Setting up a motorcycle friendly home garage is something we all would like to do, but may not know what we need. Just like anything, there are basic set-ups, mid-range designs, and full blown, over the top shops. Many factors need to be considered when designing your at home shop such as level of use, available floor space, weather, entertainment, and cost. Some of these may seem silly, but as we examine each one, it will be clear why these all contribute to a functional, well organized shop, that will provide you with years of service.
The first piece that will have you establishing your DIY Home Shop is a motorcycle lift, available from K and G Cycles (www.kandgcycles.com). Ask yourself “How much will I use it?”, and “How much room do I really have?”. The first style of lifting device is a frame jack, offering big lifting numbers, compact design, and can be rolled around the garage to give you the best use of space. These do take some getting used to because their jack point is the frame and can seem unstable, but by maintaining an average 16″ lifting height that allows you access to the underside of the bike and having multiple anchor points that add stability when the bike is tied down, these frame jacks are a fully capable and inexpensive alternative when starting up your home shop. In addition, if space is at a premium, these are a great choice as they have a small footprint and can be stored just about anywhere.
If you want to raise the bike even higher, a drive on motorcycle lift will give you approximately 30″ of lift allowing you to stand next to the bike and work on it. Less mobility is a trade off for greater capacity and increased lift range so placement of the unit is a critical decision. Securing the motorcycle to the lift is a cinch with the front wheel clamp and additional anchor points fore and aft. Many of these lifts are powered by pneumatic lift cylinders making it much easier to raise the bike to operating level. They also have a drop down lock bar that can secure the deck in1 of 4 height settings. Since this style of motorcycle lift operates on an air cylinder, it looks like an air compressor needs to be added to your list of must haves. The good news is an air compressor will perform many more tasks for you than powering the lift. You can maintain tire pressure on anything more easily. It also opens you up to air tools, making vehicle maintenance and modification easier. If you have 1 lift and a few air tools there is no need to run out and buy a 150 gallon 3 phase compressor, a lift will require about 100 psi to run smoothly so an affordable compressor rated for 125 psi should do the trick. Your local hardware store or home improvement center should be able to help you decide what will work best for you.
Another thing to consider is tools and tool storage. Do you have the right tools for the job you are intending to do? There is a large range of tools needed to allow you to do everything from servicing the fluids to customization of your bike. Today, even special tools that used to be a dealership item only can be ordered allowing you even more ability at home. Something to keep in mind is even though it is very tempting to have the “Big Name” tools, they can end up costing you thousands of dollars. If we used them everyday that would be fine, but for most of us being a weekend warrior is as deep as we get so opting for a less expensive choice might be a good idea. There are plenty of high quality tools available with lifetime warranties available at reasonable prices. . Tool storage options are limitless. You can have a tool box in almost any color and size, as well as some that even have radios built in. When buying a tool box, you want to make sure it is built well, has a solid feel, good finish, has a sufficient weight capacity, and falls in your budget. One suggestion when buying a tool box would be, make sure you have room for expansion because you will be buying more tools and will need a place to store them. Something else to think about is shelving and storage bins because there will always be a need for miscellaneous screws, bolts, zip ties, oils, filters, and cleaning supplies to be put somewhere.
Weather is something that should be considered when assembling your home shop. Are you going to make room in an existing garage? Do you have a pole barn that is being finished? Are you going to convert that min barn? Regardless of where you decide to place your new shop, you will want to make sure you have adequate access to the shop for you and your bike, proper ventilation, if you will be in there in cooler weather sufficient insulation will be a concern, and as well as adequate lighting. These are all important so any fumes are removed from the building, temperatures are comfortable, and so you don’t have to wheel that bike through the dirt or mud to get into your new shop.
Now I know many of you are scratching your head on the “entertainment” aspect of the new shop so let me explain. Many of us like to work with music playing in the background, or maybe we like to listen to the game. Whatever your choice it is entertainment. If it is just you in the garage a mini-shelf system may satisfy, if you are in an out building you may want to “crank it up” and get something bigger, or if your shop turns into a hang out for the buddies you ride with a flat screen with a surround system may be the ticket. TV’s can be placed just about anywhere anymore, especially with the advent of wireless receivers.
So you see, your new DIY Home Shop can be anything from the spot in the garage when you pull your vehicle out to a full fledged mechanics area with a party room. Whatever you choose, whether your wrenching or detailing, catching the game or grabbing a brew with the crew, you can easily customize a place that meets your needs on almost any budget. The first step is letting K and G Cycles (www.kandgcycles.com) hook you up with the jack that meets your needs, at a price that is sure to please.