Sealey MC480 550kg motorcycle lift, £159.95
Tester: Ped Baker
Time tested: Three months
What’s good? Once you’ve used a bike lift you’ll never want to spanner a bike without one again, especially if you suffer from a bad back or knees. Essentially a big scissor jack, the Sealey MC480 raises your bike on two rubber-topped metal platforms that span your machine’s lower frame rails. Fully extended the lift stands 435mm, high enough to comfortably work on an engine whilst seated (an old office chair is ideal) and both wheels can be removed at the same time (the design’s best feature). The platforms are raised by pumping a hydraulic bottle jack and on the way up two steel wedges drop behind pegs to prevent accidental lowering. With its steering handle removed, the MC480 is small enough to be stored away or propped against a wall (although it does weigh 38kg). Bought used on eBay for £50 for my 1990 Harley-Davidson FXR, and MC480s often come up for sale at similar prices.
What's not? Due to its platform design, the lift is only suitable for a limited number of bikes with horizontal lower frame rails and it doesn’t raise the bike as high as roll-on, roll-off designs. It’s also only just wide enough for my Harley, so I extended the rear platform by welding on 6mm steel plates (see pic). Soon after I got the lift the bottle jack began leaking hydraulic oil from its release valve. The replacement bottle jack from Sealey (£47.68 including postage) is similar to Arkwright’s cash till in Open All Hours. It's so sensitive it's difficult to lower the lift without the bike crashing to the ground at terrifying speed. I should probably do something about that. It's easy to be a little sniffy about Chinese-built equipment and while I'd avoid buying Far Eastern tools that I use everyday such as spanners and screwdrivers, it's pointless spending hundreds of pounds on something that sits under a bench for most of the year.
Quality rating: 2/5
Value rating: 4/5