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  1. #1
    CB750 Member fivestring's Avatar
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    Harbor Freight motorcycle lift and modifications

    After much consideration, I chose the fork-style Harbor Freight lift as a Christmas gift . It took about 20 minutes to bolt it together and it was ready for use.





    I wanted this type of lift so I could easily remove wheels or forks.

    But I also had looked at the table type of lifts so I could work on the underside of motors (exhaust, oil changes, frame mods, etc) and this style of lift is not really good for accessing the underside of the bike. So..I decided to tweak it! (insert Tool Man grunt here).

    I purchased an 8' section of 6" steel channel.





    This piece would be long enough to park my bikes on and still have some length left over. I had some round stock, 3/8" I think, and heated and bent it into a 'U' shape for a front tire holder.









    Then I tried to heat the other end of the steel to bend a section down for a ramp, but I found it easier to just cut off a 1' section and weld it back on at an angle. I used chunks of 4x4 under the channel . This way the channel sits 4" off the floor at all times and that allows me to slide the 'forks' of the lift under the channel and lift everything up together. The 4x4 at the front end is longer and serves as a stabilizing leg to help keep the bike upright until I get the lift placed at the center of weight distribution and get straps on the bike and secure it to the lift.









    What a difference it makes when doing most anything to the bikes! I used to sit on a milk crate to work on carbs or cables. Now I can stand beside the bike and see clearly what I am doing. I replaced the exhaust system the other day on this KZ and it was so easy to see and install everything. No more aching backs or laying on the floor beside the bike to work on frame rails.

    I can use the lift either way,obviously. Using the forks under the frame still requires using 2x4 'spacers' laid perpendicular across the lifting arms so I am not lifting against exhaust tubes. but that works great, is stable and allows for free access to both wheels. Using the channel gives me plenty of room for welding frames or doing anything under the center of the bike.







    I hope this helps someone trying to decide what kind of lift to purchase for your home shop.
    Current:1978 Honda CB750K, 1978 KZ1000A2A stretched 4" bobbed and hardtailed, 1981 & 1983 Yamaha xs650's (future bobs)
    Former:
    1980 Kawasaki CSR750, 1980 Suzuki GS850L, 1982 Suzuki GS1100K, 1987 Suzuki GSXR1100, 1985 Suzuki GV1200 Madura, 1981 Yamaha 650 Midnight Maxim, 1972 Suzuki GT380, 1972 Yamaha RD350

  2. #2
    Forum Staff Travis's Avatar
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    That's awesome. Nice work. It takes up less space than a table and you have the option to use it without the channel to remove the wheels / forks.

    What if you were to bolt the channel to the forks of the lift and then build or buy a wheel vise for it? You wouldn't need any straps that way. You could also weld some steel to the bottom to replace the 4x4's and they would just raise with the bike and channel.
    - Travis

  3. #3
    CB750 Member fivestring's Avatar
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    Thanks Travis. I did bolt the 4x4s to the channel so they stay right where I need them when lowering the bike to the floor.
    The straps don't get in my way. I now use four straps, one to each corner. That way I can loosen any one strap and reposition it out of my way.

    The only way wheel locks will work is if the channel was bolted tight like you said. I feel the four straps make the bike more secure by hooking onto the upper parts of the bike like handlebars and upper frame rails than some bolts through the channel. I imagine either one would work.

    I don't want to undo bolts to change positions. Four straps unhooked and the bike rolls off the channel. Then slide the lift out from under the channel and under the bike with 2x4 spacers and Jack it up.

  4. #4
    CB750 Addict cyclebuster's Avatar
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    NEGATIVE. that channel will twist much easier then you think. Twisting axis is the weakest link of that cross section. do not use it for a tie down, or add lateral bars to it for tie downs. Tie the bike to the lift arms only. This looks like a good plan as is. I use oak doors on sawhorses, have 3 sets of them. as well as 2 of those cheapo frame jacks.

  5. #5
    Forum Staff Travis's Avatar
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    Unless I read it wrong, I don't think he was talking about hooking the tie downs to the channel. In the pictures he's got them strapped to the forks on the lift.

    After seeing this thread, I got serious with my search for lift table. I've been wanting one for years, but have never pulled the trigger. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a Direct Lift ProCycle Motorcycle Lift. I always thought I would get a Handy lift, and at times have contemplated the Harbor freight lift table, but the pro lift is a lot cheaper than the Handy, and lot nicer than the one from Harbor Freight. There's a warehouse about an hour from me so I wouldn't have to pay shipping and they said they'll be in stock in about a month.
    - Travis

  6. #6
    CB750 Addict cyclebuster's Avatar
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    i was talking about the mounted wheel vice suggestion "What if you were to bolt the channel to the forks of the lift and then build or buy a wheel vise for it? You wouldn't need any straps that way" that channel may seem strong but its not stong enough against any twisting forces.

  7. #7
    CB750 Addict cafeken's Avatar
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    nice set up

  8. #8
    Forum Staff Travis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclebuster View Post
    i was talking about the mounted wheel vice suggestion "What if you were to bolt the channel to the forks of the lift and then build or buy a wheel vise for it? You wouldn't need any straps that way" that channel may seem strong but its not stong enough against any twisting forces.
    Ah, gotcha. To mount a vise you'd need a much wider front area anyway.. so it would probably be more work that it's worth in this application.
    - Travis

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