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Best Practices for Using a Motorcycle Lift Table

Best Practices for Using a Motorcycle Lift Table

Doing your own motorcycle maintenance can be a point of personal pride, and there’s something satisfying about getting up and close with your bike. However, as with most things in life, there’s a right way to do motorcycle maintenance and a wrong way. Riding your bike up onto some old plywood boards for better access to the radiator? Don’t even think about it. Stringing up the back wheel so you can clean the chain? No thank you. Using an auto jack? An incredibly bad idea that can result in injury or damage. When performing maintenance, your top priority should be safety first. Motorcycle lift tables allow you to raise the entire bike at once in a controlled, steady way for easy access. They can be incredibly useful tools that can become incredibly dangerous if used improperly.

Here are some key factors to keep in mind when using motorcycle lift tables:

Keep Clear

Keep Clear

Keep the area around the lift clear to prevent your bike from being jostled as it raises or lowers. If you’re working with limited space, the last thing you want is to start raising your lift only to have an overflowing workbench catch a handlebar and tip your ride over. When lowering the lift, one quick check around the base will prevent you from accidentally coming down on something as simple as a garbage can or toolbox and tipping your bike off the lift and onto the floor.

Understand the Gravity of the Situation

Understand the Gravity of the Situation

Lifting up any 750 lb. machine is going to be a balancing act, and the best you can do is be prepared. Know where your bike’s center of gravity is located, and take measures to keep your machine balanced every step of the way. Frequently stop and check to see if your bike looks and feels stable, especially before raising and lowering the table, and definitely if you plan on really getting in there and doing some hard work. Take advantage of built-in wheel clamps or install your own wheel chock if your table doesn’t have a built-in unit.

Know Your Bike’s Wet Weight

Know Your Bike’s Wet Weight

Before using any lift, whether it’s the one in your shop or your buddy’s, know the wet weight capacity of your bike and take the weight of any accessories into the equation, such as a mounted wheel chock. The lift’s weight capacity should greatly exceed that amount. This is especially important if you regularly service more than one bike, because then you must make sure the lift you use can not only support one of them, but it can support the weight and some of the largest motorbike with fully topped up fluids.

Double-Check Your Attachment Points

Double-Check Your Attachment Points

Once your bike is in your wheel clamp, tie-downs are secure and you’re getting ready to roll, take some time to jostle the straps and try to turn the wheel. If it still feels loose, tighten the straps more, or consider swapping out the wheel clamp for a mounted wheel chock to keep your bike locked down.

Watch Out for The Hose

Watch Out for The Hose

Sometimes it’s the simplest thing that can cause the most confusion. If your lift table is operated by a compressor, check where the hose is before you load up your motorcycle because if it’s caught under the frame, you might find that you press that “up” button and nothing happens! Be being mindful every time you use your lift, especially if installing a new lift or repositioning a new one, this is a small risk that can be easily mitigated.

Pad Appropriately

Pad Appropriately

Although some motorcycle lift tables will come with built-in rubber padding, such as the Black Widow BW-680, many do not. Prevent scratches and paint damage by using a buffer against any areas that touch your bike. You can use strips of rubber or clean rags against the wheel mounts, and always check to see whether your tie downs are rubbing against the body of your bike. If they’re rubbing a little bit, they’re be rubbing a whole lot more once you start your maintenance and a scrap of cloth is a lot cheaper than body paint.