Harbor Freight Motorcycle Lift
WHY? Maintenance. There are many procedures for this motorcycle that must be done with the bike in a vertical position, and some that require the bike to be lifted. For years I have improvised with an automotive floor jack and a wooden lifting platform but always wished that I had a proper lift that would secure the bike better. When browsing the Harbor Freight web site I spotted a hydraulic motorcycle/ATV lift that looked interesting; it has a 1500-pound capacity and hooks for security tie-downs. The lifting rails are placed conveniently and will raise to a 16-inch work height, so it looked like it would fit the bill for general maintenance on the Softail. The best feature of all was the price--less than $63. Shipping charge to my place was only $9, so I decided to place the order.
SERVICE. Pretty good. I received an email confirmation immediately after the purchase. The box arrived at my doorstep 5 days later via UPS--all 75 pounds of it; it was pretty well beat up, and I was disappointed in the packing--the cardboard box the lift arrived in was too flimsy for the weight of the contents. Fortunately the lift wasn't damaged and all parts seemed to be present. There were no assembly instructions included.
ASSEMBLY. Not too difficult (even with no instructions), and one that can be accomplished by the average home mechanic. I had the unit assembled and ready to work in about 20 minutes:
RESULTS. Great. When fully lowered the pads are only 4-1/2 inches--low enough to slide under most motorcycles. To raise the Softail I position the lift on the right side, near the center of the bike. Using one hand I stand the bike to a vertical position then use the other hand to slide the jack directly under it; a single step on the foot pedal lifts the platform up to make contact. The bike is very stable on the platform as it is being lifted, but I secure it with tie-downs to be safe. As the jack lifts the bike a safety bar locks the platform into one of four different heights--another nice safety feature. The lift raises and lowers the Softail smoothly and easily. The 800-pound heft causes a small bit of flex in the lifting arms when the bike is in the air; it's not a problem with this bike, but I wouldn't want to test the 1500-pound limit. I was really impressed with the operation of this lift.
Worth the money? Absolutely--at this price no Harley owner should be without one; this is one of the best tool investments I've made.