Anyone who has tried to work on their bike, whether restoration or routine maintenance, out of necessity or for pleasure, know that doing it with the bike on the ground can be a real pain – literally.
Being hunched over the top end of an engine, for example, while checking valve clearances or working on carburettors can be a real pain in the back while an oil change can mean lying on the ground and contorting, looking for the drain plug or the oil filter itself.
However, there are ways to make things easier and getting your bike off the ground is one of these.
There are some jobs that need the bike raised off the ground – taking the wheels or suspension off, for example. However, most jobs will be made easier by raising the bike.
Here is a selection of ways to get your bike off the ground to tackle whatever jobs you need to do.
The best motorcycle lifts and benches
Draper Lift Pad
This simple scissor-lift pad from Draper goes under the frame of the bike or a suitable location and you wind up the screw thread, which lifts the bike off the ground.
It’s a basic but effective-looking solution (you can also get versions that locate on the frame tubes with semi-circular pads) and will support a bike up to 450kg so should be good for almost anything you’re likely to want to raise.
Pros: Simple; effective; decent capacity
Cons: Obscures bike where being lifted
Oypla MX Bike Lift
Designed for lighter motocross and enduro bikes (which often have no sidestand), this familiar style of lift is foot-operated, so you position the lift under the bike and put your weight down on the lever and it lifts the bike off the ground.
It has a capacity of 150kg so clearly for light, off-road bikes but gets them a decent height into the air for repairs or maintenance.
Pros: Easy to operate; fast; lightweight and effective
Cons: Low capacity
Oxford Paddock Stands
Paddock stands are really useful to get one or both wheels off the ground while also standing the bike upright for any sort of work on it. While you can get ones with wheels on to allow the bike to be moved around, these Premium stands from Oxford are best sellers at Sportsbikeshop and with good reason. The rear comes with pads and bobbin hooks and both have long handles for easy use.
Pros: Quick and easy to use; get both wheels off the ground; stand bike upright
Cons: Cannot remove suspension
BikeIt Front Head Stand
If you need to remove the front forks from your bike u2013 you need to replace the oil seals, for example- then a traditional front paddock stand wonu2019t work. One option is to lift from the bottom of the headstock and this stand from BikeIt does just that.
It works in the same way as a normal paddock stand but locates on the headstock, so you can easily remove the front forks or the wheel.
Pros: Lifts from the headstock; allow wheel or forks to be removed; keeps bike upright
Cons: Cannot remove headstock
A hydraulic version of the base motorcycle lift, this u2018Amazon Choiceu2019 uses a pair of lifting pads that locate under the bike, on the frame tubes or similar. A long handle and foot-pedal operate the hydraulic lifting and wheels mean it can be positioned easily. It has a huge quoted capacity of 680kg and lifts to a height of 36.8cm.
Pros: Mobile; easy to use; huge capacity
Cons: Obscures underside of bike
Sealey Single Post Lift
Potentially moving into the realms of professionals rather than keen amateurs, due to the costs involved, this single-post lift from Sealey locates on four tube-brackets under the bike and lifts from the side, using a hydraulic jack.
The system allows access to the underside of the bike, for getting to oil filters or drain plugs for example and also allows the entire bike to be disassembled, with wheels, suspension and swing-arm removal all possible.
Pros: Allows all components to be removed; gives excellent access to bike; huge 450Kg capacity
Cons: Expensive for DIY mechanics
Switzer Lift Table
For many, this kind of table is the easiest and best way to work on a motorcycle. It lifts the bike up to a standing working height and allows a host of jobs to be done with the mechanic standing, instead of kneeling or crawling around on the floor.
A chock at the front wheel holds the bike vertical and there is a removable pad to allow the rear wheel to be taken out. This version raises hydraulically and it has a 360kg capacity.
Pros: Raise bike to 780mm off ground; gives standing access to mechanic; holds bike vertical
Cons: Still need to raise bike to remove wheels
Centre Paddock Stand
This stand lifts a bike from one side using model-specific (this one is for a Honda Fireblade) brackets located on the swingarm mount or the frame. A long lever arm makes lifting the bike simple and it is raised upright with both wheels off the ground, making it useful for both maintenance and storage. The wheels on the lift mean it can be moved around the workshop too.
Pros: Lifts both wheels off ground; useful for work and storage; bike is mobile when on stand
Cons: Limited bike applications
Abba Superbike Stand
The Abba Superbike stand is effectively a centrestand for any bike, raising it from the swingarm pivot with model-specific adapters for each particular bike. These costs around £11 so once youu2019ve bought the stand, you can easily use it on different bikes.
There is an extending arm to make getting the bike up onto the stand easy and you can also add a front-wheel lift kit that holds both wheels off the ground for suspension or wheel work.
Pros: Easy to use; works with huge range of bikes; add kit to lift both wheels off ground
Cons: Bike still on ground (unless used with lift table)
This lift from Abba raises the entire bike from the ground, making every element of it accessible. It has a hydraulic lift that works on lifting the bike from its swingarm pivot (like the Superbike lift) and can raise the bike level, with the rear wheel higher or the front wheel higher.
Like the Superbike stand, there is an adapter to allow the swingarm to be removed while using the lift and the bike/lift assembly can be moved thanks to the wheels.
Pros: Lift entire bike off ground; move with bike in situ; easy hydraulic action
Cons: Access to one side slightly compromised