Best practices using a motorcycle lift table

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by bobframe, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. bobframe

    bobframe Been here awhile

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    I thought it would be helpful (at least it would be to me!) to collect techniques, ideas, tips and best practices as well as the "what not do do's" with regards to using a motorcycle lift table. I'm a new lift table owner and I'll admit to being a bit nervous when my bike goes on, up, down and off the lift table. Especially when tending to thing by myself.

    So, if you've been there/done that with a lift table and have any suggestions on what to do or not do...please chime in.

    Here's my contribution that you can file under "Duh, that's obvious".

    I recently loaded my bike onto the table, strapped it down and then depressed the "UP" pedal. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Checked to be sure the compressor was on...check. "Great", I thought..."new table and it's already got a problem". Upon further review, I noticed that I had managed to allow the air hose to get directly under one of the rear legs of the table, which pinched the hose shut and blocked all air from the table.

    So, boys and girls, make sure you know where the air hose is and keep it the heck away from the table when lowering things.

    Many thanks,

    Bob
    #1
  2. wsmc831

    wsmc831 Been here awhile

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    Had one for 13 years so far and don't know I've ever found it more complicated than push bike up, tighten front wheel clamp, put on under/swingarm stand, begin work.
    #2
  3. bomber60015

    bomber60015 tikkun olam Supporter

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    I am really tempted to wrting sonmthing grumpy, like, "if you need a best pracices thread to use a lift, you shouldn't buy a lift."

    But, then, I recollected that I do know how to spell Hubris, and decided to hush up.
    #3
  4. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    If you have the bike on the lift while using a rear stand, be sure to secure the rear stand if you plan to raise the front with a front stand. I did a lot of damage to my track bike when the rear stand started sliding backwards while I was working on the front. Total trainwreck when the rear stand slid off the back of the lift. And I had the lift high enough so the bike ended upside down on the floor. Since then I drilled a couple holes in the back of the lift and use a "U bracket" or clamp around the handle of the rear stand to secure it. My problem was the front wheel clamp was in the way so I started moving the bike backwards to get room to work on the front. Didnt realize how far back I had it. If my front wheel clamp came off easy, it would have been a different story.

    I also have a heavy rod that runs from the ceiling parallel to the lift so if I want to add some straps to secure the bike I can. Just don't forget to release those straps when lowering the lift.

    PMR
    #4
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  5. concours

    concours WFO for 47 years

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    Mind your center of gravity.. My HF lift, when in the down position, is way over the front caster/leveling screws. Usually no problem, but, when jacking in the center of the table ( like for swing arm removal, etc) it gets funky. A ratchet strap from the front wheel chock Up to the ceiling joists restores order. Seems simple to me, but I've been rigging for 30 years.
    #5
  6. bobframe

    bobframe Been here awhile

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    Hush up works for me.
    #6
  7. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    Not for me...

    How many threads are you going to start in this sub-forum to find out how to put your bike on the lift table?
    #7
  8. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

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    Make sure everything... EVERYTHING is out of the way when it comes down. I lowered mine once and it caught the edge of my garage garbage can. All ended well but my lift is only attached at the front scissor. All else is rollers on the table and frame. The front lowered, the rear didn't. 1000lb bike and well over 1000lb lift yet a Rubbermaid can nearly killed it all :eek1

    If you have safeties on your lift, use them. If not, lower it when a bike is on it and you are leaving it overnight.

    Get a bunch of those cheap $3 6" magnetic bowls from Harbor Freight. They stick to the lift and can be placed all over to hold screws, nuts and sockets.

    Oya, common sense but if you have kids or dumbass friends, disconnect the controls when not in use.
    #8
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  9. gsweave

    gsweave Yinz, blinkers are on, JACKWAD! Super Supporter

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    :lol3 he is a bit fussy:wink:aboot the little things
    #9
  10. NHPROEQUIP

    NHPROEQUIP n00b

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    I recommend making sure your vise is lined with rubber (some sell them this way, some don't) to avoid scratching vehicle.
    #10
  11. SnoDrtRider

    SnoDrtRider I've been lost here before...

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    Never rely on just the vice to secure the bike even (especially) when using jacks or stands.
    #11
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  12. Tall Man

    Tall Man Priest, Temple of Syrinx

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    By way of example, the wet weight of the Triumph Rocket III is 771 lbs. A ready to ride H-D Ultra Limited comes in at 908 lbs.
    What were/are you riding that weighs a full half ton?
    #12
  13. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

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    A ready to ride H-D Ultra Limited with all the extra crap like an amp in the fairing, XM radio (factory add on so it's heavy), Larger speakers, tweeter bar, (yep, I can be that guy if I want to - but its for the open road), cruise boards... like highway pegs but much larger, tools, air pump for suspension and tires, and all the other crap. Maybe not quite 1000 lbs but at least 50lbs over factory. Man, I really need to sell that bike, I love it but haven't ridden it since September and may not get a chance to ride it for another 6 months.
    #13
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  14. DualSpaz

    DualSpaz Been here awhile

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    Check both sides of the lift before lowering. I left a tire leaning against the far side of the lift. When I went to lower it, the tire supported the one side and the bike and lift started coming over on top of me. Luckily the bike on the lift was a 146 lb. trials bike. I was able to hold everything upright and hit the pedal to raise it back up. If that had been the wifes 800 Tiger, I'd have been screwed.
    #14
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  15. Disco Stu

    Disco Stu Long timer

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    If you put the bike on the center stand, use a ratcheting strap between the center stand and the front wheel, to keep the bike from rocking backward off the center stand.
    #15
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  16. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Put the bike on it before raising it?

    Sorry, just had to be said...
    #16
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  17. Aprilia

    Aprilia Long timer

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    I also thought the same...if you have to ask maybe you shouldn't buy a lift. Sat there for a few minutes to think back on nearly 20yrs using my Handy lift....what not to do. Then it dawned on me. I do have a suggestion....!

    This actually happened...pulled my Aprilia Futura up on the lift. Not to work on it but to get it out of the way. Rather than chocking the front wheel in the vise I put the side stand down. A good 20 min later I'm across the garage and hear 'squeak.....' I knew the sound was tire moving on the powder coated paint of the my lift. Front wheel was turning to the left. However, as the wheel was turning the side stand was sliding towards the edge. It was like slow motion...I get about 2 steps as the side stand goes off the lift (7" drop to garage floor). Bike jerks down as the side stand hits the garage floor then the bike rotates over. I stop and cringe waiting for the bike to land and plastic to shatter. Just a loud "THUD". No sounds of plastic breaking. The bike appears to be levitating inches off the ground. I'm completely dumbfounded and run over to the bike and grab the handle bars. Give them a tug but just too heavy. I don't want to let go as it might not stay where it is. Finally, I let go and get on my hands and knees and look underneath. The only thing touching is my bar end, side stand and side case. I call three neighbors and the four of us have to literally lift the bike up then stand it back up on the tires. Tiny scratchs on bar end and even smaller scratches (1/2") on the saddle bag. Don't put a bike on your lift using just the side stand...if you do at the very least turn the bars to the left.
    #17
  18. shovelstrokeed

    shovelstrokeed Long timer

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    What goes up must come down. Velocity, azimuth and trajectory can and will vary.
    #18
  19. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    I actually just said it because it struck me as funny.

    I will say I have the low buck HF front wheel chock which works fairly effectively. Tire won't turn much and it holds a fair amount of the bike vertically, although I wouldn't trust it to hold without a hand on the fork or bar. I hook tie downs relatively loose, barely compressing the forks. To get the bike out of the chock I usually hold the bike by one bar end, reach down and roll the front wheel back to help get it started then roll the bike out. But my heaviest bike is only about 400 lb.
    #19
  20. Cow Boy Brad

    Cow Boy Brad brad1098

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    #20