For almost two years now, I’ve been using the Black Widow Extra Wide pneumatic motorcycle table lift from DiscountRamps. It’s been the backbone of my home shop, and while I haven’t used as much as a full-blown dealership or garage would, it’s seen dozens of motorcycles and been used a hundred times ore, so I want to share with you guys my thoughts on this lift. In this review we’ll be talking about how the lift has held up over the last two years, what I love about it and the things I like about it that others may not like. Lastly, we’ll cover the two things I don’t like about it, and how to change them.
If you’re in the market for the best motorcycle table lift for your money, you should read this before you buy anything.
A Bit About Me
First, you should know a bit about me to understand where my expectations for this lift were at: I’ve been a motorcyclist for about thirteen years and during that time I’ve owned dozens of motorcycles. I’ve worked in marketing for two motorcycle manufacturers, for a motorcycle dealer, and even for a company that makes motorcycle tires. Last year I started working for myself full time, which meant a lot more motorcycles coming on and off of this Black Widow motorcycle table lift. So while I only use this table on a very part-time basis compared to your average shop, I definitely use it more than the average motorcycle DIY’er.
Enough about me. On with the show, let’s get this review started.
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Shipping and Assembly
I don’t want to get into shipping and assembly too much because I already covered that in another article and video, but assembly of the lift was pretty straightforward and required minimal tools.
One thing that still stands out in my mind, is that the owner’s manual didn’t leave anything out, and was easy to follow. Putting it together was actually fun, not frustrating.
Included in the kit was your standard (base model) Black Widow table lift and wheel vise, along with two side-pieces and two side ramp pieces, and the hardware you need to put it all together. You also get this jack stand which is worth another $75-ish.
I wanted the side pieces because I work alone, sometimes with some very big and heavy bikes, and the side extensions would make it easy to get bikes on and off of the lift. Before this table lift, I had a really cheap table lift that I grabbed some 2×4 and some hardware and I made my own side extensions, it was pretty ghetto, not as sturdy as I would have liked, and the setup on the BlackWidow is a lot nicer and easier to work with.
Essentially, for an extra $100 over the base model, with the extended motorcycle lift table you get side extensions as well as a motorcycle jack. If you were thinking of only getting the base model table lift, I strongly recommend spending the extra $100 for this kit.
4 Things I Love About the Lift
This motorcycle table lift kit offers a lot of bang for your buck. There’s a lot to be excited about. It’s my second motorcycle table lift, so I’m pickier now than I used to be, but here are some of the things that I love about it:
Right away I have to say that this lift makes my life so much easier. It always works, and the fact it’s so easy to use just makes me want to use it even more, which means taking better care of my motorcycles, as well as having more customers come through.
2) The extensions:
I know we already talked about the extensions, but I couldn’t make a list of things that I like about this table and not mention them. They’re a blessing. If you’re on the fence about getting the side extensions or not, here’s my advice: If you have anything bigger than a 600cc, get the side extensions, they just make life easy.
3) This paint is TOUGH:
I have to admit, I’ve spilled DOT-4 brake fluid on this table a bunch of times, like, a lot of brake fluid, a lot of times. I’ve also put bikes on center stands on this table and dragged them around on it, and the paint on this table lift seems to be able to really take a beating and still look great. I’ve spilled all kinds of other grease, mud, grime, oil, gas, kerosene, and other fluids on this table lift, and after a couple sprays of Goo-Gone and a wipe down she always looks perfect again.
4) The Different heights:
There are 5 different height positions ranging from 8” (no lift) to 33” (max) off of the ground, so no matter what part of the motorcycle I’m working on, I can find a height that’s comfortable for me.
2 Things I Like About the Lift
There are also some things that I like about the lift, that you may or may not like about it, because our preferences and expectations from the lift may vary.
1) It’s pneumatic:
For some people, pneumatic stuff is great. It barely (if ever) needs maintenance, and if your air compressor is full, it’ll happily lift and lower motorcycles all day long. For other people, hydraulic lifts are the way to go, whether that’s because they like hydraulic systems more, or they prefer to have a table lift with a foot pump because they don’t want to invest in an air compressor. Personally, it’s been two years and zero issues with this lift. Although I’ve been using it so much my air compressor is now starting to give me issues, but the table itself is fine, and I’m much happier with it than I was with the foot-pump table that I used to have.
2) The wheel vise:
Personally, I find the wheel vise very solid and fairly easy to use, I also do a couple things to make it easier for myself, like having a piece of wood under the bike’s kick-stand to help strapping a bike in. Some more professional, higher end wheel vises will have more pistons going to the vise, in other words, instead of just applying pressure at one point, the vise will apply pressure at two or even three points. While that would be nice to have, I don’t know that it’s really a deal breaker. This wheel vise works pretty smoothly as it is. The rubber in the vice can get a bit chewed up from bringing bikes in and out roughly, but it’s holding up just fine overall.
2 Things I Don’t Like About the Lift
Not every product is perfect and Black Widow Extra Wide Motorcycle Table Lift is no exception. There are a few things that I don’t like about the table lift, but luckily, they’re both easily fixable.
I like that Black Widow gives you anchors built right into the table, but they also hold the side extensions in place. That problem arises on the rare occasion you have a project where you want to be really close to your bike, or if you just have little T-Rex arms. You have to unscrew the anchor and lock nut that holds the side extensions in place.
The quick solution to this is to actually just drill the anchors through the table, and replace them with a lock pin you can get from Amazon or the hardware store for a couple books. Doing this will retain the functionality of the anchors and side extensions, while allowing you to retain to remove the side extensions in a matter of seconds, and without needing to reach for any tools.
Full disclosure: The length is my least favorite thing about this whole table lift, even though it’s only really been a problem once. The table will fit big Harley-Davidson Touring bikes, or even long and low motorcycles like my 2006 Harley-Davidson Night Rod, but only just barely. The table lift isn’t long enough to fit custom choppers or “factory customs” like the Honda Fury. Well, guess who has a customer with a Honda Fury? Me.
Luckily, there’s a solution. Black Widow makes a front extension piece that will give you an extra 14″ for pretty cheap, so if you do have an absurdly long motorcycle, you can just buy that, bolt it on, and be happy. You can read YouMotorcycle’s walkthrough on how to install the 14″ motorcycle lift table front extension or check out the video instead:
I can’t give this table lift a perfect 5-star review because it needs another 2-3″ and a heavier duty vise to be a perfect motorcycle table lift. At the same time, giving it a 4-star review wouldn’t do the table justice. Considering it’s priced just under $900, you’re getting a lot of value and quality for your dollar. For that reason, I’d rate this table a 4.5, maybe even a 4.75 out of 5.
I’ve had dozens of different motorcycles on this lift and used it with my own motorcycles so many times that I’m starting to wear out my air compressor. Thanks to this table lift, I can always find the right height for the job I’m doing, and no matter what I spill on this table lift, it always cleans up nicely. With the money I got for taking care of other people’s bikes on this lift, it’s more than paid for itself.