lifts are made of steel, aluminum, or a combination of both.
Steel is stronger but heavier – it is not the type of jack you will be able to frequently move from place to place. Aluminum is slightly weaker than steel but it is lighter. If you know you are going to need to use the lift at multiple locations, it may be worthwhile to purchase a lighter, more portable jack.
These days, most lifts come preassembled and just need to be positioned in your garage. However, some require you to setup it up yourself. Be sure to ask about how much assembly is required, especially if you do not know how to setup a lift.
Lifting weight capacity
Know how much your bike weighs and make sure the lift can support that amount of weight. Remember that unlike car jacks, which only elevate part of the vehicle, a motorcycle jack will have to support the entire weight of the bike. The true functional capacity of a lift is often lower than its stated maximum capacity. Ideally, there should be a comfortable margin between the weight of your bike and the maximum weight the lift can bear.
Lifting height range
An important thing to consider when deciding what lift to buy is the minimum and maximum height the platform can be raised. You want a lift that allows you to access the underside of your motorcycle with ease. If your bike has large tires or if you are a large individual, you may need a jack that can lift the vehicle higher off of the floor.
To put it simply, the carriage width is the distance between the two edges of the support platform. A larger carriage will be needed for a larger bike. In general, a larger platform means your bike will be less likely to wobble or topple over.
If the lift is particularly wide, you can use it for other vehicles such as ATVs, snowmobiles, or jet skis.
Base frame footprint
Most people use lifts to access the underside of a bike for cleaning or repairs. The size of the jack’s footprint can make all the difference in terms of stability- smaller footprints increase the likelihood of tipping. However, lifts with exceptionally large footprints can inhibit access to the middle portion of the motorcycle.
It is important to not only think about the size of the base frame but also its rigidity. An inadequately rigid frame can cause the platform to dip in the middle or even bounce excessively under the weight of a heavy motorcycle.
Unfortunately, this is not something you can visually determine. A good rule of thumb is that larger footprints mean the frame is less rigid but more stable; smaller footprints mean that the frame is more rigid but less stable.
Different motorcycle lifts come with different features including drop down panels to access the front fork and to better remove wheels. There are also different styles of elevation mechanisms, such as electronic or air-powered.
If you are thinking about getting any accessories or add-ons down the line (side extensions, tool tray, etc.) order them at the same time that you buy the lift. This will save you time and money.
Most importantly, do your research. Go online and find out what other people are saying about the lift and the company that makes it. Motorcycle lifts last longer and require less maintenance when they are produced by a high-quality manufacturer. Craftsmanship can make a huge difference in terms of stability and strength.