Tommy Jack Motorcycle Lift
Tommy Jack Motorcycle Lift
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
I never 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 chain adjustment.
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 to believe...
There are other types of wheel rollers that can be
used to do this and we've reviewed a couple of them,
Rollastand. 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 rollers.
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"),
Steel 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.
It's 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 freely rotate.
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
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 lube.
It's a minimalist approach, and it certainly doesn't
replace a center stand or swingarm stand, but it's 100%
better than nothing.
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