Tommy Jack Motorcycle Lift
Tommy Jack Motorcycle Lift
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Owner Comments (Below)
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld
When I rule the planet, I will decree that all motorcycles
will have center stands installed at the factory.
thought much about this until I purchased my first modern sport
bike and discovered that it only had a side stand.
I simply assumed that every motorcycle had a center stand,
which makes motorcycle ownership at least 5 times easier.
I guess the manufacturers don't think that it's important
to do stuff like lubricate a chain, change a rear tire, change
the oil and other minor tasks.
Sport bike owners claim that a center stand will decrease
lean clearance, but come on -- when's the last time you were
leaned over far enough on the street to scrape something? (Cruiser
owners - don't answer this!)
At the very least, there should be some consideration for
performing simple chain maintenance, like lubrication and adjustment.
That's where the Tommy Jack comes in.
The Tommy Jack is a pretty simple device -- basically a lever
to jack up one side of the motorcycle so that the rear wheel
can turn freely. This allows the owner to do a chain lube or
I'm not sure how owners of motorcycles without a center stand
or any other type of stand perform this basic yet essential
task every 200 miles or so. Do they really roll the bike back
and forth while they spray the lube on the chain? Hard
There are other types of wheel rollers that can be used to
do this and we've reviewed a couple of them, like the
But they're not all that easy to use -- they require muscling
the wheel around while the weight of the bike is on the device's
They also tend to allow the bike to move around as the wheel
is being rotated. These devices aren't cheap, either, so their
popularity has been limited.
A rear wheel swingarm stand (aka "paddock stand"),
Horse product is a must for a motorcycle sans center
stand, and that's the solution we recommend. But for basic,
quick maintenance, the Tommy Jack does the trick. It's also
light enough at 1 lb. 15 oz. (883 grams) to throw in a saddlebag
for a motorcycle tour.
Did you ever notice that the motorcycle touring articles
never really talk about how they lubed their chain every couple-hundred
miles? Well, here's how they do it.
The Tommy Jack is designed to fit under the right side of
the motorcycle swingarm. Locate it vertically under the swingarm,
push down on the lever, slide in the safety pin and you're ready
to go. The bike then rests on the front wheel, the side stand
and the Tommy Jack.
When I first read the instructions I was skeptical about
how safe this would be, but it actually works pretty well. We've
tried it on several bikes and it's easy to use and results in
a relatively stable configuration for performing a chain lube.
It has two big rubber bumpers on the bottom of the arms, and
they grip pretty well on just about any hard surface.
important to note that the Tommy Jack has a limited lifting
range. We measured its range from about 11.5" to 14"
(29 to 35.5 cm), so if the lower edge of your bike's swingarm
is lower than 11.5" or higher than about 12.5" or
so, the Tommy Jack may not lift the rear wheel high enough to
For example, it will not work on our 1998 Triumph Tiger,
because of the height of the swingarm.
The Tommy Jack must be assembled before it can be used for
the first time. The assembly instructions that came with the
Tommy Jack don't include photos, and the photographs on the
Bike Lift website aren't very descriptive either.
It took some figuring to assemble the rotating collar to
the Tommy Jack, and since "a picture is worth a thousand
words", we've included one here that I think will show
how the collar should be assembled.
The bottom line is that this is a useful device and relatively
inexpensive at $59.95. The Tommy Jack's folded dimensions are
15" by 2-3/4" (38 cm by 6 cm), so it should fit into
most saddlebags. It's indispensable on a road trip and can be
set up in seconds on any flat and hard surface to do a chain
It's a minimalist approach, and it certainly doesn't replace
a center stand or swingarm stand, but it's 100% better than
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