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Published Dec. 4, 2018

If you frequently work on your bike, it’s convenient to have a motorcycle lift for basic maintenance. Whether it operates as a scissor lift, a hydraulic jack, or threaded hoist, the device lifts the bike off the ground and holds it securely in place to provide better, easier access. Some lifts are mobile and portable; others are designed to take up permanent residence on your garage or shop floor. Most are rather expensive. Whichever motorcycle lift you choose, you’re trusting it to securely support a highly prized vehicle you likely spent thousands of dollars on. So you’d better be confident in your purchase. If you’re not sure which motorcycle lift is right for you, read the buying guide below for our recommendations.

Best Motorcycle Lifts Reviews & Recommendations

Why We Picked It:

If you work on motorcycles often, either for yourself or as a side hustle, you need a quality hydraulic lift. Whether in the shop or home garage, Titan Ramps’ 1,000 Pound Capacity Motorcycle Lift Table brings the job up to eye level with a hydraulic mechanism featuring a dual pedal system. Other features include a wheel vice chock, stop plate, and tie-down strap access ports. The diamond-plated surface, made of heavy-duty, 11-gauge steel plate, provides excellent grip, bringing the job up to eye level and making access to the engine and components a breeze.

Many professional-grade lifts cost far more, and cheaper home scissor lifts don’t provide the stability, security, and ease of use regular work requires. While this lift table does have a large footprint, it flattens to floor level quickly and easily.

Specs:
  • Dimensions: 8 1/2 – 34 in. H x 81 1/4 in. L x 21 3/4 in. W
  • Lift Height: 34 inches
  • Weight: 293 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 1,000 pounds
PROS

Well-respected brand name

Diamond-plated surface for grip

Keyhole ports for optional tie-down straps

11-gauge steel construction

CONS

1,000-pound capacity is relatively low for a pro-grade lift table

Takes up significant floor space

Might be more than you need for DIY repair and casual maintenance

Why We Picked It:

Most of us aren’t mechanics, and we don’t need a table lift taking up half our garage when we only work on our bikes for casual maintenance and occasional repair. Enter this mighty little scissor lift from Extreme Max. With a surprisingly impressive lift capacity, this tiny workhorse gets your bike 14 inches up off the ground to make access to its components much easier. High-strength worm drive and heavy-duty steel construction work together to lift nearly any road bike, touring bike, or cruiser up to 1,100 pounds. It’s also great for dirt bikes and ADV bikes. It’s not portable, per se, but it can be taken out of the garage and used almost anywhere you need it.

While the 1,100-pound capacity is impressive, it’s important to note that many fully dressed touring bikes push the scales upwards of 1,000 pounds with much of that mass top-loaded in the fairings and luggage compartments. If you ride a Honda Gold Wing, Harley Ultra Glide, or similar, be advised that this mighty mite could be less than stable when loaded with a top-heavy bike.

Specs:
  • Only extends to 14 inches high
  • Manual operation
  • Not ideal for top-heavy bikes
PROS

Great for casual repairs at home or on the go

Operates with any 7/8-inch socket or wrench

Collapses out of sight 1,100-pound capacity

Optional wheeled dolly

CONS

Only extends to 14 inches high

Manual operation

Not ideal for top-heavy bikes

Why We Picked It:

Sometimes, more is more. If you own your own shop or work on motorcycles for a living, you need a hydraulic lift, and the MT1500X is the one that can make your life much easier. It features a front-wheel clamping vise, a drop-out tail, a three-stage adjustable front extension, and a 20-inch long drive-on approach ramp. A front extension extended the length from 84 to up to 110 inches, and it also sports side extensions that can increase its workspace from 24 to 48 inches. That’s serious and for most of us, though, this is far more motorcycle lift than we need for casual, occasional repairs.

That said, the price includes free delivery to your home or shop and a 24-month parts (not service) warranty.

Specs:
  • Dimensions: 88 in. L x 26 in. W x 17 in. H
  • Weight: 550 pounds
  • Lift Range: 7-33 inches
  • Capacity: 1,500 pounds
PROS

Home or shop delivery and 24-month parts warranty included

Heavy-duty steel with 1,500-pound capacity

Front tire clamp

Three-stage extension

20-inch ride-on ramp

CONS

Takes up a lot of floor space

Requires air compressor to operate

More lift than most driveway mechanics will ever need

Why We Picked It:

Made from high-quality steel, this rolling motorcycle lift is designed to be easy-to-use, mobile and portable, and strong enough to handle dirt bikes, motorcycles, jet skis, snow mobiles, and ATVs. After the machine has been loaded onto the jack, adjustable locking screws secure the swiveling casters in place. The lift range runs from 4.5 to 15 inches high, to bring just about any motorcycle or ATV up to a comfortable level. It comes with a handle, two tie-down straps, and two adapter bars. Best of all, it has a 1,500-pound lifting capacity, so it should be fine for even large cruisers and touring bikes. The fact that it weighs less than 60 pounds means you can throw it in a trunk or truck bed for roadside repairs.

The downside of a rolling motorcycle lift is its stability; we recommend using it only on a level surface and always make sure you lock the wheels in place. Also, in our experience VivoHome is a brand known for home and garage products, but not necessarily mechanical tools.

Specs:
  • Package Dimensions: 32.3 in. L x 16.3 in W x 5 in. H
  • Lift Range: 4-15 inches
  • Weight: 57.8 pounds
  • Capacity: 1,500 pounds
PROS

1,500-pound capacity is enough for even the largest machines

Three-position safety lock

Casters make it mobile, light weight makes it portable

CONS

Brand is more home-oriented than mechanically inclined

We’re always dubious of big claims from bargain products — especially when it’s expected to support a valuable possession such as our motorcycle

Why We Picked It:

If you’re into motocross, then you know how often breakdowns can happen. You also know how much of a pain it is to lie down on the dirt, mud, sand, or rocks to get to the bottom end of your bike. How often have you wished for a jack stand or lift you can take with you out into the wild? This lightweight, easy-use dirt bike lift from JFG Racing is just the ticket. With foot-pump actuation and a lift capacity of 330 pounds, it’s strong enough to get most any small to midsize dirtbike up into the air so you can access the bottom end. Heck, it should work for most runabout scooters and 125-250cc street bikes, such as the Honda Grom.

We’d be dubious of using it for anything other than sub-250cc dirtbikes, though; the wet weight of larger dirt and ADV bikes and even small 250cc cruisers will push this lift’s capacity to its limit. Also, its lift range is minimal. It’s perfect for throwing in the truck or van for a day on the trails, so you can easily address issues like fork seal leaks and tire plugs and changes. But if you do regular maintenance on small bikes, you may want to look for a steadier, more secure option.

Specification
  • Brand Dragway Tools
  • Model LD-M1101
  • Weight 27.6 lbs
PROS

Lightweight and portable

Easy to use

Inexpensive

Might suffice for small street bikes and scooters

CONS

Limited lift range

Starting height is already over 9 inches

Stability is an issue

How We Selected The Products 

In searching for the best motorcycle lifts, we took a ton of factors into account, the most important being lift capacity. Moreover, the mechanism used to hoist the bikes is an important consideration. Many small, mobile, and/or portable lifts use threaded worm bolts that turn with a wrench or crank handle; others use small hydraulic jacks pumped up with a foot pedal. Some of these roll around on casters; others are lightweight enough to tote where needed. 

The largest capacity lifts use air to raise bikes off the ground; these require an air compressor and are designed to remain in place. We looked for lift stability, footprint size, mobility and/or portability, and steel construction. We also kept an eye out for those that either supported or included stability straps. We tried to avoid motorcycle lifts that weren’t designed specifically for use with motorcycles; many lifts are made for personal vehicles of all kinds, like ATVs and PWCs and if they work for bikes too, that’s fine but we ignored any lift that ignores the specific needs of motorcyclists.

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

Types of Motorcycle Lifts

Hydraulic Lifts

These motorcycle jacks are air-powered and have an air pump that pushes the hydraulic fluid into the lifting cylinder. A foot-controlled pedal activates it. The pump pushes hydraulic fluid into the lifting cylinder, starting off the lift movement. 

Air hydraulic jacks operate smoothly and are often mobile, if not fully portable. The hydraulic fluid allows the lifts to move up and down without the hesitation and surging that can happen with air lifts.

Air Lifts

These are the most popular and least expensive motorcycle lifts. The lifts have a foot-operated valve that causes an air cylinder to raise or lower. They usually have different locking positions at various working heights, but most have a load capacity of around 1,000 pounds. 

Many have a wheel vise for securing the motorcycle and a drop tail/drop panel that gives you better access to the rear components. 

Hand Crank Lifts

Most scissor and threaded jacks have hand cranks and are operated manually. A hand crank does not rely on hydraulics, only a threaded worm screw. When the hand crank is turned, the screw rotates, lifting up the motorcycle. Hand crank bike lifts are simple, cheaper, and don’t require (or leak!) hydraulic fluid. The most affordable motorcycle lifts are turned by hand crank, however, you often get what you pay for with motorcycle lifts, and poorly-built ones can experience dramatic failure when their bolts strip or bend.

mechanic using a motorcycle lift to fix a bike

Key Features

Lifting Mechanism

The main job of a lift is to get a motorcycle off the ground. In this respect, every motorcycle lift has a jack, a winch, or a motor that hoists motorcycles. Most bike lifts use the same hydraulic technology used by car jacks. The lift mechanism can be either air, hydraulic, or electric. However, it’s worth noting that hydraulic and electric lifts are more expensive and require less effort.

Weight Capacity

Motorcycles are not equal and have different weights. For instance, a Harley-Davidson Road Glide has a weight rating of almost 900 pounds, while a Honda Monkey barely weighs 200. As a rule of thumb, get a lift that weighs twice as much as your bike. Of course, this guideline is fungible but you should always consider that you may occasionally work on a bike other than your own and you may change or upgrade your motorcycle at some point in the future. If you can afford it, size up and give yourself some versatility.

If you own a small dirt bike, look for a jack with at least a 300-pound weight limit. If you want one that also works for ATVs, touring machines, and ADV bikes, shop for one with a weight capacity of 1,500 pounds and above. 

Safety Features

When using a motorcycle lift, safety and stability must be the priority. Make sure the lift you buy has a locking mechanism so that it doesn’t drop down on you. The lifting platform should have a rubber coating to prevent the bike from slipping and to protect it from scratches, dents, and other damage. Some lifts come with tie-down straps that can be used to secure bikes. Others have ramps to help load bikes, and extensions panels to increase workspace.

Lift Range

Before you buy a motorcycle lift, check its lifting height. A jack with adjustable height is better because you’ll need different heights for different tasks. If it’s not adjustable, you may not be able to reach some parts of the bike.

Other Considerations

  • Ease of Use. The motorcycle jack you get must be easy to use. Check its height because the higher you can elevate the bike, the easier your job becomes. Also, bike lifts with comfortable handles and levers are easier to use than those with small hardware that pinches hands.
  • Extra Features. Ramps, straps, wheel locks, and warranties are all important features that any quality lift can provide.
motorcycle lifts

Tips

  • Select a lift that has a maximum lifting weight that is compatible with your motorcycle. First, you have to know how much your bike weighs. Then purchase a lift that can withstand a maximum weight that is 50 percent higher.
  • Safety is most important when you use a motorcycle lift. Always secure the bike with the lift’s safety and locking mechanisms. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you’re doing it properly.
  • The size of the lift is important, particularly if you don’t have a lot of space in your garage or workshop. Look for a lift that isn’t too bulky and that you can fold up or store out of the way when it’s not in use.

FAQs

Q: How does a motorcycle lift work?

Depends on the lift. Some use threaded bolt or scissor lifts, others use air or hydraulics to raise the bike. Some lifts are hand-powered, while others rely on electricity.

Q: Can I use a car jack to lift my motorcycle?

It’s possible but absolutely not recommended. Motorcycle lifts are designed specifically for bikes. You want to use a device that will keep you and your bike safe from harm. 

Q: How much do motorcycle lifts cost?

Small, portable lifts can be as cheap as fifty bucks. Others for garages and shops can cost well over $1,000. For most motorcyclists, a lift in the $150-$500 range will suffice.

Q: Can I put an ATV on a motorcycle lift?

It’s best to use a lift that’s specifically designed for an ATV. ATVs are typically much heavier than motorcycles, and you don’t want to go beyond a lift’s maximum load capacity or it can fail.
bike lift stand

Final Thoughts

If you’re a regular motorcyclist who likes to tinker on and maintain your own bike, the Titan Ramps Hydraulic Motorcycle Lift is a fantastic option — if you have room in your garage. If that’s too much motorcycle lift for you, consider the Extreme Max 1000-lb. Motorcycle Scissor Jack. It’s affordable and easy to use for occasional maintenance and tucks out of sight when not in use.

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Founded as the /DRIVE YouTube channel before growing into a full-fledged online publication in 2015, The Drive brings you the best of what’s new in the world of speed, from gear reviews to the latest industry coverage—all from a veteran team of writers and editors with many decades of combined hands-on experience. Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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