View Full Version : proper work table height?

10-20-2009, 11:30 AM
I'm building a table(fixed) to run my newly purchased '78 R80/7 onto and give her a good going over(new cables/wiring/carb rebuild/cleaning/wheel bearings/shocks/etc....) and was looking for what the forum likes in terms of table height.......I"ve seen them from 10" off the ground up to about 2'. What's worked best for you??
Ashland, VA
1978 R80/7
1996 ST1100

10-20-2009, 11:57 AM
Well at over 6' tall I would be looking at a taller bench, if you are 5;6", you may want less.

Personally I find bending over is the most uncomfortable position, I would rather sit on the floor than bend over. If I were to make a fixed height, I would opt taller, and just make the the top big enough so there is ample room to climb and stand on, next to the bike. And have a stool to sit on to do the mid height stuff.

Luckily my wife bought me one of these a few years back. It goes from 3" to about 3'.

10-22-2009, 09:41 AM
I made the investment of this lift (Ranger RML-750HD) when I had the Goldwing and it has paid for itself many times over.

Here is a catalog shot of the complete lift you get - I also got the accessory jack

Here is another studio shot

Here is mine in use - checked and i don't have any "in air" shots

Another cool feature of this lift is noted under the bike wheel, that is a trap drop that you can slide into the lift and then you have complete access to the back wheel, it was super convinient for the Wing, not so much with the BMW as the rear wheel assembly and section is much more acessible.

This link for the RML-750HD (http://www.asedeals.com/ATV_motorcycle_lift.html) shows the completeness of the lift system. As stated earlier i used to run the GW up and down with no problem and it lifts the GT like nothing.

The ability to either use compressed air or manual pump to lift is great and you can put the bike at any height to work on it, and lock it there.

Good luck with your purchase and let us know what you end up doing.


10-22-2009, 10:38 AM
I have the Harbor Freight 1,000 lb lift. The foot operated pump works well for my purposes.


The photo is a "catalog shot" I pulled from online.

10-25-2009, 07:34 PM
How stable are these things? I have visions of my R1200R toppling over from 3 feet up.

10-25-2009, 08:49 PM
How stable are these things? I have visions of my R1200R toppling over from 3 feet up.
You raise an interesting question, and the mental picture is not all that pleasant to consider!

No doubt some doofus somewhere has tipped one over but I don't know of such an occurrence and have never had any fear of that.

Since you mentioned it I went out and measured and the footprint on mine is right at 23" wide, center to center at the wheels where you see them on the left side of the photo I posted above (of the platform table). Also, note that it has two adjustable, threaded legs that can be screwed down against the deck to steady it.

The table is the latest addition to my toy collection. Previously I have done tire changes, engine and body work, and every other type of maintenance with the bike on the center stand without knocking the bike over. So as long as the bike is properly secured on the platform I don't worry about it.

I do know of one Gold Winger (not me) who dropped his GL1800 off of a motorcycle jack such as the one pictured below with my SE on it. I'll sell the jack I have just to get it out of my way now that the table is on site.

The platform tables have wheels on one end that will swivel so they can be moved about. More so than when working on the bike in a stationary position, I would think the danger of tipping to be if someone decided to roll it around with a bike up high and got too frisky with the swiveling end so that the momentum created a problem.


10-25-2009, 11:12 PM
I have a Handy air lift. It is rock steady. I can't vouch for all brands because somebody can always build something cheaper and mess it up, but ....

Go into the dealership of your choice and ask how many times their lift has tipped over.

Don't be surprised if they look at you funny, though.

As an aside and further response to one of the comments above, the wheels on one end of my lift don't swivel. They roll in line with the lift as it goes up and down. The other leg has a fixed cross bar which doesn't move. The notion of trying to move the lift with a bike on it is a stretch. I can barely move the lift empty. (See the photo is message 2 from pffog)

10-26-2009, 12:47 AM
The lift that i have has both.

The bike supports any bike i have put on it very well.

Those include a GL1800, 1200RT/ST and the GT.

I used to to have a bike jack as shown above and it was always a PITA to get the balance right.

As for mobility the lift I have has wheels and they are on adjusteable screws, you turn them out to lower and turn them in to raise.

Once raised there is one set of wheels that are fxed and one set that swivels, the unit is easily pushed and manuvered around the garage with no problem.

10-26-2009, 12:59 PM
I googled the Ranger lift (ppfog's post) and that sucker is 638 pounds by itself. Their ordering page includes a "how do you plan to get it off the truck" section.

My RT weighs right at 505 lbs. In that scenario the lift would be heavier than the bike with the associated correlation to stability. But the total weight would be 1,143 lbs.

And way of another example, with an 860 lb GL1500 Gold Wing on it the combined weight would be 1,498 lbs. I think the average home wrench would do well to decide where he wants that lift on his property and then build the shop around it...

The HF lift I have ships at 359 lbs -- not as heavy as the Ranger but still a hefty load to move about. Not only is the safety factor of moving one around with that large a bike on it questionable, I doubt the swivel casters would take a lot of that abuse.

BTW I have seen both types of lifts in use -- i.e., wheeled and wheelless. I must have been suffering a mid-afternoon bout of crs.

10-26-2009, 01:51 PM
If you have the money an adjustable work table from a reputable manufacturer makes the most sense and will make you the happiest. There are many good recommendations already posted. Yet none of the posts seem responsive to your original question.

In the past I have had more scrap than money and have built a couple benches for winter bike projects. I am just shy of 6ÔÇÖ5ÔÇØ and the various projects had different bike work involved.

To establish the deck height of the table I was going to build I blocked the bike up in the manner I anticipated working on it and spent a good deal of time standing and sitting on my work stool next to the bike with a tape measure and imagining working on the bike. Standing next the bike and imagining you are working on the headlight assembly for example, what is the distance from the highest point you think you will feel comfortable with where you have your hands and where the assembly is. If you can get someone to help you measure without laughing to much at you itÔÇÖs a lot simpler. Deck height varied with the project. IIRC it ranged between 15 -18 inches for me.

How wide? Remember to consider this also. The deck surface will hold your tools and keep you back from the bike a bit when compared to standing next to as described above. So, as youÔÇÖre imagining and measuring take that into account also. Again width varied with project so no advice here.

Pop for a good adjustable shop stool. No matter how much you plan the table is never the right height. An adjustable shop stool makes life a lot easier.