Home Made Motorcycle Lift
Every motorcycle owner knows that if you want to do any work on your road bike, even something as simple as changing the oil, it’s nearly impossible to keep the bike upright and stable. Even worse, on my Kawasaki Vulcan 900, the oil level sight glass is way down at the very bottom of the engine casings next to the shift lever. Absolutely freaking impossible to hold the bike upright while you’re bent over trying to see the oil level in the window. I have no idea how the Harley riders or other Cruisers do this either. Let me show you how to build a home-made bike lift for next to nothing and it works like a charm….
First of all I know that some of you will simply go out and buy a bike lift from JC Whitney; Harbor Freight, Sears; or some motorcycle superstore. More power to you, and if you’ve got the Benjamin’s to pay for those items, you’ll be quite proud to show off your $200-$600 lift to all your biker friends (who will now borrow it continuously). Plus have fun finding room to store it too. For the rest of us, sometimes we get a rush (self satisfaction) from building our own custom items…or we’re just cheap. Whatever the motivation, here is a simple; cheap and easy to build motorcycle lift anyone can build themselves. The only special tools required are a drill and 1” wood drill bit.
Recommended Build List:
- 1 pc – 4”x8” hardwood board (3 ft long or more)
- 1 pc – ¾” “galvanized threaded pipe (~4’ long is best)
- 1 pc – ¾” galvanized pipe flange
- 4 pcs – lag bolts at least 3” long (1/4” or 5/16”)
- Drill a 1” hole through the wide side of the 4x8 piece of wood about 4” centered from one end. FYI – I did not have any 4x8’s so I just screwed some 2x8’s together. Be creative -.you can do it.
- Now before you just jump in and push the ¾” galvanized pipe through the hole, you need to make one side of the hole slightly oversized to accommodate seating the neck of the pipe flange into the wood. This is required because the flange needs to be screwed onto the wood and the threaded pipe and only goes on one way. Countersinking the hole allows the flange to sit flat on the wood.
- Stuff the flange in the hole, and screw it down using bolts stolen from your kid’s swing set.
- Now you can shove the 3/4"x4' galvanized pipe through the hole and screw it into the pipe flange. Note: this is probably going to be a tight fit and you may want to use a pipe wrench to literally screw the pipe through the wood. Maybe use some lube to help ease your pipe into and through the wood if needed. Don’t worry - It’s good that this is a tight fit so your pipe is fully supported and locked in to avoid splitting or wallowing the wood later on.
- You’re Done!
To use your amazingly simple and well-built bike lift, just slide it under your frame member while making sure that there is enough clearance for your exhaust pipes and oil plug. Holding the bike upright with your left hand on the handlebar (clutch side), just push the lift handle downward towards the rear of the bike with your fight hand. Don’t be shy and give it a good push. Presto - your bike is all set to be worked on. It is a lot like how you lift a bike up if you had a center-stand. The bike dows rock backwards 3-4 inches when lifted so make sure you have space. By the way, you can also reverse this approach and lift it from the right side if you prefer (for you lefties). Also by shifting the location of the lift forward or backward slightly, you can lift the front wheel or the rear depending on placement.
Change the oil; clean the chain; check your belt tension; change a flat tire; wash and clean; or anything you wanted to get done. You may even want to use this lift for winter storage. So now let's get out there and ride!
Some mod’s to consider:
- Wrap the board with carpet to prevent scuffing your frame’s paint
- Notch the board if you need clearance for bolts; drains; or other between the frame tube interferences.
- Add castors so your lift can be used as a bike roller allowing you to move it around easily. Note that if you do this, you can still use the flat side for a stationary lift by turning the lift around and using it from the other side of the bike.
- Add eyebolts to the top side of the board for tie-downs to your bike if you want more stability.
- If you need a taller lift, screw a 1”x4” or a 2”x”4” to the narrow edge to add height