All You Need to Know About Motorcycle Jacks

Motorcycle jacks are lifting devices that put the bike into an elevated position for maintenance, repairs and tire changes.

These appliances mostly rely on compressed air, advanced hydraulics, or a combination of the two.

Today, many different types of motorcycle jacks are available, and they fall into different categories, depending on the system they use, their features, load capacity, and various other factors.

What motorcycle jack you purchase, depends on your personal preferences and priorities.

Motorcycle Jack FAQ

When it comes to motorcycle jacks, the most frequently asked questions revolve around materials, hydraulic vs. scissor, and durability.

“If I’m not the mechanic type, is it still worth it?”

Why buy a motorcycle jack? Because it is a good investment. Over time, bike enthusiasts often learn how to repair their bike, so there is that.

Even before that, a jack can come in handy, for storing purposes if nothing else.

“Steel or aluminum”?

Steel designs are generally better, but there are high-grade aluminum jacks that are superior to most steel variants.

“Scissor or hydraulics?”

These days, hydraulics represent a superior choice, but a scissor backup jack is always good to have around.

Also read: how to use a motorcycle jack

How to use a Motorcycle Jack

tools garage

Assembling a motorcycle jack takes only a few steps with a help of 14mm wrench. After assembling, you can now wheel it around on four casters, which is steered by the T-handle.

To be able to lift your bike or motorcycle with ease and without unnecessary adjustments, your vehicle must be on a flat surface, especially on the area around the engine. 

However, some large bikes with stands may be a bit hard or impossible to lift without adjustments.

Parts of the bike such as a pipe under the engine that keeps it from standing steadily may need additional help with the use of blocks or shims.

It is also important to take note of wheel locks for safety purposes. Lock your bike in a steady position before you are ready to work on it.

It is also important to make sure that you do not raise your motorcycle jack higher than what it is designed to do.

This might cause serious injuries if your motorcycle suddenly falls.

The next step is to make sure that the motorcycle jack has strap attachment points. Using the motorcycle jack may take a while to get used to.

It is recommended to have an extra hand on the first try before attempting it alone.

Finally, you can now start using your motorcycle jack. The first thing to do is to find out the center of gravity of your motorcycle.

It usually depends on the design or model of your motorcycle, but in most cases, it is found around the area of the engine.

The second step is to know the limit point of your jack. Before lifting the motorcycle jack, it is important to remove any wires or lines that might come in contact with it.

Extra Tips When Using a Motorcycle Jack

Most of the time, things won’t fit evenly on the jack. That is why a few adjustments must be made. You can use pieces of wood and place it between the space of the frame rails and lift.

Another tip is to use towels around the straps to protect your bike’s finishes. Sometimes, the points between opposite points of your bike do not level so more adjustments should be made.

Make sure your straps are secured and that every part of your bike will not be crushed by them.

Automotive ramps are important when your motorcycle is on the jack. These are best to use when you are trying to replace your wheels.

Types of Motorcycle Jacks

There are two basic types of motorcycle jacks, the more traditional scissor designs that rely on mechanics or compressed air to lift the bike, and hydraulic jacks.

Although hydraulic designs are more popular these days, there are still a lot of bikers who prefer the scissor variants.

Both can do a perfectly good job, so the choice is mostly about personal preference.

Scissor Jacks

Scissor jacks or screw jacks consist of crosswise metal components that connect in a diamond shape.

The strength of the device comes from that diagonal design, reinforced with screws and hinges. It could be argued that everything you need to know about motorcycle jacks comes down to these simple basics.

Motorcycle scissor bike

When someone uses a scissor jack, he or she needs a spanner tool, which they use to adjust the jack by simply turning the screw.

The scissor jack is still considered a basic piece of equipment, found in many car’s trunks as well as the garage of most bikers.

The main advantage of a scissor jack is its lightweight and compact design, which makes these tools an excellent choice for emergency lifts.

In terms of stability, they are usually not as reliable as their hydraulic counterparts, but this could vary depending on the brand and specific design.

Mechanical jacks are often self-locking, so once the bike is lifted, there is no power in the jack anymore. The screw holds the entire weight until the force is reapplied.

The self-locking mechanism makes the device safer to use, but this is where design makes a big difference. If the material is cheap, it may dent or even worse, buckle under the pressure.

Hydraulic Jacks

Hydraulic jacks are different in their design and consist of two cylinders, one for pushing and one for the transfer.

When the small cylinder is pushed, the energy is transferred to the bigger one via hydraulic fluid, which in turn can produce a tremendous amount of force.

That is the reason why hydraulic jacks can lift much more than scissor designs.

Although they are sturdier and more dependable in terms of efficiency, there are some drawbacks.

If the hydraulic force seizes for some reason, the apparatus instantly lowers.

Powerbuilt 620422E Heavy Duty 4000 lb Triple Lift Jack

Their traditional jacks are very durable and can offer one a great option for people looking to buy one of these jacks.

If anyone has to ask themselves the question why buy a motorcycle jack, they may have some homework to do.

To answer the question in its simplest form first, motorcycle jacks are for anyone who owns a motorcycle.

 One never knows when they’re going to have to lift their bike, even if they don’t plan any maintenance work on them.

Storage

Jacks aren’t just for maintenance or service, but also storage purposes.

When the winter comes, many bike enthusiasts set their bike up for winter storage, and lifting the motorcycle on a wheeled jack is a crucial part of the routine.

Once it is lifted, it goes onto the wheeled motorcycle stand, and no snow or rain can compromise its quality.

Money Saving 

One of the best reasons to buy a motorcycle jack is money saving.

Bike enthusiast usually wants to tinker with their motorcycle, and when there are basic repairs they can do, a motorcycle jack becomes a must-have.

Without a motorcycle jack, home repairs are often impossible, and one is left with no choice but to visit the shop.

For those, who have the talent to complete small or medium repairs, purchasing a jack makes a lot of financial sense. Repair shops are very expensive, even when they do minor repairs.

motorcycle parked in garage

 Any steel tool has to be kept away from moisture. Maintaining your motorcycle jack in good shape is only possible if there are adequate storage options.

People can get back the price of the appliance in a couple of months, and from that point on, they can actually save money every time they repair their bike.

A jack is a very handy tool for any bike enthusiasts who likes tinkering with her/his motorcycle.

Materials

Most car jacks are made of steel or aluminum. Both types have their own specific characteristics. Every aspect needs to be considered before making a decision.

Regardless what types of motorcycle jacks one wants to buy, the material determines the true value of the purchase.

Material

Steel vs. Aluminum

  • Weight: On average, steel jacks weigh more, and that indicates superior quality and load bearing capacity in most cases.
    • However, occasionally this could not be further from the truth. There are high-grade aluminum jacks that blow 90% of steel designs out of the water.
  • Strength: Many bike enthusiasts have a hard time trusting aluminum. It may be true that the most of these designs have low load capacity, but there are high-quality designs out there.
    • Steel jacks are often made of cheap material, and in these cases, the strength comes from the shape of the design, rather than the material. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Cost of material: This may be a surprise for some, but steel is generally cheaper than aluminum, at least on a per pound basis.
    • This is not true if one compares cheap aluminum to reinforced steel and vice-versa, but it still shows that the bad rep aluminum sometimes gets is not entirely justified.

Accessories

There are two important accessories for motorcycle jacks, a spanner wrench set, and a motorcycle stand. The former is needed during the lifting, and the latter is for the safe and efficient storage of the bike.

Spanner Set

Spanner wrenches come in all shapes and sizes, and that is not a coincidence.

These tools were designed to be versatile, and they come in handy for most home projects and mechanical tinkering.

When the bike needs to be stored for an occasion, or it is the end of the season, bike enthusiasts need two accessories - in addition to the jack -, and one of them is a spanner set.

It doesn’t necessarily have to feature every wrench under the sun, but it needs to contain the most important ones that are compatible with not just the jack, but also the motorcycle stand, and even the bike itself.

The work is easier with good tools, and so is maintaining your motorcycle jack in good shape.

Motorcycle Stand

Why buy a motorcycle jack when one can purchase a motorcycle stand? The more experienced bikers know that this was a tricky question.

The answer is this; one needs it for lifting the bike onto the platform.

red motorcycle in auto show

"IMGP2684" by ceketz is licensed under CC by SA-2.0

The platform is great for storage, repair and maintenance purposes, allowing the owner to move their bike around with ease, thanks to the wheeled designs.

It makes repair works easier as well, especially platforms that allow the person to move the bike around easily.

Knowing about motorcycle jacks comes down to storage, repair, or maintenance, and the motorcycle stand is must have for each of these activities.

Also read: build your own motorcycle lift table

Maintaining Your Motorcycle Jack in Good Shape 

Like most steel or aluminum tools, motorcycle jacks need delicate care to maintain their quality and efficiency.

  • Storage: Everything starts with storage. When a tool is not maintained the way it should, improper storage is often high on the list of possible causes.
    • Any steel tool has to be kept away from moisture. Maintaining your motorcycle jack in good shape is only possible if there are adequate storage options.
  • Regular maintenance: Quality maintenance is all about consistency and attention to detail. One has to look after the tools, and clean them on a regular basis, including the smaller components and consumable parts like rubber padding.

Summary

Motorcycle jacks are very efficient designs that support repair and maintenance works while allowing bike enthusiasts to store their bike for the winter.

Everything you need to know about motorcycle jacks comes down to the basics.

The types of motorcycle jacks include hydraulic and scissor designs.

The material is also important, but a steel variant isn’t always better than its aluminum counterpart.


Whether the brand is ATD Sports, Central Hydraulics, Powerzone, Harbor Freight or the underrated Torin, one the product must meet the needs of the user, and help to take good care of the motorcycle.

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