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How to Use a Motorcycle Lift Table


Love working on your motorcycle, but hate bending down or getting on your hands and knees to get to hard-to-reach spots on your bike? There’s a better way to work on your bike—with the help of a lift table, you can make everything from cleaning to routine maintenance a breeze. Read on to learn how easy it is to safely use a motorcycle lift.

Types of motorcycle lifts

There are several types of lift tables on the market that can lift your motorcycle with ease. They’re generally classified by the type of power they use: air, pneumatic or hydraulic. They can also vary in terms of size of the tabletop, lifting height, wheel vise and available accessories. While operating these tables depends on the type of power they use, you generally take the same steps to load and secure the motorcycle in place. Here’s how to do just that.

To make your shopping experience easier, check out our comprehensive Buying Guide for Motorcycle Lift Tables, which includes a comparison table to make it easier to compare dimensions, features and accessories.

How to use a motorcycle lift table

Safety is paramount, so let's talk about how to properly load and raise up and lower your motorcycle:

  1. Start by prepping the lift. You need to make sure the wheel vise is set to the proper width to accommodate the motorcycle’s front wheel.
  2. Next, lower the lift completely to the floor and secure your ramp to the lift.
  3. Prepare the motorcycle itself by attaching straps or soft loops to the handlebars, then prep your ratchet straps and keep them within reach of the front vise.
  4. Now, the bike and lift are ready, and you can slowly wheel the bike onto the ramp.
  5. Hold the handlebars of the bike, then tightly secure the wheel vise.
  6. Attach one of the ratchet straps to a tie-down point on the lift and then to the straps on the bike and tighten the strap until you feel tension. Repeat on the other side, ensuring the straps are even so the bike stays level.
  7. Now that the bike is in place and is stable, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for raising the lift, and lowering it once you’re done.

Tips for using motorcycle lifts

A motorcycle lift table is a useful tool to have around the garage, but only if you’re using it properly. Here are some important tips you should follow when using a motorcycle lift table:

Keep the bike stable

Motorcycles are heavy vehicles, so lifting them is going to be a real balancing act. Before loading your bike on a lift table, make sure you know where its center of gravity is, and make sure the vehicle is balanced whenever you’re lifting it. Use your lift table’s built-in wheel clamps or install wheel chocks if your table doesn’t have them. You should also check and double-check your attachment points before lifting and while the bike is raised to make sure the bike remains completely stable.

Know the bike’s wet weight

You need a lift table that has enough weight capacity to bear the weight of your bike, which means you need to understand its wet weight. Take into account your bike’s wet weight, as well as the weight of any accessories like mounted wheel chocks, so you can be sure the lift can support the load.

Check the hose location

If you’re using a lift table that’s powered by an air compressor, make sure you know where the hose is before you load your bike onto the table. If the hose gets caught under the frame, the lift won’t operate. This step is especially important when you’re installing a new lift or repositioning a new one.

The Black Widow Hydraulic Lift Table has built-in rubber padding on the chock

Use padding when necessary

Many motorcycle lift tables, like the ones you’ll find at Black Widow Pro, come with handy built-in rubber padding, but other lift tables often don’t. You need to make sure your bike is protected from scratches by adding padding against any part of the table that touches the bike. Use clean rags or strips of rubber to pad the wheel mounts, and always make sure your tie-downs aren’t touching the bike.

Invest in the best motorcycle lifts for safety and efficiency

A high-quality motorcycle lift makes motorcycle maintenance much safer and easier.

Need help finding the right table for your needs? Reach out to our knowledgable staff and discover the lift table that’s best for you.

Have any tips of your own about using a motorcycle lift the right way? Let us know in the comments!

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