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5 Great Ways To Lift Your Motorcycle For Simple Troubleshooting

How To Lift Your Motorcycle

Whether you are changing a tire or lubricating your chain, you need to jack up your motorcycle. Lifting up a motorcycle is easy enough if you have a motorcycle jack. You just need to know how to use it. But if you don’t a floor jack, you are looking for an alternative. Here, we’ll be offering several methods of jacking up your motorcycle.

A motorcycle can be lifted by using a floor jack, motorcycle jack, or car jack. Some bikes can be lifted up on a DIY jack. This works as long as the bike has a flat surface in the middle. 

I guess you are eager to know how everything works. We’ll be going through each method step-by-step.

Lifting A Motorcycle With A Motorcycle Jack

The best method you can go for is the motorcycle jack. The others work just fine but only on certain models. A car jack will lift your bike but not at the height you wanted. Bike jacks ensure that your vehicle stays in place and that you have enough room to work on the chain, the wheels, and the engine.

  1. Place the jack under the bike, at the bottom, just under the engine.
    Although it does not look like it, you can never go wrong here, at least with a bike jack. Just make sure the jack is under the engine. This is a flat surface. Also, make sure the flat area covers the jack stand.
  2. Start slowly lifting the stand, just a bit.
    Stop here, and check if everything is okay. You want the weight of the bike to be centered on the stand. Just make sure if you continue lifting that your bike will stay okay.
  3. Continue lifting.
    If you have the position set, you should have no problems lifting the bike. Continue with the hydraulic jack. Once in a while, stop and check if the weight distribution is equal through the entire bike. You don’t want the whole weight on the rear wheel, your bike will flip.

That’s it, you are done. You can stop lifting at the height you want. As you can see, using a bike jack is really easy.

Lifting A Motorcycle With A Floor Jack

This type of motorcycle lift is a bit more complicated. The problem is that you have to pay attention to the weight distribution here. With the bike jack, you just had to place it under the engine. It provides extra grip for bikes, so there wasn’t any need for caution. However, using a floor jack as a bike lift may lead to some accidents.

  1. Find a place for jack placement.
    I already said you have to be careful here. The bike can be lifted only if there’s a flat surface that can be placed on the jack platform. Most modern bikes have a flat surface between the rear tire and the front wheel. That’s your flat working surface. Keep in mind, any bumps or curves on the surface touching the lift table will result in the bike tripping over.
  2. Make sure that the weight displacement is equal on both wheels.
  3. Start with a head lift. 
    Is everything okay? This is where some people go wrong. Some bikes have a lifted front wheel while the rear tire is lower to the ground. These bikes will lean toward the rear when you start lifting. You want your bike in an upright position for the head lift. Have a friend lift the rear wheel for the head lift. He can let go once the actual lift starts going.
  4. Continue slowly.
    Since this is not a motorcycle jack, and it works only if the bike is nicely positioned. While you are lifting, the bike may move from the lift table if you are going too fast. So, take it slow and make sure the bike is always in an upright position.

There you go, you are done lifting. Not as complicated as it seems. Floor jacks are more universal, so you have to take a safety measure here and there.

Lifting A Motorcycle With A Car Jack

Car jacks are not that different from the other types of hydraulic lift tools. The only difference is that a car jack has a much smaller center stand. So, you’ll have to make some adjustments. The process is not different, the only different thing is the contact surface.

  1. Position the car jack under the bike and find a contact surface.
    I guess you understood by now that we are looking for the center of the bike, the center of the bike. This is the area where you can lift but the weight displacement will stay equal. Meaning, your bike won’t flip. The standard car jack has only one lever as a stand. So, you will have to be precise. Place the flat car jack exactly in the middle of the flat surface.
  2. Slowly start lifting.
    The rest is just the same as every type of motorcycle lift method. You just have to go slowly while making sure the bike stays upright.

How Do You Jack Up A Motorcycle Without A Center Stand

I know that a lot of you are wondering about forklift alternatives. That’s why I wanted you to offer some homemade solutions. I still recommend you buy a bike lift. You will need this if you want to do regular light maintenance by yourself.

Using A Wooden Board

If you don’t have the time nor the will to buy a lift jack, you can just build a stand lift by yourself. You will need 2/3 wooden boards, a handsaw, a measuring tape, and a flat, lifted area to place the board.

This solution works only if you have friends to help you lift your bike. So, you’ll be doing the lifting by yourself. And, you’ll be making the center stand.

  1. Measure the flat surface of your bike.
  2. Cut down the wooden board so it will fit the flat surface.
    We are cutting this so we can make it shorter. That way, the wheels will be in the air, while the flat surface will be on the board.
  3. Place the wooden board in a lifted place.
  4. Lift the bike with your friends and place it on the board.
  5. Optional: Use a tie-down strap to keep the bike from falling over.

Using Straps

Another thing you can through, although this is very situational, is the tie-down straps method. The idea is to lift the bike in the air using straps. You will need something to lift the bike though. A forklift is a good idea. Place several straps over the bike(over the flat area) and tie them down to the forklift. Then, just lift it up.

Do you get the idea? So, make some adjustments. Use whatever you have. Do this at your own risk though.

Additional Tips

  • If you are changing tires you don’t have to use a bike jack, a bike stand will probably do.
  • Have a friend or two help you, whatever method you are doing. If you have someone to keep an eye on the bike, you don’t have to worry about it falling over.
  • Check the service manual for your bike. The contact surface will be listed there. If you can’t find a flat surface on your bike, the service manual will tell you where to look.
  • Check for any oil leaks while you have the bike lifted.
  • You don’t have to lift up the bike all the way if you are doing basic maintenance. Lift it up all the way if you are doing heavy maintenance.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

How Do You Secure A Motorcycle On A Lift

A motorcycle jack has D-rings for securing the bike. Use these to secure the bike. Car jacks and floor jacks do not have these rings. You will have to use tie-down straps to fix the bike on the lift.

Can You Change Motorcycle Oil Without Stand

Yes, you can change motorcycle oil without using a stand. You will have a small working area though. It’s not dangerous for the bike if you don’t damage anything yourself. Changing oil without a stand is harmful only when you knock up other parts because you have no working area.

What Happens When You Lay A Motorcycle Down

Some harmful things happen to the bike when it’s down. The acid from the battery will start leaking. The throttle and the levers get damaged from the pressure. The paint can get scratched up. And a lot of other fluids may end up in bad places.

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