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For some motorcyclists, working on the maintenance of their bike is as enjoyable as riding it. For them, it is an important part of owning a motorbike. You can save yourself a lot of money by learning how to maintain your bike yourself but you need the right tools for the job. Kneeling or lying on a cold, damp workshop floor is no fun and neither is leaning over a bike in an awkward position.
Investing in a suitable motorcycle lift can save you a lot of hassle and a lot of aches and pains. Unlike car lifts, they are specifically designed for motorcycles and are therefore the safest and most convenient option. Here is a guide to choosing the best motorcycle lift for you.
The Best Motorcycle Lift
Made out of heavy duty steel for maximum strength and safety, this PowerZone motorcycle jack is capable of lifting a maximum of 1700 pound and so is suitable for most bikes and even all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). It has a premium T handle with a secure grip which is very useful for moving it around and positioning it but you can remove it when it is no longer needed. You operate it using a foot-activated pump powered by hydraulics so you have both of your hands-free to stabilize the bike during the lift.
The safety lock has three possible locking positions for maximum convenience and safety. On the top surface of the lift, there are thick rubber pads with deep grooves for maximum grip. These are essential to stop the lift damaging delicate paintwork on your motorbike. When you are not using it, it folds up to just 4 ½ inches high so that you can store it easily.
Maximum lifting weight of 1700 pound
Detachable T handle with grips
Foot activated hydraulic pump
Thick rubber pads to protect paintwork
- BrandMilestone Tools
- Weight62.4 lbs
This is a great, compact lift for those who want to lift a standard motorbike. With a maximum weight capacity of 1100 pound, it is not suitable for ATVs and trikes. It has a center-lift design so you will be able to access most parts of your bike for maintenance purposes. It extends to a height of 14 inches and the bike is supported on a rectangular platform that measures 15-1/8 inches x 9 inches. The platform is covered in rubber padding which provides both stability and protection for paintwork.
You will need a 7/8 inch socket or wrench to operate the jack at the center lifting mechanism but this is not provided with the jack. There is an optional dolly tray which slides under the jack but this is sold separately. It folds down to just over 3 inches in height.
Maximum lifting weight of 1100 pound
Center lift design
Lifts to 14 inches
Operated using a 7/8” socket or wrench
- BrandExtreme Max
- Weight27.4 lbs
This is a mega jack that complies with all the relevant safety standards. It can lift and support vehicles up to a massive 4000 pound and can lift unibody and body-on-frame vehicles safely. It can be used to lift motorcycles, ATVs, cars and even some trucks. It has a design that accommodates a lift saddle and lifts rails which are padded so it can cope with many vehicle types and will not damage paintwork.
It is a combined bottle jack and jack stand in one unit and has a lift range of 8-5/8 inches up to 18-5/8 inches and so will accommodate a wide range of jobs. Once it is in the desired position, you can lock it so you do not have to use additional jack stands. The wide base is flat to give additional stability and to prevent it from sinking on soft surfaces.
Maximum lifting weight of 4000 pound
Suitable for ATVs
Combined bottle jack and jack stand
Wide, flat base for stability
- Weight85 lbs
This is a functional stand and lifts for several types of a motorcycle including street bikes, cruisers, and adventure tourers. It has a limited lift capacity of 1,000 pounds and therefore cannot be used for dirt bikes, ATVs, utility task vehicles (UTVs) or snowmobiles. It has a scissor jack design and is made from durable heavy-duty steel which is easy to clean and is oil-resistant.
The platform measures 9 4/5 inches by 15 ¾ inches and is covered in thick rubber for protection of your paintwork. The jack is lifting by applying the supplied steel sleeve and should not be operated using an impact wrench. The lift range is 3 ¾ inches up to 13 2/5 inches.
Maximum lifting weight of 1000 pound
The platform has thick rubber protection
Scissor design lifts with a detachable sleeve
Made from heavy-duty steel
- Weight27.1 lbs
With this product, you get a wide deck scissor lift and a lift jack hoist stands in one. It has a maximum weight capacity of 1,100 pounds and so it can be used for most motorcycles and some ATVs. It can be used in a garage or at the track and is suitable for trikes, cruisers and Can Am Spyders.
The lifting platform measures 14 ½ inches by 9 inches and is covered in thick rubber to stop the bike from slipping when you are working on it and to protect delicate paintwork. The lifting height can be set at anything from 3.75 inches to 13.25 inches giving plenty of flexibility for various maintenance jobs. When it folds away it is less than four inches high.
Maximum lifting weight of 1,100 pounds
Suitable for some ATVs
Lifting platform covered in thick rubber
Folds away to less than 4 inches in height
- BrandDragway Tools
- Weight27.6 lbs
This is a strong motorcycle lift which can lift a maximum of 1,500 pounds so it can be used for working on large and wide cruisers. Instead of a lifting platform, it has two 17 inch long skids which are each around 3 inches wide and have a grooved surface to prevent slipping.
It comes with a removable T handle and can be set at anything from 3 ½ inches to 16 ¾ inches working height. The release pedal is foot operated so that you can steady the bike with both hands. It comes with two locking rear casters and an automatic safety lock. It is also supplied with two ratcheting straps for added safety.
Maximum lifting weight of 1,500 pounds
A bike is lifted on two 17 inch long skids
Comes with locking rear castors
- Weight74 lbs
This is a small, lightweight lift that weighs just 28 pounds but which can lift loads up to 1,100 pounds so you can use it to work on street cruisers, street sports bikes, and many off-road bikes but it may not be able to lift an ATV. It’s made from durable steel and has a black powder-coat finish.
It’s operated by attaching a handle onto a hex nut and turning it to make the jack lift the bike in the air with ease. The lifting platform is 17 ¾ inches x 6 inches and there are rubber covers on the lifting surfaces to prevent damage. The standard operating height is anything from 3 ¾ inches to 16 ¼ inches high but this can be extended by another 3 ¼ inches using two adjustable adapters. A jack foot is welded to each side to increase stability.
Maximum lifting weight of 1,100 pounds
Durable steel with a black finish
Adjustable adapters to extend a working height
Two jack feet to improve stability
- BrandBlack Widow
- Weight32 lbs
This is a scissor lift jack which is easy to use and has a wide-deck for use with most motorcycles and ATVs. It has a maximum weight capacity of 1,100 pounds so it would not be able to cope with larger and heavier ATVs but should be capable of lifting cruisers, trikes and Can Am Spyders as long as you check the weights.
It’s made out of solid steel with a red and black powder coated surface and is easy to operate via a 12 cm crank handle which is removable when not in use. It comes with two variable adapters which can be moved into different positions on the lifting platform and fixed in place with a screw nut. The adapters are rubber coated to prevent damage. The maximum working height is 17 inches (19 with the adapters) and the minimum is 3.5 inches.
Maximum lifting weight of 1,100 pounds
Solid steel coated in a red and black powder finish
Comes with two, rubber coated variable adapters
- Model[email protected]#JA0809
- Weight27.8 lbs
This lift can be used to lift weights of up to 1100 pounds and would not be suitable for all ATVs. It is operated using a simple crank jack and there is a safety pin to lock it into one of six locking positions to guard against the bike dropping accidentally.
It operates at heights from 3 ½ inches to 15 ¾ inches but with the two saddles and adapters increase this. There is a rubber coating on the saddles to prevent damage to delicate paintwork.
Maximum lifting weight of 1,100 pounds
Operating heights of up to 15 ¾ inches
Optional saddle and adapters
- Weight32.5 lbs
This jack has an impressive lift capacity at 1,500 pounds and can, therefore, cope with most motorcycles and ATVs as well as many personal watercraft and snowmobiles. It comes with a detachable handle. The two lifting platforms are coated with a textured rubber material to prevent slippages and to protect paintwork.
A particular feature of the jack is that it has four swivel casters which make it easier to move it around and position. It can lift motorbikes up to a maximum height of 17 3/8 inches and comes with two adapter bars and two straps for tying down the bike.
Maximum lifting weight of 1,100 pounds
Four swivel casters for easy positioning
Maximum working height of over 17 inches
Best Motorcycle Lifts Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Consider When Buying a Motorcycle Lift
When you are first looking for a motorcycle lift, the choice can be a little overwhelming. Here are some of the main things that you should consider.
- Design of the lift mechanism. Lifts can be either air, hydraulic or mechanical. Air and hydraulic lifts are more expensive and require less effort as they are usually operated via a food paddle.
- Lift construction. Lifts are generally made from heavy duty steel with a paint coating. It is important that the material is resistant to oil and other materials associated with motorcycle maintenance. Aluminum lifts are available but they are weaker.
- Lift capacity. This is a crucial safety aspect of the lift. Choose a lift that has a lift capacity of one and a half times the wet weight of your bike. This is the weightwith oil and petrol etc. in the bike.
- Working height range. The specifications of a motorcycle lift for sale should give its lifting height. An adjustable height is useful because you will need different heights for different tasks. You need the height to be comfortable so that you can reach the various parts of the bike and your tools. Most lifts have a maximum range of 15 to 18 inches. This can sometimes be extended with removable adapters.
- Safety mechanisms. Your safety must be the priority. Lifts should come with safety features that will help to prevent injuries. A locking mechanism is essential to make sure that the lift cannot drop down onto you when you are working on the bike. A rubber coating on the lifting platform is also important as it will stop the bike from slipping. It will also protect your paintwork from damage. Some lifts came with straps that can be used to stabilize the bike during the lift.
- Remember that you will not be using the lift all the time. A bulky lift will take up a lot of space in your garage or workshop so many of them are designed to fold away flat for easy storage. The best motorcycle lift for home use folds down to little more than four inches in depth.
Benefits of Using a Motorcycle Lift
Working on a bike without a motorcycle lift is a lot of hassle and is potentially dangerous. More and more motorcyclists are choosing to maintain their own bikes. They like to combine riding the bike with understanding how it works and repairing it themselves.
Bending down for hours trying to access components of the bike can leave you with a lot of aches and pains. Kneeling or lying on a cold, wet floor is not very convenient either! The motorcycle lift places the bike in a position where it is easy for you to get at its components.
A motorcycle stand is designed specifically for bikes and is, therefore, safer and easier to use with a bike than car jacks.
Types of Lifts
There are several different types of motorcycle lift jack. Here are the main categories.
- Hydraulic lifts. The lift is raised by compressed air but it is moved by hydraulic fluid which is stored in the reservoir tank in the pump housing. The air pump is worked by a foot-operated pedal so both hands are free to steady the bike. No physical effort is required.
- Air Lifts. Compressed air lifts the bike into position. A foot operated valve controls the air cylinder to raise or lower the lifting platform which is then locked into place.
- Mechanical lifts. These use some sort of mechanical mechanism operated with a handle to lift the bike into position.
- Scissors lifts. This refers to the design of the lift rather than the lifting mechanism. The metal supports of the lift open up as it is raised in a scissors-like action.
- Bottle Jacks. These are compact hydraulic pistons that are a similar shape to a bottle. They are usually combined with a jack stand to keep them stable.
Motorcycle Jacks vs. Car Jacks
It is possible to lift a motorcycle using a car jack but it is far from ideal. Remember that the car jack was simply not designed to lift a bike and the safest way to do it is with a motorcycle lift. When using a car jack, you will have to get down on the ground to find a flat surface under the engine to lift on. You may need wooden blocks, another person to help you and ratcheting tie-down straps to fix the bike safely to the jack. The lifting surface will not be the correct size and jack stands will also be needed to keep the bike in place. The best option is always to invest in a special motorbike lift.
Using a Motorcycle Jack: How To Get It Up And Keep It Up
Here are the main steps in lifting a bike and making sure it stays there.
- Start by selecting a motorcycle lift that is suitable for the design and weight of your bike. To make sure that the lift stays up when you are using it, you need one with a capacity that is one and a half times the “wet” weight of your bike. This is the weight of the bike with fluids like oil and fuel in it. Therefore, if you have a bike with a dry weight of 800 pounds it’s wet weight will be around 850 pounds and the capacity of the lift will have to be at least 1,300 pounds.
- You also must have wheel locks and check that the lift has safety locks so that it cannot drop down on top of you when you are working on your bike.
- Find the center of gravity for your bike, it is usually around the engine. Then locate the lift points. Any bodywork that could get in the way of the lift needs to be removed.
- Take off anything that could fall off the bike. Make sure that there are no wires or lines that could get pinched in the lift. If the bike has no lower frame rails it can take a while to get the best lift position.
- You may need to use wooden shims to get a stable lift.
- Secure with straps and lift the bike. Check that it is secure before you start work.
- If you are removing one of the wheels, use a support ramp or a motorcycle lift stand to hold up the other wheel because the center of gravity will shift and the bike will become unstable.
Best Motorcycle Lifts FAQ:
Q: What is a motorcycle lift?
A: A motorbike lift is a device that is used to raise a motorcycle above the ground into a position that makes it easy to work on. It prevents the person working on the motorcycle from having to lie on the ground or bend over. They use compressed air, hydraulics or a mechanical method to move the bike. They have a different design and weight capability to car jacks. Most lifts have basic elements which are: a wheelbase, a lifting platform, and an adjustment system.
Q: How does a motorcycle lift work?
A: The motorbike stand is positioned underneath the motorbike. It is either small enough to be placed there by hand or can be moved there on wheels. Once the bike is in position, a lifting mechanism is engaged to lift the whole bike including both wheels. This could be a mechanical lift using a handle which you operate with your hand or with your feet. It could also be a compressed air or hydraulic system. There are usually rubber pads on the platform to prevent your bike slipping whilst you are working on it. When you have finished, the bike is lowered to the ground.
Q: Will all the products listed above work with all bikes?
A: Motorbikes come in all shapes, weights, and sizes. Not all motorcycle lifts will work with all bikes. The best motorcycle lift for Harley bikes would be different to the best lift for other makes. The specification for the lift will indicate which types of bikes it can be used on. Weight is an important consideration. It is dangerous to use a lift on a bike that is beyond its maximum weight capacity.
Q: Can I use a motorcycle lift on my ATV?
A: It is dangerous to overload a motorbike lift stand above its maximum load capacity. Many ATVs are much heavier than bikes. It is important that you consult the manufacturer’s handbook that came with your ATV to get an accurate figure for its weight. Remember that if you have modified it in any way it may be heavier.
If you are going to use a lift for an ATV it is important that you choose one that is specifically designed to lift an ATV safely.
Our Top Pick
PowerZone 380047 1700 LB Hydraulic Motorcycle/ATV Jack is a heavy-duty steel hydraulic motorcycle lift with a capacity of 1700 pounds so you can use it for most motorbikes and many all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). There is a removable T-handle so that you can move it around easily and it is operated using a foot-activated pump.
There is a safety lock with three locking positions and the lifting surface has thick rubber pads with deep grooves. When not in use, it folds away to just 4 ½ inches for easy storage.