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Thread: The Harbor Freight Motorcycle Lift debate thread

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    The Harbor Freight Motorcycle Lift debate thread

    You may want to check out this company. Not as inexpensive as many are pointing out but the stuff is quality. Especially the dual hydraulic left. Liked the first one so much we bought a 2nd dual.

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    Let's see if I can this correctly this time. Not as inexpensive as Harbor Freight but maybe better quality?

    http://www.klsupply.com/

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    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    The title of this thread is Harbor Freight Motorcycle Lift. Any chance we can stay with that concept?
    OM
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    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    Jeeez, after three and a half years and 96+ replies I'm amazed the topic hasn't mutated to using car tires or which barbecue sauce is best with chicken!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    The title of this thread is Harbor Freight Motorcycle Lift. Any chance we can stay with that concept?
    OM
    It was a sale that took place at Harbor Freight 3 1/2 years ago. I'm assuming there aren't many on the forum that have much experience as to the differences nor the quality in lifts. Good be wrong on that. I'm also assuming that specific lift is no longer available although I don't know that for fact. Thought the info might be helpful to others. Presenting various options is usually considered helpful. Is there a problem with that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 98lee View Post
    The CHEAPEST K&L goes for about $1600 with some of them over $2000! To say that you've missed the point of this thread is an understatement.


    Any of us could find a quality lift if we were willing/able to spend that kind of money. There are dozens of companies out there, but that's not the point of this thread.

    This thread is about a $300 lift. If you know of a similar priced lift, we're all ears.



    Don't think I missed any point. You might not realize how many people start out at lower price points and end up with items that cost far more when presented with a few additional facts. The old saying "You get what you pay for" is typically true. The OP said nothing about an attempt to find the cheapest lift in the marketplace. He did discuss a lift from Harbor Freight and what it sold for. Maybe that represented his knowledge of the lift marketplace, maybe not. Post # 89 indicated the user was putting an LT on one of these lifts. Now granted the lift has a stated capacity of 1,000 pounds. You ever see an LT toppled over onto the ground from a 1,000 pound lift? No doubt it was technician error but just the same as you're getting too close for comfort to max load capacity. I prefer to provide a greater margin of safety for human beings I work with. For the same reason I don't sell 1,000cc crotch rockets to 20 year olds, I would never sell a 1,000 pound capacity lift to someone who owns a motorcycle that weighs 800 or 900 pounds. I don't feel the margin of safety is adequate and a simple error could be catastrophic.

    I just showed an alternative supplier. There are substantial differences in lift quality. Substantial. 1,000 pound lifts were more than adequate years and years ago. They get pretty scary in today's marketplace. I'm well aware you're average at-home tech may not use the lift like a shop. And, his/her bike may only weigh 550 pounds. However, especially on a forum of this nature, you probably have many people who are always doing something on their bike and would use a lift frequently. Frequent lift users may appreciate the information when shopping for a lift. Given the difficulty in comparison shopping lifts' in person I thought it would be worthwhile to throw out an alternative source. If you don't like the option don't pay any attention to it. If it's not within your budget to purchase a higher quality lift purchase whatever you can afford and justify. I do think it happens to provide useful information for someone who is shopping for a lift. You've got people cutting holes in their floors to get their lifts to be surface height. You've got people discussing wanting to purchase a 4-post for a car. You've got people modifying and welding their lifts in order to make them work the way they want. So apparently this thread is not about seeing how little money you can spend.

    Now this is not a criticism so please don't take it that way. We're in a commercial environment and work on thousands of bikes. And, we have zero modified and/or welded lifts. My point is a low end lift may not have been the appropriate lift purchase to begin with. And, maybe you didn't realize that. Or, maybe the budget wasn't there. Or, maybe buying the proper lift to begin with would have eliminated the mod's and the welding. Maybe you would have modified and/or welded any lift you bought. Who knows. The point is that perhaps there was something more suitable for your needs to begin with that a low end lift didn't provide.

    As with many things in life buying to the lowest price point may or may not be a wise decision. Sy Syms once stated: An educated consumer is our best customer.

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    Uh... should I ask how my name appeared in the title? This was never intended to be a debate. I already know how K&L quality compares to Harbor Freight. I thought others might be interested as well. I would call it an educational-related conversation for those who may not be aware of the lift marketplace. YMMV depending on your lift knowledge base.

    Since this thread is not mine please remove my name from the thread if you would be so kind.

    Thank you in advance.

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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy walker View Post
    It was a sale that took place at Harbor Freight 3 1/2 years ago. I'm assuming there aren't many on the forum that have much experience as to the differences nor the quality in lifts. Good be wrong on that. I'm also assuming that specific lift is no longer available although I don't know that for fact. Thought the info might be helpful to others. Presenting various options is usually considered helpful. Is there a problem with that?
    You know some assumptions may be quite wrong...

    We have been chatting lifts regularly here for some time. There are lot's of opinions between brands, most wrenchy types DO know the differences and quality of lifts and this model does what they want.

    Same lift basically for the last 7 years from Harbor Freight that I know about when I got my first one.

    This thread can be for discussing OTHER lifts...we want to keep our beloved Harbor Freight thread on topic. We don 't need the long lectures and opinions on our purchases. My lifts have seen as much use as many dealers...trust me.
    Steve Henson
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    Registered User Emoto's Avatar
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    Can anyone with firsthand experience speak to the quality, strength and usability of the Harbor Freight and K&L, compared to the Handy Lift?

    I worked as a motorcycle line mechanic at multiple shops in the 1980s and we always had the grey Handy Lifts with the side pieces. They used air to go up and down. I loved those lifts. So, they are my frame of reference. I would love to have a lift in my own garage some day. The pricing on a HF is certainly attractive but I have seen so much garbage from that place over the years that I am more than a little leery, plus it seems like manual pumping up and down, which would kind of suck. K&L Supply is an old name, so IMHO they have some credibility, but I have never seen or used on of their lifts...
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    Handy Lift and K&L are better than the Harbor Freight lift. There is no arguement that a $1500-3000 lift would be better than a $300 lift.

    The question is; what is a better use of YOUR resources? If you're using it everyday or using it to make a living, you might want to lean towards a more expensive lift. If you use it maybe a dozen times a year and it's a choice between a $300 lift and crawling around on the floor, then the Harbor Freight lift is just the ticket. If money is no object, get the Handy. There is also the old adage: Once you've had the best, it's hard to like the rest.

    We don't all use $100 Snap-On ratchets around the house when a $19 Craftsman will do. We don't all have 2000 sq/ft dedicated shops. Most of us make due with what we have/can afford inspite of it not being the "best".

    Using less expensive tools that will get the job done means we can buy more specialty tools that are just the correct tool for the job that you do once a year, but not necessarily the best quality.



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    One big Oaff brewmeister's Avatar
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    hey billy boy didn't you see the thread already here on the harbor freight lift???whats up with that???
    81 R100RT

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    Quote Originally Posted by brewmeister View Post
    hey billy boy didn't you see the thread already here on the harbor freight lift???whats up with that???
    Yes he did...there was a moderator post to move this discussion/debate into its own thread:

    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthre...l=1#post887115
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewmeister View Post
    hey billy boy didn't you see the thread already here on the harbor freight lift???whats up with that???
    Yes, I did. What started out as an innocent single-line comment mentioning another company that made lifts was turned into 2-threads. Actually, one of the moderators created this thread on his own. IMO these posts need to be part of the original thread as you have implied. Omega Man felt differently and took action. Feel free to contact him as I am in agreement with you. We now have 2 threads missing comments that tie-in with each other.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy walker View Post
    We now have 2 threads missing comments that tie-in with each other.
    There was some problems with the split up, but the other thread was all about the Harbor Freight lift. The poster who started the most recent round of the HF lift wanted to know how it rolled around...that was the basis of his post. But when that thread got into a debate about quality versus cost and "you get what you pay for", it was best that that kind of discussion be moved off on its own. That's how we got here!
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMOTO View Post
    Can anyone with firsthand experience speak to the quality, strength and usability of the Harbor Freight and K&L, compared to the Handy Lift?
    The Handy lift is better. Maybe twice as good. It is twice as heavy, anyway But, the most basic Handy lift is 3 times more expensive than the harbor freight lift. Also, the Handy comes in Air or Electric -- the electric version is 4x the cost of the harbor freight lift. If your compressor is always available that is fine. For my minimum use with a small (very noisy) pancake compressor a hydraulic lift was preferred.

    If cost were not an issue I'd have a Handy. If I could have found a used Handy for less than 2x the cost of the Harbor freight I probably would have purchased it.
    Last edited by marchyman; 07-07-2013 at 07:20 PM. Reason: spelling

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