There are many motorcycle lifts on the market priced from around $100 up into the $500 range (less when they're on sale)
The most used products for the Kawasaki Vulcan come from:
- Larin which is sold through Sams Club, some Wal Marts and other discount warehouse outlets. This lift is priced right around $100 (less when on sale). You may have read rumors that some user of this list (never identified) had a problem with the bolts breaking. Larin says this has never been documented and nobody has ever filed a claim with them for damages. We'll chalk that story up as "urban legend".
- Harbor Freight makes a nice lift. When on sale (often) this lift is priced around $120. No major problems have been reported with this lift on the lists. Adapters made for the Larin lift will "not" work with this lift without extra engineering. But this will.
- Sears Craftsman When on sale you can find this excellent lift priced around $90. It has one issue, fully lowered it is taller than the above lifts and some riders have trouble sliding it under their Vulcans. The solution is to ride the front tire up on a 2x4 which provides plenty of clearance. The Craftsman lift won a major "lift shootout" in December 2002 on the Delphi Goldwing list. Members who had tried various brands were asked for their comments. The Craftsman won based on price and features.
The above lifts will work just fine out of the box but the side lifting the front of the Vulcan will be lifting the engine rather than the frame. This isn't always desirable (for instance, when you're trying to remove the engine) sooooo. Check out the designs below. They can be cut from 3/8" steel with a bandsaw, cutting torch, laser sword..take your pick. This pattern works with the Larin lift for Vulcan Classic, Nomad and Drifter.
Click Drawing For Larger Image
Tired of trying to lift your 1500/1600 Vulcan Classic or Nomad with a MC jack pushing on the bottom of the engine case or balancing everything on hockey pucks or wood blocks? When I bought my Nomad I quickly found that the Craftsman jack that worked so well on my Suzi Volusia put the Nomad on a teeter totter. Not good. So I worked with my machinist and we developed an adapter frame to allow the standard Craftsman type MC floor jack to securely lift my beloved Nomad.
The Idaho Jack Adapter has tabs with holes drilled to match the holes on the Vulcan frame tabs. The adapter is held in place with large nails, or screws if you prefer, and the front of the adapter is lifted to snug up against the Vulcan frame with a coat hanger or rope. Then the bikes wheels are rolled onto ¾ inch plywood squares and the jack will then slide right under the bike.
This adapter is long enough that you can move the jack to the back of the bike to lift just the rear wheel or move the jack to the front of the bike to lift the front wheel. Somewhere in between you can find the balance point to securely lift your Vulcan straight in the air with no rocking what-so-ever. You should be able to find a balance point even if you have a trunk and or fairing and lowers.
The cost is $60 delivered to anywhere in the lower 48 states, $75 (usd) shipped to Canada. The adapters come in any random color but black because they are too easy to leave on the bike as it is. So, why pay as much for this adapter as you do for your lift? Because this adapter will ensure that your Vulcan sits solid on the jack. A small price to pay to protect your ten or twelve thousand dollar investment.
Idaho Jack has stopped making the adapters, but Chuckster (Joe Norris) has continued making them from Bud's pattern. You can order these online from Chuckster's Customs.
When you purchase your HF lift it will come with an "H" plate/adapter which is probably helpful if you're lifting an auto transmission. What? You want to lift a motorcycle with it? No problem. Grab the old Dremel tool and a hacksaw and lets go to work.
- Using the Dremel and a cutting wheel, cut the welds holding the box channel pieces to the flat cross piece. (be sure to use eye protection).
- When the parts are separated, use your hacksaw to separate each of the boxed pieces in half.
- Two of those pieces will have to be slotted in the top to make way for the tab at the rear of the frame (see photo) The same cutoff wheel you used to cut the weld will work just fine here. If it is already worn down use it to cut the ends of the slot (smaller) and use a new wheel to cut the longer parts of the rectangle. This could take a little while and you'll have bits of metal mixed with rubber dust (from the pad) all over your shirt so don't wear your Sunday best.
- Once the slots are cut you'll be able to place your adapters on the jack pads and roll it under the bike. If the bike is leveled (or nearly so) with a piece of 2x4 under the kickstand you'll have an easier time lining up the slotted adapters and non slotted front adapters beneath the frame.
DO NOT decide to glue the adapters to your jack. I did this (smart alek) and only discovered after the glue dried that, with adapters in place, the jack won't roll under the bike. DOH!
Cut Apart Adapter Pieces That Come With Your Jack
Place New Adapter Parts On Jack Pads And Lift! Note slots in 'rear' pads to accommodate tabs on bikes frame