One thing I’ve learned over the years when working on bikes is that the right tool can make the job a whole lot easier. Or maybe a better way of looking at it is not having the right tool can make working on your bike down right miserable. A motorcycle lift is one of those things that can completely change the experience of wrenching on your bike. I think for most folks the barrier to entry is cost. But if you spend any amount of time doing maintenance work or modifying your bike it's well worth the cost. And there are options, you don’t necessarily have to break the bank to get a lift in your garage and make spinning wrenches as enjoyable as it should be. And besides, with all the money you’ll be saving on labor cost at the dealer it will pay for itself in no time.

Great option for those with storage issues and not looking to break the bank.

You don’t have to take out a second mortgage on your house to get a lift in your garage. Something like K&L’s Multi lift is a great option to keep cost down. It's also a good choice if space is an issue. When you’re done with it you can easily roll it out of the way and stash it under a bench. These foot pump style lifts don't require any air or electric power and are a great option for maintenance type jobs and light modifications. They have plenty of capacity to lift even the heaviest touring bike but aren’t as stable as a table lift. They will get both tires off the ground for tire changes and suspension work , or just keep you from rolling around on your garage floor while installing a new exhaust, but to me they aren't meant for long-term projects where the bike would be suspended for a significant period of time. Or if you are consistently working on your bike or multiple bikes you may want to consider an upgrade. For a couple hundred bucks you can save yourself a bunch of hassle.

The best possible lift solution is a table style lift.

If you are the type of person who is constantly bringing home a new project, always modifying your machine or constantly has a buddy's bike in their garage, then you need a table style lift. There's a reason you see these in dealerships and shops across the country, they are the best option when it comes to working on your motorcycle. It's easy on and off with no help from a friend, it securely holds the bike for long periods of time and can be raised or lowered to your desired height with basically no effort. Most require an air line but even a small compressor will do the job and there are a few electric options out there, but in my opinion air is the way to go. This type of lift does require a more significant investment. You can get into one for about $1,000 but if you want to get fancy you can get all the way up to the $2,000 mark. One thing to look for is if the lift comes with a wheel vice or chock. Some require it to be purchased separately and it's a must-have for one of these types of lifts. You won’t be disappointed if you go this route and it will basically last forever. I still have my first table style lift and have been using it weekly for almost 25 years.

If you are using a table style lift a nice addition is a flat jack. It's helpful when doing tire changes or suspension work and makes it easy and safe to raise the bike up by yourself and not have to phone a friend or make some Jenga style pile of wood blocks under your bike when you just want to raise it a few inches. If you don't have a table style lift you could just use a flat jack on the garage floor but it wouldn’t be as steady or safe. You could pair it with something like a Condor wheel chock (which is very handy in its own right) and it would be plenty steady and would make it easier to do tire changes and suspension work, but you’d still be working on the floor.

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, for most folks it's the initial investment of cash that is the thing that's holding them back from buying a lift. Trust me, it's going to be worth every penny. You’ll save money by working on your own machine and get the satisfaction of a job well done. Next to purchasing a motorcycle and hand tools this would be my first purchase. It not only adds to the enjoyment of working on your bike, it will ultimately add to the enjoyment of riding your motorcycle.