The 9 Best Motorcycle Lifts
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Whether you own an automotive shop and require a jack to raise your customer's rides or you prefer to do your own maintenance on your machines, you'll find one of these motorcycle lifts perfect for your needs. Not only do they provide a stable structure to work on cruisers, sport, touring, and dirt bikes, but they do so at a comfortable height and without limiting access to the engine. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 21, 2021:
Most of our choices from last year looked to still be in good standing, but we did notice some availability issues surrounding some of our lower-ranked choices. As a result, we ended up removing the Strongway NT77561X, Liftmaster DL3501 and Pit Posse PP2551sa.
We added the Zeny JA015250 to our list because we were impressed with its budget-friendly price and convenient collapsible design. At just 33 pounds, we thought that this might make a nice pick for infrequent riders that are best off storing their lift on a shelf, out of the way in between infrequent maintenance sessions. All this being said, we did take note of some user reports describing ball-bearing issues. So, watch out for that, or consider spending a bit more and going wide of this one, if that sounds like something you aren’t willing to risk dealing with.
By contrast, the Million Parts Hoist MP-LiftSd-0010 weighs almost twice as much, at 62 pounds. It won’t fold up as neatly as our new pick from Zeny, but is outfitted with a couple of casters, which make it easy to drag it out of the way. It features a 17-inch maximum lift, compared to 13-1/4 inches for the Zeny lift, but it requires 5-1/2 inches clearance, while the Zeny needs only 3-1/4.
If the options you see here are a bit slight for you liking, then you might have better luck looking for bigger options on our list of motorcycle lift tables.
January 01, 2020:
When it comes to motorcycle lifts, or really any kind of heavy machinery lift from car jacks to engine hoists, the ability safely hold its rated weight is the top priority. After that, overall longevity and ease of use should be considered, along with additional features such as tie-down points, platform material, and portability. With these factors in mind, we felt the need to eliminate the Torin Big Red during this update, as there were simply too many complaints of it failing in various manners. There were even some reports of it unexpectedly dropping a bike. We also eliminated the Milestone Tools PowerZone 380047 because we found that its rated capacity is greatly over exaggerated in real-world use and felt this could potentially lead to unsafe situations.
Now let's talk about the models we are happy with. If you want the versatility to work on ATVs and even snowmobiles, in addition to your motorcycle, the APlusLift MT1500X is your best bet. It is a pneumatic lift that makes raising and lowering heavy loads easy, and it includes a small scissor-style jack that can be used independently. If you don't need the ability to work on anything other than motorcycles and would rather save a bit of space in your garage, the Rage Powersports Essential Shop Kit BW-SK-E offers essentially the same features, just in a more compact package.
Of course, not everybody has the room for, or needs, one of these large, commercial-quality models. For those consumers, we have included Rage Powersports Black Widow and OrionMotorTech ZX09-08, which sit on the other side of the spectrum. Though compact, these models are still capable of lifting bikes over 1,000 pounds. The Liftmaster DL3501 is another small model that requires little storage space, but is best suited to lightweight motorcycles of 500 pounds or less.
While the above are perfectly suitable for many home users, we think most will find the OTC 1545 360, VivoHome Hydraulic, and Strongway NT66751X to be more convenient. They all sit on casters for easy repositioning and offer manual hydraulically-assisted operation. Plus, their handles are removable to allow full, 360-degree access to motorcycles.
Tuxedo M-1000C The air-powered Tuxedo M-1000C allows you to customize the lift to meet your specific needs. When purchasing it, you can choose to add on 12-inch side extensions, a 13-inch front extension, a wheel vise, and a cycle jack. It offers a 30-inch working height and, depending on the configuration, can be used to work on jet skis, ATVs, and snowmobiles, in addition to motorcycles. tuxedodistributors.com
Titan Ramps 840031 Offering a half-ton capacity and crafted from heavy-duty 11 gauge steel, the Titan Ramps 840031 is perfect for commercial mechanic shops. It utilizes hydraulics to lift bikes and features a dual-pedal system that makes it less likely to accidentally lower and motorcycle when you are trying to raise it higher, or vice versa. titanramps.com
Motorcycle Lifts: The Basics
However, the expenses saved by owning a motorcycle, i.e. lower insurance, less gas, and less total cost, are nullified by the high maintenance costs.
Motorcycles are notorious for requiring more maintenance than their four-wheeled counterparts. The novice motorcycle rider will bring in their bike to be serviced for the simplest of jobs: oil changes and basic cosmetic cleaning. However, the expenses saved by owning a motorcycle, i.e. lower insurance, less gas, and less total cost, are nullified by the high maintenance costs. Yet there is hope for the novice rider in the form of the motorcycle lift.
The lift, which is similar to a carjack is designed to elevate the bike, making it easier to work on. The motorcycle lift is a type of lift table that is designed to raise and lower items with a scissors mechanism. Given that most lifts can elevate the bike several feet off of the ground, you no longer have to crawl underneath it or hunch over in uncomfortable poses. Motorcycle lifts are built for ease and comfort, facilitating work on hard-to-reach areas. This is why they are so common in bike mechanic shops where mechanics are constantly adjusting motorcycles.
Before we delve any further into the components of a motorcycle lift, let's discuss first the properties of what you will be lifting; a motorcycle. Most models are under one thousand pounds, and can be lifted off the ground with minimal help if you happen to knock it over accidentally.. This means that a motorcycle lift doesn't need to be as powerful as a car jack. Considering the off-balance nature of stationary two-wheel vehicles, the lift will include measures to secure the bike; a front wheel lock, for example, or straps.
What You Need Out of Your Lift
The most basic of models will simply raise and lower your bike securely. However, depending on your lifestyle and your expertise with motorcycles, you may want to consider additional features. Most lifts are made of steel, though other metals such as aluminum are becoming popular. Whatever the material, the lift must be durable. Most models are capable of lifting upwards of one thousand pounds. This will cover a majority of motorcycles, however, if you own a large cruiser, make sure the lift can handle its immense weight.
I recommend a large lift with side and front extensions if your bike is larger, or you do all the maintenance yourself and can afford the extra room.
The design of a lift can vary from a basic jack to a fully loaded lift bay. Again, depending on your bike, a small lift may suffice. I recommend a large lift with side and front extensions if your bike is larger, or you do all the maintenance yourself and can afford the extra room. The larger lift models are also capable of handling other recreational vehicles, such as a boat or ATV.
You may be asking yourself, how does the lift work? Do I need to do any of the heavy lifting (if you will pardon the pun?) The lift elevates the bike with a simple lever that is most often hydraulic and it will require almost no muscle on the operator's part. In fact, many lifts are operated by a foot pedal. Also, an approach ramp can be added to wheel the bike up the lift with ease; simply place the bike in neutral and walk it up until it is secure.
Once the bike is in the lift, there is the possibility of scratching or denting the bike if it's not lifted properly. Some lifts feature additional items to protect the bike such as rubber saddles, which will ensure that the frame of the bike is not dinged or scratched.
Do You Really Need a Lift?
I can praise the glories of the motorcycle lift from now until kingdom come, but I also want to deter you from frivolous spending. You would not be the ideal candidate if you are intimidated by bike work and you never intend to learn. Most likely, the motorcycle lift will accumulate dust in your garage and your mechanic bills will continue increase. Though it behooves all riders to learn how to troubleshoot and repair basic motorcycle issues as well as keep them maintained in tip top shape.
Another factor is the space needed for the lift and to work on your bike. If you don't have a workspace or garage, maintenance at home may prove to be a challenge, in which case there is no reason to purchase a lift. Those who are new to working on motorcycles, but have decided to maintain there bike themselves, should still consider bringing into a professional shop at least once a year for a tune up. This gives an experienced mechanic a chance to spot any issues that need to be addressed which you may not have noticed yourself. Sometimes a serious maintenance issue can arise from a small matter left unattended for a long period of time, resulting in more costs at a later date.