Need some advice about garage gear

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by georgesgiralt, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. georgesgiralt

    georgesgiralt Been here awhile

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    Hello Folks,
    Sorry to post this here but as I will only use it for an airhead, I need specific advice !
    My back is getting worse and worse as I'm not going younger. So for Christmas my wife said "why won't you buy something to elevate you" :D

    I'm considering the device shown to lift my '82 R65 for repair and oil change.
    I've seen with the various images posted here that some of you use this contraption (or a near cousin as Chinese stuff is everywhere..)
    Could you please tell me the pros and con on old airhead bikes. For instance is it suitable for big job like tranny removal or rear transmission job ?
    Is it mandatory to modify this for safety and if yes how ? Does the frame gets marred ?
    A lot of questions but my money is limited as is space in the garage so if I could avoid the more bulky bike lift it would be a plus... [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    I've got the Craftsman version of this lift, basically the same unit. It goes under the centerstand and skidplate of my 1150 and balances near perfectly. I do throw a ratchet strap across the saddle when its at working height, mostly to keep the bike from falling on me.

    Things it is handy for right out of the box:
    Changing wheels
    Elevating the heads to a comfortable seated working height (awesome for valve adjustments)
    Unloading the suspension for maint./replacement

    Things you need to build a deck for:
    Transmission extraction
    Oil changes


    I do have a deck for mine - its two sheets of 2x8' 3/4" plywood glued and screwed together with steel angle reinforcement along the sides. There are four tie-down points to secure the bike to the deck. This bolts to the lift, a ramp allows me to get the bike up there (its about 6" tall) and blocks stabilize the assembly during loading. Once the GS is on, it goes up on the centerstand, is tied down and lifted. Because it has a relatively narrow base for its length, I cut and install a 2x4 "leg" under each corner. It is a bit of a PITA to use like this, I generally do oil changes on the floor - I can have that job done faster than if I was using the deck. For transmission work, it cannot be beat. With the bike on the centerstand (or suitably jacked and blocked), everything is at a decent height and there is lots of table space for tools and bits.

    Ideally, I'd have an air-over-hydraulic lift buried in the floor for some jobs and this lift for others. Not really wanting to spend the $$ to bury a table lift, I'll use what I've got.
    #2
  3. oz_airhead

    oz_airhead Been here awhile

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    I have the same problem a small workshop. A large lift would take too much space.

    I ended up with one of these:

    http://www.kendonusa.com/sportlift.html

    A bit of a compromise, as you cannot use the main stand. Some jobs just can't be done on this ramp because of this. The bike must be tied down as well. It is very well designed and the workmanship is very good - this reflects in the price. An optional jack is available to enable limited work to the rear end. Also the bike can only be put on one way, ie. can't be reversed on to ramp.

    Overall I'm happy.

    HTH

    ~OZ
    #3
  4. chollo9

    chollo9 Screwed the Pooch

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    #4
  5. caponerd

    caponerd Kickstart Enthusiast

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    I have one of those, but they leave a lot to be desired as a workstand.

    Harbor Frieght sells a larger hydraulic stand which is more like the ones the pros use which picks up the entire bike to a convenient height.
    I think they sell for around $300-$400.

    Those smaller ones don't raise the bike high enough to keep you from kneeling or bending over to work on it, and they're only able to support a stock airhead by pressing against the exhaust system. You can't do much work on the bike if the exhaust system is what's holding it up.
    #5
  6. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

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    I presently do not use a jack. I built a stand that I can ride the bike up onto and get the bike about 2 feet off the ground. It takes up a lot of room and can be a pain because of it's size and weight. Very hard to move around and out of the way.

    I have seen the same jack as shown in first picture of thread that has been modified with little arms with cradles on top that are bolted to the top of the jack. They can swivel around so that you can get the cradles underneath the frame in 4 spots. This makes more sense to me. I think that a little Googling will find the add-on that could be adapted to any of those types of jack. I think that you would still have to strap the bike on to the stand for safety. We are planning to move (downsize) soon, so I will probably be looking for something like that in the near future.
    #6
  7. subagon

    subagon Hopelessly lost

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    #7
  8. Gerg

    Gerg Gergy Bear

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    I've got one of the jacks pictured in your first post (very similiar) and have used it on various bikes for the last ~10 years. It is not a good choice for oil changes. I usually dump the oil and filter doing the floor crawl, install the filter and button it up and then put it on the jack.

    Storing that sucker takes a bunch of real estate so don't kid yourself. If you park a car in the garage, the Harbor Freight table lift might fit under the car while parked. You might need to remove the front wheel chalk but it'll be much handier than the sissor type.

    Gerg
    #8
  9. jbcaddy

    jbcaddy Long timer

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    I like that! It sure will store in a smaller area than the Harbor Freight stand I was going to buy. Thanks! JB
    #9
  10. georgesgiralt

    georgesgiralt Been here awhile

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    Hi guys !
    I knew I should ask to get so good advice ! The plywood stand is a terrific idea !
    As per the whole stand looking like the ones the pros uses, and sold at the French Harbor Freight equivalent it sells for around 350 Euros which is around 360 ~ 400 USD including shipping. Storing it under the car is a no go because there is a hole in the garage to get under the car to change oil and, as such, the floor is not flat. (the hole is closed with lager wood panels (4 inches thick ) laid on a steel frame protruding from the floor. this way you know if one of the car's tire is rolling on it. So putting the stand here is difficult as the floor is not flush...)
    My main concern about the plywood stand is to keep it from moving when you run the bike on it and how the bike goes up on the stand ... (one person only and not so strong...)
    #10
  11. georgesgiralt

    georgesgiralt Been here awhile

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    Twilight Error, would you be so kind to post pictures of your stand with the deck and the extension to get the bike on ?
    It would be greatly appreciated !
    Thanks a lot in advance !
    #11
  12. Big Bamboo

    Big Bamboo Aircooled & Sunbaked

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    I have the Harbor Freight lift and love it, and it does fit under my VW Kombi. One other option I've used is a pair of ratcheting come alongs from the ceiling rafters (when there was no other option).
    #12
  13. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    I had the craftsmen lift, jacked failed just outside of a year of med use, with lightish dirtbikes
    I couldn't get a replacement jack for less then the cost of a new one.
    I sold it for scrap.

    I have a kendon standup lift at work and it's decent for light use. I wouldn't stand up to heavy everyday use

    but for lifting a bike about once a week it's been great. But you always have to use the tiedowns and front wheel chock as it's not wide enough to have the bike on the centerstand
    #13
  14. More_Miles

    More_Miles ├╝ber-n00b

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    I'll second the assertion about being a PITA during an oil change. Unless I lift on the exhaust pipes (hell no!) it's supporting the bike on the oil pan and centre stand and right in the way if the oil drain. Last time I tried doing this, oil all over the lift, the floor, me, oh and some in the drain pan!

    I did a tire change this spring with it, and even strapped down, once I hauled the back tire off, the whole thing wanted to upend itself and go arse over tea kettle. That and I had to have the whole thing up in the air a looooong way to be able to drop the rear wheel clear of the bags and fender/mud flap.

    It's constantly in the way in my very limited space and I've not found a good way of dealing with that.

    In my book, about the only pro is the ability to lift a bike and manoeuvre it around in the garage. I use mine for "parallel parking" the bike out of the way for winter storage. Lift the bike and roll it into a spot I couldn't roll it in on it's own wheels.

    Fortunately mine was a gift. I would much rather the table lift myself. Although the idea of making a table for it is interesting to say the least. I'm slapping my head for not thinking of it myself!
    #14
  15. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    I can, but not tonight, my garage is ~30 miles away and I *just* got back to my apartment.
    #15
  16. georgesgiralt

    georgesgiralt Been here awhile

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    No problem at all ! I waited 54 years to get a bike lift.... so I can wait a few hours more :rofl
    Have a nice day !
    #16
  17. TINK

    TINK Been here awhile

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    My PROJECT-S http://www.photosbytink.com/bmw/ has been on the lift stand too long :(:

    As you can see I have blocked the bike up so that it clears the pipes... which are in the rafters :cry

    Look around on Craigslist, new guys buy these all the time then sell there bike and unload the lift for cheap :nod

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    I did some excavating in my Smuggy, I found a bunch of pics where I used the table to dismantle my crashed 1100GS.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #18